Excerpts of Queer Kentucky Interview
Updated: Mar 14, 2020
Below is a selection of my interview with Queer Kentucky, where I discuss the importance of using queer art to unite a growing queer community.
What does the word queer mean to you? How do you identify? Why?
The word “queer” to me means expressing your gender or your sexuality in a manner that risks being disadvantaged by society. This world hasn’t been designed for our success, and yet we continue to exist and thrive as a community. To me “Queer” is defiance, resilience, and honesty, which is why I’m proud to identify as queer. It brings me comfort and pride to a be part of a group of people that has led and shaped social and artistic movements. I’m empowered to carry on that legacy in my own way.
Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?
I was born in West Lafayette, IN, but grew up primarily in Boca Raton, Florida. After growing up in a fairly accepting community and going to college (Stanford University) in a very liberal area, I was very apprehensive (as were many of my friends), about moving to Kentucky. I moved to Louisville to be a dancer (and now a choreographer) with the Louisville Ballet, and after seven years of being here, I couldn’t imagine a better place to live, create, and start a new movement both in the arts and queer community.
It was a pleasant surprise to find that there is a growing queer community in Louisville and that there is a love and appreciation for the arts. I think both of these communities are on the cusp of some incredible work, and I can’t wait to define my role within that. I think as the queer community here continues to grow, it is important for us to recognize and highlight the many different queer stories that exist. The arts are a great way to showcase that diversity and I encourage anyone who is in a position of power to help finance and bring those stories to the foreground. Now that I’ve established myself as a maker of art and a Louisville resident, I can now cater to the needs of this specific community.
What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?
I think it is necessary to take your time, and not feel rushed to come to terms with who you are. In some scenarios there may not be the vocabulary to properly define your identity and that’s perfectly fine too. We are mutli-dimensional people so you need to be willing to explore all sides of who you are (even what you may consider the ugly parts). There’s a loss of integrity when you pick and choose what parts of your identity are worth acknowledging. Most importantly, surround yourself with people who will support you no matter what. They can be family, friends, or even strangers online. The beauty of being queer is that we get to choose our family, so take advantage of it.
Check out the rest of the interview at Queer Kentucky.