Hi, my name is Coye, and my personal pronouns are He/Him and They/Them. It’s interesting seeing how this has become the norm for some of us when it comes to introducing ourselves, as this was something I never would have imagined as a child with roots in a rural Southern town of approximately 300 people. Many of those people I associated with family and had a minimal understanding of what gender identity and sexuality could be. Even when I moved to Maryland as a slightly older child, the only exposure I had to the LGBTQ+ community were people using derogatory terms towards what they would consider “gays.” I even adopted using a couple of slurs because it seemed normalized, without understanding the severity and hurt it could inflict on a community that already had to hide in the shadows on a regular basis. A community I had no idea I would be a part of as I grew older.
It’s pride month, where commercial businesses and non-profits love releasing empty statements of “We stand with the LGBTQ community”, “#Pride”, etc., without any representation of that community on staff in any capacity, or if there is representation, those who are part of the community are not able to fully express themselves because of heteronormative trends we see in the workplace. As I’m typing this and reflecting on my own journey over the years, from playing exclusively as women characters in video games as a child to thinking I’d go to Hell for finding men as attractive as women, and questioning my gender as a whole — one thing I can say is the staff at RCAP has not judged me for my non-conformity, albeit subtle at times and flamboyant at others. Although I’m not aware of anyone else on the National Office staff who belongs to the queer community, there is strength in knowing I may be the only one, therefore continuously breaking boundaries and liberating myself from the “norm.” I’ve begun putting quotations around “norm” because the norm shouldn’t be confined to being cisgender (someone whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person was identified with at birth) or heterosexual. In fact, the norm should be us experimenting with the expansiveness of gender and sexuality, where we’re able to be gender/sexually fluid on a regular basis. Hence, why I identify with they/them pronouns in addition to he/him pronouns, because some days I feel like I can traverse between all genders!
This blog post was only meant to serve as a brief introduction to who I am and a couple of my viewpoints in life. There are so many more resources everyone, including myself, should utilize to further their education on the queer community. Below are some resources to get started, and thank you to Marsha P. Johnson, the drag queens, and everyone else who jumpstarted this movement at Stonewall back in the 60s to fight for gay rights. Another huge thank you to everyone who has previously and is CURRENTLY fighting for gay rights, despite the constant violence towards our community. We will continue to resist and liberate ourselves.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson: a documentary highlighting Marsha’s life and how the trans community started the Pride movement but was continuously left out of conversations.
The National Center for Transgender Equality: a website with resources on the trans community.
Anti-Violence Project: AVP empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy
GLAAD LGBTQ Resource List: a non-exhaustive list for resources