By Shanna Katz
This month’s Out of the Box identity is another look at a different person’s Queer identity. Krystal Marie is a recent college graduate who has been kind enough to share with us her take on her Queer identity, as well as the intersections that come with her other identities.
This interview is about your QUEER identity…What are some other identities of yours:
Daughter, sister, friend, (mostly) cisgendered, feminist, Greek, 1st-generation college graduate.
Define your queer identity – what does it mean to you, how long have you had this identity, how was the process of getting there?
I have identified as queer now for almost three years. My process getting
there has been a lot of ups and downs. In my sorority, we have an entire class devoted to learning about privileges and identities and we go through and share whatever identities we’d like others to know about. I have identified as: bisexual, pansexual, non-sexual, sexual, fluid and finally came into realization that I am QUEER about three years ago. Queer means to me that I exist outside of any type of “norm” and go to lengths to disassociate myself from binaries and heterosexism. It also encompasses my activism and social justice side nicely, because then it gives me an opportunity to educate lots of people about what queer actually is.
Talk about some of the language surrounding this identity – what terms do you like/dislike?
For me, I use queer mostly when talking to my friends who understand what it fully means or when I have the time to fully educate someone. If it is in passing or someone from a class or an acquaintance, I usually interchange the term with “gay”. It doesn’t bother me, since I know how I actually am.
What are some common questions you get about this identity? How do you answer them and how do they make you feel?
The most common question is honestly, “what does that mean” or “isn’t that offensive?” To the first question, it requires explanation and the second requires more of a slight history lesson in regards to the word and its usage today. I try and answer all questions, because I always like transferring knowledge. It doesn’t really bother me when people ask.
What are some of the positives of having this identity?
I think this identity is very far-reaching. It encompasses a lot of aspects and when I’m with others within the LGBTQ community, a lot of the time they also understand what queer can mean.
What are some of the struggles that have come along with this identity?
My struggles are mainly with those older “gays” who can’t quite wrap their heads around a “Q” and stick to the LGBT spectrum. It is hard to feel validated in a room full of older people who do not respect or have a firm understanding of what my identity means to me. I also go back and forth with telling my parents – they see me as
mostly “gay” since I have not informed them of my queer identity, and I’m not quite sure they would even get it if I explained it to them.
How does this identity fit or not fit with your other identities?
This identity fits in just fine; it seems to make me acutely aware for whatever reason of my other identities and how they intersect.
What else do you want people to know about this identity?
I want people to know that this identity is just as valid and sacred as any other identity. This identity is always shifting and evolving and will never mean exactly the same thing to every single person. Also, this identity is not the only identity a person can have.