In my opinion, you can’t truly be happy until you are living as your authentic self. If you can’t fully express who you are in all forms, and in all situations, you are suppressing a part of yourself, and not allowing yourself to live your most authentic and, therefore, happiest life. The trouble is, it’s society that’s teaching us that it’s not okay to be who we are, and we need to change that.
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I am aware that this a huge struggle for people like me. A massive amount of the queer and LGBTQIA+ community are, or at some point have been, afraid to open up to those around them about who they are or who they love. This is not only so damaging to our mental health, but also to relationships with family, friends, partners etc, and it’s all because we’re scared of being judged, treated differently, ridiculed, and even attacked, just for loving who we love.
I was so scared of being different, but through accepting myself I realized I wasn’t alone. I learned that being different is a positive thing that makes you unique and something I wish I embraced sooner. All of these things have made me who I am and they aren’t things to hide or change. Since accepting myself, there were doors that opened. Before I wasn’t able to go through them because I was my own biggest barrier. Yet since accepting myself, it increased my confidence so much it’s helped and allowed me to work with people who I never could have before.
In the ‘era’ that I, and others my age, grew up in, there was very little to no representation of LGBTQIA+ people in the media for us to identify with. There was no one for me to look up to and realize that it was okay to be who I was because ‘that person’ was gay or queer or transgender and they were still loved and successful.Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to perform. My love for music and performing was something that I knew I wanted to pursue as I got older, but I found it difficult that I didn’t have an idol that I could look up to and feel that it would be possible.
When I first started writing songs, someone that I was working with told me to stop using female pronouns in my music. They said to avoid using pronouns if I was going to be writing songs about girls because it would ‘alienate the male audience’ and make people ‘feel uncomfortable’. I’m a person who has always been very open with my feelings, my relationships, and things going on in my life, so naturally, I wanted to be very open with my songwriting and my music, otherwise what was the point?
I didn’t listen, and I continued to use ‘she’ and ‘her’ and ‘girl’ in my songs because that’s exactly what I needed to hear from female artists growing up. I want people to listen to my songs and know that I’m singing about a girl, because I’m gay, and why should I have to hide that? Definitely not to protect ignorant people from feeling ‘alienated’ or ‘uncomfortable’. I want to be an artist who young LGBTQIA+ people can look up to and feel seen and heard. I want them to know that they’re not alone, I’ve been through and understand what they’re going through, and things do get better.
Someone with a religious family reached out to me and shared that my music helped her feel comfortable with who they are. I feel so happy that I use female pronouns for that exact reason; they feel seen and heard. When I write I’m telling a story that’s personal to me. Being unapologetically who you are is the main thing I want people to learn with my music, I want my music that speaks to my truth, but also represents the people I was looking for growing up.
As much as I don’t think that ‘coming out’ should even have to be a thing that people do, it is. But I want to change the feelings around it from shame to pride. I want people to feel empowered when telling people who they are, who they love or how they identify. Because only then will they be living as their authentic self.