The 20 Queer Qs series seeks to capture LGBTQ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity as we get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, what they value, and their thoughts and opinions on topics surrounding the LGBTQ community including thoughts on love, dating, media representation, identity, advice for LGBTQ youth, and more.
Intimate conversations have subjects talking about questions from their favorite drink to order and whether they prefer a night in or out to more in-depth questions like the ease or difficulty of making queer friends, discrimination and racism in dating, tackling stereotypes, and the people that inspire our subjects.
The goal is to leave you, the reader, like you just gained a new friend, a new perspective, and that you learned something new about someone or saw a different side of someone, maybe one that you don’t see online, but one that’s maybe like you.
Get to know Jamilah King. She is a race and justice reporter for Mother Jones who is sweet, smart, and friendly. Get Jamilah’s thoughts on queer youth, making queer friends, what she considers to be an LGBTQ anthem, and more.
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her
Sexually Identifies As: Queer
1. What do you love about the LGBTQ community?
I love how resilient so many of us are. I feel like so many of us have had to fight to be ourselves or to love who we want to love or express what we want to express that we’re really expansive in our definitions of family and we’re great. I love being in a community with folks who have learned from those experiences.
2. Do you think it’s hard to make queer friends?
I think it’s harder as you get older to make friends in general. So much of growing up in school is that we’re in spaces where we’re deliberately obtaining that. I think making queer friends specifically is hard, especially for queer folks, sometimes you don’t want to get with them, you just want to be their friend. Sometimes there’s that awkward moment when you have to figure out what you’re going to be with someone. I also think that as you get older, and as I’ve gotten older and more comfortable with myself, I’m just a little bit better at building friendships.
3. How did you feel attending your first Pride?
I was 15, I grew up in San Francisco, and I knew I was queer, but I definitely wasn’t out. I remember, it wasn’t the parade necessarily, but it was Pride weekend and it was the afternoon. I remember going to The Castro, I must’ve gone to downtown and gotten queer swag, and I remember sitting on a bus stop on 18th St and Church by myself and thinking, “One day, I’m going to come back with friends and have people to come with and it’s gonna be dope.” I remember it as a moment of something to look forward to.
4. What’s a song you consider to be an LGBTQ anthem?
“Finally” by CeCe Pennington.
5. What advice do you have for LGBTQ youth?
You have so much to look forward to!
6. What advice would you want to give yourself 10 years ago?
Go to therapy sooner. But more importantly, I would say to trust myself more.
7. What do you value in a partner?
I love people that are sensitive, compassionate, and really like dogs. I also like people who read a lot.
8. Describe what being queer is like in 3-5 words.
Really worthwhile but challenging adventure.
9. Fill in the blank: Love is _______
10. What hopes do you have for the LGBTQ community in the future?
That we are not so disposable of each other. One thing that I think happens is that we want each other to be these perfect beings and none of us are. We’re all going to fuck up and make mistakes, but I hope that we can have more patience with each other.
11. Have you found your chosen family?
I’m finding it. I’m definitely super blessed to have a good community of friends and I hope to only grow that. They make me feel happy, they’re really good people.
12. What is the title of the current chapter of your life?
13. What is a quality you find sexy?
14. Did someone ever make you change who you were? Who was the last person you changed for?
I think every relationship should change you on some level. I think it’s easy to lose yourself in a relationship. I think the goal is to grow and change with someone and change for yourself.
15. Did you ever feel uncomfortable holding another girl’s hand?
Yeah, I still do. Every Sunday where I live, there are seven churches near the train stop and in the spring and summer, there are these creatures who stand on the corners with a microphone who are preaching. That makes me nervous because if anything, I don’t feel like fighting somebody or being accosted, I’m very conscious about what I do.
16. in the blank: When I find someone I’m interested in I
17. Fill in the blank: Happiness is ______
18. Do you think younger LGBTQ youth have it easier?
I’d hate to be one of those older, curmudgeonly people who’s like, “kids these days don’t know the struggle!” But I definitely think there’s more visibility today, I think there’s more mainstream visibility around queer folks and online communities. I will say that I went to a high school that was predominantly queer, so I understand how even knowing and having a queer community doesn’t make it easier to come out, but I do think there are more spaces now where people can see possibilities for their queer futures.
19. How much does your LGBTQ identity play into your overall identity?
It’s a part of me. My queerness is like my blackness, it’s always here, and I’m good with both of them.
20. What value has being a queer given you?
I think I have gained a lot of empathy as a queer person for having gone through my own struggles, I’m less quick to judge people about what they’re going through.
Stay updated on Jamilah’s reporting on Twitter and peep her reported pieces on Mother Jones and other works at Mic and Colorlines.