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 PrEP, religion, love, dating, media representation, identity, advice for LGBTQ+ youth, and more.
Intimate conversations have subjects talking about questions from their favorite drink to order, whether they prefer a night out or into more in depth questions like the ease or difficulty of making gay 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, like you gained a friend, or saw a different side of someone, maybe one that you don’t see online, but one that’s maybe like you.
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him
Sexually Identifies As: Gay Male
What do you love about the LGBT community?
I love its intersectionality and how diverse it is. I love that now, fortunately and unfortunately, we’re starting to celebrate all colors of the rainbow and I love the family aspect of it.
I know a lot of other marginalized communities, there’s sometimes not that sense of family, but when I was growing up as the gay kid in school, you gravitate towards the other gay kids in school. I love that we come from different backgrounds, nationalities, races.
Talk about your first gay kiss?
I remember the first time a boy approached me and gave me butterflies and I’d never felt that before. I was at a drama competition and I saw this guy that I thought was super cute and I wasn’t fully out. I remember he came up behind me, I was sitting in a chair, and he whispered in my ear, “you’re so f*cking cute.”
And I just got chills all over my whole body and I’ll never forget that feeling as long as I live. It’s never been recreated. He was my first boyfriend.
It was the most amazing feeling that I’d ever felt, it felt like an electric shock, like I was paralyzed for a minute or two and I wanted to tell everyone how it made me feel because it felt amazing.
What are your thoughts on PrEP?
I think PrEP is great. Any drug that allows people to sexually explore without fear I think is great. I think it allows people to have less fear than we’ve had in the past and I love when there’s health care that helps our community.
I just wish people wouldn’t use it as a cure-all.
It’s not an invisible cloak and I think it’s a great tool for relationships where one partner is HIV positive and the other is not provides more security because I think there’s been such a stigma that we haven’t been able to have real communication sometimes.
What are your thoughts on dating in the LGBT community?
I used to say it was the worst. But I think it’s as easy as you make it. I think it’s hard in terms of, there’s a lot of sexuality placed on dating where sex is important. It’s been said that men are more sexual than women which I don’t necessarily agree with because I know a lot of horny girls.
But I think there’s a celebration of sex that comes without intimacy. I think there’s a lack of intimacy in the gay community. I’ve felt that a lot of queer men don’t talk about their feelings with each other, it’s superficial a lot of times, and I’m not like that. Whenever I tell my friends, “I love you so much,” or have a moment with them, they pull back a little. Not because they don’t want it, but because they’re not used to it.
Do you think it’s hard to make gay friends?
No, It’s never been hard for me. I think it’s sometimes hard to make gay friends as your complete self. I’ve been in a lot of gay friendships where I felt like I needed to be something for that person in order for them to like me like I needed to be more fun. It’s like in high school where you want to be friends with kids you admire so you shift and bend. But I don’t think it’s hard, I think we gravitate towards each other.
When I first moved to new york, I had a boyfriend and there was plenty of people I tried to hang out and be friends with and they wanted to hook up. If you put yourself out there as a solo flyer, people think you’re trying to hit on them not that you’re trying to hang out. When I was in Miami, which isn’t that much smaller, I found it easier to find friends.
How did you feel attending your first pride?
First pride I ever attended was in New York. I was with my acting class, we were on Gay Street and it was just so exciting to see not just one type of gay person. It wasn’t just gay people, there were trans people, kids, families, and I was like, “Wow this isn’t just a niche thing where gay guys are just walking around.”
When I went and saw that everyone came out to support, it made me more proud to be myself and I had a high from that for the rest of the day because of the color, glitter, and everything for me in my head reeked of positivity. I also love the activism aspect of the parade as well.
What does pride mean to you?
I think it’s changed over the years. For me, pride means being able to be confident in who you are and who you might become. I used to think that you had to be super confident and proud of who you were without doubt or questioning yourself and I think it’s important to learn and be flexible into becoming someone better.
Especially in the LGBT community, sometimes we come out of the closet and think, “Well! That’s it! I’m gay!” But there’s so much more to learn. So pride for me is being strong in who you are and who you could become.
Who is someone you consider to be an LGBT icon?
I’ll say a group of people – the people from the ballroom scene. The Hector Extravaganza’s of the world, the Jose Extravaganza’s, the Pepper Labeija’s of the world. They’re iconic in the sense that there’s so much in our culture now that those people have contributed to.
The ballroom scene is responsible for so much of the rich culture that not only the LGBT community gets to enjoy but the rest of society gets to enjoy.
All the Yas Queens, the death drops, and the things that people enjoy and think come from drag race, don’t come from drag race at all. And for someone like RuPaul to be influenced by someone else, by the ballroom scene, shows how rich and amazing they are and I don’t think they get enough credit, but they are the most iconic in my opinion.
Do you believe in love?
Oh absolutely, abso-f*cking-lutely!
Favorite drink to order at a bar?
Just a tequila soda to turn up real quick.
What values would you like in an ideal partner?
I look for someone that is kind. I think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat other people, the way they talk about other people.
I look for someone that is honest, that is excited about life, someone that’s ambitious, and someone that’s happy in who they are because for so long, I wasn’t happy with who I was and I think I’m in a place where I can enjoy myself and being with someone that enjoys themselves really frees you up to really enjoy each other.
Fill in the blank: drag queens are _______
Describe what being gay is like in 3-5 words
The most special thing ever.
Describe what the LGBT community is to someone who knows nothing about it
It’s fearlesss, it’s flawed, it’s like a family. You have your older folks that have been through stuff, you’ve got your cute, young aunties that need to get it together, you’ve got the young kids that are just bringing something new to the table, it’s like a family.
It’s dysfunctional, it’s exciting, and it’s fun. It’s like having a huge family that you know you have that you’ve never met sometimes but when you get together.
Use 3-5 words to describe your coming out experience?
Slow and steady.
What are your thoughts on people who say masc4masc?
I feel that people that say masc4masc are uneducated. It used to piss me off but now I just realized that they don’t get it. I can’t get mad about that, it’s just one of those things like, “at least it’s not me” and I’m going to do everything in my power so that people don’t get that from me because I can’t change the way everyone feels.
There will be people even if you bring them the gospel of not masc4masc that they’re just going to say that’s how they feel, but I prefer to have a conversation rather than being like, “you’re an idiot, who says that?”
Because once you do that, you might have an opportunity to have the dialogue of where that comes from and why they feel that way. I’m all about having a conversation. I think the people that say it are ignorant and need to learn. s bullying language in my opinion.
Does religion play a role in your life?
Yes, not a huge role, but I do pray, I do believe in God and it’s also kind of hard in the LGBT community to feel like you can be religious.
I think because in the media just like the way LGBT people are perceived to be that kind of person, that kind of person is perceived to the LGBT community and I know a lot of religious people that are not like that all, that don’t care what I do in the bedroom that I’m not going to hell. But I think it has more to do with people than it has to do with a full religious faith. I grew up in the church and I loved it.
There’s parts of it I didn’t love, but for the most part I felt happy when I was in church. There were certain things that make me uncomfortable but in life, you find what works for you but yes, I do have faith.
When you think of comfort you think of _________
Food, family, and dinners. My favorite thing to do is go to dinner with friends, my family, or my boyfriend because there’s so much joy over the dinner table.
What’s your earliest memory that you felt you were different?
I remember being in Kindergarten or First Grade and no one ever said “you’re gay” but I just remember the boys not wanting to hang out with me and I was like, “Why? What did I do?” and I didn’t have the answer and didn’t know. But then there was this girl who said, “Hey! I wanna be your friend!” and I felt good because somebody wanted to be my friend, but that was the first time that I was like, “What did I do? What did I say?”
What do you feel most insecure about?
My knowledge. I think I’m insecure that I don’t know enough or sound dumb. There’s always a better way to say what I’m trying to say or articulate how I feel and I’m always afraid that I’m not gonna get it right.
Have you found your chosen family?
Yes, and it’s so funny because some people have four best friends and that’s their group. I’ve never had that. I’ve always had friends everywhere in this group and that group.
They used to call me a chameleon when I was little and I used to be offended because they used to be like “you don’t even know who you are!” I think sometimes when you group yourself, you shut yourself off to the opportunities of meeting new people and having friends everywhere.
So I have found my chosen family and it’s who I choose everyday. They make me feel pushed to be better. My trans girlfriends make me feel completely worthy, my queer friends make me feel happy and excited and motivated.
What value has being a gay man given you?
A larger perspective of other people’s joy and suffering. I’m able to see what happened in my life when people didn’t understand me or didn’t want to understand me and I’ve taken that and tried to turn it into a way to understand others and open myself up to things and people that I don’t know about. I think it’s made me a more empathetic and loving person.