The 20 Queer Qs series seeks to capture LGBTQ+ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity. We get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value.
These intimate conversations aim to leave you feeling like you just gained a new friend or a new perspective.
In this new interview, get to know queer activist and writer Adam Eli. Eli founded Voices4, which seeks to fight for global LGBTQIA+ liberation. Learn about Adam’s advice for LGBTQ+ youth, what he feels most insecure and confident about, what pride means to him, and more.
Name: Adam Eli
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him, They/Them
Sexually Identifies As: Super Gay
1. What do you love about the LGBTQ+ community? I love that being queer means you’re part of something bigger and greater than yourself and therefore being queer means you’re never alone.
2. How did you feel attending your first pride? I think I was 22, I was a sophomore or junior in college. At the time I was living in the East Village and i’d never been to pride before. So to have my entire world go gay in the street was amazing, I loved every second of it.
3. What does pride mean to you? Pride is my favorite holiday. (My second favorite holiday is Passover.) Pride is when we celebrate how far we’ve come and we reflect on the work we have left to do. So as long as queer people are suffering anywhere in the world, pride must be a protest.
4. Who is someone you consider to be an LGBTQ+ icon? My dear friend Édouard Louis, he’s written two books and in his books he talks about his trials growing up with extreme poverty, severe homophobia and his rape. Through a mixture of complete honesty and astounding eloquence, he cracks open what many might feel like the shame of being queer and by cracking that open, he’s given people, myself included, hope and the feeling like they’re understood.
5. What’s a song you consider to be an LGBTQ+ anthem? “Born This Way,” by Lady Gaga.
6. What’s advice you have for LGBTQ+ youth? The best time to come out is whenever you feel ready and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There is a huge, large community that is waiting to love, accept, and celebrate you just as you are. The internet is good and social media is a great way to connect with people and anyone who tells you differently, feel free to ignore.
7. Who is the most important ally in your life? My mom started an organization called Mosaic of Westchester which seeks to enrich the Jewish community through LGBTQ+ inclusion and my activism is inspired by her and the other powerful Jewish women I grew up with.
8. Do you believe in love? Absolutely.
9. What hopes do you have for the LGBTQ+ community in the future? I hope the LGBTQ+ community will themselves as a nationhood that is genuinely interested in each others well being and that they live by the principal of “you mess with one queer, you mess with us all.” So if someone in Chechnya or Egypt is harassing or murdering gay people, that we here in America feel that is our personal responsibility. So my hope is that we can create a queer global consciousness.
10. Fill in the Blank: When you think of comfort you think of _________? My mom’s matzo ball soup.
11. What do you feel most insecure about? I often struggle with my body. Sometimes it’s hard for me to take my shirt off in public and I feel insecure about the way my body looks.
12. What do you feel most confident about? The message that queer people anywhere are responsible for queer people everywhere.
13. What’s your relationship with your family like? I love my family, I have three straight brothers and two loving parents. They’re the greatest allies you could ever ask for and there’s no way I’d be able to be as open and public facing as I am today without them.
14. Have you found your chosen family? Yes! They make me feel warm and excited to see them.
15. Do you feel that people are as authentic online as they are in person? I think that relationships that are created online can sometimes be more authentic than relationships that are made and created in person. I think sometimes people put on the internet the absolute best of themselves or who they want to be or what they want the world to see. So when I meet someone online, I only know the best of them and who they want to be so we’re both meeting each other on a level, of it might not be exactly where I’m at but here’s where I want to be and I think trying to meet that person at that level is incredible.
16. Did you ever / do you feel uncomfortable holding another guys hand in public? I surprise myself to answer yes. I was recently in the Meatpacking District with a guy and we were holding hands and kissing on a bench and I was surprised at how nervous I was. Because I’m very openly and confidently queer and we were in New York City in a traditionally gay area and so if that’s how I was feeling here, I cannot imagine how someone in a state or city that’s less open must feel.
17. Fill in the blank: When I find a guy I’m interested in I ______? Get really nervous.
18. What are deal breakers for you when dating someone? Any type of intolerance around my trans and gender nonconforming friends. Or anything but complete total utter respect is a complete deal breaker as a friend or romantic relationships.
19. How much does your LGBTQ+ identity play into your overall identity? YES!
20. What value/quality has being queer given you? What have you gained? The things that I go on are a deep belief of empathy and a belief that I believe as a gay Jew I have an obligation to stand up for any type of minority that is being oppressed, but that is equal parts part of my Jewish and gay identity. I can’t explicate them.
Stay up to date with Adam and his work on Instagram and Twitter, and follow his work with Voices4 for any updates. If you’re in the New York City area, be sure to check out his protest on Saturday, Oct. 27 with Voices4 for Intersex rights.