I am a professional guitarist and LGBTQ+ activist who happens to also be a queer woman. However, being gay is not my “selling point,” that just happens to be part of who I am. Outside of playing great music that makes people happy, my main objective in the music industry is to responsibly represent the queer community in the creative arts.
Spending the majority of my teens years in entertainment, I remember feeling like there wasn’t a whole lot of representation for queer people like me. Thankfully, the world is changing and more of our favorite musicians are openly gay, trans, queer, or whatever their heart and mind identity with. That being said, we still have a long way to go.
Music is such an important, personal thing to me and played a huge role in me finding my own identity. I was a shy kid growing up, but playing guitar gave me a voice that I couldn’t find for myself — it was a creative expression on a whole other level. I was one of the boys, always roughhousing and playing sports, but I also had a really sensitive side that I still have today. Often times, my sensitivity spoke much louder than my competitive side, but I didn’t pay attention to it until I fell in love with my femininity and being a woman.
I wanted to play guitar so that I could play it to girls, but I didn’t come to terms with my sexuality within myself until I was about 19 years old. I always had to fight to prove I was feminine throughout my teens. I wore boys clothes (still do) and was constantly kicked out of the girl’s bathroom. I felt out of place at a beach or a pool and just didn’t feel like I was in the right skin — like there had been a mistake. Music was an escape and helped me anchor my identity.
I’m androgynous. I want to be right on the cusp of my own personal version of beautiful and handsome.
I think it’s important for all musicians, but particularly those in the LGBTQ+ community to retain their own identity at all costs. Once I was in the thick of the industry (major label record deal, publicity, fancy events, etc. and all the things that go along with that) I felt like people were telling me what to wear, do, and how to do it. It became an overwhelming mess at times. Personally, I think it’s so incredibly important to go into this industry knowing who you are or you can get lost very quickly.
For LGBTQ+ musicians especially, we need to make sure we are showing up as ourselves and not a “packaged, marketable” version of being queer. I’ve probably made every mistake you can make, but one thing I did right was make sure no one took my aesthetic away from me. I’m androgynous. I want to be right on the cusp of my own personal version of beautiful and handsome. My look ties in with my guitar playing because they’re both something I’ve worked towards and discovered over time. It was almost like I figured out how I wanted to be presented, and then I came into my sexuality. Once I fell in love with my own femininity, I fell in love with women.
In the future, I’d like to see more LGBTQ+ representation in the entertainment industry and the industry steer away from stereotypes and treating queer culture as a novelty. That’s not to say we shouldn’t embrace our strong and resilient selves, but rather focus on what’s really important: being great at your job. I hope that by using my voice as a musician, I can make even a small contribution to make this a reality.