Name and Location
Kelli Barnes from St. Louis
How old were you when you “came out”?
I came out when I was 21 or 22 years old
How old were you when you knew that you were attracted to the same sex?
I realized that I was attracted to the same sex when I was in high school.
How did your family react?
I had a mix of reactions from my family. My mother is religious and is not accepting of her daughter being a lesbian. We have had many disagreements and even periods of time where we were not talking because she was struggling with how to deal with it. At this point she is better; I wouldn’t say she accepts it, but she tolerates it. Hopefully we will get to the point where she accepts me completely. I have some aunts that were very accepting…they had questions, but there was no judgment.
Do you label yourself?
If by label, you mean “femme” “stud” or “aggressive”, I would say yes. I consider myself to be femme.
What is one misconception about the LBGTQ “Lifestyle” that you want to get rid of?
One misconception that I would get rid of, especially among lesbian relationships, is that someone has to be the “man” of the relationship. I personally do not feel that heterosexual constraints should be placed on a lesbian relationship. The implication that a woman has to play the role of man suggests that a lesbian relationship is somehow incomplete without a masculine presence. This misconception shows how much people need to learn about the dynamics of a lesbian or any other LGBTQ relationship.
How can you help the LGBTQ Youth?
I feel that by being out and visible I am helping LGBTQ youth. The more they see us being proud of who we are, they will realize they have nothing to be ashamed of.
Do you think that you were born gay?
I don’t know if I was born gay or not. I believe that some people are, but I’m not sure if that applies to me.
How do you feel about religion being the basis of homosexuality bashing?
I feel that people who use religion to justify bashing or discriminating against homosexuals don’t know anything about God. I believe that God created all of us in His divine image and therefore we all worthy of His love. People use religion to justify the oppression of the minority because of fear and ignorance. Until those people release that fear and ignorance they will continue to hide behind bible scriptures to make themselves feel valid in their hate. It is my humble opinion that God does not want any of His children to be treated unfairly, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Do you have children? If yes, how do you “successfully” parent being LGBTQ?
I have a son. My success as a parent really doesn’t have anything to do with me being a lesbian. I’m trying to make sure that my son grows up to be respectful of himself and others, to have integrity and morals, to value his education, and to be a proud African American young man. I would parent the same exact way if I were straight.
How do you make sure that you are being positive?
Being positive can be a struggle. Going through stressful times can sometimes make keeping a positive attitude difficult. However, I try to be mindful of my blessings and remind myself that valleys in my life are always an opportunity for growth.
Where can we find you on the web?
You can find me on twitter @Boho_Radical