6 – Nikki Herman

Lesbian (She/Her) // Colorado Springs, CO // Environmentalist, Vegan Home Chef

With the infinite possibilities of gender identity and expression when did you know?

“I was 13, in 8th grade. I had a friend, we’d been friends since 4th grade when I moved, but I realized I had a crush on her in the 8th grade. I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t think that’s normal’ That’s not how most people feel about their female friends. It was a step beyond, ‘I think you’re cool and really smart.’ to more of, ‘Wow, I find you really attractive.’”

How old were you when you came out & how was that experience for you?

“I think sophomore year in high school, I first started coming out to a small number of friends. And then, I came out to my parents, senior year of college. So, in between that was a few more friends each year, here and there. Most of my friends took it quite well. I only lost 2 friends over it…which they weren’t real friends anyway then, so it wasn’t a big deal. At the time it was a big deal, but now I’m like, ‘Nope didn’t need them anyway.’ It was kind of a sh*t show with my family… My mom cried for months on end… anytime I would mention Katie’s[wife] name, she would burst into tears. She refused to meet Katie until we were engaged. My grandparents cried about it, too. Several family members don’t talk to me anymore. It’s gotten much better with my immediate family, my parents and grandparents… it’s gotten much better. So positive with friends… sh*t show with family. [My close family] did come back around. They never shunned me or asked me to leave, so they came around eventually.”

What was your biggest fear/concern with coming out?

“I think disappointing [my family] and not fulfilling their expectations. I can remember, one of the girls I was dating in college, before I was out to most people, she asked me if we would ever be ‘official’ and out in public together. And I was like, ‘No, I couldn’t ever do that, I can’t handle that.’ I can remember thinking, ‘There’s no way I could tell my family… I would never see them again… they would be so disappointed in me… There’s no way I could ever come out to them.’”

What do you feel is your most favorite thing about being a part of the LGBTQ+ community?

“It’s so supportive, and it’s so comfortable… It’s so comfortable, that’s my favorite part for sure.“

Least favorite?  

“I think because my identity is so simple and clear cut, I haven’t experience anything. But I could see that other people that fall differently in the spectrum, the community could be judging in some ways. Like they aren’t gay enough, or lesbian enough. Anyone who is transgender, I haven’t seen or experienced, but I’ve heard stories that they can be very judged.”

Advice for younger you, or for someone going through your same experience? Advice for someone who feels they can’t come out?

“You’re not alone, for sure. You’re not alone even if it feels like it. Hopefully it’s easier now than it was 10 years ago to feel like you’re not alone. But I think any amount of fear is worth overcoming… for how good it feels to just be yourself and not always have that part of you tucked away. So that’s what I would tell my younger self, just overcome the fear, it’s 100% worth it to be able to be you.”

What in your life are you most proud of?

“I am most proud of coming out, and saying F*CK IT to all of the expectations from my family, from the church, and society. I am most proud of standing up for myself and doing what’s best for me.”

With the state of the world/nation, if you could change one thing what would it be?

“That’s a big question! You know I’m obsessed with the environment, so any major changes would be that… And people’s attitudes. People’s attitude towards the earth, people’s attitudes toward each other. I’m not a big fan of people, because there’s a lot of sh*t out there. I think a lot could be better if people were kinder to each other, and more thoughtful about everything. If people put more thought into their lives, more mindfulness, into what they’re doing to the earth, how they’re interacting with other people, how they treat animals… Thoughtfulness…”

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