(she/her) // Married to Jeremy Facknitz // Colorado Springs, CO // Mother. Songwriter.
Where do you feel you identify in the LGBTQ+ Spectrum?
“In the Kinsey Scale-esque kind of area, I don’t even remember what the numbers are… Like 0 is, super, super straight, and 6 is nothing but gay. I’d say I’m definitely in the middle, like a 2.5-3ish. Kind of right in the middle. That is of course assuming that the Kinsey scale falls along the gender binary of male and female sexual experiences…”
With the infinite possibilities of gender identity & expression, when did you know?
“Well, it’s an interesting question because in terms of my own understanding of sexuality and the labels that we put on sexuality, I didn’t have strong ideas that I was doing something really different until I had my first crush in high school… and I went to an all-girls Catholic high school. That was when the journal entries really got interesting. Like, ‘What the hell is going on? She’s doing this to me, or why do I keep having these sexual dreams about her?… and I get so nervous about her around school?’ But what’s interesting is that, later on, when I was formally dating women, kind of late high school-college-out of college time frame, I look back… I was fooling around in sexual exploration with both boys and girls alike when I was a little kid. Like friends or cousins that are my same age. When I was an adult and reflecting on my own kind of feeling of difference, I look back and it’s like ‘Oh the difference was always there, the label wasn’t always there…but the difference was.’”
How old were you when you came out?
“When I think of the action of coming out, really people think about proclaiming their sexuality or their gender identity to the people that are the most intimidating. I came out to my parents the summer before my senior year of college, and that was formally when I said ‘Yes, I have been in lesbian relationships before’. Because in terms of the label of my sexuality, I don’t identify with any label. Most people would clump me in the bisexual category, but then again that’s assuming there’s male and female, and there’s nothing but the binary. But I don’t really tend to go with the binary. So, I identify by relationship.”
How was the coming out experience for you?
“It was hard, it was really hard. With my mom in particular. Because she had closeted me, so to speak. She has confronted me two other times with her own… and I love my mother and we have a loving relationship, but the way that she approached sexuality was so awkward and confronting me about non-heterosexual sexuality…she’s Catholic, so it’s a sin. It’s a sin… these family members are never going to speak to you again and she threw in some real doozies like ‘This is the second hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through besides your father’s affairs’. So it’s like all of a sudden, the Catholic guilt… So that was the most challenging thing, the confrontations with my mom. Everybody else was shrug-off-able.”
First celebrity crush that made you question your sexuality?
“You know, interestingly enough, the first album when I was coming of age, in terms of choosing music that was mine… My friend introduced me to the Indigo Girls (I was 12). At the time, I just loved the fact that they were women singer-songwriters that were writing meaningful music and saying meaningful things. I was like, “these are badass women, that’s awesome”. But I didn’t necessarily tack on to the sexuality of it, but I loved powerful women. I loved Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist. I loved Rosie O’Donnell. Women that had a presence that was strong and meaningful. There’s a spark of recognition of ‘I really admire this person and I want to be like that when I’m older’. I want to say meaningful things and be a meaningful presence in the world…”
Any fears or concerns with coming out?
“To be honest, I would say that in terms of my sexuality, that in a lot of ways, I still hide or it’s easy to ‘pass as a normal straight person’ because for one, I’m married to a man, with children… So, in terms of having extremely short hair and wearing nothing but Carhart’s… Granted that wasn’t necessarily a phase, that’s physically how I was choosing to express myself in high school and college. But I kind of just let my identity lie a lot. I know that is not something that a lot of people can do, in terms of being authentically who they are, that they don’t just blend into the crowd easily. So honestly, I have mixed feelings when I’m faced with a situation where there may be bigotry or hatred, honestly, I just assess the situation if it’s worth my time and energy… Is this going to accomplish anything by me saying, ‘Hey I’m a queer person’… Sometimes I’ve done it, sometimes I haven’t. And that’s purely my decision on what I want to deal with that day.”
What’s your favorite part about the community?
“…queer people know what it is to change and move through challenging situations, and aren’t afraid of one person being one way one day and being another way the next day. That there’s a lot of bravery in the understanding and exploration of a changing individual in their identity, sexually and gender wise and everything. They’re just fun.”
Frustrations within our community?
“…In terms of speaking specifically to Colorado Springs, it’s a really interesting place to live as a queer person. I went to Colorado College which is right downtown, so obviously we had very interesting, extremely religious people coming and bible beating outside of the student center, for whatever reason. And what I loved about that moment was they got the CC response to their bible beating, which was drum circles, and – I was part of the Queer Student Union – formally organized for a couple of days, with someone reading from a book that was queer porn essentially… So they’re reading out loud, ‘and a dildo’…’and she licked…’ alongside the chants of ‘…and ‘you’re going to go to hell’… I loved our response.
In terms of frustration or challenges, this kind of community is kind of immediately challenging in that there can be a lot of hateful rhetoric thrown around, and is thrown around… it’s real. At the same time, it’s all the more important to be doing the work that you’re doing [Coming out Sessions] and creating community. That’s why I’m here, because I feel like this is a place where my energy as a person makes a difference. To be actively stepping out to be creating, and being a part of something that’s supporting minorities in this way is ultimately not only good for myself, but good for the queer community and Colorado Springs in general.”
What’s one thing you would tell younger you? Any advice for anyone out there who feels like they can’t come out, or don’t have a community to be a part of?
“It’s the same answer for myself and a younger person… There is such a community of love and safety that is available to you, if you just look for it. Don’t dwell as much on the people that are going to give you a hard time. Know that the support you’re going to find is so much more than you ever dreamt of. So… don’t be afraid. There’s greater love available to you and it’s worth it, so be yourself.”
What in your life are you most proud of?
“That I actually am an Al-Anon member, that I go to a 12-step program for friends and families of alcoholics. That I gave my life to that program and it emotionally helped me grow up. Honestly, it’s kind of a touchstone organization for me. I’m the most proud that I hit a very real bottom that I was willing to do what they suggested. Everything out of my life has come from that, in a healthy way. So, if you’re from an alcoholic family, there’s help for you there.”
With the current state of the nation and world, if you had the power to change one thing, what would it be?
“You’d really want to say, have Trump not be the President… And that’s an honest answer because of the very real injury that he has caused and is causing people physiologically. But what’s interesting is that with projects like this and even in my own life, he’s been a real bell of mindfulness, to use a Buddhist term, in terms of what am I on this planet to do? …what is my real calling? …and what am I really here for? What do I really stand for? And actually having the rubber meet the road. So, I want to say changing Trump, but honestly, he’s certainly teasing out a lot of soul searching for individuals and communities and the country as a whole. But honestly, it’s a toss up as to whether or not I’d keep him or kick him.”