Next up in our Queer Voices series, we'll be featuring the founder of Lady Brain Presents, Lindsay White, who proudly identifies as a queer womxn.
Tell us a little bit about your coming out experience(s). How has life changed for you since being “out”?
LW: I came out several times to several people about a decade ago. It was gruesome and lonely and liberating all at the same time, and still is to an extent. At the time, I was married to a man I'd been with since I was 18. I'd been with womxn before, but only in circumstances that left me feeling ashamed because of my Christian upbringing (and my blood alcohol content, let's be real). I never considered for a second that I was gay until l found myself accidentally, undeniably in love with a friend who wasn't even sure she wanted to be with me. (Who could blame her, I was a hot mess). I had to decide if that realization alone, without the promise of a romantic relationship with that person, was worth the risk of blowing up my comfortable life and most important relationships, namely with my ex-husband and now-deceased mother. I still struggle a bit with unreconciled guilt, pain, and anger, but the reality is: there is no healthy, safe, or happy alternative to living authentically. Now, I wake up every day with my soul mate and feel so unbelievably grateful that we both made our way to each other.
LBP: How do other aspects of your identity intersect (or perhaps clash) with your sexuality?
LW: I personally (not speaking for others) found it impossible to be queer and Christian after I came out. When I think about how so many Christians utilize hate, fear, and ignorance to effectively keep folks from loving themselves and each other, it makes me want to scream into a pillow. When I think about how religion prevented me from having a relationship with my mother and continues to prevent me from having a relationship with my wife's family, it makes me want to not live in this world. I could never endorse a religion that would endorse that kind of pain. I look at the hate and fear in the eyes of folks protesting at Pride parades, screaming outside abortion clinics, throwing fits in Trader Joe's, pointing guns at Black people, and I can't help but wonder if they picked up that poison in a sermon somewhere as a kid. And I know, not all Christians are monolithically traumatizing children in the name of god. But that knowledge doesn't really save the traumatized kids. I love and respect many folks from many faiths, but Christianity is no longer my jam. It hurt to initially feel like I wasn't entitled to religion because all of these toxic people essentially peed around the concept of it for me. But over time, I've learned to develop a new framework and vocabulary around my spiritual practice: creativity is god, community is church, love is heaven.
Still, it's pretty much impossible to escape Christian/hetero “norms." My wife and I are seeing firsthand how they permeate our healthcare system. As queer womxn, there's a double whammy there with reproductive and fertility rights. We're jumping through more hoops and spending more money all because folks in the government and healthcare industry think they should determine what a person can do with their body and what constitutes a family. It's extremely frustrating.
Image description: Square graphic with yellow background and large white quotation mark at the top. At bottom of square, large black text reads: "queer voices." In the middle, in black text, is a quote from Lindsay's interview. (The second sentence of her response to question 3). Under the quote, in bold black text reads: "~Lindsay White. Pronouns: She/Her"
LBP: Pride is a celebration of liberation but also an acknowledgement of struggle, resistance, and revolution. Where do you see yourself in that celebration? Where do you see yourself in that struggle?
LW: Inside my house and my marriage, it's a Pride party every day! I know that our joyful existence is in and of itself an act of resistance, and I celebrate everyone and anything that made that kind of love attainable.
Outside my house, I will say that experiencing sexism and homophobia, particularly under the guise of Christianity, has helped me understand the roots of oppression and better empathize with folks who are harmed or made vulnerable by oppressive systems.
As for where I fit into that struggle, I watch local queer activists, particularly queer womxn of color, who are leading the charge not just for gay rights but for human rights, and I try to apply what I learn from them however and wherever I can. Their off-the-charts organizing skills and commitment to solidarity are likely the direct result of navigating complicated identity intersections, figuring out how to quickly create safe spaces (not only out of a desire for acceptance, but out of a need to survive), and having a deep love for and a sense of responsibility to their communities. I'm not trying to romanticize their struggle or fight because it's depleting and dangerous work, but if you're looking for lessons in leadership, all you have to do is pay close attention. When I'm tempted to retreat into my privilege, I think of them, and it motivates me to keep using whatever tools, talent, and privilege I have to do more and do better.
LBP: As an artist, how does your “queerness" or sexual orientation show up in your creative work?
LW: I've been writing about being queer since I before I realized I was queer! Songs about feeling trapped, coming out, getting divorced, hating myself, being in love, getting my heart broken, religious hypocrites, getting married, feeling rejected, you name it. Add to that layers of grief from my mother's untimely death, and all I'm saying is you should probably take a box of tissue with you to my Spotify channel or Youtube page.
LBP: What queer-centered artists, shows, films, podcasts, authors, etc. are you into right now?
LW: I love how the queer and trans characters in The Chi have robust storylines- they're not just there to gawk at, and the audience has to get on board or get left behind. I also am so enamored by David's character in Schitt's Creek. The other characters poke fun at his many quirks, but never throw cheap shots at his sexuality. We wouldn't have authentic storytelling like this without queer folks like Lena Waithe and Daniel Levy at the helm. Representation matters!
As for queer musicians, I love The Harmaleighs, Julianna Zachariou, Miki Vale, Tori Roze, The Banduvloons, Rhythm Turner, Jules Stewart, Veronica May, Becca Jay, and the list goes on and on. For visuals, check out Sydney Prather, Alyssa Douglas of City6 Studios), Sharisse Coulter, and Eboni Harvey aka EB OF COURSE.
LBP: What are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ organizations or businesses you'd recommend our readers look into, buy from, donate to, volunteer for, etc.?
LW: Grassroots mutual aid is where it's at. No bureaucracy, no BS, no brownie points; just an immediate redistribution of resources from folks who have a little extra to folks who don't have enough. Two examples of this with queer community organizers leading the charge are We All We Got SD and Black Womxn Deserve.
LBP: Is there anything else you'd like to mention in closing?
LW: I would encourage anyone living in the US who can say with a straight face that the personal is not political for them, to think about how insulated they are in their privilege. I believe this pandemic has ushered in an opportunity for us to decide what kind of people we want to be and what kind of communities we want to live in. We have to start taking care of each other, we have to stay engaged, and we have to stop waiting for someone else to do the work.
To find out more about Lindsay White, visit https://www.lindsaywhitemusic.com. Stay tuned throughout the month of July for more Queer Voices interviews!
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