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Rainbow-colored something

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Where do I begin? The last time I wrote in prose with passion was when I was working on my undergraduate thesis.

Hopped up on coffee and Cup Noodles, I sat in my shared dorm room alone typing away while the album Hunky Dory by David Bowie (his best, in my opinion) filled the empty room.
Countless days and nights went by like that and eventually, I managed to churn out my thesis.

As I handed my professor my final draft, I swore to myself that I would never put myself in a high-stakes writing position again and yet, funnily enough, here I am.

I dredged that thesis out of a box the other day; a part research paper, part creative project entitled “Rainbow-Colored Mixtape: A Musical Album Based on The Narratives of Today’s LGBTQ+ Youth.” I tried desperately to merge the two parts of myself into one.

You see, being a musician, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make music. And being a lesbian, I definitely couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make music that matters.

It went something like this: after the research portion of the thesis was done (which included Susan McCarn and Ruth Fassinger’s New Model of Lesbian Identity), I interviewed a handful of college kids who identified as members of the LGBTQ+ community about their experience with coming out of the closet. Then I took the stories they shared with me and wrote songs that illustrate what being LGBTQ+ is like.

Those songs were meant to be a message from us, LGBTQ+, to the cis-gendered heterosexual people that showed how we, even as kids, have several more steps of self-realization, exploration and self-acceptance to overcome before we can truly say that we are living our truth. How the way society currently puts us in situations that they never had to be in. And, ultimately, how much that sucks.

So here’s the deal. I’m here to help raise our beloved technicolored dream flag.

But just as they are messages of plight, they are also messages of hope. Hope in the form of knowing that we are not alone. Hope in the form of knowing that your true self is worth being set free.

I passed that thesis project exhausted and burnt-out but hoping that somewhere, my songs made sense to someone. That this Rainbow-Colored Mixtape turned into a rainbow-colored something. So when I heard about the Daily Tribune’s brand spanking new Diversity section, I knew it would be the place to let that flag fly!

Wait, let me be real for a second. I honestly didn’t know I’d make it this far. Being a queer kid in a conservative Catholic high school really took a toll on me. I was taught that I was sick in some way and that I had to snuff out this momentous part of myself to be okay.

But I was lucky. When I came out to my family, I wasn’t greeted with a scolding or worse, kicked out. Rather, I was given the biggest hug ever imaginable care of my parents (of course, there were tears everywhere). That hug snuffed out years of internalized homophobia and self-loathing that a kid should never have to experience.

Because of that, I learned to ignore all the hate-filled teachings of my conservative high school. I knew that I was accepted and loved by people who mean so much more to me. Contrary to my high school’s beliefs, I am blessed.

But reality still stands. There are countless people around who weren’t so lucky and, until all members of the LGBTQ+ are given a life-changing hug of acceptance, and until those who make it their messed-up duty to make impossible for a queer person to live their truth still have a voice, we will continue the fight.

So here’s the deal. I’m here to help raise our beloved technicolored dream flag. The goal of my thesis was not only to make the LGBTQ+ community heard but to make sure we are understood as well.

Music is my medium of choice and I will continue to use it (and if Marshall McLuhan is to be believed, it should go well). With the help of Daily Tribune’s YouTube channel, TribuneNOW, I will start from where I left off.

The songs from Rainbow-Colored Mixtape will soon be live. Perhaps, if my message gets through to you, you can turn it into a rainbow-colored something.

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