Throughout the month of October, the country celebrates the history of the LGBT movement.
We look back at some of the most pivotal, influential and important figures to lead these movements for equality and representation amongst people who identify as lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual or transgender.
Offering a local perspective of one’s upbringing identifying as LGBT in Stockton, Mariah Brown, a full-time college student and Stockton native who identifies as bisexual, gave her perspectives on coming out and the LGBT community.
“My upbringing was a pretty unique one to say the least. My parents separated when I was 3 and I spent my childhood going back and forth between my mom’s family and my dads for long periods of time. I grew accustomed to the split lives I lived and realized I was surrounded by various people who all came from different backgrounds and cultures. I had family members who came out as LGBTQ and were accepted and loved regardless,” said Brown.
It wasn’t until sixth grade when she began to become conflicted with her own identity and how she really felt.
“While the girls figured out what boys they liked, and the boys figured out what girls liked them, I was stuck figuring out who I liked more. Boys or girls,” said Brown.
It wasn’t until a friend of hers had confided in her that she felt the same way, such an idea of being “bisexual” was something entirely new to Brown, especially growing up in a family who had only ever either identified as lesbian or gay.
Brown had gone back and forth on deciding what she was until one day in the eighth grade she came out as bisexual.
“Coming out was a bit difficult because I wanted to be very certain before I came out and made such a big statement, because once it’s out, there is no going back. I took a closer look at myself for the next few months before I can to my realization that I am bisexual. Coming out to my friends was a lot easier than I thought, even in high school I made a lot of jokes about my sexuality but still everyone accepted me and didn’t treat me differently,” she said.
Upon asking Mariah whether she felt like there was any sense of societal pressure bestowed upon her for identifying as LGBT in Stockton, she responded in a very charismatic fashion.
“Honestly I did not. Stockton is a very diverse city with plenty of unique people living in it. And I was convinced that they had bigger issues to deal with than one little mixed bisexual girl walking the streets. I know this may not be the case for some people of the LGBTQ, especially the men, but I hope that one day all members of the LGBTQ community can live in peace and roam the streets proud with me,” Brown said.
Brown said she was inspired by the cast of “Queer Eye,” a show that started a run in 2003 and has since been revamped by Netflix. “Queer Eye” circulated around the idea of gay men giving advice on fashion makeovers and in lifestyle.
“The cast of Queer Eye has taught me a lot about priding myself in my sexuality and embracing who I am because it’s literally who I am,” she said.