Our National TRUTH Council works to uplift the stories and truths of trans young people throughout the US. In this project, Midwest member Micah interviewed Geovanni. Meet Geovanni!
MICAH: What is your name, pronouns, sexuality, star sign(s) and gender identity?
GEOVANNI: My name Geovanni Oliver and I’m queer as hell. I’m a Scorpio sun, Leo moon, and Virgo ascending. I I.D. as a gender non-conforming trans man.
M: How has growing up in Suburban Midwest impacted your identity/ies?
G: Due to where I’ve grown up and the social environment I grew up in, it has taken me a long time to understand who I am, not that I’ve truly figured it out, but I’ve learned to accept that the labels I use to define myself may change throughout my life and that is okay. I always knew I was different growing up, I got pretty offended when I wasn’t ever grouped with the boys, but didn’t think anything of it because I have always had a pretty strong connection with my feminine side. I have identified with gay males for as long as I can remember, I just didn’t know why, and I never had the words to express how I felt until I got on the internet as a young teenager, even then everything felt strange and new, I pretty much had to ease myself into my identity, getting used to all of the new terminology I had found while trying not to go to the “extremes,” which are now my normal. I grew up in some pretty conservative areas, so even today I struggling with the feelings of needing to “tone down” who I am for the comfort of others.
M: How does being a recent high school graduate make you feel? G: It feels really good to have the stress, drama, and awkwardness of high school behind me. It also means that I am one step closer to adulthood, which seems simultaneously liberating and daunting.
M: What lessons have you learned from being a queer youth in high school?
G: High school is rough, for pretty much everyone. We are all coming to an age where we start to separate from the molds that our parents or upbringing shaped us in, we are figuring out for ourselves who we are, what we like, who we like, who we love, what we believe, what we want from life, what we need as individuals, and how to deal with the stress that comes with rapidly approaching adulthood. It can get scary sometimes, for all of us, so it is important to be understanding of one another, and as a queer person I feel that it is important to be understanding of those who may not know about LGBTQ+ identities or history, especially the trans and queer part, as well as all of the other wonderful identities that fall under the queer umbrella; don’t get mad at someone for not knowing or understanding, but instead direct them to resources so that they can learn. Mind that I didn’t say try to teach them everything yourself, while I always encourage people to take advantage of a teaching moment if they feel safe and comfortable, it can get exhausting trying to be a human google for every uneducated person you encounter, and being real, you don’t owe every single person an explanation of queerness that they can find online, nor do you owe anyone an in depth description of yourself and your identity, which is none of their business quite frankly, unless of course you want it to be. Don’t be afraid to stand out, or to stick up for yourself, but keep in mind that you don’t have to be the only one on your side. find yourself a person, or a group of people, online or irl who will support you for who you are, people who want you to be the best version of yourself, and people who will have your back when the time comes that you can’t do it on your own, in my own case, a group of people who will scream the right name when despite everything you have done, the administration still calls out your birth name at your graduation ceremony, in front of at least a thousand people. Whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself completely.
M: Why do you think Pride is important/Do you think it’s necessary for queer youth to have pride?
G: I was going to touch on this in number four before I read this question, but pride is SO important. Pride means celebrating who you are in the most authentic way. Branching off of my answers to numbers two and four, growing up is rough, and it’s even rougher when you grow up without seeing people like yourself in the real world, so whether we are talking about pride in a community sense or in a personal sense I think it’s important to be visible and proud especially for those who can’t be, or for those who don’t know how to be or don’t know who they are yet. One of the greatest things about pride is that you get to see, and be the person you needed when you were younger. Someone who is so radically themselves, that it is infectious, so you can grasp on to that authenticity and use it to fuel your own little spark of who you are. Life without pride is dull, and scary, and lonely at any age, but especially when you are young and just figuring out who you are and how to function in this chaotic world. The more you learn to accept yourself, the easier it becomes to accept others, and that is so important to understand. I think that it’s necessary for everyone to have some sort of pride in who they are, and that no one should be ashamed of who they love or who they are.