Name: Vanessa Holden
Hometown: Suffern, New York
Occupation: ESL & Italian Teacher
- When was the first time you had to defend your gayness?
“When I was in college and was finally becoming comfortable with being out, I would constantly get comments like “you don’t look gay” “you’re too pretty to be gay” or “you just haven’t found the right guy yet.” I always felt like I had to prove myself… just to be myself. At a time that I was still struggling with my own identity, having to defend myself was difficult and disheartening. But I’m happy to say that I’ve come a long way and I am better equipped to respond to such nonsense instead of letting it get to me.”
2. What advice do you want to give younger kids coming out?
“I would encourage them to “live and let live.” It is so important to stay true to yourself and embrace every part of yourself for what you are. The people who care about you the most, always will no matter what! On the flip side, they should also remember to let others live the life they so choose. At the end of the day, what should truly matter, is whether or not you are a good person.”
3. Why do you think it’s important to show the world who we are as a community?
“I think it’s important to fight ignorance and break stereotypes. One way to combat ignorance is through education and visibility, and showing the world that our community is filled with spectacularly diverse and wonderful humans. Underneath it all we are simply humans who want to love and be loved. It shouldn’t matter what we wear, how we look, what we want to be called, or if we fit into the box that society has deemed to be acceptable.”
4. What are your hopes for the gay kids of the future?
“My hopes are that all queer kids of the future can live the life that they want to live without fear of being judged, marginalized, or hurt. It seems idealistic, but the next generation holds a lot of power in their hands and I truly hope they will continue to use their voices to advocate for what is right.”