Samantha: Hi. My name is Samantha Shockley today is February 1st, 2019. This interview is for my W270 argumentative writing course that will address rhetorical constructions of LGBT+ identities.
S: Can you tell me your name and when you were born?
Jamie: My name is Jamie Peterson. I was born May 27, 2000.
S: How has living in Liberty, Indiana affected your story or how you approached coming out?
J: I’d like to say that it didn’t affect me at all. I’d like to say that it was easy and I didn’t have any preconceived notions and that it didn’t affect me at all. But, that’s not quite the story. It definitely affected a little bit but there was definitely this ‘don’t talk about it’ atmosphere. I didn’t really even know what someone of the LGBT community was until I had my own questions about it all. But, I mean it didn’t really have an effect on how I told my parents about it more affected how I came across of it in more non-familiar aspects of it.
S: And how do you feel about the white washing in the gay community in the surrounding areas.
J: Am I allowed to curse?
J: It fuckin’ sucks! It sucks dick! Alright? No, it’s not fair because like if I were to tell you, imagine a gay person. You’d probably have one come to your mind. Odds are its male, odds are they look a little on the straight side but have more feminine clothing and odds are they’re fucking white and it’s stupid as hell.
S: [Laughs] Do you feel that “Pride” is represented in your community and the surrounding areas?
J: [Pauses] No. Because the closest pride parade was in Cincinnati and that was stupid.
S: Was it small?
J: No, it actually wasn’t small. Unfortunately I couldn’t go. I really wanted to, but I had a lot of friends go and they enjoyed themselves and they made some cool friends that they still talk to and I’m really jealous. But still, I wish there was outlets and places that we could go closer, you know, especially from an information standpoint. How to stay safe and how to stay healthy.
S: Do you feel at times that your community or society discriminates against you?
J: Yeah, of course. At most it was, I mean society wise, and I was the vice-president and president of the LGBT club at my high school. It was the first year doing it. At first I had to go across a council to see if it was actually going to go and there was times were, the girl who started it was like ‘I don’t think it’s going to go through’. But I think the only reason it went through is because that was back when it was very common for news organizations to pick it up and be like, ‘look at this small town America and how backwards it is’. And I think the only reason why we got an LGBT is that the school was afraid that was going to happen. It wasn’t for representation or because they were being nice, it was because they were afraid.
S: Do you think that social media and the internet has affect your community’s outlook on LGBTQ as a whole?
J: I mean I think social media has effected everything. I can’t tell you if it’s in a good or bad way because it’s really easy to take an organization trying to do something and flip words and make it seem bad. Like, on the internets lately I saw this thing called ageists and it’s where people believe that they are of a different age than their body is. So, a six year old will say I’m actually a 20 year old. Personally, I don’t think that’s correct. I don’t think it’s real. I think that’s something that isn’t affiliated with the LGBT community and I think that’s really dangerous because according them they could date someone who’s in their age bracket. Like a 13 year old when they’re actually 45, and I think that’s where that’s coming from and I think it’s bad. But on the plus side, I mean a lot of what I’ve learned about to have pride in who I am and still be me, has come from the internet. I mean it’s really easy to micro look at everything and to see the other side of it. So, is there bad things? Of course. Is there good thing? Of course.
S: When the LGBT+ club at your high school was created, how was the reaction from the students and the faculty?
J: Faculty, some of them were chill with it other ones were very quiet. Which I think is compelling. And students, I mean, when we had our posters ripped down continuously. What did we do? We made them brighter and put them everywhere. [Laughs] That was my idea. So, my graduating class was less than 1000 so I got the reaction I thought I was going to get. Did it bum me out, yeah, but even our graduating class there weren’t a lot of LGBTQ people in it. There were a lot of LGBT+ people in the class above us and there was a lot in the class below us. But even in our class, there just wasn’t a lot of us. Which really blew, but it is what it was.
S: Do you think you left and impact on the school?
J: Yes, definitely. Because there was a Trans girl in the grade above us and she got picked on relentlessly and it was really bad and a lot of the LGBT people who were just gay or bisexual or lesbians they got picked on a lot. It didn’t happen much in the grade below, and I think that’s because of us and I think that’s really cool. Because it shut down pretty…the LGBT Club didn’t last very long. I think it lasted two years then no one really picked it up. That blows but it happens.
S: What are the stereotypes associate with your sexual orientation that you dislike or find annoying?
J: My personal sexual orientation?
J: I’m kind of on the spectrum. I used to heavily rely on my labels when I was trying to figure out who I was. Now, not so much. but being on the spectrum, I think my orientation gets sexualized What the means is, I’ll say just for instance, you know I’m pansexual which means I like anyone of any gender binary or not. And first off, I get a joke about liking kitchenware. Which by the way, not creative and old. Secondly, I think it gets assumed that I sleep around a lot and I think everyone in the LGBT community gets assumed that they sleep around a lot. Which isn’t fair. There are people who sleep around in any community and there are people who don’t sleep around in any community. I think it’s unfair that it gets pegged on us a lot, because one of my favorite shows right now, not even because I’m queer it just is; I really like Queer Eye. I think it’s wonderful, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it’s perfect. There’s nothing wrong with Queer Eye. Anyone says otherwise is just incorrect, make them fight me. It’s a good show and it’s wholesome. It’s not stupid like a lot of realty shows. It’s just nice and is nice to watch and I think they actually get along with each other. But a lot of times when I talk about it, one of the things that generally comes up it’s like “I wonder who has slept with who on the show?” And I’m like, that’s not the point, it’s not the point at all. But it’s one the responses I always get when I talk about the show and I think it’s because they’re LGBT. Three of them are married to other people outside of the show. Only two of them are single and I don’t think they’re dating each other. It’s just a question that’s just like, “Okay, sure. I can’t change how you think about this but that’s just a little insensitive”.
S: How do you feel about people associating your gender or sexual preference with your interests or achievements?
J: Oh! That’s a good one. I haven’t gotten my achievements yet…nope that’s wrong. I’m doing good at work and one of my co-workers said it was probably because I’m just attractive. That’s because of my sexuality. Would it be my sexuality? I don’t know. The lines get blurred. I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve [unintelligible] on that one in a while. [Pauses] Interests, I get that one a lot I think. Like, I wear a blue jean jacket with a bunch of pins and patches. I think that’s a very…is that a gay clothing?
S: [Laughs] I’m not sure.
J: I think there’s a lot of preconceived notions about interests and what’s part of the LGBT community. I think that it’s assumed that ever LGBT person likes Queer Eye, which is not true, but it is still a good show. I think that [pauses] I think…I’m trying to be entertaining and also think.
S: You’re fine take your time.
J: [Pauses] I honestly don’t know. I think it’s something that’s fun to joke about because I do joke about, oh I like this because I’m gay, with a lot of my LGBT friends. But to be real, I don’t have a lot of straight friends. So, it’s a hard one to figure out. I don’t know. I don’t think I know that one honestly.
J: Got any other questions for me?
S: No, not particularly.
J: Cool. Cool.