I chose to interview someone I knew since freshman year of high school. His name is Carter, but in high school I knew Carter as Rose. We never really talked during high school, but from what I observed I saw that he was shy, quiet, and kept to himself. Fast forward to after graduation, I saw Carter at Kohls carrying mens clothing. We crossed paths and he asked me where the men’s dressing room was and then I directed him. A few weeks after that I saw that Carter had a new Facebook and that is how I was able to reach out to him.
While I planned the interview, I thought of questions that would help others better understand Carter and his story. Getting a peers perspective would be beneficial to students and from what I have seen during high school, Carter is very intelligent and opinionated about things he is passionate about.
I met up with Carter on January 23rd and we sat down and talked over coffee. Right off the bat I noticed his great sense of humor because the first thing he said was, “it’s a little rainy out” as he was sopping wet. That was definitely an ice breaker and it gave us something to laugh about. After a few sips of coffee I asked the first question;
What pronouns do you go by?
He said, “ He, His, Him.”
I proceeded to ask a couple of basic questions such as, did you grow up in Richmond? What was it like?
He responded, “ Yes I did, I mostly stayed in my house.” He further explained that he liked to stay in the comfort of his own home rather than socializing.
To know what it means to him, the next question I asked was, how do you define gender? He then confidently said “I don’t really”.
I thought this was an interesting answer because the dictionary says gender is either of the two sexes (male and female). But to Carter, There is no definition, there is no classifying. In today’s society there are many contradictions and opinions about what gender should be but. But according to Carter, “You are just YOU.”
The next question I asked was, when did you first know you fell under the umbrella of LGBTQ+? This is something that digs deeper to know when he started finding who he is. I then followed up with, how were your experiences with the reactions of others? I wanted to know if he was accepted, or if he had support, or any other obstacles he might have had to overcome.
He responded with, “ That’s a tricky question because I didn’t know I was trans until freshman year of highschool… but going back to when I was very little, I was like hey mom I want to be a cowboy. And yeah everyone was pretty accepting but then again I didn’t really tell people. I’m under the radar. I feel like if I tell people they will punch me in the face. No one is really that mean, but that’s what I expect.”
I then proceeded to ask, “ do you think that is why you fell under the radar, in fear of not being accepted?”
He said, “ oh yeah, definitely.”
I ended the interview by asking, do you have any idols or role models that you look up to that are LGBTQ+?
He responded with, “ Chase Ross is pretty awesome. He gives away chest binders to people and I think that is pretty selfless.”
This interview did give me a better insight to who Carter is and also to some underlying issues that children, teens, and overall students face. Some of the repetition or a theme I saw in the interview was when he kept referring back to not having much judgement from others. Only because he stayed home or never put himself in a situation to be judged or hurt by others. The solution to avoid being hurt by others, was to not express himself. That is unacceptable. The fear of belittlement and/or harassment as a result of not being accepted of who you are can cause damage to voices left unheard.