We are days away from our biggest Pride and Joy Parent Event: Prepping Your Family for Pride. We sat down with one of our incredible panelists, Kalyela Josephs (she/they), and also known as Coach K, to chat about pride, family and purpose. Kalyela has been partnering with the Pride and Joy Foundation for a long time. She was featured on our podcast, Out of Queeriosity last season and you can listen here.
Kalyela will also be part of our Pride and Joy Summit - a two part series on Friday May 12 and Saturday May 13 of all LGBTQ+ public speakers across a variety of topics you won't want to miss. Coach K will give their talk "Coming Out to Your Purpose" on Saturday May 13 in the second round of our speakers.
Their work as a public speaker, coach and LGBTQ+ advocate has changed and empowered individuals and organizations. Kalyela has dedicated their life to helping others find and live with purpose. We hope you will enjoy our meaningful conversation.
"Pride means being who you are in every room of your life" - Kalyela Josephs (she/they)
Pride and Joy Foundation (PJF): Who and/or what helped support you in coming out?
Kalyela Josephs (KJ): My sister was instrumental in my coming out journey. I came out to my sister at 14. She was a safe haven for me. My mom is Caribbean and religious at the time so sharing that I was Lesbian was something I had a lot of fear around. Just to add, I went to a religious high school. My sister’s love never wavered and she has been my biggest supporter and ally.
PJF: What do you feel is one of the biggest myths centered around the LGBTQ+ community and how do you think we can change people’s misconceptions?
KJ: The biggest misconception is about who we go to bed with. To me, the conversation is centered around our sexuality vs our humanity. How we change people’s misconceptions by helping them understand there's a purpose in one’s identity. Queer and Trans folks have gifts to share with the world and are worthy of love and to be loved.
PJF: What are three things you want from an ally?
KJ: I discuss this in my Queer Resilience Workshop. First, starting with the intention why do you want to be an Ally.
Allyship is beyond wearing an Ally Pin its understanding that there will be challenges ahead in supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
With those challenges in mind, Allies need to be connected to something greater than themselves and stay accountable to their ‘why’ when those challenging moments arise. Second, Heart-centered conversations— the ability to show empathy and compassion to LGBTQ+ individuals. Last, Co-create Support putting your power and privilege to WORK! If you’re able to advocate for an LGBTQ+ individual when they aren’t present, then do so. If you’re in a position of power to amplify Queer and Trans voices share the space for them to lead. If Allies can embody these three things and more, that’s when we create the spaces we say we want for Queer folks.
PJF: What makes you feel most supported in the LGBTQ+ community?
KJ: Organizations like Pride and Joy Foundation whose mission is to create opportunities for LGBTQ+ individuals to feel supported. Company LGBTQ+ ERGs make a point to leverage Queer professionals as change agents in their organizations. The LGBTQ+-owned businesses create products and services that speak to our community's needs and desires. Queer healing spaces continually hold space and hope for the community to grow.
PJF: What makes you feel most seen and validated in your everyday life?
KJ: When I’m working with Queer Leaders and they share the tools I taught prepared them for the challenges ahead and restore their hope in humanity. When my Trans client from my Queer Spiritual Coaching Program shares that they are confident in their identity and spirituality.
PJF: If you could go back to your younger self and give that younger self advice, what would it be?
KJ: That God loves and accepts YOU just the way YOU ARE!
PJF: How important was a safe affirming adult in your life?
I mentioned my sister was my safe haven. Just having that adult that I could confide in and talk to when I didn’t have anyone else was critical! I was sharing with a friend whose daughter just came out as a Lesbian that the biggest gift she could give her daughter is loving and affirming who she is. We are built to want that acceptance from our parents, but if it doesn’t happen its important to have someone close who affirms a Queer person.
PJF: How has coaching others helped your understanding of queerness?
It has helped me understand and honor the different spectrums of our Queer community. Its encouraged me to be an Ally to our Queer siblings and provide support in the ways they need it most
Although we may share similar paths, everyone's Queer journey is unique.
PJF: What are the key elements to finding purpose (for teams, orgs, individuals, etc.)?
KJ: I share with folks, Purpose is a “being thing” vs. a “doing thing”. It's really about understanding who you are, what matters to you, and in what ways you want to serve others. There’s a purpose in everything like your reason for being at your organization, family, and all the way to one being Queer. Your purpose is to bring your PRESENCE and PRESENTS to the world!
PJF: Could you speak a little about your journey to finding your purpose and how that inspired you to help others find theirs?
KJ: Finding my purpose started with me honestly being in an unhappy place in my life which drew me to ask the big question, “What is my calling?” Days later I caught Oprah’s Super Sunday show where she interviewed Rupaul. They spoke their purpose, “Is to experience life and show others how to do it…” I realized that I wanted to help folks find their Purpose in life. I initially had a tough time because I thought I couldn’t be gay and help people find their purpose.
As I went on a journey to find my purpose I realized that it was to be myself and show others how to do it too.
As I stepped more into my Queerness things like public speaking and leadership started to unveil themselves. Fast forward, I conduct a workshop called, Pride on Purpose where I help Queer folks connect to their purpose so they can drive change in their organizations, and communities and live a life of meaning. Something I once thought couldn’t coexist became my Queer Superpower, leading me to change thousands of lives.
About the Author:
Kalyela “Coach K” Josephs (she/they) is an Inspirational Speaker, Life Coach, and LGBTQ+ Wellbeing Advocate and the Founder of QueeronPurpose Coaching who helps individuals UNLEASH their potential and thrive in their purpose and wellbeing.
Her empowering messages come straight from the heart – she digs deep into her own authentic self to connect with others and guide them to a place of personal and professional confidence. They empower Queer leaders, LGBTQ+ Resource Groups, DEI Practitioners, and Allies to build healthier organizations by cultivating purpose, change, and inclusivity.
Coach K also serves as a Queer Spirituality Coach helping Queer folks heal from Religious Trauma and experience spiritual freedom. She inspires the queer community to remain connected, resilient, and purposeful.