When did you know you were Queer, on purpose? I think the first time I realized it was the first time I hosted one of our ALP Workshops — standing for Ask.Listen.Plan. These are our Suicide Prevention and Awareness workshops for LGBTQ+ young adults in rural areas. We host them online, and frankly, I wondered if college kids would take time out of their lives to learn about suicide prevention?
But at that first workshop, over 30 students showed up! Many of them had struggled with suicidal ideation themselves, and just like me, didn’t want any of their friends and family to live on that edge like we had. There’s something about experiencing the darkness that makes you real proactive about staying in the light and keeping those you love in the light. Ego and stigma be damned.
What I wasn’t anticipating about those workshops is what it meant to those kids to get to know our facilitators. Most of the students we serve are in rural areas and have had little exposure to professional and successful LGBTQ+ individuals. As I got to know Kalyela in our work in the Summit, I realized we needed to include her in our ALP Workshops and I’m so grateful she agreed. She lends an air of experience and compassion that we needed for our students in underserved areas.
We asked Kalyela Josephs, from our recent episode on of Out of Queeriosity to share with us when she knew she was Queer, on purpose. We hope you enjoy!
From Coach K:
I knew I was Queer on purpose when I would finish teaching a workshop and participants would ask if we can chat afterward. They would share how they were inspired by my story of facing challenges of being LGBTQ+ and how it led me to find my life calling in helping others. They would go on to share their struggle of accepting their child or family member and the two days we spent together made them look at our community differently. One person shared thanks for being you as I now know I can accept my child no matter what.
After the sessions, participants will share their gratitude by giving a hug, shedding a tear, and sometimes a kiss on the cheek lol. In those moments, I felt God saying thanks for showing up as you so I can speak through you. What this showed me God you can take a Black Queer woman into spaces and change hearts and minds.
It didn’t stop there, when I was trying to find peace with my queerness and spirituality many of my prayers were asking God to show me how I can bridge the two. I started to experience random encounters with Queer folks sharing their love for God. I realized that the Universe heard my prayers and guided me to folks that were reflections of what I desired to know, that I can be Queer and love God.
I knew that it wasn’t enough for me to be free and my Queer siblings needed to hear the real “Good News” God created you, Queer, with a purpose and loves you. Since then the Universe has opened doors for me to empower LGBTQ+ professionals, youth facing suicide, and those who want to learn how to support the community.
Not one day I ever doubt supporting our community as I know that is the reason I'm placed on this earth. My mission is to help Queer folks share their loving energy and gifts with this world.
About Kalyela Josephs
Kalyela “Coach K” Josephs is an Inspirational Speaker and certified Life and Performance Coach who uses holistic strategies to improve the well-being of others. Her tried and true formula of human energy management, resilience, and life’s purpose has helped over a thousand professionals reach their highest performance. She empowers others to use life’s challenges as a catalyst for growth. Coach K taps into her internal strengths of inspiration, empathy, and sense of humor to relate to individuals, leaning into her own authenticity to guide them to a place of confidence within their personal and professional lives. The ambitious, purpose-driven, ball of high energy, barrels through life’s barriers alongside of her clients, sharing her personal testimony of triumphs while thriving in her individuality.