Mini Episode 9 Kathy
[Elena] Welcome to Out of Queeriosity, your field guide to queer pride. This is a production of Pride and Joy Foundation. And I'm your host, Elena joy, pronouns She/ her. You have found a bonus episode. Our theme this year is your voice, your power. We are using it to pursue our mission of preventing suicide and homelessness in our LGBTQ plus community by amplifying your voice and your power.
Our bonus episodes feature the voices of the most recent graduates of our Keynote Queers program. This is our eight week online course just for LGBTQ plus participants to learn public speaking skills as well as the knowledge to build public speaking into an extra form of income. Whether our participants were pitching their own small business, or up leveling their presentation skills for their corporate career, or just learning how to effectively move audiences to take action.
Our keynote queers gave a hell of a graduation presentation, and we are here to share it with you. Can you even imagine squishing an entire keynote into just 10 minutes? This is considered expert level skills in the public speaking world. And it was our graduates capstone project. Check back in the summer of 2023 to hear from another keynote queer graduate.
Now let's get to it. Our next keynote queer is Kathy Kager, pronouns she/ her. Kathy is a marketing strategist and copywriter who helps queer businesses and entrepreneurs build and connect with their ideal audience. As the CEO of Kathy Kiger Agency, entrepreneurs, coaches, and small businesses hire Kathy to write blogs, emails, and website copy.
Kathy also offers copy coaching for entrepreneurs who prefer to DIY their marketing. I highly recommend you check out Kathy's blog, Better Late Than Straight. Find her on quite a few different podcasts where she's been interviewed and definitely check her out on Instagram. All the links are in the show notes.And now I give you Kathy Kiger and her talk, “Holy shit. I'm a lesbian.”
[Kathy] There was never any question who my parents wanted me to be. My mom bought me dolls and dressed me up in girly clothes. My dad took us to church every Sunday where I learned how I would find my value in life as a Christian wife and mother.
I stuck with my parents values for years, all the way through high school, in fact. But something changed when I got to college. The second I set foot on that college campus, I discovered something I had never experienced before. Freedom. I had the freedom to choose and it was glorious. I could choose what to wear and where to go and how late to stay up.
And for the first time in my life, I got to choose how I spent my Sunday mornings. And I didn't spend them at church. I would sleep in, I would hang out with friends. I would go to that cafeteria and have waffles. But somehow my parents knew. So my dad scheduled a father daughter date. We got all dressed up and went to a steakhouse.
And as we were sitting at that fancy table, he dropped the guilt bomb on me. Your mom and I are concerned about how you're doing spiritually. I was defensive, of course. I was in college, after all. But his words sunk in, and I didn't forget them after we left the restaurant. I knew I had to choose. The little voice inside of me was telling me that church wasn't right for me.
I didn't want to go to church. It just didn't feel good there. But I wanted to be good. I wanted to be right. And I certainly didn't want to let my dad down. So I chose. To go back to church, and when I do something I go all in, so I doubled down on church. I went twice every Sunday, Wednesday night Bible studies.
I even became a leader in my college ministry, but if I was really going to live up to this ideal of Christian wife and mother, I was going to have to find a husband. I wasn't too worried about it, though, because my church had a formula for how everyone got married. You would go out on a bunch of dates with a bunch of different people, and then when you and a brother had a mutual interest, he would ask you to be his girlfriend on a big special date.
Then you would date for several months. You'd have a short engagement because you had to stay pure. You could hold hands. You could kiss once per date. But no tongue and no touching. Then you get married. I didn't really like Joe that much the first time I met him. But he grew on me, and we started going on some dates together, and I could tell where this was headed.
This was my path to Christian wife and mother, to finding that value I had been seeking ever since I was a little girl. One Wednesday evening at church, I just knew that he was about to ask me on the date. The date where we would become boyfriend and girlfriend, and I would get started on the path that I had been dreaming of ever since I'd been playing with those dolls.
But when I saw him looking for me across that crowded room, I panicked. I jumped into an empty childcare room, turned off the lights and hid. My inner voice was screaming, don't do this. This isn't right for you. But my church had taught me that my inner voice was wrong. Sinful. The Bible says the heart is deceitful.
Above all things. No one can trust it. So I rationalized. I thought I'm just nervous. This is what I've been wanting my whole life. So I got myself together. Stood up, walked out of that room and into the rest of my life. And I kept looking for my value as a Christian wife and mother. I had four kids in that marriage.
Yes, four. And I was all in on parenting. As soon as my oldest daughter was ready to read, I started homeschooling. I baked my own bread. I made my own yogurt. I knew all the VeggieTales songs by heart, but I was still hiding from myself. I didn't realize it at the time when my oldest was about 10 and my youngest wasn't even walking yet.
I did the second worst thing a Christian woman can do. I got a divorce. The worst thing would come later. My husband started drinking and he was drinking a lot. He would be gone for days at a time. I tried to hold my family together, but in the end, I just couldn't. That divorce felt like a failure. I had failed as a Christian wife, but I thought maybe just maybe if I really doubled down on being a single celibate Christian mom, I could make up for it.
So that's what I did. The next few years were full of kids. A few less diapers, um, a little bit of relaxing, and me striving to be the best mom I could possibly be, had taught me that being gay, Was the worst possible thing you could be. God could forgive almost anything. He could forgive liars. He could forgive murderers, but he wouldn't forgive gay people.
Gay people had wandered so far away from God that he would just give up on them. The scariest thing I could possibly be was gay. So anytime the gay would start to creep up on me, I would just shove it down and Christian harder. Many women figure out they're queer when they have a passionate affair with one of their friends.
But that's not what it was like for me. I discovered my queerness from reading an article. I was just beginning my copywriting career and I was in a Facebook group with lots of other new writers and we would post our articles and get critiques and encouragement from each other. You could read articles on almost anything in this Facebook group.
Mine were mostly about nutrition, but you could find articles about finances, cooking, even how to care for your cat's asthma. One Friday afternoon, I was in the Facebook group, scrolling through the articles, waiting for our weekly Q& A to start. And that's when I saw it. The article that would change my life.
It was called, Am I a Lesbian? I clicked on that article before I even knew what I was doing. And I started to read, and I felt the blood drain from my face, and my stomach flipped. Holy shit! Holy shit! I saw myself in those words. And I couldn't hide from that quiet inner voice any longer. It finally broke through and gave me the message that it had been trying to tell me for decades.
You're a lesbian.
You know, I wasn't upset though. I wasn't scared. I wasn't angry. I was relieved in that moment, a switch flipped and I felt like all the years of striving and trying to live up to that ideal of Christian wife and mom and looking to that for my value just melted away. I popped in my earbuds and turned on my happy music.
And by that evening, I was literally dancing around my apartment. My kids probably thought I had lost my mind. Oh my God, my kids, I'd [00:10:00] raise them with Christian ideals to believe that gay people were bad and wrong. And now I was going to have to look them in the eye and tell them that their mom is a lesbian.
Well, like everything I ever do, I wanted to make sure and do it right. So I got on a call with a woman who describes herself as a coming out coach. And as we were on that call, she was strategizing and telling me the best way for me to come out to my children. And I realized that I didn't agree with her.
What she was telling me to do wasn't right for me. I was tired of listening to what other people told me I should do and told me I should be. So I got off that call and I decided to trust myself, to trust that I would have the words to tell my children. So I gathered them all together. And we sat in a circle in my living room.
I was so nervous. I couldn't even speak. I was stammering and hemming and hawing. I could see the concern growing in their faces. And one of my daughters said, mom, just say it. So I took a deep breath. I'm a lesbian. And there was total silence for 10 full seconds. Then that same daughter looked around the circle and said, well, should we all just come out now?
And one by one, my children came out to me. It changed everything. Of course we had to celebrate. So we had a pride party, a coming out party, and it was during COVID. So it was kind of small, but I went all out. I got every rainbow thing I could find. I had rainbow cups and rainbow candy. And the pride flag that one of my kids had been hiding in her closet.
I had been hiding my whole life. I hid in that dark childcare room for my future husband. I hid from myself. I hid from my kids, but I never realized that in doing that, I was asking them to hide from me. That all changed that day. Our family totally changed. I finally reached the point where I started to understand that my value doesn't come from what I do or following the rules or checking off everything on a list. My value comes from me. I am intrinsically valuable. I may have started off my journey on someone else's path, but I've ended up exactly where I was meant to be.
[Elena] I hope you enjoyed this bonus episode featuring our Keynote Career graduates. Coming this fall is the companion course, Outright Authors. This online six week course is a path to publishing class for queer authors of nonfiction books. If you're a thought leader, a business leader, or just have some amazing nonfiction words that the world needs to hear, we want you in this class.
Visit outwrite authors dot com for more info. That's outright, O U T W R I T E authors dot com. A limited number of scholarships will be available. Thank you for joining us, Pride and Joy fam. Until the next episode, be good to yourselves. I appreciate you.