First Person: My Coming Out Journey
One of the individuals who will be marching this weekend during the 44th Annual Pride Parade is Lucy Panopoulos of San Diego. She shared her coming out story as part of our first persons series. Hi my name is Lucy Giannopoulos. I identify as nonbinary and my pronouns are she her hers. They Them Theirs nonbinary and genderqueer to me personally mean not falling on the binary spectrum of what is typically considered male or female and gender roles as we typically associate them to be my coming out story started in 8th grade on Junior High. I'm from a small town in Arizona and a you could say it was a conservative town. It wasn't it wasn't the most positive experience I had coming out in a conservative town definitely opened up to a lot of bullying. When you stick out it could be a little you know it'll be harder. So for me it definitely was a challenge being open at that young age. But it has definitely grown me to the person I am today. Back then I identified more as bisexual and lesbian definitely more. But at that age definitely more bisexual to keep myself in a safe situation. At that time coming out as full lesbian might have gotten me too much attention negative or it didn't. At that time just attention in general for being yourself. It just it just wasn't really a thing to do. Pronouns. Those are actually very new for me. I up until this year have been comfortable identifying as she her hers. But recently been more involved with the LGBTQ community and I've been engaging in more conversations there are within the nonbinary and transgender communities. And I've slowly realized to accept they them pronouns more I feel more comfortable associating myself with them but I still don't take offensive. If I'm called that she her hers I'm comfortable in both the LGBTQ plus community is very diverse and just like any community we all have a big majority and we have all that will subpopulation groups within it and we all come together under the umbrella of LGBT LGBTQ. But with that said you know we're also we're still learning how to communicate with each other we're still learning how certain groups relate to each other and that in itself is still a struggle and that's still something that we work to. We are working hard to this day. One thing that I see particularly pertaining to when it comes to nonbinary and genderqueer individuals in my community is those conversations are definitely becoming more upfront in the movement. But I see those conversations being championed by the youth more because of the fact that gender and sex are more fluid concepts. Now for this new generation compared to older generations where everything was more binary more blue and pink everything had a place and a name versus now the younger generations are coming in more open minded more open to have broader discussions and that right there is the shift that I see happening. Pride means to me is visibility. And by that I mean not being alone seen others who are part of a community who share similar traits and characteristics as I do. It also symbolizes a history when you see all these events and pride. You're bringing together just groups of people who have one of one of many things in common. But you know so many similarities with so many differences but pride allows us to open up a chapter into the history of who we are and why we're there. Before we used to identify as gay and lesbian liberation front and then we then slowly started changing it to LGBT. And there were time you know we started LGBTQ and now it's LGBTQ a plus we're growing and let's what I'm saying that this conversation is always evolving and I feel the younger generation will take it to a whole new acronym. So that's what pride means to me. We just heard from Lucía monopolists of San Diego that first person feature was produced by Marisa Cabrera.
Lucia Napolez’s coming out story began in middle school. Growing up in a small town in Arizona, Napolez said she experienced bullying.
Today, Napolez identifies as non-binary or genderqueer. Still, Napolez uses gendered and gender-neutral pronouns responding to both "she" and "they."
Napolez said there needs to be broader conversations within the LBGTQ+ community about the issues affecting nonbinary and genderqueer individuals.
“Those conversations are definitely becoming more upfront in the movement but those conversations are championed by the youth more because gender and sex are more fluid concepts now for this new generation compared to older generations when everything was more binary. Now, the younger generations are coming in more open-minded more open to having broader discussions and that’s the shift I see happening,” Napolez said.
Napolez will be one of the dozens marching in the 44th annual San Diego Pride Parade on Saturday. As part of our First Person series, Napolez reflects on her coming out journey.