March 3, 2021

Season 2, Episode 5 (Erin)

Season 2, Episode 5 (Erin)

We were honored and excited to have Erin come by and Chat with us and share her story.

Transcript

Hello, and welcome to The Q Lounge Podcast. I'm Eric and I'm Gil. Join us as we discuss news stories and life situations. As they relate to the LGBTQIAPK+ experience, please visit us at theQloungepodcast.com and hit that subscribe button or listen wherever you get your podcasts while you're there. Please leave us a five star review and don't forget to tell your friends.

Eric:

Hello and welcome to The Q Lounge. I'm Eric and I'm Gil. And today we are excited to be joined by Erin. Hi Erin, how are you?

Erin:

I'm well, thanks. How are you

Eric:

doing well, thank you. How is life treating you right now? How is life in this COVID kind of world?

Erin:

It's so weird to think that it's been a year. Next month it'll be a year from when my. Employer shut everything down, sent everyone home. And we had to figure out how to do our jobs from a distance. And I feel like I've barely left the house since then. So it's definitely been some ups and downs with that. The isolation messes with me and stuff like that, but still trying to make the best of it, yeah. The days, a lot of

Eric:

people true the days just blurred together. I feel like we're still in 2020, even though I know we're intellectually know we're in 2021 and I've had no issues writing the date 2021. Like as soon as this was the first year, I haven't been like writing last year date, still on a check or, whatever I'm writing it on and signing something. But I still feel like I know I still have to pay a few things by check oddly. I have to pay for my medical insurance by check and something else. I don't remember. I just had to like, write a check for for something. Cause I was trying to save the 3% for the credit card.

Erin:

That's fair.

Eric:

Cause I can be cheap

Erin:

sometimes 3%, 3%.

Eric:

It's nine bucks on that thing. Talk to us a little bit about being part of the LGBTQ plus community. What was it like for you to come out? When did you realize you were a part of the community and how did you realize you were part of the community? I know that's a loaded,

Erin:

Oh gosh. Yeah. That's a lot. So my whole biography then. In hindsight, it seems like I should have really known around, 12, 13 we hide things from ourselves. I think I really knew like by senior year in high school, I. Remember when I was making plans for what comes next. Like everyone, I had talked to the military recruiters and there were, there was like this air force thing that I was really interested in. And then I kept thinking of, at that time it was don't ask, don't tell. And I was like, Ooh. In college girls kiss girls. And that would be nice. That ended up being a decision maker for me, which sounds weird in hindsight, but anyway so that was one of my things I was really looking forward to going to college for that sort of self discovery experience and trying to find out who I really was. I officially started coming out to people freshman year of college. In fact, Eric, I think you were one of the first, if not the first person, I actually said the words to

Eric:

and you were the first person, friend of mine to ever come out to me too.

Erin:

Yeah, we were going for a walk on campus. I remember we were outside going for a walk and so yeah, it was just a time to. Really, try for self discovery. And at that point I hadn't kissed a girl. I hadn't dated a girl, nothing. And it was just the norm. I'm pretty sure this is where it is. And so telling my friends was. The starting point as opposed to telling my family first, you have to find your safe spot. So that's where I started.

Eric:

Awesome. Were there any struggles with coming out personally or with friends, family?

Erin:

All in all. I was really fortunate. I have to. Definitely be grateful. I don't know that I ever questioned like, This is going to sound really weird and very stereotypical, but also telling of my age. So 24 just like me, right? Exactly. Yes. And so when Ellen came out, I was still living with my parents and. Her show was on. And it was one of those things that my mom and I always watched the show together. And the fact that when Ellen came out, my mom kept watching the show was a thing for me, and I knew that was going to be okay. And my dad on the other hand was a good old boy definitely a rural upbringing. And so I wasn't sure, I didn't know what was going to happen with that. In the end it was fine. There was a time when we just didn't talk about it, but it wasn't. Angry there wasn't the, throwing anyone out the house or anything like that, that's some people have to go through. And so on, on that front, I, again, really fortunate. That's good.

Eric:

And your friends are cool with it.

Erin:

And my friends were surprisingly awesome. You mentioned, of course, Eric was one of the first people I, I came out to and even back then, like you've just always had that kind of way about you. You're an easy person to talk with. And I wasn't afraid there cause we didn't

Eric:

know each other that long at that moment in time, like maybe a month or

Erin:

two. Oh, wow. Okay. Now I'm going to tell the whole story.

Eric:

And by the way, everyone, this was before I even suspected myself. Oh, that's what I tell

Erin:

myself. We're a little 18 year olds and we're just, finding our way in the world. And it's first semester, freshman year of college and the school that we went to is in my hometown. Yeah. And Eric was actually rooming with my high school boyfriend. And at that time he and I had long since, given up on any semblance of dating, whatever But we were still really good friends and I hung out in their room all the time to the point where I think your outgoing voicemail greeting included my name. Hold on. Sorry.

Eric:

You were the third roommate.

Erin:

Yeah. And so that was the. The weird part was trying to come out too. So someone I dated but he ended up being just awesome and supportive as well. I have a couple of friends who are a little more religious and there were some struggles there, but even there, one of my friends who was always like, Oh, come to church with me on Wednesday nights, friend in high school. She turned into the most supportive person. She was the one who was at that time. The internet was still new because that's how old I am. And yeah, we still had dial up with AOL. She was the one out there looking for resources to try and be a really good supportive friend. And she still does stuff like that to this day. And yeah, again really had some great support when I came out and I couldn't be more grateful.

Eric:

That's awesome. I'm so glad to hear that. Yeah, because all of our struggles are different. We all have the same basic struggle and as Gill always points out, you're constantly coming out. Every time you meet someone, you're put in a new situation, you're constantly coming out and it's still not the norm and it's still not normalized and it's not the default by any means. Yeah. Yeah. I'm glad that you had that support and. Everything else.

Gil:

Was he a Janet fan then.

Erin:

Oh, my gosh. Yes.

Gil:

So

Erin:

you can bust out the, IF dance in the dorm room. Aw, cool.

Gil:

I just had to ask. I'm sure our listeners are probably like, I wonder if he knew the,IF dance,

Erin:

you did it well, and I learned so much about Janet and we spent so much time actually. I remember drooling over her abs. Oh, I remember that too.

Gil:

This is awesome

Erin:

bonding moments. Oh,

Gil:

yes.

Eric:

Sorry. I'm like so embarrassed now. Did you have any personal struggle yourself when it came to coming out or accepting yourself?

Erin:

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I was raised Catholic. And so there's a lot there. Anyone else who was raised Catholic or as close to a Catholic person understands there's. Yeah. There's just the, no, we don't do that. And. Love the sinner hate the sin and all that other fun stuff. We like to say. Internalized homophobia is a huge thing. And even today I still struggle with that. There's just, I don't know. You get these ideas in your head from when you're really young and the jokes that people say that bite. And just stick with you and stay in the back of your mind. And yeah even now I would say I struggled from time to time with the internalized homophobia, but definitely when I was younger, it was a huge thing. A huge key in my fear of coming out in the first place,

Gil:

how was it? Especially being out in a smaller, A smaller tower or being in a not a major Metro, and just there's parts of, me being here in a bubble, like I said, my perspective it's warped and I leave it. I'm like, Oh, so it's done like that elsewhere. So shed a light on.

Erin:

So I'm trying to remember in terms of. What it was like, especially back then late nineties, which in some aspects I still live there, but in, I

Eric:

feel like, I feel like the nineties were just like five years ago. Like the Janet album just came out in 93 and that would just just happened. Like I just started if choreography and all the

Erin:

intros. So I, I remember things like, I, I knew it wasn't safe to hold hands with my girlfriend. Going places. And I just knew that it wasn't a thing. I remember my girlfriend at the time we were going through like a, drive-through getting some fast food and, lean over the arm, rest and kiss just the two of us in the car. And then suddenly we're being verbally harassed by the car behind us. Then people shouting really rude things do to each other stuff it just was crude, felt threatening, that, that kind of stuff. Now that wasn't an everyday experience by any means, but it definitely made me very cautious about what I did and where.

Eric:

And do you still have some of that now?

Erin:

I don't experience that. I think So de Moines is a blue.in a red state that it's a lot more progressive. The neighborhood that I live in is also really progressive. Awesome. So I do have that aspect like the neighbors around us are fantastic. I never worry about that. My employer is amazing. It's, as far as my everyday life, it's not something I think about much. And again that's really a privileged mindset too, to recognize that I can go out and hold hands in the mall. No. Not that I go to the mall, but if I did but for the first time in months, we went out for dinner on Saturday and it just, wasn't a thing we have to think about. That's awesome. That's great.

Eric:

Yeah. And how do you think things have changed now? Because Gil and I always talk about how like today's generation is so much more fluid and like all the stuff that our generation went through and even the generation and two generations passed before us went through has like really opened a lot for the generation now because everyone's so fluid and everyone's.

Gil:

Yeah. Even the visibility. If you think about it, like on Hulu, we're on Netflix, where everywhere now it feels like,

Erin:

yes, I listened to your podcast the other day about all the movies and the TV shows. Yeah it definitely has changed. And I think about my nieces and nephews. Because of where they're at age wise and watching them come of age and seeing them with their friends and there's, the conversations about it. I know that my brother and sister both talked with me about their kids because there's so much more visibility. Everyone questions themselves. And it's less of a, an expectation that we'll of course you're straight until you tell me otherwise it's more of a I don't know, mom I'm not sure. And my sister was telling me this recently and the responses you don't have to be. You don't have to be sure you're 11 or you're. She's 13 anyway, but you're a kid. You don't have to know you, you can just be you and that's fine. And there's, I dunno, it's there's not a coming out for a lot of people because it's just. Okay. Yep. You're still you. There we go. That's awesome. Yeah. It's so fantastic. And my brother's son is gay and I think that. He never really came out to his parents. He just got in trouble for coming home late one night and had a Hickey. And then there's this boy like, so it wasn't about coming out. It was about breaking curfew and yeah. Yeah, that's all. It was

Eric:

beautiful by the way.

Erin:

Yeah. And okay. I have to take a second to recognize my brother for being an amazing parent. Like I mentioned, our dad was a good ol' boy type and my brother could so easily be that guy just he's he works in a construction type job. He could just. Be that guy, but he's so attentive to his kids. And so when his son was involved with this boy, all he cared about was that this boy was not a great influence like that. That's it. It wasn't about the fact that it's a boy it's about him. Not sure I like him. And so I just think that says a lot about the difference a generation can make. That's

Eric:

awesome. That makes me so happy. Like you have no idea how much that just seems to my heart. That's beautiful. I came out later in life and struggled and I didn't even, like I said, didn't even question anything till I was like in my twenties and then still didn't even accept it until even after I started to question it, which was like, I think 22 or something. And I think I saw you last time. Like I was 27 or 28. Whenever you were in Fresno. We went clubbing

Gil:

shocking.

Eric:

how did you deal with your issues and or demons when you were trying to come out? Or is there any thing that you did to escape it or just, did you just face it head on?

Erin:

I was a mess when I looked back at some of my time in those days, part of me is still really embarrassed when I look back at it. I know that part of my self discovery was having a lot of confusion. When it came to friendships, I had some really great female friends who were also really attractive. And so those misplaced feelings that I dealt with there was one in particular that really evolved into something that became really difficult for me to deal with. And to this day, I think keeps me from maintaining a better friendship with that person. I'm still embarrassed. I don't think that she would give half a crap, honestly she's a good human being, but. I'm so embarrassed by the things that I said or did that would have made her uncomfortable. And then I think of it was actually right after I had told this girl that I had feelings for her that I thought that I had destroyed this friendship and I'm pretty, I know for sure. I stayed in your room that night, Eric. And yeah, and I was a mess. I dealt with a lot of not just that night, but in general suicidal feelings. And I, we all know now that Suicide is a much bigger risk when you're in the LGBTQ plus community. We don't know how to be. We don't know how to love ourselves. We always question our worth because of having been told we're not normal. And so that was a really big thing for me. And it was a huge struggle. Yeah. Like I said, I look back and I think of the mess that I was, and that's a pretty

Eric:

mess though. A beautiful mess

Erin:

plus your heart. Yeah. I just, I struggled a lot with self hatred with all of that mess. And it took a lot to, to get past that.

Eric:

I'm glad that you were able to work past that though. I still struggle with self-hatred and self-loathing, I've gotten way better. I think this year was the first year where I was actually like, I like myself. I still haven't gotten to the love of myself part yet, but I at least like myself enough that I not constantly talking bad about myself. How do you find strength in solace? Do you find it?

Erin:

Of course that's evolved over the years too right now. I see a therapist every other week. I, especially now in, in COVID times where I'm stuck in my house I've gotten into exercise more than I ever have in my life. And it gives me that, that moment of my day, that I'm not focusing on anything else. I am fortunate to have a spouse who is so supportive and so easy to communicate with. And. I don't know, their home is such a safe place and I'm so grateful for that. And any day that might be a struggle. I still feel good because I know I'm in a really good spot.

Eric:

That's awesome. I'm like the only single one on this podcast right now. Do you have any struggles or disparities now, like being part of the community

Erin:

So something I was thinking about as we were messaging about me coming on here was my continued struggles with internalized homophobia and

Gil:

just

Erin:

the, I don't know, I think about the privileged spot that I come from. Where even as a great big homo I still am a cisgendered white woman, and I am a fem presenting cis-gendered white woman, which means that I can go around in public and chances are, unless people have decent gaydar, they're not even gonna know that I'm gay. And that's a protection in and of itself. And I can turn and go full Karen on someone. And I look like, your average suburban soccer mom with no S no fashion sense. And if you have gaydar, then I'm a fem presenting lesbian with no fashion sense, but it's still just I don't know. I think of things like how I struggled and sometimes still I hate I'm not still, I don't still struggle. I struggled for years with the, the concept of being Butch and. Why should I struggle with that? It's not my identity and it's someone else's and it doesn't affect me and people can present the way that they want to present. And I but I think that it was really not about them. It was about me and my identity and I don't know, cause in other ways I'm jealous. Because as you guys mentioned earlier, coming out is a constant process. It's all the time, especially if you're someone who passes for straight.

Eric:

Yeah, Gil. And I talk about that, cause we're both like masc presenting, cismen. We're Latino and he's Latino and Filipino, but we still have the male privilege. We still have the masc passing privilege. All right. Other, our masc presenting privilege, I should say. And Yeah, it's definitely something that you have to think about. And we are always, we've talked about in the past that if we were. Coming out or coming up in today's society, or if I had the confidence that they have now back then, like I would have loved to be wearing like short shorts and being like over the top flamboyant.

Gil:

Exactly. I think I would have been jealous of or flamboyant Yeah. I'm totally with you on that line. And I think it was that jealousy, especially when I see them out there, flame on and it's Oh my God, why can't I be like that? But a part of me was, I didn't want to be a stereotype either. And I think that was a part of like my own personal battle. Cause I D I didn't want to be cast into this. Oh, you're gay. Therefore, you're this. And I'm like, no, I want to be passing and then surprise.

Erin:

Yeah. Yeah. That's totally it too. Yeah, there, there is that jealousy of wanting to just be out there and honestly not having to say it. For somebody to react.

Eric:

Are there any stereotypes that you've been pigeonholed into or that people associate with you or.

Erin:

No, like I said, I have no fashion sense at all, but I really think that's more about me than their stereotype. I, I was looking at this on the question list, do I think one of the things That might fit into this topic is I have a lot of straight friends just like everyone, you've got a diverse group of friends. Yeah. And in my work circle of friends, somebody was talking about their personal life as we do. And she started talking about her sex life. And there was this sort of dismissive, I'm sorry. I know you don't want to hear this because penis is what works and that hurt. And it hurt not because like I'm not offended by penises, so I, whatever, I'm not attracted to them, but I'm not offended. And I felt like that was dismissing me from sharing in a part of her life. She was trying to share with a group of friends. And that was something that perhaps is a stereotype that, that lesbians hate men. I don't, I love men. Men are great. But I just don't want to have sex with them. That's all. It doesn't mean that you can't by all means have at it.

Eric:

Married, but

Erin:

I'm sure he's still having sex. I don't know. I'm not disgusted by other people's sex lives. If my friends want to share things with me, That's part of friendship. And I have my own mental rule that if people are going to go there with me, I'm going to go there back. That's my dividing line. If you're open enough to share your life, you're going to hear about mine too. But yeah, I felt shut down and that's that stinks.

Eric:

Yeah, it does. Yeah. Gil and I actually have a philosophy that the only thing taboo is not speaking about the taboo. So

Erin:

You're wearing an Ellen shirt right now. Oh no, it was, Oh, what's happening here.

Eric:

If you had any advice for a younger, you, what would that be?

Erin:

This is a heavy one. So I have several things. Trust people more they'll surprise you. I think that had I. Trusted people more when I was younger and even today, putting yourself out there and trusting people pretty much every time I've done that, it's been a positive thing. People respond well and want to help and want to support people. in large groups, people can be terrible. One-on-one. People are usually pretty great and they just want to help people. And so I think if I had trusted people more, I probably would have come out wider. So that's number one. Another thing I would tell me is you're fine as you are.

Gil:

I've spent great advice.

Erin:

I've spent so much time trying to find, I don't know. What's okay. Thinking that I wasn't cool enough. I wasn't fun enough. I still struggle with all that. right. It's really hard. And you're just trying to. Be a person. And and I'm a very nerdy person. I will talk to you about leadership theories and algebra. And I'm the person who would rather spend the Saturday night on the couch with my book. Sitting close to the one I love, but maybe not even talking to one another like I, I like that quiet and I. I Abhor small talk. I'm very much a quiet person and introvert and I don't like to be out there, but at the same time, I always felt this pressure. That's, what's cool. And it sounds so juvenile as I look back and think of where I got these definitions and it was all freaking TV, you, you just want to be like the cool kids and the cool kids are the ones who are breaking the rules, who are. Who are drinking, who are whatever. And so I went off in that direction trying to be someone I'm not. And so I think that I would go back and tell me that I'm enough. And I'm perfect. Just the way that I am. And it doesn't matter that I have curly hair. It doesn't matter. That I would rather, work through a math problem than have a conversation about the weather. These things are so weird and we try to make ourselves into something that we're just not, and I wish that I had loved me earlier.

Eric:

That's great advice.

Gil:

Because I think we spent most of her life trying to fight that or trying to tell ourselves, Oh, no, you got to spit in this grander image. It's not like no as I've gotten older, it's I don't care about anyone else. That's what I do my own damn thing. Or spend in doors on a weekend or yeah. Or even body positivity. And I'm glad that a lot of the marketing has moved that direction, but it's taken a long time.

Erin:

Absolutely. Yeah, I think about that. In terms of just a lot of people in my life who I see moving through those things as they grow up and we have these definitions in our minds that were put there by. Whatever influences we've had through our lives of what it means to be a man or a woman, what it means to be a good person, what it means to be a leader, what it means to, be a good employee or a good spouse and who says, who made those definitions that we're trying to fit into. And yeah, trying to really find out. Who I am. It's been a real lifelong thing. And and I dunno, I'm 42 now and feel like I might be getting there.

Gil:

We'll see.

Erin:

I'll keep

Gil:

you posted. I still believe part of the growth growing as a person.

Erin:

Absolutely.

Gil:

hey, Eric, I hear we have swag now.

Eric:

Indeed, we do. We have shirts, beanies and drawstring backpacks.

Gil:

How and where do our listeners find this cool stuff. They

Eric:

can visit SEKSTEEZ.Com that's S E K S T E E Z.com and click the Q lounge menu. While there have a look at some of the other collections, or you can simply click the swag icon on TheQLoungePodcast.com. There's free shipping with every order. And if you use the code QLOUNGE10 you'll get 10% off. What are your opinions on? I think we touched on it a little bit, but representation now in like media and stuff like that for the LGBTQ community,

Erin:

I watched a movie over the weekend. On I'm sure it was Netflix. And it was called I Care A Lot and it's really these horrible humans. But one of the things, so it's got Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage and Rosamund Pike her character, again, they're both just Abysmal people, but she's a lesbian and they show her in her relationship and the role that her partner plays in this terrible scheme that they're running. Never ever does their relationship get mentioned other than you can tell they're together. And I think back to movies that were out in like the late nineties, early two thousands, where there was just always a slur, always something like, especially in this one, because it was a caper kind of thing where someone's going to say, you fucking Dyke or something of that nature. And. Not once to the same token, Peter Dinklage, his size was never mentioned either. He's just a bad dude. And she was a terrible PR there they're both just despicable human beings, great movie, by the way, highly recommended. But like those things weren't mentioned, it was just that you could have replaced the actors and actresses with any other. Good actor, then they would have done the same thing and the fact that it was like that, and that it wasn't even mentioned was so cool. Because I think it helps normalize everything that it's not a thing. And then I think of things like I recently read that in writing Schitt's Creek, Dan levy made it a point to not discuss sexuality. There was no homophobia in the town. It was never a conversation. As you watched the entire series, this is just who they are as people. And how freaking cool is that? And as someone who grew up watching TV if that had if queer life had been that normalized, when I was young, I don't know that I ever would've bothered to come out. It just would have been like, yeah, this is the person I'm dating who happens to be a woman. And I think that is just the freaking coolest thing to move past that. The heteronormativity that, that is still, of course it's still the main thing. It's what on most network TV, but to see more non-binary characters to see more trans characters to see, just everyone is. Is portrayed. I think that we also benefit from the streaming services, Netflix, Hulu, whatever else, you're watching anything. That's not good old fashioned network TV where they don't have the same people to please. They can write their own stuff and roll with it. And I think that, that means that there's just a lot more diversity out there seeing trans people playing trans people is so exciting. Eric, I know you're a fan of Euphoria.

Eric:

I've talked about it once or

Erin:

twice it's times. Not like seeing. The Jules is they're being just Jules, and I'm behind. So don't talk to me about the show, but but just having characters out there who really are themselves and that. I dunno it's just grown leaps and bounds in terms of the number of people that you see and the fact that they're all over the place.

Eric:

I love the Jules character and I Hunter Schaefers and so much I adore her and then we were talking one of our other episodes. I don't know if you've seen the new Saved By The Bell reboot.

Erin:

I have not, I did hear you

Eric:

talking, but it's just really cool to as we were talking about one of the main characters, one of the main cast members she's trans and the actress who plays her is trans and it's not her main storyline it's mentioned twice in passing cause she had, they mentioned it when they're talking about how she had her own reality show about it. And it was like two seconds of the conversation. And then one or two episodes later, her buddy that's coming from the school that transferred over, happened to come across her show. And that's like the only time they talk about it, how cool is that? Yeah. And then she ends up like in a love triangle with one of the main male characters and it's not even thought about or discussed. which is beautiful.

Gil:

This progression. I'm glad it's finally it's

Eric:

by the bell. So like the fact that Saved By The Bell is so progressive, but actually I was, I've sat back and watched some of the earlier shows cause I'm a huge Saved By The Bell fan. And that show was actually pretty progressive. Like Jessie Spano. Refuse to be known as she's like they or not. It's Ms. And the best person, not the best man for the job. It's the best person for the job. Even then it was progressive as silly as it was.

Erin:

I can't think of Jesse Spanel without thinking of the I'm so excited scene,

Eric:

Oh my gosh, that's their most popular episode.

Erin:

I'm sure that was really something. And they

Eric:

make, they poke fun of that too. About how she's no longer on caffeine and all that other stuff on the. New series, but yeah, that episode is great. What kind of things do you have going on now?

Erin:

Oh, gosh. Going on now, I'm trying to think of, relevant to the community kind of things. Something that I am doing at work. I'm a trainer by, in a large insurance company. And I train people who are joining our phone team, phone teams. People have a lot of thoughts about phone service. We're not selling anything, we're just helping people. But anyway, I have a fairly significant role in the onboarding and just. As a very recently, that role has gotten more significant where I'm no longer sharing it with some other people. And I have gotten to alter some of our materials to where I'm now as part of our onboarding the very introduction of hi, I'm Erin, I'm your trainer. Our bio slide is now. My name is Erin. My preferred name is Erin. My pronouns are she her? And this is my history with the company and we go on. That's, I guess one of my little efforts in trying to embrace diversity in the workplace and I feel like we're behind the curve on that. So trying to put some things in there where I can you have to find your power where you have it. What else is going on? I mentioned I'm married to a mental health professional, and she is. Pretty amazing. She also specializes in helping the LGBTQ community and has a lot of, she loves her trans teens. She just she really enjoys helping people find their path. And, there's a lot of exploration and finding who you are. And it's hard enough being a teenager, but being a trans teenager. And then like we were talking about earlier, the fluidity of things as well. Okay, this is how you feel is how you identify this week and next week you identify differently and that's okay too. So there's a lot there and a lot of conversations that happen in our house around those kinds of topics. What else is going on? I don't know. I don't leave my house guys. Hard

Eric:

right now anyway.

Erin:

Yeah. Yeah. I I do I, and I've gotten really into indoor rowing that has nothing to do with the community at all, but that's another thing.

Gil:

Awesome. So mental health, it's helping you,

Eric:

I just recently got to go back to the gym after a year and I was super excited about that.

Erin:

Yeah. Yeah. I was like following along with the YouTube instructor, it'll be fine. It'll be Okay, I'm going to say something So something that I know Eric for years, we've been like Facebook friends and we don't get into the deep stuff. I don't know if you'll have questions around this or want to discuss that at all. And I don't know how deep I'll want to go either, but one of the things that I've had to deal with in the past several years was my divorce. I was married in 2008 and we got married right before the election. We were in California at the time and prop eight was the big thing. And so we got married right before the vote. And we were married until. December of 17. And one of the, I say one of the, because of course, when you get divorced, there's usually other things involved, but what, one of the catalysts toward our divorce is that my ex came out as trans and started transitioning and I still deal with a lot of guilt, I think over that, because I think I put pressure on myself as a member of the community that shouldn't, I be able to love this person for who they are. And I do still love him for who he is. He's always been a good human. We've not kept in touch because. Splitting up is hard. But yeah, when he started to transition, that was really a very difficult thing for me to deal with. So topic introduced. Think on that. I'm going to go get some wine.

Eric:

How was that conversation? Like, how did that come about and what was going on with them? And,

Erin:

In hindsight, I can see where things were starting years before little changes haircuts different clothing options and things like that. But as far as when he finally came out to me was in writing he wrote me a letter, but then also stood in the room while I read it. So that was hard. And, I, this is someone who I loved very deeply. And I wanted to be supportive and you always want the people around you to be themselves and to love themselves. And I wanted that at the same time. One of the things that I really had to deal with throughout the whole process was. That his identity and my identity are separate. And even though we were married it didn't change the fact that I like women. And yes. I very much loved who he is as a person, and he's always been just a genuine heart and a loving individual. But I have little things and this is going to sound so shallow when, after he started T and started growing facial hair and things like that. Clippings in the sink. I, Oh, that was not okay. And when he switched to a masculine scented body wash I, again, I know this sounds really shallow. I hated it. I could smell it throughout the entire house and I started to resent him for it and I feel really. Really shallow and really terrible about that. But it, this is someone who, when we met used fruity scented hair products and wore very loud, eye make up. And so it was a really big

Gil:

change.

Erin:

And like I said I feel some guilt around that I. Told myself these things that, as a member of the community, I should be able to be more, more loving and more accepting and more fluid in myself, but I'm not fluid in that way. I, I definitely am more toward one end of the Kinsey scale than the other. And yeah, that was a really hard thing to really just say out loud, I support you and I want you to be you to the best of who you are, but I can't do that as your wife. That's

Gil:

honest and it's honest, it's no one can fault you for it. And I think that's the expectation within the community. We have to accept everything, but I think it's almost like that. We have our own self-preservation as well, we have our own needs too. Why would my needs your needs not be upheld either? That's not what your, it doesn't tickle your fancy with what the transition becomes. So why should you just accept it? It just because just to be safe face, I think in itself, Also what the guilt kicks in for me, the Catholic guilt, it was like, you just got accepted, but, I had struggled. I'd be my, one of my old dear friends also she transitioned and that was a struggle for me. And I knew this person at a much, pretty much every possible phase of their live. And then she transitioned completely. I was like, Oh, still support. So love, but. It takes time also, we're human, we do our best and you did your best. Thank you. I said there's no correct way. I don't. I at least for me, there is no correct way how to handle

Eric:

it. And he had to live his authentic self and you have to live your authentic yourself. Yeah. It goes both

Gil:

ways.

Erin:

Yeah. We're not even like social media, friends anymore. We, none of that which I get, because I was ready to move out of our relationship and he wasn't and I know how that feels from the other end of it too. And that part sucks. I will. I admit, I still sometimes we'll see him on tagged in somebody else's something. And I have that moment of just knowing that he's well and I'm good with that word, credible and again, It was just a part of my experience. It's

Eric:

Thank you so much for being willing to share your authentic self and the sincere you that I've always known you to be. You've always been probably one of the most genuine people I've ever met. And I know when I was struggling and. Finding myself and starting to even question myself and accept myself. I was like, I wish I, because at the time I didn't know how to get ahold of you. And I was like, I wish I could get ahold of Erin because she would understand. And then I don't remember. I honestly don't remember how we got back into contact, but I know we did. And then I've always been, just been thankful that we've been in contact, even if it's from the peripheral. Since then,

Erin:

You've been a part of my support system from, like I said that first, first time saying it out loud. Yeah, there, there are people who come into your life for a reason and then stay in your orbit. And it was probably my space, by the way.

Eric:

I think we actually got into contact before my space. Cause you introduced me to my space.

Erin:

Wow. Maybe I'm cooler than I thought I was.

Eric:

It was like, if you, I want to say you sent me an email, like you just happened to come across my email address somewhere.

Erin:

Oh, do you still have the same one? I

Eric:

probably do. I actually have 10 emails now, but I do have one from way back then.

Erin:

I don't

Eric:

use that one for anything anymore, but yeah.

Erin:

Yeah. My old ones where I send all my junk mail. Yeah. Yeah. I'm grateful that we formed that bond way back when like I said I wasn't wasn't expecting to be a person that you would ask to be on a show because I don't think of myself as especially. Interesting. So I'm flattered that you asked you have a beautiful story. Thank you. One of the things that always strikes me about your show is the way you close and how you encourage people to be their authentic selves and live in your authenticity. And it's It's interesting because it's one of those things that's so easy to say. And so fucking hard to do.

Eric:

I check myself like multiple times a day. I was like,

Erin:

yeah, the person that I know myself to be when I choose these words, when I choose this message, is this really who I am or in life? Pretending because God, I have a history of pretending. And yeah it's a really profound message that you're sending to people and it's a lot to put out there and I respect you so much for what you're doing. Also you have a really sexy voice,

Gil:

Barry white voice.

Erin:

Yes, he's got this nice deep and not that's new. He's had that for a long time. I think that just not coupling it with your face when I just listened to you. You can read this. Oh,

Eric:

Thank you. I'm always. Super unsure about my voice. And yeah, I always feel like they sound like the male version of Fran Drescher in my voice.

Gil:

Not at all. So I adore her.

Eric:

Yeah. I adore her too. I watched her Christmas movie and it was great. She had a Christmas movie. Yeah. She had a Christmas movie where she set up her gay son with another guy. Christmas

Erin:

set up the Christmas. Okay. Now I'm going to backtrack to representation What I'm thinking about is the K Stew movie that was on Hulu. Oh yeah. I saw that too. Yeah. One of the things I will say about representation, I am so fucking tired of coming out stories. I talked about how I love the moments where someone's in a relationship and we don't really address the fact that it's with a person of the same gender or a non-binary person or a trans person, whatever, just you're in a relationship. Okay, cool. And I love that I need coming out stories. I've gotten to a point where I'm so tired of watching movies about people coming out, especially when. When their parents are assholes or, anything really difficult like that. I don't know. I'm just tired of it. It's I don't

Gil:

know. I don't think at this point

Erin:

it is it's so cliche and I don't know if it's an honest representation of reality now. Again, I'm sitting in a privileged spot. I've already come out to my family. Everything's fine. And so for other people that might not be their situation, but watching it in movie after movie where you just get this thing of yeah. Coming out shitty and. Like it gets really tiring. And I wonder what message that's sending to kids now whose parents might not be assholes and try to actually be really progressive and might be the Jennifer Garner in love Simon. Who doesn't want that? And so I like, I would love more of that, where you get the pleasant surprise that no. Guys. That's really cool. Everything's fine. Be you be a good person be you. Yeah. Yeah. So I would really like more of that in just mainstream media in general. I think we also have this history of gay characters who get killed especially lesbian and bisexual women. They're going to kill or be killed. And no fun. It's cool to have a happy ending every now and then

Eric:

a happy ending in both ways.

Erin:

Gil. I live down the road from you for a few years. I was in Fresno which is a red dot and a blue state.

Gil:

I was born there. So I went to college out there, Immediately back.

Erin:

And people talk about that. Being stuck in the "NO". Oh, yeah, us Fresno being the now to the point where I think there's actually a Facebook group called frizz. Yes. We're trying to be all positive and crap. Anyway, Fresno's rough. When I moved back to Des Moines in 2014, it was not only a big change of location. Getting back to the Midwest. It was also a change of career path for me. I had been in hospitality for years in California, so I'm in insurance now. But one of the things that I did when I moved back, I went through a temp agency to find work because a, the job market here is awesome compared to. Fresno which sucks. And I thought I can try stuff on, I can try a job. And if I don't like it, they'll put me in a new one. And then this agency is my payroll. So it's not going to look like I skipped jobs all over the place, and so one of the things that I made sure to do at the job I'm currently at was to come out during my temp phase. Huh? Yeah. I wanted to know early on how that was going to go. I wanted to get the professional. Reaction because if I'm not the kind of person to jump around from job to job, I like to be in a stable situation. And if they were going to be homophobic assholes, I wasn't going to want to be there for very long and my, my temp assignment and move on with my life. And so at that time I was with my ex And, you wear your wedding ring and people know you're married and stuff. And I'm in a conversation with my immediate supervisor and then the manager above her and my immediate supervisor is, we're having a get to know you conversation. This is already like a month into the training program because the training is a lot. But anyway we're a month in we've known each other for a little bit. And my immediate supervisor says, Oh, so what does your husband do? And I said, Oh, my wife works at blah, blah, blah. And she said, I'm so sorry. I assumed and fat freezing made all the difference. It wasn't left at. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I assumed. That's great.

Gil:

Yeah.

Erin:

Yeah. That told me so much about where I was. And she took that responsibility because she was the one who was in the room. And so that was the eye that those are really telling moment. And the company has been just amazing to work for. And We've got LGBTQ people in leadership positions and visible spots. And it's just really awesome to see that kind of diversity at an insurance company insurance. By its very nature is really conservative and in Iowa in the middle of a flyover state, and so not necessarily known for being a progressive place. And so that was really just, a very telling and helped me make my decision. Yeah, again, to the point that coming out is never ending. You're always coming out and sometimes you just have to do it strategically. That's true. Yeah.

Eric:

Very true. Thank you so much for your time and being willing to spend this hour with us and being willing to share your story. We greatly appreciate it. Thank you everyone for listening and hope to be with you later and remember to always live in your authenticity.

Gil:

Thank you. thank you for listening to us. We hope you enjoyed your time in The Q Lounge. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions on topics, or if you would like to be a guest or contributor, please email us info.TheQlounge@gmail.Com or through our contact page at theqloungepodcast.com. Don't forget to subscribe to continue listening wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to be our sugar, daddy hit that donation button.

Eric:

Until next time live in your authenticity.