25 - Candice Hickerson
Colorado Springs, CO
Dog Lover. Favorite Uncle. Hobby YouTuber.
On gender identity and pronouns...
“Over the past year, I have really started realizing and coming to terms with… ‘Oh, I’m non-binary!’ Having befriended Shania [Howells], who studies these things… they gave me words. Then I was like, ‘Oh, I fit that…’ and hanging out with my little queer group, I’ve really come into owning being non-binary.
I feel like even as a child, I remember loudly proclaiming, ‘I am a tomboy!’, and that was the word I had then. I was like 8 or 9 years old. But then, it wasn’t until I was about 30 years old… very recently that I’ve come to learn, the ‘real terms’... non-binary… and queer. ‘That actually describes me better…’
When I was a young teenager, I had this group of friends and they could see it before I did. They’d say, ‘You like girls…’ and I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no… I don’t…’ Then over time, I thought I was bisexual… then in my 20’s - ‘Maybe I’m a lesbian?’... Somewhere in between ‘maybe I’m a lesbian’ and maybe I haven’t found the right guy yet, to now it’s more… I don’t know.. I’m still trying to find the right word… I’m going with Queer, because I feel it encompasses everything…
On pronouns… very recently I’ve taken on the pronouns they/them… I’m using it at school and on Facebook. I frequently refer to myself as she, and I don’t get angry if someone misgenders me. In my YouTube video - https://youtu.be/9Qsqt0vjEEI - I do talk about how to use that language. It’s very short, but it’s creating awareness…”
How old were you when you came out?
“I’ve never really had an official coming out... I’ve always just kind of lived as me. I remember as a teenager when I was 16 or 17 I told my grandmother. ‘Granny… I’m bisexual…’ and being ¾ redneck myself, living in North Texas, she was like, ‘Well, you have to choose!’ I know she didn’t mean anything hateful by it… and I love that memory. That was like the first time that I really said anything. Honestly, I’ve just been living as me, and I haven’t proudly proclaimed, ‘I’m Queer!’, unless you count this video that I made [for National Coming Out Day].
I’ve always felt supported by my parents, but it’s just not talked about… ‘It’s like we love you the way you are, but can we not have that conversation?’ They’ve never actually said anything like that to me before… maybe it’s a lot of what I’m creating… but they’ve also never started a conversation about it…”
Biggest fears or concern about coming out…
“I don’t feel like I have a whole lot of fears about it. Like I said, I’ve been living as me for this long... There’s not a transition in my life… just keep doing what I’ve been doing…”
Favorite part about the community?
“I’ve always felt really supported… my biggest connection to the community is through my little group of friends… We go to drag shows in support of other friends… and of course, rainbows. I was a kid during the time Lisa Frank was popular… the first time…”
What is something you would tell a younger you? Advice for anyone out there who feels like they can’t come out, or they don’t have a community to be a part of?
“I would tell younger me to keep living… I made it this far. Everything is going to be okay… you’ll find your people… To others… Coming out is not the end all be all of everything… you don’t have to come out. You don’t don’t have to if you can’t right now… or if you still haven’t found your place. It took me until I was 30 years old to find my place and my words… and I’m still working on it. And things will change over time… just because you feel one way now, does not mean you’re gonna feel that way later.
One last thing… Coming out doesn’t have to be this fantastic show of, ‘TADAAA… I’m gaaaaay!’
… as far as fashion goes, I have recently found bowties...”
What in your life are you most proud of?
“Mostly I’m proud being able to be me, and once again, being able to find support in the community… and hopefully to use things like [the Coming Out Sessions] to be supportive of others… to grow the community…”
With the state of the nation and the world in its current state, what’s one thing you would change if you had the power?
“I would remove everyone’s obsession with genitalia… gender reveal parties for babies… the babies genitals don’t say anything about them! ...and toilets… they’re still just toilets!”
Check out their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvxKhx5_FtaFaFQOqkSrkxQ