Former 2010 Miss Kentucky, Djuan Trent, found herself in the spotlight again last month when she made the brave decision to come out as queer. And although Trent was met with much praise for coming out, some fans were confused by her use of the word “queer” instead of gay. Now, Trent is opening up to fans, once again, and explaining her choice of the word queer over gay.
“When I originally wrote the blog, I wrote, ‘I am gay,’” Trent said in an interview on Sirius XM Progress. “And then, I went back and I looked at it and I decided I wanted to change it. I wanted to put ‘queer’ there, because it’s a word that I like. I feel that a lot of people outside the LGBTQ community don’t know it’s a thing, that it’s okay.”
Trent explains that it wasn’t until the end of her reign as Miss Kentucky that she really began to understand her lifelong attraction to women, and while scouring YouTube for videos from queer women of color she found the word “queer,” which she feels best suits her.
“I think it’s one of those words that doesn’t put you in such a box,” she said. “If you choose other labels, sometimes you feel like you’re in a bit of a box. My favorite example, that I always love to use, is that girls I went to college with, who ran all around campus waving rainbow flags — they were like, ‘Lesbian for life! Yeah, forever!’ And now, how ever many years later, I’m seeing them on Facebook and they’re like, ‘He proposed, and I said, “yes!”’ And I’m looking, like, ‘What?!’ So I think that ‘queer’ is one of those things that … it is more inclusive. It kind of opens to a whole other conversation about the fluidity of sexuality and being able to embrace that.”
Trent explained that she understands the impact that her coming out can have on helping other, younger queer women of color find themselves and live their lives out in the open.
“People need to be able to see more people who look like them,” she said. “I know, for me, when Raven-Symone came out, I was like, ‘What?! Oh my gosh!’ You know, like, I was more excited about Raven-Symone coming out than I was about Ellen. And I mean, I love Ellen. Who doesn’t love Ellen? But Raven looks a little more like me. It’s good to be able to see people who look like you. I’ve had so much outreach coming from young women in the pageant community, young African American women, young feminine women, who [now] feel a little less invisible; who feel that there’s not something wrong with them. And that to me is amazing.”
We applaud Trent for finding her own descriptor and definition for herself, and we hope as well that her coming out will help other LGBT women of color to find their own true identities and live them proudly. – nicholas robinson