LGBTQ Luminaries Interview Series : Part Two

June 17, 2020

In honor of Pride month, The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine sat down with LGBTQ luminaries for a special interview series.  

Bindu (she/they) has called Chicago home since 2011 but is originally from sweet, sweltering Chennai, India. These days, she's working as an organizer, administrator, and facilitator with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the City of Chicago's 47th Ward, the Chicago Parks District, and Chicago Desi Youth Rising Bindu is a poet and musician in their spare time. She is always looking for home.

What are some activities and practices that are helping you in this time?

I started guitar lessons! Feels like a place where I'm just trying something new instead of just flailing around in the failures and messiness of the rest of my life/work/habits. Oh, and I also started TELETHERAPY!!!

What does community look like for you in these times of necessary social distancing and isolation?

Silent co-work sessions, zoom board game nights, watching silly romcoms and drinking wine with a friend.

What are some of your memories of Pride?

I have many warm and precious memories of lying on the grass with TGNC/queer-women loved ones all around me during Dyke March. Walking around the booths and getting swag, dancing in the heat, finding food in Little Village after . . . just existing.

What do you wish for LGBTQ people across the world this Pride Month?

I wish for you to be resilient, I wish for you to find online corners of community that make you happy, I wish for you to run your fingers all over your body and love it as hard as you can.

Please share some achievements and moments in your life that you are proud of.

Recently, I'm proud of how my South Asian community has come together to raise money to help our brethren in West Ridge who have been put out of work by COVID (and many of whom are undocumented/refugees, thus not qualifying for unemployment). We are only as strong as our most vulnerable member! I'm proud of the ongoing anti-racist, anti-casteist, anti-imperialist education that my peers and leaders are always offering me. I'm proud that I finally got around to sticking my outlet strip to my wall so that the wires aren't lying all over the floor as much.

What words (of advice, wisdom, encouragement, etc.)  do you have for young queer and trans folks?

Notice when you're saying rude things to yourself. There is always a way to reframe your thoughts to actually help and love yourself instead of simply beating yourself down. And when you can't figure out how to do that, lean on your people and get mad at the systems that made you ever be rude to yourself! Your existence is resistance. It is brilliance!

Ellie Kim (she/her) aka SuperKnova is a Chicago-based transgender musician who creates Queer Pop, a unique sound that incorporates hip-hop inspired drums, driving synths, and virtuosic guitar solos. She writes about identity, queerness and the struggle of being your authentic self. Find her latest album “American Queers” here.

What are some activities and practices that are helping you in this time?

Music has always been an outlet for me. I’ve been taking time to write more and learn ne songs on guitar. It feels good to lose yourself in a song and get into a flow state. Listening is great too. I’ve been sitting down and just listening to whole albums through.

What does community look like for you in these times of necessary social distancing and isolation?

Like most people I do Zoom chats. But also, I’ve been watching more movies and TV shows, especially emotional ones. Sometimes when I feel like I can’t connect with humans in real life, hearing about emotional human stories through the screen can be healing for me.

What are some of your memories of Pride?

My favorite memory of Pride is my first Chicago Dyke March 2 years ago! It was so grassroots and down to earth and empowering. I really felt the love and the Pride marching alongside all those beautiful queer folx. It was a welcome change from the more mainstream corporatized Pride events I experienced before that.

What do you wish for LGBTQ people across the world this Pride Month?

I wish for safety and love for all LGBTQ+ people and for them to be able to live their truth however way feels good them.

Please share some achievements and moments in your life that you are proud of.

Coming out and transitioning to trans womanhood is my proudest moment. It was the most difficult and rewarding thing I’ve done in my life so far. Not only has it allowed me to live my truth to its fullest, it’s given me more perspective on all other aspects of our world. It has helped me challenge all my internalized negative beliefs and be a more compassionate and socially conscious human towards others and myself.

What words (of advice, wisdom, encouragement, etc.)  do you have for young queer and trans folks?

Finding yourself and/or your chosen family looks different for everyone. And it can take a long time with a lot of experimentation and trial and error. That’s totally cool! Everyone’s journey looks different and that’s part of the beauty of our community. No matter what you look like or how you present, you belong and are a part of our worldwide family. You are one of us. Whenever you get to where you want to be, I’ll be cheering for you with open arms. I’m proud of you!