"My family has always eaten vegan at home, so that was never an issue. The minister at my church also regularly encourages a plant-based diet in her sermons."
Gwendolyn Boniface, 22, is an actor and teaching artist. She was aware of her sexuality at age 14 and first came out the following year. She's queer, bisexual, pansexual, Unitarian, and was raised vegan since age 1. Gwen is an activist for LGBTQ+ rights and animal rights, and lives in New York City.
What led up to awareness of your sexuality and your first coming out?
I developed a crush on a female classmate. I grew up in a very accepting environment, so as soon as I was sure of who I was, I came out.
How did you find representation for your sexuality and/or gender identity?
Friends who were LGBTQ+, mentors, teachers, professors, online community, church, college, and activism. Having grown up in a super accepting community, someone being unsupportive would be the surprise, so it's difficult to come up with specific examples.
Have you experienced homophobia, mistreatment, harassment, bullying, or discrimination because of your sexuality and/or gender identity?
Yes, homophobia. When I first started dropping my bisexuality into conversation at work, I got a lot of uncomfortable stares and people changing the subject, but that was the worst of it there. I'm also quite femme, so I don't usually ping people's gaydar. However, I was called a dyke on the street for the first time last year when walking with a more butch friend.
How does your sexuality and/or gender shape your daily life?
As a woman in a liberal community, my gender definitely has more impact on the way I move through my daily life than my sexuality. I do experience street harassment pretty much every time I leave my house.