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Episode 7: LGBTQIA+ Conversations with Kids with Korie Mathis

0:00:11 - Allison
Kintsugi is the time-honored Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold to highlight the beauty of imperfection.

0:00:18 - Cyndi
We believe the same is true for life and motherhood that transparent conversations can impact generational legacy, in the spirit of Kintsugi.

0:00:26 - Allison
We embrace our differences and brokenness in the everyday pieces of life because we can all turn our messes into messages and are each more valuable when repaired with care where before we were broken.

0:00:36 - Cyndi
Welcome to Kintsugi Conversation. Hey everyone.

0:00:44 - Allison
I'm Allison and this is my mom, cindy. Hi everybody, welcome to episode 7 of Kintsugi Conversations. We are well on our way into our first season.

0:00:56 - Cyndi
I know I'm so excited. Still, though, we've had a good season so far.

0:00:59 - Allison
Yeah, and it still feels like kind of new and fresh, which is fun because it's still pretty exciting to be, recording. It definitely doesn't feel like work or chore. I don't think it ever will.

0:01:09 - Cyndi
We have so many topics that we still want to cover, so that's great too, for sure.

0:01:14 - Allison
Today we are joined by who I like to call my first baby. She is my niece and she was born when I was 10 years old. When I say she is my first baby, I mean that I remember being a teenager and being thrust into taking care of her into my summers and taking her along for all of my teenage adventures.

0:01:42 - Cyndi
That was so that you would not have been in her to have a baby of your own. That was on purpose, I guess, so.

0:01:48 - Allison
I do remember, and this is what I always I remember telling DJ this DJs my husband, for those that don't know I was like. I remember Korie being like seven years old and asking me if she could sit in the front and me letting her sit in the front one time to be like a cool aunt. I'm like now as a mom. Nobody better not let my seven year old sit in the front.

She is my first baby. She will be joining us on today's episode and before I let her introduce herself, I just wanted to tell a funny story. She actually visited us in Japan this basketball season. It was the first time that she's been able to come abroad and spend some time with us. Just given her schedule with college and basketball and all of that, her and Harper, I guess, hadn't really seen each other in what, Korie, I guess it had been a good six to eight months since you and Harper had seen each other in person.

I think it was just about During that time that we were in Japan and Korie was here. Korie had cut her hair down pretty short, shorter than Harper had ever seen it before. I knew just because Harper is at a very curious age and she's really trying to find answers to all of life's questions, just like many kids who are three and four at that age. It is kind of your nature to put everyone in one box. How you figure out the world around you is to try to sort things Like okay, this is a dog, this is a cat, this is a cow. You don't understand that everything is not black and white. I knew when Korie had cut her hair. I was like Harper is probably going to have questions. I think Mama, I even told you. I was like I'm pretty sure Harper is going to have questions for Korie.

I think I warned Korie as well, Just so you know my kid might have some questions for you. I was like okay, cool, We'll deal with it as it comes. It was the very last day of Korie's trip. I'm thinking okay, maybe I was wrong, Maybe she doesn't have any questions.

0:03:49 - Cyndi
Her little mind had been working the whole time.

0:03:51 - Allison
I was thinking about this. On the very last day, harper comes to me. We're actually on our way to a restaurant to meet up with Korie. Harper is like Mom, is Korie a girl or a boy? She's like out of nowhere, out of the blue, and I'm like well, why do you ask? I'm just trying to figure out what she's thinking and what she's referring to before I answer her question. She's like is she a girl or a boy? She looks like a boy, but maybe she's a girl. Is she a girl or a boy?

I was like well, I think that Korie is a girl. I was like is it because she has short hair? She was like well, yeah, she likes to wear boy clothes. I was like well, yeah, some girls like to wear more masculine clothes. I was like sometimes we call that a tomboy if it's a girl who likes to wear more masculine clothes. She was like well, I'm not a tomboy, I like to wear dresses. I was like well, that's fine, that's totally okay. She was like but I think Korie is a boy. I was like well, I think she's a girl, but how about you ask her when we get to the restaurant? Literally, Korie walked in and Harper was like hi, Korie, are you a girl or a boy?

0:04:59 - Korie

0:05:01 - Allison
How was that for you, Korie? She's your cousin, but she probably feels more like a niece, just given the age difference. How was that?

0:05:10 - Cyndi
when she asked you. That's her bestie too, remember.

0:05:11 - Allison
Yeah, that's her bestie.

0:05:14 - Korie
Honestly to me. It makes me happy because the thing is about it is that she is able to acknowledge that and acknowledge the change as young as she is you know what I mean and it just shows how intelligent she is to even tell the difference. I feel like that's what a lot of people don't realize is that kids are going to have their own perception of things and we can't necessarily put our traditional perceptions on how they're going to view the world or what they see. She'll see a bunch of different things, especially with her traveling abroad with you guys and having those experiences and seeing all different types of people at this and these diversity. When she asked that question, it made me happy because it was like, okay, you are taking the time to acknowledge it and know it and see. Okay, she doesn't look like a traditional girl but I still feel open enough and I'm curious to ask it honestly excited me because she wanted to get know more about me and have more of a connection between our relationships. But honestly, it just helped because I wanted to be able to educate her and basically let her know that, yes, I still am a girl.

I still do go by she, her and I present myself this way because this is a way that I personally feel comfortable. I wanted to get a haircut because I wanted to change and I just wanted something different. It's what made me happy and that's what I explained to her in the simple terms. Of course, with her being a four-year-old, it makes me happy. I also said to her I was like, because you wear dresses and you look so pretty in them and that's what makes you happy. That's exactly what you should do For me. Expressing myself in this way and wearing these types of clothes and wearing my hair like this. It's just how I like to express myself as a person.

0:07:13 - Allison
It goes to show how these kids really don't care. We're going to have this whole episode, but what you will probably hear me say over and over again is that y'all these kids, really don't care.

0:07:24 - Cyndi
It's just like the right thing to do.

0:07:26 - Allison
Kids don't notice race until some adult interjects into that line, because Harper was like oh okay, and went on with her day Like in a no-sanction, bring it up again. She got her answer to her question and she moved on Exactly and she doesn't treat her any different. Yeah, she's still just quarry, yeah, she doesn't care at all.

But before we go any deeper, because I know our listeners are probably like wait, what? Because I jumped into that story without having you introduce yourself, cory, I would love to have you introduce yourself Basically. Obviously we know you and love you, but you can speak to those people who are listening who have no idea who you are. Just tell them a little bit about you, what you do, how you got there, your journey, all of that.

0:08:11 - Korie
Okay, so I mean.

Well, first of all, my name is Cory, cory Mathis, and I, well, first off, I have to say the first thing that I can just describe myself as is I am such an active person, I am very outgoing, I'm an extrovert, I love to just do things, be out there and explore, talk to people, and so right now, currently for me in my life, I think that this is definitely the peak, or like the best experience for me with being in the LGBTQ plus community, just simply because with my business that I have started to grow and to expand, which is Mac motivated fitness, and it is my fitness programming and journey for those who don't feel comfortable in their bodies.

It has really helped with me becoming closer within that community, and so that is definitely the biggest part of my life that I'm taking on right now. I recently graduated college, got my degree, so that is a big accomplishment of mine so far, right now, and I can't wait to see what that will do for me and take me further. So I recently also to played college basketball and you know, for if anybody knows, you know, the majority of women's basketball, or our demographic is mostly individuals who are part of the LGBTQ plus community. So if for me it wasn't necessarily hard in that realm of life to start exploring who I was and how I wanted to be and knowing that this was comfortable, so that was a big part of it. But at the same time I just love that I've been able to form those connections in that way and be able to express myself and know that there's other individuals like me and honestly, I think that's a good start to who I am and what my backstory is, if you want to be honest.

0:10:11 - Cyndi
When did you first notice that you, I guess, liked girls more than boys?

0:10:17 - Korie

So the first time, if you want me to be honest, I want to say it was, I want to say fifth or sixth grade going and that will be me being where I went to school. I went to a private Montessori school in Atlanta, so our fifth and sixth grade was still like elementary school, but for most people that's middle school. But I honestly started to realize that then and even as crazy as that is, because I know that I've never really expressed that with my family thus far but like that was definitely the first time that I knew that I had an interest in girls and knowing that maybe that I wasn't thinking the same way as other girls do and why don't I like boys but that was definitely, I would say, my first experience, or at least feeling some type of attraction, you know. But I mean, of course I didn't really I didn't solidify that thought or that feeling to me, because I'm like, okay, you know, then I was young, I was thinking about different things, but my I know what it was. Yeah, yeah, you probably didn't even know it, right, I didn't even know what it was, but I'm like, okay, like you know, this is such a crazy example, but I'm like, okay, I had friends who were girls and it's like, okay, we're cool and everything and stuff like that. But it's like I felt like I always in a way carried that more masculine role, even between our friendships, which I was like I know that sounds crazy, but it still presented itself. But that didn't, you know, disrupt any of my relationships. It just kind of showed me. I was like, hey, I think I like spending more time with girls, but I also like spending an equal amount of time with my guy friends, just not in the same way.

And so as a kid I didn't really know how to express that. But of course, you know, just growing, and especially when I got, I want to say like my eighth grade year, starting going into high school, I noticed that I wasn't the only one who wanted to express myself especially physically or through what I dress or how I dress or what I wanted to wear, that I wasn't the only girl who wanted to do that. And of course, I saw a lot of this through the people who I was on teams with sports with, not to say that necessarily had like an impact, but it definitely made me feel more comfortable that, okay, there's one or two people who, like, I think, feel the same way as I do and who are just as active or not really I'm going to say as girly even though you know that's what we use now to describe okay, like, hey, like, let's go play with dolls, let's go, you know, do this. No, I want to go play in like dirt. I want to go play soccer.

I want to go run in the creek this was and you could ask Allison, and you could ask grandma Cindy and I, like you could see me at our condo playing in the creek in the back, like every other day, and it's like, well, why don't you just like go do makeup or something? You know what I mean, but I'm like that's not what I wanted to do. But once I got into like early high school, that's when I really started like realizing, okay, I don't think that me and men per se really click like I think we're supposed to, and that's when I started to explore that a little bit more.

0:13:22 - Allison
You know, Korie, like it's so funny because you know you said like I don't think I've ever said this to my family before. Yeah, and of course, when you came out like officially came out I think you came out as bisexual first you were kind of taking your time before you put like a you're taking your time with with, I guess, figure and you know getting your feet.

I remember, you know, at the time I think we were all kind of, in a way, like shocked. I think you might have been in 10th or 11th grade. We're like, oh my gosh, like Korie's by, but then about like, probably within the month or two afterwards, as I sat and found around it, I'm like that makes perfect. Do you know what I'm?

0:14:03 - Cyndi
saying you and I had conversations.

0:14:05 - Allison
Yeah, okay.

0:14:07 - Cyndi
This is not anything unusual. We saw this, but we just didn't see it.

0:14:11 - Allison
Exactly Because, as you said, like you as a, as a kid, as a young girl, you know there's, there's things that like stick out in my head now. You know, like you said, like the activities that you used to like and be into, but that's and that's that. To say that you know straight women some of them are straight. Young girls don't like those activities too, but yours was a little bit, I feel like more so than a lot of girls. And then I remember you as like a early teen, like being uncomfortable, sort of, with your body and your development and there were like signs, I guess, that were there. I just think that we weren't looking for them at the time, but like what you do, and we and I took some time to like go and look back.

0:14:52 - Cyndi
I was like oh yeah, right Right.

0:14:57 - Allison
So I think that's just like you know there was her. I think that you know you didn't. You probably didn't have to tell us like oh yeah, as early as fifth or sixth grade. Because now if someone were to ask me like, oh, like when do you think you know Korie started being interested in, in girls, you know I'd probably say I mean, you know when we're talking about like sexually interested, of course that didn't happen until she was older, but she was never all that interested in boys. So you know, it kind of was a natural thing.

And then you know, as a mom, obviously I have a son and a daughter myself, and who knows what the future holds for them, like in terms of who they'll fall in love with, whatever, I have no idea. However, what I will say is, of course I said that you were my first baby and so, like raising Harper, the young girl that I have to, like compare her to you, and you and Harper, even at four, are like very different. You know what I'm saying. Like there's things that Harper is into that I'm like Korie would have never brought into this, you know, and it's not a bad thing or a good thing, it's just already seeing certain differences in the type of things that Harper likes it for and the type of things that you like it for, and again, I know that who. I don't know what the future holds for Harper. I'm not saying that she will won't whatever. I don't know who she's going to like, but I do know that there is just like a difference?

0:16:21 - Korie
Oh, for sure, 100%. I mean we could already say that in the sense of the birthday parties, because I know we just, you know, we just had Harper's birthday party, right, and I don't even remember, if you want me to be honest with you like doing like a real princess theme for me, but I know that Harper is all princess right now and I love that for her because I'm like, yes, embrace, you know, your Disney princesses, like you know, and had those moments for me it was like spirit parties and we would have horses, horses, and I'm like, yeah, like you know, and even right there it's like, even though Harper is four, and right around that time I was two, three, four, five, going on. But like we have totally, we are totally different. You know types of girls, you know what I mean, right?

0:17:14 - Allison
For sure. So next question I would like to hear like from you you know what it was like coming out. Obviously I just shared kind of what it was like for us as your family when you came out. But how was that Like and what went into it? Because I imagine you know you said that you started kind of feeling like okay, maybe I might eventually be interested in you know the same sex. You started kind of having those like faint thoughts very young and so by the time that, like you did come out to your family, you had been like kind of wrestling with it for a while.

0:17:54 - Korie
So I'm trying to think about how I guess I would start this song. I wouldn't say that my coming out journey slash situation or initial start was like I mean, nobody's this the same, but mine, I felt like was definitely peculiar, because, okay, so when I first started in high school I knew that, okay, there's a whole bunch of different people here, different clips, different areas. Like do I necessarily want to just be in the sports scene? You know what I mean. Like who do I want to meet, you know, and off bat, I mean not even you know trying, you know not to be TMI. But this is how the story went. I was talking to my mom about it, especially like when I first started high school and we had recently just moved to our new area at that point. So she was like, you know, why don't you like try and meet some people? Like meet a couple of guys? High school is different, you know, because you know I have my little middle school boyfriends here and there or whatever. You know little cute pecs on the cheek, you know cute little dates. But she's like, hey, like you know, don't? You know just experience people, and but in her mind, you know, it's people meaning boys or and girls, as in friends, right.

And so when I first got into high school, I felt like there was like this very big or like this big push on hey, you know, go meet somebody. But I knew that meeting somebody meant okay, like go meet a boy, go meet somebody, right. Because in initially really and I know my, my mom, she realized this that I do I wasn't interested and I don't. She was more so trying to gear me to like be open to things, just so I wouldn't get stuck in a certain position. But I just knew that wasn't me. So what ended up happening was okay, I would, you know, get into like you know, relationships or date guys, and immediately off that, I think I was dating this one guy and you know we're still friends to this day.

But like I was dating this one guy and I'm it was like maybe a month in or two and I'm like I just don't want to do this and I was like you know, this is, this is just not me. I feel like we should be hanging out and we shouldn't be like together, like on a date holding hands. This just doesn't feel right to me. And, of course, bless his heart, because I mean he knew just based off of how I was dressing and, like, you know, going to school or even carrying myself at that point. But, right, it was just like there was just such a disconnect and it was more so of like, even.

It was even weird, because I was like I see you more as my brother than I do my boyfriend, and it was like I want to, like I want to go hoop with you rather than I want to sit up here and cuddle with you, and it's like I know that sounds weird, but I'm like I'm messing around with him and I'm like I know he thinks this is weird because I'm like I'm over here, like punching him in the arm, like calling him correctly. You know what I mean Like messing with him, like how I'm with my brother or how I'm. You know what I mean, but I'm like it just it wasn't there. So that was like the start of my like coming out journey Through my freshman year. I want to say that I met a girl at one point and she had become my first girlfriend after this boyfriend and I was like I think this is what I've been looking for.

Like this is exactly what I was talking about. It was the emotional connection, it was feeling comfortability with a woman. For me, it was knowing that we see eye to eye. It was the, at that time, what I would call you know, freshmen to other high school, you know individuals like our type of maturity where it's like, okay, we see eye to eye, but it's like we both have a connection with one another and I was like that is something that I feel like is more intimate for me in a way, not to say that it was like crazy intimate at that point anyway, but I'm just saying like that was a more intimate feeling than me being with a boy or she. Just huh, you guys just got each other basically.

And it was.

It felt great. So I actually my sophomore year I think we had I actually still at that point been experiencing like different types of relationships with both men and female, and I know that sounds crazy, but my mom always said to me, like she was like I want you to try and just, you know, just give it a try, just trying to explore it. I want you to, you know, at least see what happens right. And for me it felt like I was doing a lot of that for her and not for me. So when it was came down to my sophomore year and I had actually been in a pretty, you know, solid state with the person that I was with, next I had came out to her and I remember it was an evening and we were in the car and of course I was emotional because I'm like I really don't know what's going to come out of my mom's mouth right now. You know what I mean. But I don't want our relationship to feel weird because, based off of what at least my friends had told me, who were also in the same position, they were always trying to hide it from their parents and I'm not sure if it's just because of where we were at that point in life because I know it sounds crazy, but even though you know I'm still Gen Z it's very different now than it was when I was in high school. It is so easy now, and when I was in high school I felt like we were all trying to hide it. And when we went to high school and our parents were there, we were like this is our time to express ourselves. You know what I mean. Like behind closed doors, yeah, we'll text, but like we're not really going to see each other outside, you know. But that right there, that was like my comfort zone.

But long story short, I was in the car with her and I came out to her and I was like, hey, mom, like I think I like girls and it's not even the response you would be thinking of, but I do remember the response. The response was no, you don't. And I said, okay, well, like I, what you know, and it's that stuttering, like I don't know what you want me to tell you. Like this is how I feel. And so then I said, no, I like girls. I'm with a girl right now and I would like you to meet her. She was like you don't like girls, but that's okay. And I'm like okay.

And of course I just sat there and I broke down crying because I'm like I don't even know. It's like you just told me that I don't, so you're not accepting it, but you're kind of just brushing it to the side. But I didn't really know how to feel after that because it's like I felt like now that there was a disconnect, because it was like, do you believe me or are you taking it as a joke or what's happening? You know what I mean. So that was just a very weird experience in general and it wasn't like it was anything that, like you know, necessarily impacted our relationship at the time, but it was like I don't know if I could even talk to you about what's going on in my life right now because of how you responded in that moment. Now I get it. It was very.

It definitely caught her off guard and now, of course, now that I'm an adult, now like I can see like where, okay, my only daughter just told me that she likes girls, but why? You know what I mean and I'm not. You know, this isn't to discredit anything, but, like she also, my mom comes from a very, I guess, traditional mindset and I know that that wasn't easy to hear or see either, because she's like I mean, I don't even know how to help her necessarily, I don't know how to what to say, I don't even. She's like because she doesn't know, she's never been in a relationship with a girl, so she's like I'm pretty sure that's mostly what's running through her mind Like does she know? Does she know what she's getting into? Or like does she just feel, like she's going with the crowd, like high school. So that's what's made it very weird, very like taboo, I would say, because it's like it was. It was. It wasn't an acceptance, but it was more of like a. I'm going to say a yeah, yeah.

0:26:39 - Allison
And it's it's funny. Not well, it's not funny, but hearing that, of course you know her mom is my sister, so I know her, as does my mother, and you know. First of all, just to speak for a second, therapeutically, you know, for parents, cory, I think you like hit the nail on the head because what you know, in therapy I have had a few, I've had a few teenage clients, or I did when I was practicing, you know, marriage and family therapy. I had a few teenage clients that I was seeing that expressed to me that they needed to come out to their parents, and so I had to kind of walk through the family, walk with the family through that. And then I also had, I think, one mom whose daughter had came out and I've worked with her through that separately. And you know, the main thing that in therapy you hear parents talk about is grief, and I know that is probably really strange, especially like for someone like you, cory, to hear on the flip side because you're like I'm still here, I didn't die.

What do you mean, how about her parents? They do have to somewhat mourn what they thought was going to happen. And so you know, for a parent let's say, you know with you. I imagine that you know my sister. I imagine that she pictured, oh, she's gonna go to prom with this boy and on her wedding day to this man it's gonna be like that, and while she can totally still have those things with you, it's going to look different for her and other parents than what they anticipated. And so they kind of have to take a second to mourn like what they thought would be.

Now that doesn't excuse their actions often towards their kids, because a lot of people don't handle it or didn't in the past handle it the best.

But it does make sense when you think about it, like if you can put yourself in a parent's position and having all these dreams for these babies, like since you had them, and then all having to just like change it all, like that you know.

And then the second thing I was just gonna say and I'd love to hear your perspective of this mom as well is that I feel like it's a little different now, like you said, cori, in today's generation I mean, it's all so old, but 10 years ago we were always taught like, oh, if you think you're interested in same sex, it's probably a phase and you'll probably go out of it. And so I think that's what was communicated. A lot, especially to girls, is like oh, you're just going through a phase, you're just trying to have fun, you'll grow out of it. And so, mom, what I'd love to hear from you is kind of like, first of all, you know, your reaction to Cori coming out, being that you were kind of on another side of it as like a grandmother type figure, and then also your kind of reaction to how things stand right now with you know how accepting the world is and how it is to raise children in this climate.

0:29:32 - Cyndi
Yeah, I think when Cori first, you know, told me or whoever first told me about you know Cori, you know deciding that she was, you know, in the LBG. I can't even all the letters now.

0:29:45 - Allison
All the letters.

0:29:47 - Cyndi
Yeah, but I remember the first thing I thought about was okay, this does make perfect sense to me. And secondly, I want to make sure that Cori knows that she's still my baby and I still love her. And I think I remember telling you, cori, that you know it was your life and I was very proud of you for finally living your truth. And especially, I remember the day we dropped off at college. I remember even then your mom was still trying to decorate your room and this girly stuff and you were just, you were trying to give in to her. But I could see you were just so heartbroken. And I remember pulling you aside in the store. I think we were in Target and I was like, cori, this is your room, this is your life, not your mom's. You have to. Now. This is your chance to live your life on your terms. And I could sort of see this weight lifted off of you. Just that, just that. Okay, somebody gets it and I don't have to hide this from anybody anymore. And like I tried to make sure that you, you know, knew that it didn't matter, you were still Cori, I still loved you just as much.

Things now are a lot different than when you were growing up, allison, I remember when we first moved to Atlanta we had gone to Pete Mont Park.

Me and your dad had taken to Pete Mont Park and again, we were new to Atlanta. But we're in the park and there are all these it was mostly guys, though coupled up and kissing and fumbling and whatnot, and I remember you were like Mommy, you know why are these boys kissing? Like you and daddy, you know, you were just like you know what is this? So I remember we were like, okay, if first of all, it's time to leave the park, because my kid does not need to see this, and at this point I don't quite know how to explain this to her, but I do remember later, you know, telling you that you know there's some children that have two moms, there's some that have two dads, and you know they're still a family and it's okay.

Things are a lot different now. It's a lot more open, a lot more accepting. People just really are looking for love wherever they find it and wherever it makes them happy. Now I will say, as a 60 year old woman, the only issue that I do have now with the whole, you know, gay community is worse on TV, on TV. Sometimes I feel like they are shoving it down everyone's throat.

0:32:20 - Allison
Yeah, like everyone is scared.

0:32:21 - Cyndi
Yeah, and even, like you know, with the little kids and their cartoons. Now they're introducing that and I just sometimes feel like that's not quite the place to introduce that, because there are some parents that aren't ready to explain that to their children yet. So if there's any, you know, pro and con. I would just say that that to me is sort of a con. But as far as anyone else I say find love wherever you can. If it makes you happy, then I'm all for it.

0:32:48 - Allison
Yeah, I think it's definitely interesting that you pointed out like the cartoon thing, because raising children it's tricky, you know, it's really hard because there are. I think that there are certain conversations that it should be a parent's job to decide, or write to decide when and when not to have this conversation with your kids, like how old they're gonna be. You know, when you have this talk, however, because of it's mostly the media, it's not because of family members or friends or people that you just see walking outside, it's mostly the media.

You are forced to have the conversation very very very early and I do kind of review with you, mom, that like it takes some of the control out of the parents and places it, you know, in outside forces. However, on the flip side of that, I do think that it is necessary to have these conversations earlier, you know, maybe not as early as it's required from the media, but it is necessary to have these conversations earlier just because it is likely that my four-year-old, you know, is going to have someone at her school that has either two moms or two dads. It is likely that my four-year-old might have a friend who is already you know I won't say that they're gay or lesbian, because as much like that becomes like a sexual, like a sexuality but who was already maybe more and I put this in quotes because I know it's not a popular term but more girly than most boys, you know, and interested in things that, if we're talking about traditional gender norms, we would say are for girls. And I know that those things are going to happen because the world is more accepting of it, as the world should be. So I do have to prepare her for those things, honestly, only because I don't want her, in her ignorance, to be a bully and to mistreat someone. You know what I'm saying.

That is not the kind of kid that we want to raise. There are a lot of questions that are going to come up that I don't necessarily think it's time to answer. However, I don't want her to be so confused by it that she accidentally hurts someone's feelings, and so I mean, Korie, I know that you know you didn't choose to be a lesbian for me, but I appreciate you for giving me a kind of an opportunity to have those conversations with Harper appropriately and openly, without it being like because imagine if she had have asked someone else or you're a girl or a boy, like that could have gotten a little awkward. But I appreciate that, like you know, she was able to ask you and that was able to be her introduction, and that you didn't get, you know, offended at the fact that she just like, honestly didn't understand you know Right Well, how accepted did you feel, or do you feel, by your family and close friends, close friends now.

0:35:51 - Korie
Definitely. I mean personally me. I feel like I am 100% accepted, especially by my friends and my close family, just because I feel like this is what, like, we've known for like a good amount of time, especially now because I mean started college four years ago, so now it's been like a good like four or five years for it to like really set in and well and to that I don't feel any less love from my family, if that makes sense Like it doesn't feel like, oh, like you know they don't really like me, like no more, cause I don't dress, you know how I used to, or you know I'm not like the same little girl no, never. And honestly, if you want me to be honest, it was more. So I was more worried about less my mom and, honestly, you grandma, cindy, or like Nana, who is my other grandma, but like, cause I felt like it was just still, like it's a bigger gap between us, but also, too, like I'm still more I feel like y'all's real, real baby, cause I'm y'all's grand baby. You know what I mean. But at this it was weird, cause I kind of threw myself for a loop, because I feel like you and Nana were the people who accepted me the most. Like it was actually kind of crazy, like you guys were the ones that you know.

Once I actually came out to Nana I was like, hey, nana, you know I'm a lesbian and she's like. You know, honey, that is great. Who's your new friend? And I'm like you know, that's awesome, you know, and I'm just, I'm just so happy that you know you guys and my family and my close friends and you know, really do accept me for who I am.

But I also have done a really good job personally with like picking who my circle is. It's very diverse and honestly, if I do say so myself, a lot of my friends and my female friends are actually straight. So it's like it's like a weird balance. But I have both male, female and gay, lesbian, trans friends, but they all accept me for who I am and I think they just love that this is who I am and like how I portray my character. You know what I mean and that's like all they can ask for. I mean because you know you wouldn't want a fake version of me when I'm not really happy in who I am so for sure that was gonna be my question, are you?

100 happy. I'm like, honestly, that the happiness started when I got into like the first month of college. Ignoring the schoolwork, you know what I mean Like Other than that stress, like it was just the fact that when I got into College, I and there was that like that first foot in the door, that first month getting to meet people, going to the socials, and I was like Yo, I'm really by myself up here, like Right, and I was like I don't have to, you know, beat anybody else. And and I know this is gonna sound crazy, but when I first went up to school, I think that was the like when I found my happiness and I found who I was and I even had to to take a break, and that was nothing against anybody, but I had to take a moment for myself to actually like experience who I was like on a day to day, like With, with like little to no input, like I needed to understand like okay, kori, you need to talk to yourself, but you need to be like okay, is this really what I want? Because for the longest time I guess it had been conflicting through my head. Because you know, you want to be able to make your family proud and you want to be able to also like Make sure that you kind of let them know that you're also taking care of yourself in the ways that you need to and that you're not Putting yourself in a bad position.

So even when I was in college, I was like should I be liking boys? Should I? You know, is that really what it's like? Am I? Am I? Confused myself and I had those inner thoughts and those questions. But I really had to take the time for myself. Like there was days and weeks where I was like, okay, I just I don't need to talk to anybody, I need to figure out what kori likes, figure, you know, make these connections on my own, without anybody else's input. And when I was able to do that, that's when I was like you know what kori is, this fun, loving woman, and I knew I was a girl like I'm I I Didn't even for a mind crossed my, you know, crossed me that, okay, am I a boy like you know? Am I, you know, no, I am a hundred percent she, her.

But I like to carry myself In this way. I'm am more androgynous, representing, and that's what I've also learned about myself even more recently Is that I do have both that masculine and feminine side to myself, which I think makes me even happier, that I was able to express that and that I didn't just have to you know when. You know what I thought was making other people happy. But I'm like you know what, I'm gonna throw on baggy cargoes and a t-shirt and some sneakers and Affitted and I'm gonna be happy because this, literally, this fit. I'm loving it, you know. But there was also those days where I was like you know, I want to wear short shorts and a crop top. So I was like you know what, I was embracing it all and still even embracing that, okay, and I you know it's not men that I want, it really isn't I really do Find an attraction and have a better connection with women. So it definitely made me a hundred percent happier and now I feel just a hundred percent comfortable who I am right now.

0:41:27 - Cyndi
Well, I am super super proud of you in your own truth and walking in your light. You know I love you to the moon and back. You know you saw my son. I'll do that. So I'm just, you know, I'm just so happy for you and excited for what the future holds for you.

0:41:44 - Korie
Oh my god, you know you guys are gonna be there.

0:41:49 - Allison
No Cory looking for in, because I definitely want for parents and just like people in general, to be able to take something From this episode and apply it, you know, in their life.

How would you and I? I know that you cannot speak for everybody in the lgpq plus community, so I'm not asking you to be like the spokesperson. However, you know, I do want to hear it from someone who is closer to it than many of us are. Um like, how would you suggest that that parents educate their children in order to just be more knowledgeable and aware of the different types of people you know that are out there?

0:42:28 - Korie
So and this is a big question, because I, honestly, I can see myself on, like both the traditional way of how my mom was trying to come about things, because I know it is shocking, like how you said, like you have to to mourn that person that you weren't you were expecting and it didn't come. You know what I mean. But also, too, I feel like you can't be necessarily closed off to like the different possibilities that aren't your norm. You know what I mean. So, with that being said, I guess what I can give us like a pretty prime example Um, one of my close friends that I have right now that I met through college, she, honestly, she has two moms and she was born from one of them and the other one was, um, you know they were married and everything. So she knew off bat that you know I have mom and mom, like that's normal. You know what I mean, and so I've even asked her this question to kind of get more input, because I'm like you know, how do you feel? Like, how did, do you know that you like don't like boys or not Like, how does how does that work? Because she was like well, here's the thing, though, like, for most people it is a mom and a dad, but for me, a mom and a mom was my norm. You know what I mean. And that's not to say that I don't like Um, that's not to say that I don't like men, because she says now she's like I am Bisexual and I thought that I was a lesbian for the longest time because that's what my parents were. You know what I mean. But she was like, but that was my norm, but she was like also, too, it also depends on how your parents are able to, I guess, guide you and Let you know even just how to protect yourself or like how to Go about experiencing these new relationships and these new connections.

So, with that being said, like when you are, basically you know you have a young child and you're trying to teach them and educate them. I guess it's less about being Traditional as to what we see and seeing, okay, like hey, like you know you have mommy and daddy, you know what I mean and just kind of addressing individuals as people and who love each other and I know that's a very like hard concept to grasp, especially for kids, um, but it's more so about teaching them and trying to even Educate yourself on having like a a wider perspective and knowing that, okay, not much changes when, okay, if a man and a woman decide to have a baby and like, and a woman, a woman, decide To have one, or even a man and a man, you know what I mean. If we're gonna have a baby, we're gonna figure out how to have a baby and if we're gonna have a family, we're gonna have to have to have a family, like nothing changes other than the gender of the parents. You know what I mean and I feel like it is what the kid sees and what it reflects. But at the same time, I feel like the only lack of the the child not knowing is when you fail to address what is seen or what is outside of your norm.

And I felt like that was what I was missing too when I was younger, because, even though I knew that, okay, I had seen, you know gay men before, even you know just where we live, our demographic, you know what I mean and I was like you know, did I? Did I see that there was a difference? Yes, but like I, it wasn't, like I was taught anything different, which I thought was nice, because you know there was co-workers that my mom worked with that were gay and she was just like, oh yeah, like that's, you know, that's so, and so like go say hi, like she. You know she never addressed, I guess, that how they carried themselves, she just addressed me more. So them as a person, and that's what helped a lot, you know what I mean. Instead of addressing them as oh yeah, like they're gay, they act a certain way, like the child will catch that and it'll, it'll be known.

But it's only when you separate them from being a person and their characteristics that it gets confusing. That makes sense. I don't. I know it's a very confusing topic. It's not something that's easily grass, but it when you put, okay, hey, this is Korie, you know, this is, you know, your bestie, or whatever you know, and she hears me, she's gonna think to herself like Harper, you know, acknowledge, okay, she sounds like a girl and I knew she looked a certain way well before when I saw her, but now she looks more like a boy and that's not. You know, that's no problem. You know what I mean.

I don't get offended by it personally because I'm like, I know it's a big switch, even with adults. You know, adults they call me sir all the time before they hear my voice and then they're like, oh my god, I'm so sorry and I'm like it is completely, a hundred percent okay, but I it's just nice when people address me more as a person instead of staring and trying to evaluate what I am. You know what I mean and it's, and, but that goes with anything. You're not gonna want your kid, just you know, staring at somebody blatantly, you know, don't? You know, don't stare. You know that is a person. They live normally. It's just like how we would all move and be, you know.

0:47:35 - Cyndi
No, I think as long as especially with the, with the little kids coming up, as long as they see two loving parents Expressing love for each other, I think that's, you know, that's the foundation, you know, whether it's mom and mom who love each other, you know, dad and dad or mom and dad, I think as long as they feel that emotional connection and feel that love coming from within the family, I think everything else is just, you know, a conversation.

0:48:04 - Allison
Yeah, I agree. Oh, like, like what we're saying earlier, I think you know it's important for parents to realize that, at the end of the day, right for the most part, when kids come into this world, they're kind of a blank slate when it comes to race, when it comes to gender and sexuality, when it comes to all the things, like they don't know anything and so they are going to, to a certain degree, act the way that we teach them to act or act the way they see us act, and so I think it's just really important for parents to model respect at the end of the day that we there, there are people that will make different decisions than us, not just when it comes to gender and sexuality, but when it comes to everything.

You know, and I'm saying like Everyone's family is going to do what is best for their family, what it's best for their household. It might not look the same at our, as ours, and that's okay, but we can still respect their decisions, respect them as people and treat them kind, right you?

0:49:03 - Korie
know right and what I was gonna say too. I believe you also asked me like what Would be like a tip for parents in that sense and and especially if you have like a kid who is or is kind of like exploring or trying to figure out who they are, personally, me I say, treat it no different, especially when it comes to that sexuality portion and trying to figure out what you like, I say treat it no different than how you would if it was the opposite sex, and but that's not to say that you know you're not gonna. Still, you know, put those boundaries at certain ages. You know, okay, you know you don't want to. You know, start off anything like too crazy early, but it's still that same. Okay, you know, if you have a friend that's a boy, that's fine. You know you can hang out with them, do what you. You know, you know you have a good time, whatever, but it's still, I guess, allowing them to process that. And I feel like, either if it's a girl or girl, boy or boy they're, they're gonna start figuring that out. But I also feel like sometimes, when it is the, the parents that start to notice that your child may be Expressing a form of themselves. That is not the norm that you're used to. That's when we start to close them off.

Because I personally felt like when I even came out or I started expressing that a little bit, I felt like the reins got really tight for me, because it was almost like, okay, well, if she's not going to a boy's house, I can't trust her with her friends either. And that's not the case. You know what I mean. I have girls who are friends, but I also, can you know, if I wanted to, I could have a relationship with the girl, but that is no different if I was in a relationship with a boy. You know what I mean, right?

So it's like I, it's not gonna help to tighten the reins on somebody who's trying to Explore what their sexuality is. I feel like the support still needs to be there, the, the guidance still needs to be there. But trying to, to to, I guess, position them to go the route that you want them to go Usually never works. You know, it only brings them farther away from you, because it just it puts this barrier up like, well, why don't you trust me? You know what I mean. And then now, now it becomes a trust thing the older you get and it's like okay. Well, now I don't really want to tell you anything, because every time I do something it's always like this big questioning factor when really it should have just been the same way regardless If I was with a boy or if I was with a girl. You know what I mean.

0:51:46 - Allison
That makes perfect sense, and I feel like, therapeutically, you know, in In speaking with parents who are going through this, that's pretty much what I would suggest as well is just, I think the the main word is acceptance. You know, and, yes, you know, as a parent it might take you some time to kind of for lack of a better word come to terms so with the new normal or what could be the new normal, but I think that at the end of the day, you have to be accepting and you have to allow your child room to explore and room to grow and room to figure out who they are when it comes to their gender and sexuality, as well as every other area of their life. You know, really you know. I know that this is a much more complicated and much more of a big deal, but almost like, treat it like you know. When your kid is picking a major at college, you know how you would suggest that they will try out a bio class and then go try out you know this class, See which one you're more drawn to. I know that sounds crazy, because this is like your whole life and not just your major.

However, you know, have that same sort of Acceptance with your kids and that's what I always, you know, would tell, would tell parents is feel all of your feelings.

However, you have to give your, your child, room to be who they are, in an environment that feels supportive and loving and accepting, because, unfortunately, we've all heard so so many. You know horror stories and and and just you know the worst things that can happen when children grow up and they don't feel that support and acceptance. And so, with that being said, you know we're definitely going to leave a list of kind of resources in the show notes for parents who Just kind of need some more direction as to you know how to To handle this, because it is confusing, you know, even for my age and I'm in my 30s, but you know, raising kids now is different, you know, in this regard, than it was for my mom raising kids and Korie, when you raise kids, I'm sure it will be different, you know, for you too, because the world is is ever evolving. So we are going to leave some resources just for parents to kind of help you Sort through all the things.

0:54:05 - Cyndi
Well, we want to thank you guys for listening in with us. I hope you Um got a little bit of insight from this episode. It was, you know, somewhat of a touchy subject, but we felt like it was something that needs to have been addressed. So, again, we thank you for listening and if you have any questions or comments, please Let us know.

0:54:24 - Allison
Yes, let us know all the questions and comments. Of course we will be leaving Korie's social media handles as well so that you guys can follow her and also, if you guys are special for our patrons over on patreon, we are going to have a little bit more with Korie as we ask her a couple of Little bonus questions for our extra episodes. So if you're not already subscribed to patreon, be sure to subscribe now so that you can hear what she has to say next.

0:54:54 - Cyndi
Okay, Korie, thank you so much for joining us.

0:54:56 - Korie
Thank you for having me family. I love you guys. Thank you.

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