Q&A with Rachel Mallin
Photo by Anna Selle
What drew you to Pride this year?
I feel that it’s become crucial to be actively participating in LGBTQIA events and causes given the current political climate.
Why is Pride important to you and the queer community?
Pride is vital to the community. It represents a communal celebration in the fight for socio-political equality for every human being regardless of sex, ethnicity, and orientation. On a personal level, Pride has always felt like a like an environment free of judgment and criticism and has acted as a relief to my long past apprehensions of coming out.
What's something you wish could happen or develop within the KC community?
As a Kansas Citian, I realize that we are a developing progressive city in the midst of a predominantly conservative state. It would be something of a dream to see my city creating accessible and inclusive local events that advocate a safe space for LGBTQIA identifying individuals to be empowered.
What's something that you're proud of?
The last time I attended Pride, I was inhibited by the weight of not having told my friends and family that I was interested and had dated people of the same sex. I felt like an impostor who couldn’t say that she was really “proud” of anything about herself, because I wasn’t being honest with anyone. I’m proud to say that since my first Pride, I have conquered that insecurity that prevented me from being honest with others about my sexuality. I’m proud to be a part of my family that expressed unwavering compassion and acceptance when I told them I was dating a girl, because
I know not all people who come out to their families got as lucky as I did.
How has coming out shifted your sense of self/identity?
Coming out has caused me to feel more secure and confident about so many parts of my life. I’ve started feeling protective of everyone else who has endured and is still enduring the anxiety of being closeted. It makes you want to fight for the world to be a place void of judgment and harassment that causes humans to feel like they can’t be comfortable in heir own bodies.
As a musician, what was difficult about coming out?
Successful musicians are expected to have a story. I was concerned that my identity would be publicly pigeon-holed after coming out when I want my music to encompass so much more of the human experience than just my own sexuality.
How has your songwriting changed since coming out?
I think my songwriting has evolved in a way that feels more honest to me, and more transparent for everybody else. The first song of mine that was played on the radio was actually about a girl. I phrased the lyrics in a way so that the identity of the person who inspired the narrative was ambiguous. It felt sort of like a cop-out. Having to hide parts of an experience that inspires you to write a song, essentially defeats the purpose of writing a song. Coming out made me feel creatively liberated, because there’s not this giant part of my life that I’m having to hide from people like myself who connect with a song by extracting meaning from the lyrics.