CARNITA ASADA

 
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My pronouns? Anything respectful, really.

Like, “hey you” Or, “ugly ass drag queen”…I’m just kidding. I respond to he/she, him/her, they/them. Really anything.

I’m cool with anything. I went to the grocery store today and I was walking in and this guy was like, “hey gay guy!” And I’m like, first of all- don’t label me, And second of all- just no. So that would be an example of a disrespectful way of trying to get my attention.

I’m moving forward in life, I’m still walking down the street however I want to be. If I want to put eyeshadow on or couch cushions for hip pads- I‘m gonna walk into a gas station and do it and be confident about it. Luckily, I’ve had zero instances or problems with anybody in Phoenix.

ever since I was young I have been very defiant.

If you told me I couldn’t wear that, [then] I would wear that. If you told me I couldn’t do that- oh yeah? Watch me. I’m going to do that. In the same sense too if someone told me “you can’t wear high heels”, oh I can’t? Ok, I’m putting on high heels. Or I can’t wear a suit? I’m gonna do that. However I feel like I want to do something, I do it. So my identifier comes with my experience with the love for myself.

I have accepted who I was a long time ago. I feel like my journey is never complete. As far as exploring different kinks and sexual things and different people, I’m pretty ok. I’m pretty ok with where I’m at. Actually I’m very happy with where I am in my relationship that if I needed something or whatever, my partner would be more than happy to accommodate which also benefits him.

I think the most beautiful message that anyone has ever given me is that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate who you are because you’re celebrating what you’re figuring out day-to-day, minute-by-minute, year-by-year.

And that in itself, from the moment you question to the moment you find out, is a beautiful thing you can share with anybody. And I would say this- find a sense of community. There are youth centers, there are activities that you can participate in that don’t have an age limit. There’s a lot of other things that you could do to get your hands dirty. Maybe you’ll find someone that’s like you and you can ask the questions that maybe someone like me or someone that doesn’t understand that as much, can give you some kind of closure or some kind of “ah ha moment” that you’ll realize inside yourself that that’s exactly who you are.

 
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I think, for me, queer is an encompassing of everything- everything gay- in my mind.

I’m in a male/male relationship. Like a typical same-sex relationship, but I’m more gender-queer, I think. Because I think my queerness or my fluidity comes depending how I feel that day. I don’t think attraction defines me, it’s just who I am as a person. So, yes I could be with a woman or be with a man or with someone who’s transgender. It’s just me and who I fall in love with, really.

Queer, I don’t know if you know this, the most used and accepted word for somebody who is “gay”. So, I did this reality show (way) back when, and in the title it had “queer”. I was like, oh my gosh, that’s me. That’s exactly me. And to be able to see people from all walks of life come together and to be able to self-identify how they feel. Obviously, I don’t like labeling myself or putting myself in one bubble, so queer encompasses everything in my opinion.

I actually think my family always knew that I was a little bit different.

Not in a bad way, just there was something unique about me. So, if I did musicals or if I did character stuff for Halloween, or what ever I decided to do, it was mostly embraced. And even to this day, my family have been to drag shows and my mom, being silly, instead of calling it drag, she calls it dress up and will ask things like, “Are you doing dress-up tonight?” (laughs).

For me it’s either support me or don’t be in my life. And at the end of the day, they love me enough to be in my life. I think that really is an identifier. My family is very supportive but they also know that this is me, you can’t change it. But more importantly, would you rather me not be in your life? Or just learn from what you don’t know and come to love being a part of who I am.

The shirt [I’m wearing] was inspired by an Annie Lennox thing she posted on Instagram I think it was like a year or two, maybe three.

She had this message, I could be misunderstanding it, but the message was more like, hey we are all fighting the stigma. It’s not just the HIV community trying to convince everybody else. It could be me, it could be you, somebody we love and care about could have HIV, and you can’t sit there and pretend like it’s not just their fight.

Part of having the platform I do is because I stay active and I’m huge activist for change. And when you have a platform and you semi-have a voice, people listen. And people grasp onto things that either can be a part of change or can help start a conversation that may be difficult for some people to talk about. HIV in our community is still a very touchy subject. And since we know that HIV doesn’t just affect the queer community, it affects everybody. And I’m trying to get a conversation starting where now there’s preventative medicine to stop the spread of HIV, like Truvada. Women and men can both take that so, why aren’t we?

I think [our message] needs to be louder.

I think it needs to be just like we are- vibrant with more noise and more attention than ever before because the moment we stay silent and content is the moment things can change for the worse. I’m not talking about anything political, I’m talking about things that may trample the progress our community has made. The moment people become content with anything in life, especially as it pertains how you identify, is the moment somebody, an organization, a company, a city or whatever else feels they have the power to decide what is right and wrong, or can come in and take away the progress we have made overnight. I mean, you look at history and when our community makes progress, others who don’t stand with us will try to knock us back and suppress us any chance they can get. Even resorting to pinning members of our own community against each other causing extreme infighting within our own Rainbow. They do this so you feel defeated and don’t want to fight as hard, but really, continuing the progress in a motion that is always moving forward will ensure our voices don’t get lost, and the fight will always continue. This fight is no longer about us, its about those who come after us.

If anyone ever wants to reach out to me, I can get them into contact with any community resource. My handle on every social media is @CarnitaAsada. And the 21 and older- if they’ve never been to the Queer Agenda on Tuesday nights at Stacy’s, is literally a hodgepodge of everything you’ve ever thought- queer culture at it’s best, in my opinion. Families come and it has touched me. I get letters about the way the show has allowed people to better understand the their self-acceptance, which makes it even more important to continue that message of love and acceptance.

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