Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

This is a powerful question I have always struggled to answer. I was told I was "gay" when I was sixteen by a friend due to my friendships looking more like courtships. I spent the next year or so labeling myself “bisexual” until officially coming out “lesbian” senior year. Friends were happily not surprised, at all, but It took being regularly intoxicated to come out completely.

I started college with many questions surrounding sexuality and gender.The next five years I spiraled into heavy active addiction where sexuality wasn't even an issue.

Almost like a fish mainstreaming back into water, everything came together after winning Mr. Philly Drag King, Mr. Philly Gay pride 2013, and becoming a performer with Liberty City Kings Drag and Burlesque.I knew I was missing a sense of belonging to a community as well as a sense of who I was, which is a key component of why I entered.

All of a sudden I was being asked for pronoun preference, I was being asked about my identity in ways I hadn't known existed and all of a sudden I was home.There was language for all of my feelings all along, I just didn't possess it. It was like someone knocked and said, "Hey, here's everything you suppressed about sexuality and a positive place to exist with it all." I had longed to interact with people of a like mind, and felt I had been unaware of just how much was available in the world. My excitement couldn't contain itself nor could my learning heart.

Tina became Timmy Tenderloin and then was switched to Tee. Performing as Timmy is becoming more and more like an active ability to express myself even further as an extension of my masculine side. Maybe the female side will perform at some point as well! Also, I simply love acting and performing. I am coming out in many new and challenging ways all over again? Wait, again? As a drag king? As Tee? As gender queer or gender fluid? I get every question ranging from, "So you aren't a lesbian now?", to "Do you want a penis?" and a plethora of curiosities that misinformed people can ask.

I feel as if I am ensconced in this all the while accepting all of this new information with very open ears and eyes myself. “She” pronouns have become “they” and “them” as my preference. All of a sudden it is okay to be my true self and that self doesn't mind if you don't quite get it, sometimes I don't quite get it.

I can't define something undefinable, I will always be changing and coming out. There are few fears now knowing I have some of the most incredible,accepting, eye opening people in our community of Philadelphia surrounding me. My coming out story is that I am Tee. I am awkward, queer, clean, grateful, and happy.I love to dance. My soul is full because I can be me, no matter what manifestation I choose.

Tina, AKA Timmy Tenderloin, is the winner of Mr. Drag King Philadelphia 2013.

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