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What do Beyoncé and I have in common? The answer: Big Freedia

May 31, 2018

Dear Big Freedia,

I wanted to write this letter to let you know how much you have helped me in my journey to not only accepting my identity as a queer person, but also as a black queer person that has family with deep southern roots in Mississippi.

Before really understanding who I was, I found a role model and that role model was you. You were my first introduction to southern queer identities, and with that you showed me how to overcome barriers against LGBTQ people in the South. From your fierce aesthetic to the nonstop support you give to the New Orleans community, you fill the streets with ass-in-the-air energy.

Through bounce music I found myself. I found that anyone can bounce and it can be a form of liberation for me and thousands of other young queer and trans identifying teens. I just want you to know that your music and presence on tracks like Beyoncé’s “Formation” and Drake’s “Nice For What” have brought you to a platform where I can hear people who have never heard of you before talk about and quote you. That just shows me that you just have to trust in yourself and the process and amazing things will come.

Growing up, I was very shaky and scared to make any decision that could possibly affect my future—whether that be moving states, being my authentic self, or engaging in intersex activism in public. I have been able to accomplish so much and hope to continue this just by believing in myself and trusting the decisions I make.

GLAAD Campus Ambassador, Jonathan Leggette

In your intro to “Explode,” you say, “People get confused by if I am he or she, I am more than just Big Freedia I am more than just Queen Diva, I am more than just Freddie Ross, I am me, I am the ambassador...” These words show me that I cannot stop myself because of other people’s confusion or lack of knowledge, that my advocacy is bigger than I am, and that I can be an ambassador for all of my communities because I am a person that has intersectional identities that someone else can relate to. With those words, I became inspired to finally come out and show that I am just me no matter what labels and communities I belong to. I represent my people, my ancestors, and my cultures. That’s something I didn’t fully process until I listened to "Explode."

I know I am not alone in this feeling, and I want to highlight that your music isn’t just about bouncing, but has real world implications such as promoting body positivity, bringing communities together, and teaching people to express themselves as authentically as they can.

I continue to follow in your unapologetic footsteps when it comes to trailblazing and bringing awareness to the community. My life goal is to meet you and be able to talk about identities, background, and southern culture while also continuing my work with GLAAD and HRC to help so many young queer and trans kids navigate their identities and learn that they are not alone and can do anything they put their minds to.

From one of the thousands you have inspired and continue to inspire,

Jonathan 

#WeStan is an amp original series honoring LGBTQ legends in media because we know that representation matters. Follow along on GLAAD social mediaFacebook, Instagram, Twitterto see who our fans stan!

Jonathan Leggette is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador and a junior at The Evergreen State College. Jonathan works as a New Student Mentor and a Peer Advisor at the Trans and Queer Center at Evergreen State. Off-campus, Jonathan serves as an interAct youth advocate and speaker, bringing intersex awareness education to schools across the country.

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