While growing up in Orange, California – a notoriously conservative city just south of Los Angeles – Ji had a mom and brother who were accepting of queer people, but just like Aditya and Nayland in previous episodes, Ji still found it difficult to come out to their family.
The truth is, many of us endure our queer coming of age alone even if we have people in our lives who would likely support us. Perhaps we are hesitant because we don’t personally know anyone who is out. Ji describes this as never having their “Ring of Keys” moment.
For those of you who don’t know, this turn of phrase is a reference to a song from the Broadway musical FUN HOME which won the Tony for best new musical in 2015. You can see a performance of the song HERE (https://youtu.be/pMAuesRJm1E)
Based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, FUN HOME tells the story of Bechdel’s experience growing up in her family’s funeral home and her life with an emotionally distant father who was also a closeted gay man.
The ring of keys described in the song belongs to a local butch lesbian who young Alison admires from a distance, entranced by the lesbian’s swagger and toughness indicated by the ring of keys hanging from her belt loop. Until that moment, young Alison thought that her life would have a very narrow path, but seeing an out, butch lesbian gave her permission to dream about her future in a new way.
Maybe you never had that moment of self-acceptance. Maybe because you never thought that being out could be an option. If so, I hope you can listen to Ji’s story and feel inspired to finally accept yourself and start looking for your own “Ring of Keys” moment.
PRODUCTION NOTE: If you’re a regular listener, you might notice that this episode doesn’t have a post-interview segment. Moving forward, I’m only going to do these segments when I’m inspired and also have time which may not be that often since I recently started a new full time job.
Producing and releasing each episode’s featured interview and the accompanying promo video has top priority and anything past that will be less prioritized. To be perfectly frank, I was never a big fan of “hosting” anything and I prefer to stay in the background and make FRUITBOWL a platform for other queer voices.
But as I mention in this episode, I love hearing from listeners, so write me and let me know what you think of this new direction and if you miss the hosting segments, tell me and I will make them more of a priority.
Also, for future reference, this episode was produced during the first week of a broad “shelter at home” order from the City of Seattle during the Coronavirus epidemic of 2020, so that may have something to do with the more mellow, low-key tone of the music I used for this episode. Sorry if it sounds depressing, but I kinda wanted this episode to feel quiet and calm in spite of the chaos that is going on right now.
I hope you are all safe and you can reach out to loved ones right now if you need support. Please be strong and we will get through this together.