Finding Identity With Calvin Lundin
Calvin Lundin: trailblazer, role model in the LGBTQ+ community, and unapologetically himself.
Q: What has it been like trying to express your identity?
As a person who is still not fully comfortable with my identity, I have definitely had a hard time with this. Expression can be really tough because you’re putting a piece of yourself out there and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I’m lucky enough to have amazing friends and family who support me through everything, so expressing my identity has never been an issue in terms of how they might react. However, I know of many people who aren’t so lucky, and that’s why I try to be open about who I am. I hope to make them feel welcomed and safe.
Q: Have you experienced any negative comments or faced bullying? If so, how did you overcome this?
I live in a very accepting area, so facing hate wasn’t much of a problem. There have been a few instances where people were mean, but I don’t let one ignorant person get me down too much.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who isn’t comfortable with their current social identity?
I would say to accept yourself for who you are as best you can. Self acceptance isn’t something people talk about a lot, but it was a key aspect in me understanding who I was. I would almost say that accepting myself was harder than being accepted by others because I felt like something was wrong with me. I became more comfortable with my identity through time and being honest with myself.
Q: What is the best way to support a friend who may be transitioning, coming out, or having struggles with their identity?
Educating yourself is a HUGE step in supporting others. I know I always feel more comfortable when I’m around people who have done research/been exposed to the trans experience. Another way you can support your LGBTQ+ peers is by letting them know that you love and are there for them. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it means so much to know that we’re cared for and loved by our friends.
Q: What is the biggest obstacle transgender teens face today?
I don’t want to speak for the whole trans community, but in my opinion the biggest obstacle trans people face right now is misrepresentation. The media is super powerful, so when they represent a trans person in a harmful way it can influence people’s views on trans lives. The media is able to uphold harmful stereotypes and stigmas around many groups of people, and their representation of trans folks definitely doesn’t help us out.
Q: You are open and expressive of who you are on Instagram, which is a positive quality that many teens don’t have. Do you ever second guess yourself before posting something or let the opinions of others get to your head?
Definitely. I have enough followers where there’s a moment of hesitation before I post something about who I am. It was definitely harder when I first came out because I was re-introducing myself to everyone, but it got easier as I was out longer. My mindset is to express who I am and disregard the people who don’t like it.
Q: Do you think social media has helped or hindered self-expression?
This is a tough question to answer. However, for the most part, I would say it’s helped. Social media makes it easy to interact with lots of people, so I’m able to express myself to a larger audience. Social media also makes it possible for me to follow other trans people and get inspiration from them. There are definitely some bad aspects to social media, but it has helped so much in my journey.
Q: What was it like coming out to your parents?
Coming out to my parents was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. I was hiding such a huge part of myself from them for so long, and eventually I just realized I couldn’t do that anymore. I had to be honest with them if I wanted to be happy. It was a little difficult for my parents to understand my identity at first, but they educated themselves and have accepted me as their son. I’m so grateful to have parents that have supported me through this.