Ducks of PRIDE: Kiara Flowers
PRIDE Month is here and we here at AfroDuck Studios (ADS) are proud and excited to have members of the LGBTQ+ Community as part of our team. We decided to ask our Pride Community Members of ADS some questions regarding their journeys and stories. We are excited to share these stories with you and hope you enjoy them.
“I’m just becoming me.”
Who are you?
“My name is Kiara Chantay Flowers and I am originally from #Believeland, aka Cleveland, Ohio and I’m currently still in Ohio just a different city which I’d like to keep anonymous. I’ve been in Ohio for all 25 of my years and I left Cleveland when I was 9.”
What do you identify as and what are your pronouns?
“She/her & I identify as bisexual.”
What does Pride mean to you?
“To me Pride month is ultimately about being yourself for yourself.”
When did you first become familiar with being part of the LGBTQ+ Community?
“I can’t say I always knew exactly what I was because I suppressed a lot growing up in a religious household & attending catholic schools. It wasn’t really until my later teen years & with the help of a friend in my early 20’s that I came to terms with my sexuality & truly began to accept who I was. I still have a little ways to go, I wouldn’t say I’m all the way out, but I also don’t feel like I owe it to anyone but myself. I’m just becoming me.”
What does the word “discrimination” mean to you?
“Discrimination stems from ignorance and often internalized hate and can progress into action which can cause the person on the opposite side to become fearful. Discrimination means you fear being your true self because you are afraid of what may happen and it can be because of your social status, religious beliefs, race, gender, sexuality and many more with the possibility of it all ending with the same result of destroying lives.”
“every act of kindness is appreciated…”
Have you ever heard of a story about an LGBT person facing discrimination in your state, or have you personally been discriminated against for your sexual orientation or gender identity?
“I counseled a young LGBTQ member of a church I used to go to. We grew up together I was about 5 years older than him so naturally I saw him as a younger brother and I was the first person he came out to. He was alone & felt condemned by his family and his church & became depressed & even driven to attempting suicide but fortunately he was unsuccessful. He has gotten better through the years but has not been able to find a strong support system so he lives a suppressed life under his family. I know there are many kids like him that struggle with this and are driven to suicide but are actually successful with it and it angers and saddens me. This is why I believe we need more POC representation so that kids like him can see they’re okay and not grow up hating themselves.”
Can you briefly describe some of the LGBTQ+ people who are important to you in your life?
“I’m lucky to work in such an accepting company, I’ve never been able to be around so many proud Queer individuals and a company that is just as proud of them! There’s someone in particular I met from work who has now become a good friend of mine who I’ll refer to as Anthony and he has helped me with not only accepting my sexuality but accepting that it doesn’t fit in society’s made-up box of what bisexuality is.”
What do you do for work? And what are you involved with in your community?
“Aside from being a Duck, I work for a really awesome tech company! Having come to terms with my sexuality a bit later than some, I am a bit late to the game in terms of where I want to be with LGBTQ involvement but I’ve always been a progressive protester/activist. Being a Bi POC (person of color), I see the need for more representation and that has inspired a lot of my current side projects.”
What advice would you give to someone who was struggling to understand their identity?
“I always thought you had to “come out of the closet”, but closets are for clothes. You are a human being and this is your life and you do what makes you happy. Anthony really helped me with this. You don’t owe anyone anything, especially when it comes to your sexuality. You belong to yourself and you need to live for yourself. I get that not everyone has a safe/understanding environment where they can come out and I would never even suggest everyone to follow the same path. Ultimately, you must do what is best for you and if you listen to yourself you will know what that is. This is a journey and we’re all still learning. You won’t have all the answers, no one does. You also don’t have to fit into a perfect box, sexuality is fluid. I am nowhere where I want to be but I’m closer than I was even from two years ago. You will find your place and you don’t have to announce yourself if you don’t want to. Be your best friend, love yourself and continue to live life as usual. Things will change and you will be okay.”
What advice would you give to an Ally to better serve and protect the LGTBQ+ Community?
“My brother is not only my best friend but the greatest ally I’ve ever known. He’s supportive and open and this year he joined me at my first PRIDE event! Support us and respect us as human beings because we are just like you. Keep an open mind. Every act of kindness you do no matter how small is appreciated!”
Do you have a favorite fictional character who is part of the LGBTQ Community.
“Honestly, I can’t think of a fictional LGBT character that I even remotely identify with or is truly LGBT. All my heroes stem from music, so artists Like Frank Ocean and Halsey make me proud to be who I am because they live for themselves unapologetically and within their own standards and that is the goal!”