A conversation with Hunter Athena, as told to Universal Standard
US: What is your name, your pronouns, and how do you identify?
HUNTER: Hunter Athena, they/them, Queer + Non-Binary.
US: As we collectively transition out of quarantine, this time in solitude has been much more than just staying in. What do you consider your greatest challenge existing as an LGBTQ+ person while in quarantine? What has been your greatest victory?
H: I really miss the community. I'd go to drag shows regularly (and perform in them) In fact, I was planning an all Fat Drag Show right before the pandemic). There was something so communal about going to a drag show and seeing everyone you know and love. Not being able to have that has been really hard. My greatest victory has just been making it through!
US: Every LGBTQ+ person knows that coming out is not a singular, linear process, but rather something we are faced with nearly every day. How do you relate to the phrase “coming out” in your journey as an LGBTQ+ person?
H: For me, as a femme presenting Non-Binary individual, I find myself coming out daily. Most folks assume I am queer by looking at my alternative presentation, but my gender is a whole other story. It can be very exhausting, especially on a platform like Instagram where I'm loudly Non-Binary and still get misgendered. I recently renewed my ID and was able to change my gender to"x" on the ID. It feels like the smallest way to stop "coming out" so much.
US: How do you connect your identity as an LGBTQ+ person to your personal style and presentation of self?
H: My style deeply connects to my Queer identity through using a presentation descriptor exclusive to the LGBTQ+ Community.
US: Expression of self is a deeply personal experience, and one that is often connected with personal style. How do you connect your identity as an LGBTQ+ person to your personal style? How would you describe your style?
H: I connect my personal style deeply to the Queer terminology of Femme. It took a long time for me to come around to and embrace the word Femme; However, I've learned it's a deeply queer word and it isn't tied to gender but simply to presentation. I personally prefer to identify myself as a Hard Femme because I'm a little bit edgy, a little bit sloppy, and I don't view myself as hyper feminine but still Femme. Which definitely confuses some, but I'm so grateful to have found comfort in my identities and presentations.
US: The campaign name From Staying in to Coming Out holds a double meaning for many LGBTQ+ people experiencing this time of quarantine. What are you most looking forward to as things transition and you reintegrate yourself back into the world?
H: I'm actually planning a big Gay Fat Femme roadtrip with a few of my (fully vaxxed) dearest queer pals. I'm so excited to see them and hug them and kiss them again. I've missed my connection with my community and it's going to be such an incredible experience to be enthralled in their energy again. So I guess that's what I'm most looking forward to!
US: Look back on the beginning of quarantine… What would you say has changed the most in your life from then until now?
H: My relationships with my friends have definitely changed, I've lost relationships that were no longer serving me and gained deeper ones with the ones that were!
Continue to celebrate Pride with US and read the next From Staying In to Coming Out story with Karlee & Davi.