Koda (they/he) thrives in the world of digital art and aspires to be a tattoo artist. They identify as non-binary, trans, agender, and omnisexual to name a few of their identities and sexual orientations! They love to share their story about finding their identity to not only destigmatize the LGBTQ+ community but to empower others to not be afraid to be themselves.

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What is something that you would like to share regarding Pride or Pride Month?

- I'd like to provide more visibility to genderfluid and abrosexual people. Those identities have given me so much clarity and a sense of security with how I feel about my gender identity and sexual/romantic orientation. It's so important to be perceptive and recognize any identities and orientations that might seem new since it could finally be a label that helps someone understand themselves in a way they haven't before.

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When did you realize your identity and sexual orientation? Was that journey difficult?

- During the pandemic, I experienced a period of time I never had the luxury of having, which was to think about my identity and sexual orientation in way more detail than I ever could. The journey was very difficult since it involved having to recognize how my upbringing skewed my perspective and ideas about queer identities, and how the strong feelings I had were out of envy of people who figured themselves out earlier than I have. Even now, I still have a lot of questioning moments, but I have finally found identities and orientations that completely fit how I have been feeling my whole life.

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What do you do to empower others?

- I have a strong personality, so I often make it loud and clear of who I am and what I identify with unapologetically. It's hard to do so, but I've noticed that even if people don't understand why I am the way I am, they see the strength it gives me to be myself, even if that came out of frustration of having to hide myself for so long. I don't want other queer kids/people to have to get to that point to accept themselves for who they are, so I want to show others how liberated I finally feel to accept this aspect of myself.

What is something that inspires you?

- In all honesty, the future generation or queer creatives. Seeing them thrive and be in a generation that will be more receptive towards more diverse identities/sexualities gives me hope that visibility and resources will be accessible to way more trans youth than in my generation. I have the younger generation to thank as well for being such an enormously loud voice in advocating for me and other older trans people to have more trans rights. The art and creativity that comes from younger queer artist has given me so much inspiration and motivation to enjoy myself and my own creative ideas and expression, plus they're incredibly talented and skilled!

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If you could tell something to all of the people who are still questioning or figuring out their identities, what would it be?

- Whatever you do, don't stop yourself from questioning. I've done that way too many times for me to count and I always regret it. Figuring out your identity and your orientation takes a lot of introspection, but if you give yourself limits to what you should/shouldn't be, you won't find out who you truly are. If you find yourself stopping yourself, be honest and figure out why instead of denying any possibilities that you might not be thrilled to see. Figuring out those things will help you break whatever mold others have placed onto you that you had no idea were there in the first place.

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Koda is wearing our Retro Rainbow Free Range Bra and the matching Retro Rainbow Leggings.

June 14, 2022 — Haley Byfield

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