Kate Herbert

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I don't have to be the fake me; I can just be me.

LWD:  Can you describe yourself in three – five adjectives?

Kate:  Open, homely, honest, trusting and caring. You have to be that one [caring] to do my job.

LWD:  So what is it about your personality that makes you those things?

Kate:  I think its more within my job. Like at the moment I work with a class that is for severely disabled children. They are teenagers; you have to do personal care as well as their education and other things. My job is to make every child in that class smile at least once a day and if I can do that I know I’ve had a good day. And also if I’ve seen that someone at school or if one of my friends that is down or having a difficult time I try and make them happy as I can. I know you can’t make people ecstatically happy, and I don’t expect I can do that, but if I can make them smile for five minutes, then that’s what I try to do, as well as being there to listen to them and all the other things. To let them now that no matter what they are going through it might not be a bad as they feel it is sometimes.

LWD:  How do think that the adjectives you used to describe yourself as an adult are different than as a child?

Kate:  I was selfish; I was very very selfish, loud. I didn’t care really; it was my way or the highway. And now I know that that is not cool.

LWD:  Describe your family dynamic growing up?

Kate:  Difficult at times, mainly because of me, because I am an annoying person. And it was my dad, me and my two brothers, which is unusual because most often, it’s a single mother. But we had my dad at home, but he was quite poorly mentally so when we were teenagers he decided that we needed to have rules and we had grown up without them. I was very rebellious and was quite rubbish with authority so as soon as he tried to be authoritative, I went even worse. They were always there, and I had my auntie as well, who was the main one who tried to keep me inline. But I was quite rebellious, and it that’s where my dad struggled with me growing up.

LWD:  Was there a time back then that you had to hide who you really were?

Kate:  No, I’m very lucky my dad knew I was gay since I was four years old probably. So when I did come out, he was like I know, you always fancied Columbia and not Rocky like from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. So I was really cool with it, and as much as I did “come out” I never really had to because they knew. But even though I thought I was really cool at hiding my wildness, my drinking, and drugs I never was, my family knew exactly what I was doing. My dad was like he’d prefer me to come home at the end of the night rather than I disappear for weekends if I know you are home than you are safe. So much as I was rebellious, my dad always let me back in again and was like alright. I’m very lucky.

LWD:  Do you remember when you first realized that you were a lesbian?

Kate:  I think I’ve just always known I know that sounds really weird, but I genuinely knew. I had one boyfriend at 12 but he was more like my best friend, we hung out way more than my other friends, but I’ve always known that I prefer girls.

LWD:  In hindsight would have you done anything differently?

Kate:  Yes and no. Obviously, I don’t enjoy parts of my past, but I guess everything happens for a reason. I’m very much that person, but I do regret a tattoo that I absolutely hate that I got during my rebellious period. That one thing, if I could get rid of it tattoo than definitely. But I look at it if I didn’t go through that stage I wouldn’t be who I am today.

LWD:  What do you love about the person you are today?

Kate:  I Smile. I always used to have a frown on my face. I was a very angry teenager and 20-year-old, but I’m still kinda 20, but early 20’s I was a very angry person. And know, that I do care a lot, but I can brush things off now, and people don’t make me as angry anymore. I used to jump down peoples necks straight away and now I don’t, I’m like that’s life and let’s get on with it and smile and move on.

LWD:  What does it mean to you to live an authentic life?

Kate:  To live the truest way I can each day and to be the truest to myself each day. No except.

LWD:  How do you go about that?

Kate:  Making people happy because I like to make people happy. Not lying for the sake of lying because I don’t think that is cool. And educating people if they feel that they want to be educated. I don’t like obviously… I don’t try to change people opinions, by explaining my opinion as a queer person.

LWD:  So what was a defining or series of defining moments that allowed you to become your authentic self?

Kate:  Nearly five years ago I was in a very rubbish relationship, I’ve actually been in a quite few rubbish relationships. And I just wasn’t happy; I was trying to please the other people and not myself, and I got to a point that I had to make what made me happy before what made other people happy.

LWD:  How do you achieve that on a daily/weekly basis, to be honest, and stay true to yourself?

Kate:  Doing a job that I love and not a job just for money, is the biggest thing. I gave up a decent paying job, went to college and trained to work with special needs children, and it makes me smile every day when I see them smile. So it makes life amazing.

LWD:  What happened when you decided to shed your disguises?

Kate:  I lost a lot of friends, because they weren’t real friends obviously. And stopped going out and partying as much because that wasn’t me, I like being at home, I like being a homely person. And just realizing who friends are and putting those people first.

LWD:  So with the friends that stuck with you what do you feel that it is about them that you are drawn to?

Kate:  We can hang out no matter what, like in pajamas at home, I feel you know you’ve got a real friend when they can come over, and you can nap together. Its just being that comfortable within yourselves that you can sit there in silence one minute or you tell them your deepest darkest secrets the next. It’s easy you don’t have to try to be their friend or try for them to be yours.

LWD:  What obstacles did you face becoming your true self?

Kate:  Some people are ignorant [Laughs]! I am very open-minded, but if I think someone has either misgendered, misread a situation wrong or analyzed a situation unfairly, then I will step up and be like “Actually NO.” and try to help them and educate them. As we chatted about last time how one of my old friends tried to say that non-binary is not a thing. But within the gay community its always been a thing, but because of it becoming known in the mean stream and they just didn’t like that I was like it is “real thing” and it is a “real situation” in many peoples lives.

LWD:  How have you embodied your transformation?

Kate:  Being approachable. I have a woman in work who is Muslim, and she will talk to me about her faith, she is very open, but she also likes to speak to me about LBGT issues and things within the community. And it’s nice because we can talk about anything, like the other day I showed her a video about a Muslim man that married a British man. She said its nice, but it’s not Muslim because within the Koran it says you cant be gay or trans, but she said it was nice that their families stuck by them. It was cool and nice to have an open discussion with her and being able to do that.

LWD:  What happened when you embraced yourself as enough?

Kate:  I just became free. It sounds really lame. I just don’t have to worry about I don’t have to put on a front. I was talking to a friend of mine about this the other day, and it’s like the lyrics in a Pink song, and you get the call at four o’clock in the morning because everyone knows you won’t be home. And that’s how I felt at one point, that I had to put this front on, being this party, out there loud person. When in reality I’m not, and now I don’t have to do that, and my friends don’t care if I don’t talk for half an hour or whatever or if I don’t see them from one day to the next. But that’s okay because they know I’m not this big social person and I don’t have to be the fake me; I can just be me.