Nat N Blanc

Tell us about yourself! What do you do for a living? What are your interests? What are your pronouns?

To introduce myself shortly, I am a 22 year old artist from Spain and you can know me by the name Nat N Blanc, although my full name is Natalia. I am a lesbian and my pronouns are she/her. I hope to become a full time artist, but that is a long time away still, right now I’m studying a masters degree in graphic design and building up my small illustrator brand, focusing exclusively on LGBT women, intersectional feminism and mental health talk. ´

About how old were you when you came out? How was the climate you grew up in?

Coming out for me was quite hard, as it is for most people. I started to figure out my sexuality when I was 16, and to be honest, I fully realized that I was a lesbian about a year later when Hayley Kiyoko dropped Girls like Girls (thank you lesbian Jesus!).

However, I didn’t come out instantly. stayed closeted for four years and started coming out at 19 to my friends; with my parents and my sister, when I was 20 and 21 and they had started to figure out for themselves that I had a girlfriend. The reason I took so long was because I grew up in a very conservative catholic environment. Catholicism is the main religion here in Spain, and there are more and less conservative groups, mine was in the middle but leaning to the more conservative.

Growing up, the only times I’d heard the words “gay” and “lesbian” were when people were trying to insult someone. Inclusive Sex Ed wasn’t a thing, in fact, the equal marriage law was only passed in 2005, when I was 7. My mother would make comments about “the LGBT lobby”  trying to take away the sanctity of marriage and all of that. I was TERRIFIED. I felt I needed to wait until after I left school to come out, as I had been constantly bullied there, LGBT wasn’t a thing and my mum knew a lot of people there, so I could be outed. I dealt with a LOT of anxiety and some depressive episodes on my own (I was later diagnosed by my new psychologist, I didn’t even feel safe enough to come out to the one I had back then). So, in short, the climate growing up wasn’t the best.

When I finally did come out, however, things were better than expected. I had a lot more confidence and felt a lot safer at uni than ever before, I had a girlfriend, new friends… and was lucky enough to be accepted by my family. My sister had never been a problem in my mind, nor was she in real life. My parents took time and work, they had quite bad reactions at first (mostly my dad, to my surprise, who yelled at me about the Bible saying not to traumatize children), but with time they opened up to the idea. My mum still wishes that I end up with a man, and her comments sometimes hurt. But she’s sweet with my girlfriend and she tries her hardest and to be honest that is more than I had ever dreamt of.

Did you make career choices that allowed you to feel comfortable being open about your sexuality? (Are you out or feel comfortable being out at your workplace?)

Well, to be honest, I think it did allow it, yes. Although I’m now working to become a graphic designer and full time artist (Fields where there’s an ample LGBT population and where I can also, if lucky, choose who I want to work in projects with), I studied to become a journalist, and I feel like that was also quite a good choice. College-wise, it was great. The students in journalism were mostly liberals and left-wing, so it was a great relief after school. Not only this, but there were a lot of queer people, and my years in college made me realize how usual it is, how it should not be the big deal it’s made out to be. I just love women, so what?. Living these experiences helped me come out and be proud of my sexuality and for now I’ve had no issues with that in the workplace.

 If you could tell your younger self something about yourself that you are proud of today, what would it be?

Everything, to be honest. Leaving an environment where I was bullied and carried the “weird” label for most of my childhood and teenage years was the perfect medicine (Therapy is also being a very crucial factor). 
But God, if I could see my younger self, I would hug her. I’d tell her to stick to the other “weird” kids instead of running away from them and trying to fit in, because they’d be my biggest support and the only good thing to come of all those years. And I’d tell her that I’m proud that she fought for herself, and that being a lesbian is not a curse. It never was. It was always a blessing, and it would lead me to the love of my life. Because yes, baby Nat, we have a girlfriend. It seemed so impossible at the time: mum and dad would cast us away, everyone would, and our anxiety would never let us get close enough to another girl or open up… but they didn’t cast us away, we found new friends, we never really needed the bullies from school. And we worked on our anxiety and met an amazing girl and keep working for our relationship to stay healthy every day.

Also, we’re actually following our dreams of becoming an artist! we’re only starting, but we’re working so that other baby queers feel represented in our illustrations! I don’t know if we’ll end up in the street like mum says, but hey, we’re trying at least. I’m proud of how much I’ve changed, because that change has always been for the better.

Have you tried to surround yourself with like-minded peers/colleagues? If so, how?

It’s actually pretty funny because I’ve only actively searched for other LGBT people online, before coming out and now with a Queer Art Exchange Programme. But most of my friends are queer and I feel like that’s definitely a sign from God. The thing is, the only two friends I made in school turned out to be bi. After school I went to this catholic gathering in Poland called World Youth Day (I’m not a catholic anymore), and there, the ONLY people that I remained in contact with would turn out to be LGBT as well! What are the odds?? I literally travelled with a hundred other spaniards and nothing! Only stayed in contact with fellow then -closeted people. And, like I mentioned, in college and after college I’ve only met people that turned out to be LGBT or at least allies and people that actively fight for equality in many aspects. 

Who were your role models growing up? What tv shows/movies allowed you to feel seen?

Uh, this is a weird one for me, I never feel like I’ve had a super strong role-model in my life… I had a great teacher at my english academy called John Liddy, and I’ve always considered him my mentor in some way. I was never the best student to be frank; good with the language, sure! but not a great student. Still, he had this sort of hope in me. Two years after having him as a teacher, we would still work together during the last ten minutes before class on my writing (I love to write, but I don’t think I’m any good). Once I went to him after seeing Emma Watson’s speech at the UN about feminism with this fire in me. At 16 I had finally found something I wanted to talk about and learn more of, something that, for closeted me in a conservative environment, was new and interesting. He instantly supported me and suggested authors, storylines. He had such fire and creativity and he encouraged me to find my voice, something no one else really did.He always made me hope for the future, he made life seem so interesting, reading, writing… in some way he was always a mentor, making me want to chase my dreams.I lost contact with him for some years, but was lucky enough to find him again. We email each other every once in a while and I met with him last year in January, before this whole pandemonium.

In relation to both questions, another role model I had growing up and whose show made me feel seen was Ellen Degeneres (yeah… that didn’t age well). But the show was so important for me growing up. LGBT characters in shows were not a big thing when I was a young teenager… It wasn’t until Clexa that I actually saw other sapphic women, and GOD. That show. uf. I can’t. I will never be over Lexa.

Complete the sentence, if I knew how HAPPY, and PROUD I would be back when I was first figuring myself out, I would tell my younger self that jerks from school were not important, mum and dad love you and being a lesbian is THE best.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: