Tell us about yourself! What do you do for a living? What are your interests? What are your pronouns?
Hi! My name is Hannah ThomasClarke. I’m a fiber artist and part-time nanny. I’m a baby queer/lesbian and still very much in my rainbow phase. I’m a big art nerd and I love all things art, craft, and art and queer history. My pronouns are she/her.
About how old were you when you came out? How was the climate you grew up in?
I came out to myself in September of 2020 when I was 24. My family is pretty middle-of-the-road liberal but I went to high-school in a small suburban school in a conservative-ish area outside of Charlottesville Virginia. It never occurred to me that I might be anything other than straight until I joined Tiktok and my fyp veered heavily towards wlw content. I could feel myself actively leaning into those videos and physically going “Oh NO. Nope nope no.” whenever the algorithm snuck a straight man into my feed. Seeing wlw content and noticing my reactions to them opened up the door to the idea that maybe I wasn’t straight. It felt good and right- I feel like I finally knew myself and that I could feel my feelings for the first time. I think I had a bit of an unusual coming-out experience in that I knew with absolute certainty that my family would love me and accept me the same after I came out. I have a nonbinary lesbian sibling and my family is really loving and supportive of them. I knew it would be the same for me and it was. I was nervous and at the same time, I didn’t have the fear that I hear other people talk about in regards to their coming out experience. I feel really lucky. I still haven’t ‘come out’ to my dad’s side of the family. I’m not sure that I’m going to. I learned about the idea of doing a ‘coming in’ instead of a ‘coming out.’ It means bringing in the people who I care about and who I want to know I’m a lesbian into this part of my life. It also means that I am not obligated to have a ‘coming out’ conversation with anyone unless I want to have that conversation with them. Doing a ‘coming in’ approach has helped me realize I am valid in my queerness, that it is for me, and that it is mine to share with who I want as I want to share it.
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?)
Yes and no. I’m out and proud in the art community. My art is about my experiences and part of that is my experience realizing I’m a lesbian. I’m not out to the family I nanny for. I’m not hiding (I wear a rainbow bracelet) and I’ll answer honestly if they ask.
If you could tell your younger self something about yourself that you are proud of today, what would it be?
You know your feelings and that is an absolutely incredible, amazing thing.
Have you tried to surround yourself with like-minded peers/colleagues? If so, how?
I’ve been lucky enough to have a few videos on Tiktok reach and resonate with people who are going through similar things and feelings as me. It’s powerful and comforting to realize that we aren’t alone in what we are going through. That my coming out process is a multi-step journey that starts with the question of ‘what if I’m not straight?’ and carries on well past an introduction of ‘Hi I’m Hannah and I’m a lesbian.’ It’s second-guessing, first-hand holdings, conscious crushes, and so much more. Having friends (and internet strangers) to share these experiences with has been really affirming and a lot of fun.
Who were your role models growing up? What tv shows/movies allowed you to feel seen?
I don’t know if I had any role models growing up? I don’t think so. I cried while watching the first couple of episodes of She-ra. It was everything I was feeling and it felt like ‘oh. There I am.’
Complete the sentence, if I knew _ back when I was first figuring myself out, I would tell my younger self that?
I knew who I was back when I was first figuring myself out, I would tell my younger self that “It’s your life. You are allowed to position yourself at the center of it.”