Mohawk, gay, Indigenous identity, passing, White privilege, sexual orientation, coming out, explanation, queer labour
Tara: Uh, let’s talk a little bit now about your Mohawk identity. Has that become something that’s been important in your family life, um, as well as the work you do here in school?
Garrett: Um, what is interesting and it’s areas of marginalization, right? For me, I wasn’t even ready to have conversations or deal with, um, being Mohawk, because I still had to navigate sexual orientation. And I also grew up in, in a family where being Mohawk wasn’t really talked about.
Tara: I understand.
Garrett: Right? So that was an area for me that I kind of reclaimed and started to explore years after I dealt with the sexual orientation piece. Right? Um, and yah. And so kind of growing up with that attitude, that, you know, being First Nations or Mohawk is a bad thing, um, but those are conversations I wouldn’t have until after I dealt with sexual orientation.
Tara: So interesting. Uh, do you have any reflections about why it played out in that particular order in your journey?
Garrett: I think because Mohawk I can hide. Right? I – I pass as white, and so I’m able to navigate white privilege and have that work for me, so that was passable. My sexual orientation not so much. Right? And for years, being married to a woman enabled me to navigate that, but as soon as I came out it required a lot of explanation. Students, staff, everybody. They knew my ex. They knew the stories of – and now I’m out. Well, now I’m divorcing, and there’s no explanation for them. “You get along great with your ex.” So I’m now in a position that I have to.
Tara: So along with the divorce you had to, um, talk about coming out.
Garrett: Yes. Yah. Because it didn’t make sense to anyone.