Welcome To The Kandid Shop!!

PERFECTLY Queer: A Kandid Chat w/ Author/Entrepreneur/Mom & Proud Lesbian, Jillian Abby aka ”Queer Abby”

PERFECTLY Queer: A Kandid Chat w/ Author/Entrepreneur/Mom  & Proud Lesbian, Jillian Abby aka ”Queer Abby”

On this episode, I had the opportunity to have a long over-due kandid chat on https://music.apple.com/us/artist/buss/252316338
I was joined for this discussion by, CPA, licensed massage therapist, Kraft Beer Barowner, creative copyright writer, black...

On this episode, I had the opportunity to have a long over-due kandid chat on https://music.apple.com/us/artist/buss/252316338

I was joined for this discussion by, CPA, licensed massage therapist, Kraft Beer Bar
owner, creative copyright writer, black belt martial artist, a homeschooling parent, and host of the "Life
and Love in the Q" podcast, Jillian Abby aka "Ask Queer Abby!

Key takeaways:
● Compulsory heterosexuality appears in our lives in many ways, including conversations, the
gendering of everything, and toys.
● Listening to other people's stories is one of the best ways to learn and change our perceptions
● We don't always have to understand the how or why behind everyone, but if we can see the
humanity in them, we have less to fear.
● When we don't know things, we fill in the blanks with assumptions, which can be harmful.
● There is no bullet list of what to say or not say to LGBTQ+ individuals, but connecting with
other humans, especially ones that aren't like us, can help us understand and see their
● Homophobia still exists because the queer identity is still sometimes seen as taboo, scandalous, or
● It is essential to educate everyone, especially queer kids, on sexual health.
● Having open and honest conversations is crucial in understanding and accepting people who
identify differently from themselves.

By having open and honest conversations and connecting with others who are different from us, we
can move towards a more inclusive and accepting society for all.


Guest Contact Info


About Guest
Jillian Abby is a risk-taker who has pursued a diverse range of careers, including being a CPA,
massage therapist, bar owner, copywriter, homeschooling parent, and martial artist. Her most recent
journey has been as a proud lesbian and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.  Jillian participated in
events like Tampa's first inclusive homeschool prom and the LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
She supports others through her blog QueerAbby.com and TikTok @AskQueerAbby. Jillian lives in
Tampa Bay with her partner, two children, and a rescue cat.


Intro Music:  "Welcome to the Kandid Shop by Anthony Nelson aka BUSS"




Kandidly Kristin


Kandidly Kristin: all our podcast family, it is your girl, Kandidly Kristin, and this is The Kandid Shop. Your number one destination for kandid conversations. I am super duper excited to be having a kandid chat with the author, entrepreneur, mom, proud lesbian, and host of the Life and Love in the Q podcast, Miss Jillian Abby, welcome, welcome, welcome, Jillian to The kandid Chop.

Jillian Abby: Thank you so much, Kristin. I'm so excited to be here because you are one of my favorite voices in podcasting. Not only the messages you cover, but I don't know how to describe your voice. It's comforting like butter but also has that rasp to it. So it's raspy butter and I love it.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh my God, I'm gonna use that in some promos.

My raspy butter. I love it. Thank you. So much. You know, I love it.

I love that you love it. When I started this podcast journey, honestly, I did not know how my voice would come across to people. I'm often mistaken for a man on the phone. I get called Sir all the time, so I was like, I don't know if I've got the voice for it, but so far, so good.

People seem to have a general opinion that I have a soothing voice. My children, I guess, didn't think so. They don't think it's soothing at all.

Jillian Abby: Well, I mean, they're a different audience, so Yeah.

Kandidly Kristin: So Jillian, this chat that we're having today is going to be one in a series of chats that I am planning to do about LGBTQIA+ issues and I'm trying to have these chats with the people who live and are impacted by certain issues and those who could use just a little more awareness and understanding about it. So I appreciate you joining me today. I do.

Jillian Abby: Back at you. I think we need to have these conversations.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely. So let's just get to it. So listen, you've been, let me see if I got all of yours, your things.

You've been a CPA, a licensed massage therapist, a Kraft Beer Bar owner, a creative copyright writer, a black belt martial artist, a homeschooling parent and a podcast host. I mean, talk about reinvention on steroids.

Jillian Abby: Yes, I think I'll be a trapeze lady next.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. I'm with it. I support you wholeheartedly, but tell me who is Jillian Abby now?

Jillian Abby: Well, that's a great question and it's something that I think I am still trying to figure out, but I am getting more and more comfortable with it every day. When I was thinking about this morning and doing a little bit of writing, I said that I feel like my life's a bit like bungee jumping.

I kind of, you know, at 38 years old, I had a cranial sacral therapy session, and that was really the first time in my life where I could not only admit that I was a lesbian but accept that I was and loved that part of myself and so I took a little bit of pause and then bungee jumped into that identity wholeheartedly.

But like a real bungee jump, you kind of spring back a little bit and then you'll bounce back down into it. And so I feel like over the past several years, it's been this process of discovering a little bit more, playing a lot, playing around a little bit more with my identity and figuring out what feels comfortable and what feels best and truest and right to me.

And it's not as easy as we think it is. I know there are so many memes out there that are like, see yourself, but it's not that easy.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right and cause I think all of us, hetero, homo, non-binary are multi-layered beings. We're different. Different parts of us make up the sum of who we are.

So I get that completely. So yeah. Talk to me a little bit briefly about your journey to living your most authentic life. Coming out of that journey.

Jillian Abby: Sure. Well, The title of my memoir that's coming out is Perfectly Queer. There are two kinds of reasons for that. One is that I am perfectly comfortable and so happy with my queer identity.

But the other piece of that is that I am a lifelong perfectionist. And so that played a tremendous role in shaping who I was or how I wanted to be seen as a person. So from a very young age, I was an achievement junkie. I think from about fourth grade or so, I thought I had peaked in my life because I had danced with a major ballet company and I got paid $15 a show when I thought I, Rich by fourth-grade standards.

Right. But yeah, so you know, looking back on my life in all these stages, I was always looking to do more and better. And I really wanted to make my parents proud and my family proud, and not that I didn't love what I was doing, but it also was never enough. It was never. It was never quite perfect. I was setting goals for myself for things that weren't achievable.

Right, right. And so I think the interesting thing about my life is I got into adulthood. You mentioned my twisty attorney career path from certified public accountant to a licensed massage therapist, to craft beer, bar owner, and everything in between. I was always seeking, I was always looking for that little bit more than like, this will make me feel whole, this will make me feel complete, this is who I am. And, so looking back on my life, I just realized how much my life is a series of, well, maybe this is who I am. Well maybe this is who I am, and trying things on for size.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

Jillian Abby: Though, ignoring. Who I knew I was inside trying to be anything but the label of lesbian or queer.

Like I'll be anything, you can go, I'll audit a coal mine in Alabama. Just don't call me a lesbian. It wasn't until I could get to the core of myself and say, Hey, you know what? This is you and that's okay. That's fine. That's great.

Kandidly Kristin: Right,

Jillian Abby: and I love this part. Then all of the other pieces in my life seem to start to fall together.

So now still a mom of two kids, and though, they're not being homeschooled anymore, I am such a better mom to them because I feel more whole. I left the craft beer bar that I owned with my ex-husband and said, okay, I need to find a new source of income, and kind of fell into writing and this has been a dream job. Finding myself, finding the life that was "most perfect". Because what is perfect had to start with me. It wasn't gonna come from an outside source.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

So what would you say for you was the absolute hardest part about your coming out? You're coming to awareness.

I don't even know every time I say coming out, I hate the term. We need a better one. I just don't know what that is, but it's what we got. So what was the hardest part for you? Because I've heard a bunch of it, my sister is a lesbian who came out in her thirties. She has two children who are adults now and grandchildren.

So in conversations with her, I'm always interested to know what was the hardest part for each person, and since I'm talking to you, what was the hardest part for you?

Jillian Abby: I think the hardest part for me was that I very much loved my husband. And I know that's probably hard for people to understand, but I think I'm so grateful that we're having this conversation because there are a lot of people, when I came out who had the misconception that I was coming out because I was in midlife. It must be a crisis. I'm bored. I've been in my marriage for 20 years. I just want something new, fun and exciting.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

Jillian Abby: When the reality is I Knew that I was attracted to girls, women since, you know, third grade is my earliest memory, but I didn't have a word to put with. Once I finally had that cranial sacral therapy session where I accepted myself, I knew unfortunately at that point that there was no turning back now that that piece of me had fit into the puzzle.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Jillian Abby: I was gonna have to figure out what my husband and I would do. And as I said, he is a wonderful man. He's a wonderful human being. We had a great relationship, you know, in nearly all aspects, but it wasn't the same full loving relationship that I saw from other couples and didn't have the same type of romantic connection as other couples as well.

So to know that I had to put myself first and my needs first ahead of him and my family was gut-wrenching, and I think that's why it took me so long to come out. It's a big process. And then obviously too, like the judgment that comes along with it as well. I thought kind of naively that once marriage equality was passed in the United States in 2015, I thought, oh, things are good for gays. And you know, because at the same time too, the groups that I surrounded myself with and the things that I read all fed into that narrative of Yep, we're all good. It's all equal. And I know we're still hearing a lot of that narrative towards a lot of marginalized communities today.

 It was very eye-opening for me to come out, especially because I came out kind of quietly in 2019 and then, you know, far more publicly in 2020 to realize how much discrimination still happens against LGBTQ people and to realize that they're still always fighting just for equal rights for the right to have an EMT treat you if you're in an accident, that that's still being debated in states if EMTs should be able to opt out of helping queer people.

Kandidly Kristin: Really?

Jillian Abby: Yeah, there's a lot that I learned along the way where I said, wow, I just didn't even realize this was a thing right? Until I was in it. Yeah. And so, honestly, there's a big part of me, I'm an introvert and so there is a huge part of me that just kind of wants to crawl under a weighted blanket and live my happy queer life quietly, with me and my partner.

And then there's another part of me that says, but people have to know. And the fact that I have a privileged perspective of having walked life in heterosexual shoes. And then now I have the perspective of what it is like to go through life as a queer person. I feel like it's important to highlight those differences so that other people say, oh, I didn't realize maybe that was still an issue.

So that's part of my mission and journey right now through my blog and podcast and telling my story.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes. So I was poking around your site which I love by the way. And I ran across a couple of terms that I was not a hundred per cent familiar with, and I wanted to chat with you about, the first one was compulsory heterosexuality.

 I was like, what's that about?

Jillian Abby: I said the same thing, and it's a term that originated in the 1970s, I believe. Adrian Rich is one of the first people that was credited with that term. Compulsory heterosexuality or comphet as the cool kids call it is just the thought that we are raised believing that everyone is heterosexual or raising our children as if they're automatically heterosexual.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

Jillian Abby: And going back to your comment about why you don't like the term coming out, and a lot of people feel kind of prickly when it comes to the term coming out. I've heard letting in is a nicer term, but people wouldn't have to come out.

Kandidly Kristin: Right

Jillian Abby: If we didn't have compulsory heterosexuality because that's just the assumption that everyone is straight unless they come out otherwise. And so I think back to growing up and kind of the things that play into this, and it's just how we talk to children about, oh, well when you grow up, you'll have a wife or you'll have a husband, or how we tell, you know, pre-teen, teen girls that, oh, you're gonna be so boy crazy.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Jillian Abby: There's a lot of messaging that we have that's not meant to be harmful in any way, but it just reaffirms the idea that you're a straight person. You're a straight person.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right.

And that's the normal way to be in anything outside of that is not normal.

Jillian Abby: Exactly. Yeah. And so it kind of feeds into, you don't wanna say homophobia because it's not necessarily a fear of gay people or same-sex relationships. It's like heterosexism or it's a bias against the queer identity, that is not optimal. That it's not even equal. It's kind of an A less than. And so when I raise my kids now, I'm trying to be much more conscious of how compulsory heterosexuality appears in our lives. And that includes just conversations about instead of, instead of gendering everything too. Well, when you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, You know, when you find someone that you're interested in dating, if you find somebody that you wanna marry using the term spouse instead of, you know, when you have a husband or when you have a wife.

But it pops up even, you know, the kids and I were, we loved playing board games and we were playing the game of life. And even just the fact that you have your pink pegs and you have your blue pegs. And then the first stop is marriage, and you're supposed to put in the peg of the opposite.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Jillian Abby: Just kind of like there are how you categorize people and here's how they're supposed to go together. So my daughter always ends up throwing a cat in the car. Instead, she's like, I just wanna be a single cat lady the rest of my life.

I'm like, okay, honey, let that be your thing.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right. Well thank you for kind of breaking that down for me, and once you started talking about it, The words compulsory and heterosexuality, like, I get those together. I know what compulsory is. Do you know what I mean? But I guess I wasn't consciously aware of how it shows up just in the toys that you buy, your children, the clothes, that you buy for them when they're young if they're a boy versus if they're a girl. And how that just comes to you, like you don't think about it. It's like, okay, it's a girl. We're gonna get her, you know, pinks and purples and pastels and stuff like that.

So it is very kind of ingrained in our thinking. Thank you for explaining that. Now, the second term yeah, was the identity discovery gap, I thought. Hmm, that sounds interesting. So could you talk about that for me?

Jillian Abby: Yes. This is something that I've learned recently and the woman who I co-host my podcast with is a fascinating woman.

She's a Mormon mother of six. She also has her PhD in family identities and women's studies. And so she introduced me to the term identity discovery gap. Okay. And, it's, it's looking at ourselves. Like three points of a triangle. No, I'm set this definition. She says everything far more eloquently, but there's our should or ought to be self.

That's the identity that I leaned into very heavily. As a perfectionist, who should I be? Okay? How? How do my parents wanna see me? How does the world wanna see me? So there's that self. There is our ideal self. What do we want to be? What do we want to have what do we wanna be known for? Known as? How do we wanna be perceived? And then the last piece is who we are.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

Jillian Abby: And so the size of the identity discovery gap is how big a difference there is between what society or the people around you, what you think you should or ought to be, who you want to be and who you are. And so for me, that gap was the largest in my life.

Not when I was entirely closeted, right? But once I came out to myself and said, okay, I'm a lesbian, but I had not yet come out to my husband. At that point with my friends, my identity discovery gap was blown wide open because now. Lesbian didn't fit into my should and ought to. I still even wasn't it.

It was my ideal self that I could get comfortable in my lesbian identity and live my life as such and be in a relationship with a woman, but then who I was was just a liar.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah, right.

Jillian Abby: I knew who I was inside and every single day that I had to. My husband, my children, and the people around me, knowing that I was one way and then having to put on this facade of everything is okay, everything is fine. My outsides and insides were so incongruent. That there was this huge gap in my life. And unfortunately, the larger that gap is it starts to lead to some self-destructive behaviors.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Jillian Abby: And so I found myself having insomnia and drinking whiskey on the rocks far more than I probably should have and not eating, and kind of slipping into a very unhealthy mental state because life was such a mismatch.

So I'm so glad you brought up that term because I don't think it's discussed very much. And I think for a lot of people it would help again, kind of add some pieces to the puzzle of like, why am I getting into this? These self-destructive behaviors , these harmful behaviors. It may be that your inside world and your outside world are so far apart that this is your body's response to it until you can figure out ways through setting goals, realizing that you have agency and pathways to move towards those goals. That's how you start closing the gap and bringing everything closer together.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it. That was interesting

Jillian Abby: it's a lot

Kandidly Kristin: but it's relevant no matter what your sexual orientation is, is I think that even heterosexual. Sexual people have, those three points on the triangle that they need to kind of bring into harmony so that they can be their best, most authentic selves. So I like that

Jillian Abby: you're right.

Kandidly Kristin: Every single person needs to make sure they tighten their identity gap.

Jillian Abby: Tighten it up. Do your identity discovery gap quiz. I think that the most interesting thing in talking to my co-host about it when she told me this idea, is that perfectionists in our society, it's not so much a queer thing, it's perfectionists that oftentimes have the largest identity discovery gap. So if you have a friend out there who seems like they have it all together, they're the ones you need to check in with and say, are you okay?

Kandidly Kristin: Oh, oh, that's me. I'm the friend cuz I'm a huge perfectionist and you know I call myself a reformed perfectionist now because now I let things go and I don't, you know, I put 'em out there whether they're perfect in my mind or not.

It's just what it is. So I lived the better part of my 55 years in that space of perfectionism and that had a lot to do with the people that raised me and their expectations and all that kind of stuff. But anywho? I wanna talk a little bit about your book, your Soon to Released memoir, Perfectly Queer, which by the way, I stole the title of your book for this show. Talk to me about the why of it. The why of your book, and who you wrote it for or to, like when they read it.

Jillian Abby: That is a great question. Why did I write this book? Honestly, to begin with, I had no idea. I started journaling as kind of a therapy for coming out, perceived as stranger than fiction to me. The only way I could make sense of it was to put it down on paper.

Coincidentally, around that same time, I met a group of women who are all interested in writing. And so we started sharing a little bit of just what we were writing down. And so I thought, you know what, these are all straight women. They're all in marriages. They're not gonna have any interest in the hot mess, dumpster, and fire of my life right now.

But I shared my writing with them and they went oh this is good and they said, I wanna know more. And I was like? Okay, sure. I'll write some more. I wrote more and I shared more, and they said, I think you need to turn this into a book. And I kind of went, eh, yeah. I turned it into a book.

Kandidly Kristin: I can't wait to read it, but can I ask real quick before you go on this group of women, were they LGBTQIA+ or heterosexual or A combination of both

Jillian Abby: a hundred per cent heterosexual.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh, okay. Okay.

Jillian Abby: Which is why I thought. Yeah. This is why I thought in my mind, like, okay, so I could write a book for women who come out later in life, and all 12 of us in the United States could get together and read it. I thought the market was small for anyone who would be interested in a story like this, and that it wasn't worth putting my story out there.

What I've realized though, the more that I've shared my story again through speaking, Podcasts and through blogging, and TikTok in various ways is that there are so many people out there who feel alone right now. And while a lot of the people who share private messages with me are from the LGBTQ+ community, there's also the second ring around them of family members or children or friends who say, Hey, you know what? This person in my life just came out and I don't understand. Or they're questioning their gender. I don't understand it. But they want to, I believe that there are so many people who want to be able to feel love for their family members, their friends, and their neighbours, but they just don't understand.

Right. And so really then the goal of my book became, That I just want to start these conversations that I feel like maybe have been taboo in the past, or, yeah. Subjects that people are, or questions that people have been afraid to ask. I wanted to start creating spaces where people could ask questions about things that they were truly curious about.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Jillian Abby: And really, so that was the motivation for me to write the book was that, so no other person had to feel as alone in their process as I did.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it. When is your book coming?

Jillian Abby: It comes out on April 25th, 2023 for Lesbian Visibility Week. Okay. That giant holiday that everyone celebrates. Lesbian Visibility Week. we go quiet like ninjas the rest of the year, so that week we're so big and so, yeah. I'm excited for it to come out then. And when I was thinking about who might read this book, I hope so much with anyone who has come out later in life.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Jillian Abby: But I think there is the bigger overarching theme of the fact that we all have pieces of ourselves or parts of ourselves that we struggle with, that we struggle to love, either because our community tells us that it's not okay, or our society tells us it's not okay, or we judge the heck out of ourselves. And we think it's not okay. And so this has kind of stored me stepping back and saying, well, what if I did become a lesbian; what could happen in my life? Often I think we immediately go into the hardship of everything that could go bad when we have to make these major life changes.

And of course, I knew I would have to go through a divorce. I knew that I would have to figure out another way to support myself. I knew that I would probably have to stop homeschooling my kids. There were a lot of changes that were gonna have to happen just by me changing this piece of my identity. But where I think a lot of people forget is that we also have a whole life to live ahead of us.

Kandidly Kristin: And lots of good things.

Jillian Abby: And so the story focuses also on the long term of yes, then, there were a lot of really hard things in the short term, And there have been some of the most incredible things that are starting to unfold in the long term like me winning the contest from Hayhouse Publishing for my book, perfectly Queer.

I never thought I would get a book in the world had I not won this contest. I don't know if I would've had the guts to put my story out there because it is very vulnerable. It's very personal. So I'm grateful that that opportunity with Hay House fell into my lap, and I'm grateful that while they've always been very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, This is one of their first, if not their first LGBTQ+ subject matter book. And so they haven't had a lot of books that have talked about the queer subject matter. And now I've got queer splashed across the front. Rainbow color. Yeah, we're into it. So I'm grateful for that as well. I think there are, I hope there are a lot of people who feel seen in this. And if nothing else, I hope that they just get a good laugh, cuz I am a bit quirky and that comes through strongly in my writing.

Kandidly Kristin: I love it. I cannot wait. I want an autographed one, so, you know.

Jillian Abby: You got it. Raspy butter here is your autographed copy.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes. And I intend to release this episode during that period, that week so that it can kind of coincide with the release of your memoir and hopeful.

You know, some of my listeners who are struggling with their identity can find some hope, some help and just realize that it's gonna be okay.

Jillian Abby: Yeah, I love that.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Uh, that's my goal. My goal is always to put good stuff out into the world and this book and my dear are good stuff. So I am a member of the heterosexual community. Cis woman, if that's what they call 'em now, and I'm always interested because I'm 55, so there are a lot of things that I don't understand. I remember when it was LGB and then it was L G B T, and then it was Q and I. I'm like, okay, I'd like to understand more. So my question to you Jill is how can people like me, allies, or hope to be allies of the LGBTQI+ community best support and advocate for you and your community?

Jillian Abby: I love that. Thank you so much for asking. I honestly think that listening to other people's stories is one of the best ways that we can learn, and change our perceptions of things. I live in the state of Florida and so there's a lot of emotion and a lot of feelings around the LGBTQ community right now, particularly the trans community. Particularly trans children.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Jillian Abby: It's a challenge because I have friends who have trans children, and I know that right now they're very scared to identify themselves as parents of trans children. It's a big risk in the state and they don't want to expose their child.

But there are blogs, there are movies, and there are books where you can hear from the trans community and get to understand a little bit more about what it's like to be trans and what they're going through. And I think that just hearing those stories can help dispel some of the fears and misconceptions that we have. I'm gonna be honest, trans, for me, I couldn't wrap my brain around it. I've always felt like a woman. I've always felt like a girl. So the thought of growing up and saying well, what would it feel like if I thought I was a boy, but in this body that I have, I don't know.

It's not an experience that I can necessarily understand on a personal level.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Jillian Abby: However, that's why I've made it my mission to speak to as many different trans people as possible and non-binary people to understand what does that feel like for you? What does non-binary feel like? So you tell me and when I hear their story, it just makes me realize that you know what, we don't always have to understand the how or why behind everyone, but if we can still see the humanity in them, Then we have less to fear. And I think where we are right now is losing a lot of our humanity.

So that's my long answer. The short answer is to connect with other humans, especially ones that aren't like, To see the humanity in them.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Yeah. It parallels so much of the BIPOC or people of colour experience in that people feared something because they didn't take the time to have a conversation.

With somebody whose skin color or ethnicity was different. Cuz once you do and you realize, you know, they love their kids, they love their family, they love their job, they love their community, just the same. It kind of removes some of the barriers, to understanding. So yeah, I get that completely.

Jillian Abby: We also start to realize that when we don't know things, we fill in the blanks of the stories. And so there's a lot when it comes to the BIPOC community where things that people didn't know, they just filled it in with assumptions of what they thought things were like and that includes now to conversations around racism and how that persists. It's like we need to hear these stories, we hear directly from the person of here's how I'm still impacted by it. Because otherwise, you know, as I said, we just create stories.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Yep. We fill in links. That's what we do. But what kinds of things should or shouldn't, hetero folks say or do in their interactions with their LGBTQI+ friends or family, you never wanna say the wrong thing even in your earnest like attempt at understanding.

And I know there's no like bullet list of, okay, say this, say this. Don't ever say that, but. Some kind of guideline that you could give to me in interactions with the LGBTQI+ community, especially as it pertains to friends or family members because I. It's a struggle sometimes, like with my sister, it wasn't because honestly, nobody was surprised when she came out.

So we all were kind of like, oh, thank God you finally realized it. But for other people, yeah. You know, it can be a struggle in communicating and connecting. So, What are some tips for that ma'am, please? Yeah, and thank you.

Jillian Abby: I think the best thing is to always approach with curiosity, and really before you ask the question, make sure that you are not expecting a certain answer to it.

Kandidly Kristin: Ah, okay.

Jillian Abby: So, you know I wish I could give a bullet point of terminology, but the reality is that our words and how we say things are evolving so rapidly right now. And what one person is sensitive to another person isn't so. I think the best thing, or maybe a better approach is just to say, you know, in terms of like, say they're bringing their same-sex partner to a family event. Like, is this your girlfriend? Is this your partner? How would you like us to refer to your other half? People used to ask a lot of assumptive questions of me, like, oh, well you must be bisexual because you were married to a man instead of, what made you realize that you're a lesbian? Or why do you feel like you're a lesbian? Or I'm having a hard time with questions right off the bat, but I think taking whatever question you have and seeing, like if you could be a drone, if you could take it up one level and make it a little bit more general, how could you ask it openly and lovingly?

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Jillian Abby: I will say there are a few terms that do feel particularly prickly to me. One is when I hear about my lifestyle. Okay. Because I think when we refer to it in that way. Like there's not a lot of things that we call a lifestyle besides like, oh, your child plays travel softball. That's a lifestyle, right?

Or like, oh, so like that's a lifestyle, right? But when you take the love that I feel for another and you classify it as a lifestyle instead, it again alters it from heterosexual love, and the reality is we fight about the same things. Neither of us wanna do the dishes after dinner. You know, when I also have friends who say, well, can I say this? Or Why is it wrong to say that? And I say, well, let's flip this on its hetero head; if you said this kind of thing to somebody in a heterosexual relationship, does it still feel okay to you? And one example I'll give of that is when I tell people I'm gay or you know, and usually it's not me standing on the rooftop going, I'm a lesbian. It's just in conversation we'll come up. Somebody'll say something about you know, my husband and say, no, it's my wife, soon-to-be wife. And then they'll say, oh, that's cool. You know what you do behind closed doors is none of my business. And so just to think about that in other times like, if you brought your objects, you know, your boyfriend, your husband, your partner, you bring them to something.

And somebody comes up to you and says, it says to him like, oh, nice to meet you. You know what you two do behind closed doors is none of my business. It's like, hold up. '[ We're not talking about anything sexual here. This is the person I'm dating, the person I love. So you know. It's just that we say to gay people now, like there's some sort of space alien, and it's like we would never say that to a straight person.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Yeah.

Jillian Abby: So I also kind of like tell people that they can run it through that filter. Would you say that if your daughter brought home a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend, what would you say to the boyfriend? Okay. You could also say that to the girlfriend. Yeah. In a lot of instances. So yeah, that's my little lens of looking at things.

Kandidly Kristin: Well, thank you. I appreciate that. And I'm sure the people that are listening are taking notes, okay. All right. I'm gonna pivot a little bit and talk about your "Ask Queer Abby" on TikTok; which I think is pretty cool. I wanna know what one question or two questions are you asked the most on Ask Queer Abby.

Jillian Abby: That's a great question. Really a pretty easy answer. So, okay. What I get from most people, and again, a lot of people that follow me on TikTok are primarily women and non-binary people, especially those who come out later in life. Okay. But it's always about why is this happening to me now. Like, why did I not know this sooner? And, you know, why is it that I have built this life around me that usually includes, A spouse, a husband that includes children sometimes and why is this part of me like, why can't I keep suppressing this anymore?

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

Jillian Abby: So, it's kind of an e common question and there's not an easy answer to it.

You know, we've talked about compulsory heterosexuality. That plays a huge role in shaping people to believe that they're straight, honestly. Or at least in my case, it did. You know, we've talked about perfectionism and the role that can play again in trying to live this identity that everyone wants us to have.

There's nothing hard about being gay in and of itself, but society sometimes makes it hard to be gay. And so there are feelings of not wanting to be other, if you have the option to not be othered, why would you choose an identity where you're gonna be othered? And then for some people too, for women, especially sexuality, Has been, they've found that it can be far more flawed.

So maybe you were straight or maybe you were bisexual, and that's a hard one too because you know, there's part of me that wishes I could go back to my high school self and my college self and say, okay, did you really want sex or, were you doing it performatively or is it just cause you were, you know, a teenager? So there are a lot of questions to it and, again, as we started at the podcast, there are so many layers. As well.

Kandidly Kristin: Sure.

Jillian Abby: And I guess where I go back to is, does the, why does looking back and ruminating on the past and spinning out about all those signs and signals better at this point? Or do we just say, well this is who I know myself to be now? And how do I move forward with that?

Kandidly Kristin: Awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome. So, Mam, I would like for you as we kind of wrap up the formal part of our chat before we get to the fun part to give mm-hmm. My listeners that will hear this, are those who may be unsure of their identity, struggling with their identity and ways to move into a new identity. Your last thoughts and the best advice to them. And part two of that is to the hetero folks who will hear this, who have friends or family who is struggling with their identity, or in the LGBTQI+ community. Last thoughts for them. So it's a two-parter.

Jillian Abby: Yeah. And my answer's gonna go back to the same. Because I think I spend a lot of time thinking about this and about our human purpose and why we're all here on this earth and honestly and what makes us happy and what are our happiest moments and when we feel most whole in It almost always seems to come back to love.

 Finding love for ourselves and finding love for others, and I know that that is a very meme-like simplistic answer.

Takes far, but, but is one of the investments we, who are different from us where may struggle to love and find ways that we can find those common threads and that we can still find love for them. There are so many of us who make the human experience so much harder for other people just because we come from a place of fear instead of love.

Yeah. And so, I dunno, love just feels good then. But with that said, I always have to remind myself daily, if not hourly, especially when I'm on social media and somebody posts something crabby with the biggest zinger. Jill, throw this person some love. Okay. They're having a hard time, time with this.

They're obviously in a very shared place. What is the most loving thing you can do right now? And sometimes it's just giving them space as well.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Thank you so much.

Jillian Abby: Especially the protestors that I just ran into in Pride.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah, and you know what? I do have one other thought.

In your opinion, just your personal opinion, why do you think homophobia is still 2023, as rampant as it is? Like what is the core fear that people who are homophobic have?

Jillian Abby: I think about this often, and I wish I knew the answer. I think it's a community that is an easy target in some ways. I think there are a lot of queer people who are just trying to live their lives and when we can distil down the queer identity to sex, then it can feel like something very taboo or scandalous or dirty. And again, sex is part of the queer identity. For me, my identity comes down to love and who I love and feel most connected to.

 I wish we had another hour's podcast. I would love to share with you a conversation. I just had. I had a school administrator warn me recently when I said my kids were starting at a new school. She warned me about the gay agenda at the new school, not realizing obviously, that I was a lesbian.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right.

Jillian Abby: But, we had a great talk through it and I said, listen, all of these debates are so focused on if queer people should be allowed to exist and exist in the same way as other people. And I said that's the wrong conversation. Okay. We all know the fact that queer people exist. We know that queer kids exist. We know that queer teens exist. And so her particular point was that she was concerned that gay sex was being taught in middle school and high school. And I said, well, are we teaching straight sex? I mean, cause I remember learning that in sixth grade. Yep. And she's like, the issue isn't with the queer people. It's where we are too explicit in the acts that they're teaching, but it doesn't have anything to do with the queer identity. And I said, You know what? We both know that queer kids are out there, and I think that queer kids should be offered the same access to know how to protect themselves from a sexual health perspective.

That's straight aloud as well. Yes, and that was the point where we could at least come together and see eye to eye and say, you know what? All kids should know how to keep themselves healthy and safe and protected, but we wouldn't have gotten there from the separate corners that we started at the beginning of the conversation.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

Jillian Abby: You know, so homophobia is a hard one because there's a lot of people who are in such opposition to each other that even sitting down at the table to have that conversation. We still don't have opportunities for that. So thank you so much for doing this podcast because this is one of those ways.

If nothing else, somebody could come away and say, Jillian Abby is a total rainbow fruitcake, who doesn't know what she's talking about. And sure. Me, but at the same time, if you listen to a little bit of it and at least you went, huh, right. Or you're at least a little bit more curious to try and learn more.

Great. Right. Fabulous. Yeah. Let's continue the conversation.

Kandidly Kristin: Then it was worth it. Absolutely.

Jillian Abby: And I probably just offended a million people by calling myself a fruitcake.

That's how I self-id.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. And you can do that cause you can Id as, however, you want. I appreciate you so much. This could go on for hours which is part of why I'm having different chats with different people. I'm doing a chat in a few weeks with an author of a book called Jamie Is Jamie, and it was written because her child is kind of identified as non-binary, and it's become a whole series. So I'm excited about that.

But just to start having. Open and honest conversations, and it's okay to say, I, I don't understand, like any of it. It's okay. The fact that you're listening and you're trying to understand is a huge baby step. So thank you. Thank you, thank you.

Now we get to do my favorite thing. And that is play 10 kandid questions.

Jillian Abby: So nervous.

Kandidly Kristin: No, don't be, they're harmless.

Jillian Abby: I'm excited. This is great. It's fine.

Kandidly Kristin: So they are just 10 random questions and the only rule is that you have to answer them kandidly. So you ready?

Jillian Abby: Okay.

Kandidly Kristin: All right. The first question is about dogs or cats.

Jillian Abby: Cats! I'm gonna get a side eye from my fiance.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. I'm a dog person. I'm so allergic to cats, but I love them. I'm a Leo, so I have to love cats, but I just can't own them.

What quote would you want to put on your headstone?

Jillian Abby: Oh, boy. I don't know. That's such a hard one. I'm just gonna say " You did it" because My life is all about facing fears and doing what I never thought I could do.

And I'm doing it. Yes, I like it. And then I died. You did it. You missed the end of life.

Kandidly Kristin: I like that. Most people try to pull out something profound, but "you did it" is perfect. Third question. Coffee or tea?

Jillian Abby: Coffee all day. Everyday.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes, ma'am. All right. Next question. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would that thing be?

Jillian Abby: Whew. Gosh.

And these are supposed to be quick and easy, and I think quirk. Is that weird? I know it's a little weird, but I would like to be remembered for being quirky because I think to me that says that I made people look at something a little bit differently, and I love that.

Kandidly Kristin: I love it. Quirky.

Love it. All the keys are quirky. What's your favorite curse word?

Jillian Abby: Fuck. There was not even any hesitation there.

Kandidly Kristin: Everybody says that it's mine too,

Jillian Abby: Do you wanna know though? I couldn't swear until I came out as gay and now everything is like, fucking shit. False. Damn. What? I mean, I can string together every curse word that makes sense. I do, but it always starts with fuck.

Kandidly Kristin: All right. What one thing do you think is missing most in the world?

Jillian Abby: Humanity, compassion.

Kandidly Kristin: Love it. All right. Morning person or night?

Jillian Abby: Morning. I love a sunrise and 8:00 PM hits and I'm like, is it this acceptable bedtime? Cause I'm ready for bed.

Kandidly Kristin: Listen, this is my thought on that. Whatever time I feel tired is the acceptable bedtime. So 5:00 PM 6:00 PM I take it down.

Jillian Abby: Oh man. I am in good company here with you, Kristin.

Kandidly Kristin: All right. Next question. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Jillian Abby: Oh, I would love mindreading ability because I have such a hard time picking up on small cues from people. I mean, even, you know, you can hear in our conversation, I have a hard time when there's like an appropriate social break in a conversation, and so knowing what people are thinking would take out so much of like, did they finish their question? Am I to say something now?

Kandidly Kristin: I love it. I love it. I didn't think that would be your answer, but I love it.

What's one question you wished I'd asked you during our chat and how would you have answered?

Jillian Abby: Oh goodness. You asked such good questions. You're a bad interviewer.

Kandidly Kristin: Thank you.

Jillian Abby: Yeah, I honestly, I don't know, Kristin, I think you nailed it. I can't come up with any other thing that I would've wanna talk about you.

You touched on all my favourite topics.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice. Nice. That makes me feel good. Thanks. Thank you so much. All right. Yeah. And the 10th and final question is how can my listeners connect with you everywhere? How can they reach you?

Jillian Abby: Okay, so my blog site is https://queerabby.com/ You can also find me on TikTok at https://www.tiktok.com/@askqueerabby and then my book is Perfectly Queer, which is available from Hayhouse Publishing in the US, Canada and the UK anywhere, any major booksellers.

But also I would highly encourage you to check out your local indie bookstore and see if they can order it for you to support small businesses.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely. Awesome. Miss Jillian Abby, and guys, all of her links to her TikTok, her blog will be in the show notes, so no worries if you can click and go right there and ask whatever questions you want of Miss Abby.

Jillian Abby: On my website, https://queerabby.com/ there is an anonymous form too that people can fill out. So if they have a question but don't wanna be identified, they can always fill it out that way. And then I will write a blog post or do a TikTok around it to let them know when their answer is available.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice. See guys she's making it super easy. So you don't have any excuses now for being uninformed and uneducated, cuz you can ask Abby. Okay. Queer Abby, thank you so much. I can't even tell you how I have been trying to put together this series of chats surrounding the LGBTQI+ community, issues, concerns, advocacy, awareness, and it's taken me so long because I was intentional and I wanted to do it in a way that honored you guys.

So I am so glad you were my first chat, but certainly not my last. So thank you so much for sharing your time, your story, and your thoughts with me and my listeners. I appreciate you so much.

Jillian Abby: I love you Kristin, and I thank you for having these kandid conversations.

Kandidly Kristin: Awesome. So, guys, Abby's contact info will be in the show notes when the episode airs.

And please don't forget to visit my site at https://www.thekandidshop.com/ check out some episodes, and subscribe. Leave me a review. Please share the show with your family and friends. And until next time, I want you all to keep it safe, keep it healthy, and keep it kandid.

Jillian AbbyProfile Photo

Jillian Abby

Author/Entrepreneur/Mom/Proud Lesbian

Jillian Abby has mastered reinvention throughout her life to create the most whole and satisfying journey. She left the comfort of her hometown of Buffalo, NY, to study abroad in Cochabamba, Bolivia, at age 15. As an adult, her resume includes Certified Public Accountant, Licensed Massage Therapist, craft beer bar owner, creative copywriter, homeschooling parent, and black belt martial artist.

Her most recent role as a newly out lesbian and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community was by far her riskiest and most rewarding change. Jillian is a Hay House author, with her memoir "Perfectly Queer" being released in April 2023 for Lesbian Visibility Week. She serves on the board of the non-profit Tampa Bay Homeschool Inclusive Events (TBHiVE) which hosts safe and inclusive events for local middle school and high school students, and supports others through her blog site QueerAbby.com, her podcast "Life and Love in the Q", and via TikTok at @AskQueerAbby.

Jillian lives in Tampa Bay with her partner, Jen, their wildly wacky children, and a rescue cat named Poe.