LGBTQIA+ Oral History Archives

Matthew Alvarez

A pansexual queer shares their struggles with stigma and the role that DRAG has played in helping them to discover and express themselves.

Interview Date:  August 8, 2020

Interviewer:  Govinda Wagner

Interview Length (HH:MM): 00:46

Topics Covered: Coming Out / Early Experiences | Inspirations / Mentors / Leaders | LGBTQ at School | LGBTQ through Art | Names / Pronouns / Labels | Rural v Urban LGBTQ

Matthew, a pansexual queer, was born on May 28, 1998, on the St. Petersburg military base in Virginia. Matthew is a 1st generation Hispanic college student studying sociology at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Matthew knew from a young age that he felt different in terms of his sexuality and eventually came out at 16 years old to one other person who unfortunately did not keep his secret. As he grew older, Matthew felt ostracized because of his sexuality. During his time in college and living in Cullowhee, he became more connected with the LGBTQIA+ through friends and eventually drag. Drag would become a staple way for Matthew to express his sexuality and connect with others in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Direct Links to Sections: Military Childhood and Family Names | College and Coming Out Journey | LGBTQ+ Representation at Western Carolina U | Relationship with Rural LGBTQ Community and Existing | High School Stories | Drag Culture in Cullowhee | DRAG, Insiprations & Mentors, Rural LGBTQ

Click a Link to Go Directly to a Particular Segment

Military Childhood and Family Names | College and Coming Out Journey | LGBTQ+ Representation at Western Carolina U | Relationship with Rural LGBTQ Community and Existing | High School Stories | Drag Culture in Cullowhee | Drag Inspirations and LGBTQ+ Mentors | DRAG, Inspirations & LGBTQ + Mentors

Outline of the Interview

Military Childhood and Family Names | College and Coming Out Journey | LGBTQ+ Representation at Western Carolina U | Relationship with Rural LGBTQ Community and Existing | High School Stories | Drag Culture in Cullowhee | Drag Inspirations and LGBTQ+ Mentors | Coming Out, Pride in School, DRAG, Insiprations & Mentors, Rural LGBTQ

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Mental Health Providers

Eric Davis  MS, LCPA, NCC, Counselor

Willow Wellness and Recovery, PC 9 All Souls Crescent  Suite B, Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 490-4137 | Website I am a firm believer in empowerment and self-determination. In the past, I have worked well with folks experiencing a range of issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance-use, sleep disturbances, relationship issues, and issues unique to the LGBT community.

Scott Thomas,  Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, LCAS

Silver Lining Therapy 70 Woodfin Place  STE 21, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 705-3084 | Website I believe humor can be a powerful tool for healing and seek to incorporate this into our time together. Unique to my practice is an approach that truly puts you at the center of the counseling experience, and I draw from a wide variety of techniques to help you see and experience real change in your life. To see if therapy might be a good fit, I offer free phone consultations.

James Harrison, PhD Psychologist

12 Westridge Dr , Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 348-6300 | Website I enjoy helping people achieve physical and emotional intimacy whether they are young or old, straight or gay, in healthy, responsible, and mutually affirming ways. I also enjoy helping people improve their earning and manage their assets. And I like working with older people. I offer free phone consultations.

Judy Maris, Counselor, LPC, LCPC, MA, MS

Maris Psychotherapy 41 Clayton St, Suite 301, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 537-4489 | Website We can explore troublesome patterns that tend to repeat themselves in your life or look at new issues that have just come up. The important thing is for us to work together to get to the bottom of your difficulties and resolve them. I will assist you in becoming more aware of what you are feeling and thinking in the present moment. The untapped wisdom within you is a powerful healing force. Let me help you gain access to your full inner resources. I offer free phone consultations.

Elizabeth Heaney, Counselor, MA, LPC 

166 E Chestnut Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (520) 447-3319 | Website I work with individual adults with concerns like: family history issues, relationship concerns, life satisfaction issues (related to jobs, living situations or relationships), anxiety and depression. I’ve had a particular focus on working with couples, addressing every aspect of relationship challenges – relationship dissatisfaction/boredom, affairs, sexual/intimacy issues, etc. And I was a civilian counselor on military bases for several years, so I have a clear understanding of the unique pressures and challenges facing service members and families. I offer free phone consultations.

Siljoy Maurer

Holistic Perspectives P.O. Box 333, Enka, NC 2872  Phone: (828) 333-0103  | or For many years now I have been mentoring men and women from all walks of life. It continues to be my greatest joy to accompany someone from “just being ok” into thriving! As a Mentor & Healer I partner with my clients in creating authenticity, wellness and deep contentment, in whatever area of their lives they are seeking change. The combination of giving very practical, livable tools for direct “next steps” while “holding the big picture” and then manifesting that big picture often feels like this: a new client brings me their life or life situation in a jigsaw puzzle box, they lost the lid and forgot what the picture on it looked like. I am good at knowing that picture and then guiding my clients/mentees to put all the puzzle pieces together.  

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