As I sit here and write this I’m thinking about how far I’ve come, and how even being in a position to be asked to write this for other people to read so they can relate and hopefully it helps them with their experience, is amazing. And I’m so thankful to have a growing platform where I can express these types of things, so I wanna start off by saying thank you for asking me to do this. I mean I’m just a kid from Dallas, Texas who had really big dreams I was never willing to give up on and along the way they were struggles and I’m gonna talk a little bit about some of those in this article. But it feels incredible to sit here and think that I’ve carved out a place for myself in this world where people are starting to hear what I’m saying and feel it and understand. That’s all I’ve really ever wanted to do. To connect on a level with others through my art.

So let’s go back to the beginning. I wasn’t always so sure of myself and I wasn’t always so laser focused and determined to show the world who I am. As a kid I was very shy and extremely sensitive. Things affected me very deeply. And I’m still that way today. It’s what drives me to advocate for things close to my heart such as rights for the LGBTQIA+ community and BIPOC. I can’t and won’t stand by and watch the things that are happening in the world happen and not be saying something and doing my part. I just feel it too much. And this really formed a lot of my identity as a child because I would get bullied a lot and made fun of and as I grew older it made me close myself off and not want to really try new things out of fear of embarrassment or ridicule. But at a certain point I let all of that go and I decided I was going to pursue music no matter what or no matter who told me who I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to become. I was not someone that follows the status quo and I had to break the mould and become my own individual.

Along the way on my journey to find myself I realised in my teens that I was bisexual/pansexual. And at the time I had a serious boyfriend all throughout high school so it wasn’t something that I really started to experience or act on until I was about 19. At that point I was moving to Los Angeles and a whole new world was opening up to me because LA is just so diverse in every way. And leaving Texas I was finally able to shed that fear and really come into who I was and start vocalising my sexuality and how I feel. And that was a super important step for me and very significant. I started being open about it and coming out to my friends but I didn’t really start talking to my family about it until my mid 20s. And when I did-  I didn’t have, like, one big coming out conversation. I just sort of started talking about it in casual conversations with them saying I was going out with this girl or whomever and they didn’t really make a thing of it. I think that they kind of expected it and they weren’t surprised. And conversely to popular opinion coming out is usually not one conversation or one experience. I feel like you are continuously coming out on some level one way or another as a queer individual. Because you’re always meeting people and they are always asking about your sexuality and there’s always those conversations. But I think you have multiple conversations or I did with friends and family and different people, so it’s definitely not a one time experience, or at least it wasn’t for me.

I think something that I realised as I got older is that everybody’s experience as a queer individual is completely different. There’s no one way or right way to come out and there’s no one way or right way to be. The only right way is your way. You should do things on your terms and in your time. And I know it can be scary. There are a lot of judgments from all sides when it comes to sexuality. As somebody that is bisexual/pansexual I feel biphobia from straight people and from queer people. Other members of the LGBTQIA+ community don’t always take me seriously and conversely that happens from the straight side as well. I think people that are bi and pan are very misunderstood and people think that we’re like confused or something which is literally not the case. I’m just attracted to who I’m attracted to and I don’t care about anything else. And I’m sick of explaining that to people and I think a lot of people that are bisexual and pansexual can relate. Biphobia is a real thing.

Just remember that each individual’s journey is unique and to take things at your own pace as you need to. Keep going and remember that your current circumstance is not your circumstance forever. Things can get tough but I really believe that means you are probably just on the precipice of a breakthrough, so in those moments just keep going. There is something on the other side of where you are and it’s beautiful and it’s for you, you just have to believe it.

Layke's new single Tonight Can't Be The Last Time is available now across all download and streaming platforms.