Annie Clark is a lonely woman.
Not the one you think, the one who is a bit of a recluse.
She lives in a remote corner of the United States.
The rest of the world has taken to her as their queen.
But not Annie.
She is not the one we see at our favorite lesbian bar, the club she goes to at night to chat with the guys she is having an affair with.
She isn’t the one that sits on the edge of the dance floor and plays a few games of solitaire while waiting for the other people in the room to arrive.
Annie is not a “queer girl” that is afraid of coming out, as some lesbians in the United Kingdom are quick to claim.
She doesn’t have the fear of being a lesbian.
She’s a queer girl, Clark told me recently, standing in her living room.
She wears a white sweater, black jeans and a black skirt.
“It’s kind of my identity,” she said, “because of who I am.”
For Clark, queer identity is a journey, one that has taken her over a decade, through a lot of obstacles, in a way that she is only now beginning to fully understand.
She went through a long period of self-discovery, as she described it, in her book, I Am the Boy.
“I was in therapy for five years, which was a lot,” she told me.
“At one point I went through therapy in a house in my hometown of Pittsburgh.”
“The therapist told me I needed to be more accepting of myself, because I was ashamed of who my gender identity was,” Clark said.
“And then he told me that my feelings for girls and my feelings toward men were different than what other people perceived, so I had to do something about that.”
It was in this moment that Clark began to discover her identity, which she called “queerness,” which she defines as “the desire to identify as neither heterosexual nor gay.”
I am the Boy is a narrative that chronicles Clark’s journey from a teenager who didn’t know what she was and who felt confused about her sexuality to a self-described “queen” who was finally accepted and who became an adult in the LGBT community.
It’s a story of hope and triumph, of selflessness and acceptance.
And Clark was able to share it with me in an interview that was taped for my new book, Queer Girl: Inside the LGBT Movement.
The first thing you notice is that I am not in the mainstream.
I am a very, very private person, she told the reporter for the documentary that followed her transition.
I have a lot to live for, she said.
And I’m not going to give up.
And so I have to figure out who I really am.
I don’t have a favorite girl, she explained, “I think that’s important.
I really want to be a girl.
And if I am that girl, I want to live as that girl.
I want a girl that I can talk to and talk to with confidence, that I don: that I want that girl to understand that I’m okay with my gender, that there is a place for me in the world.”
And so I am, she revealed, a lesbian in a very queer way.
And it’s a journey.
It was not always so easy.
Clark, who lives in Nashville, has a history of being bullied for being a girl, but she never felt that her “queery” side was on display.
“The only time I was bullied was when I was younger,” she explained.
“So I was really, really lucky.
And as I got older, I realized I’m really lucky that I didn’t get bullied, because if I had, I wouldn’t have been able to navigate through that.”
She went on to describe her childhood in rural Tennessee, where she grew up as a girl and was ostracized as a “girly boy.”
“I remember when I first started going to school, I would get called girls, boys,” she recalled.
“There was this really big group of boys that would come up to me and say, ‘You’re a girl now, you should go back to the boys.'”
And that was the moment I realized who I was, and I realized that I wasn’t going to let it go.
She said that she was bullied for her identity as a gay girl, as a boy, for her physical appearance, for not being feminine enough.
“When I was in middle school I was like, ‘I’m going to have to hide my face.
I’m going not to be the girl I am anymore,'” she told my reporter.
“And then, like, in high school, you know, it’s like, what’s going to happen?”
Clark said, referring to the time she transitioned