The Glee Project’s Dani Shay on Finding Her Gender Identity — and Her Hopes for a “Flirty” Role on Glee
Last week, Tyler Ford — The Glee Project’s first-ever transgender contender — spoke with GLAAD about his journey towards acceptance. Now, another Glee Project hopeful is speaking with GLAAD, too, and she’s one of this season’s fan favorites!
Dani Shay, the 23-year-old Florida woman who already has quite a fan following already from her YouTube videos, is speaking out about her own experience coming to terms with her sexual identity.
“I was 18 when I finally embraced my feelings for women fully,” Dani tells GLAAD. Yet the she says that sexuality can be a difficult thing to categorize, and there are aspects of uncertainty that persist even today.
“I still didn't understand my gender identity so well, but that's because we are raised to think you are either A or B - Girl or Boy - and that there are no in-betweens, or variations of the two,” she says. “I see things differently now though - you can be whoever you want to be; there are no rules.”
While Dani says her family was “pretty supportive” of her decision to come out, and probably not very surprised since she’d been “dropping hints all my life,” that doesn’t mean that the entire journey has been a breeze.
“I do think it was hard for my Mom at first, just because the Mormon church I was raised in, doesn't exactly accept anything L,G,B,T or Q. She is amazing though, and has fully accepted me, my feelings, and all my life choices since then.”
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Dani says that though she’s excited by all the ways that Glee and other shows are portraying the LGBT community, she also feels like many others are barely being represented. “There are very few ‘masculine’ women (or androgynous characters) in these story-lines, and I think that's partially due to the fear of how the majority of people might take it,” she says.
“Our society is so widely indoctrinated with the ideas of how men and women are "supposed to be," that I think it makes some people very uncomfortable to see anyone who falls too far outside of those gender categories.”
If she does end up winning that coveted role on Glee, Dani says she hopes to play “an androgynous character who enjoys flirting.” She hopes her character could make people question everything they thought they knew about themselves, especially their sexuality.
Mostly, Dani wants LGBT fans of Glee to stay strong, and to continue to work hard at setting a positive example. “Remember that step by step, we are changing this world, and you are a big part of that change. Find what makes you happy, and how you want to make an impact, and do it! ”