Queer in Quarantine: Rivkah
A conversation with Rivkah Reyes, as told to Universal Standard
US: What is your name, your pronouns, and how do you identify?
RIVKAH: My name is Rivkah Reyes, my pronouns are they/them (and any mistakes made without malice). I am an queer nonbinary filipina jewitch living in Los Angeles. I’m an actor, writer, musician, and the host of a very cool podcast called, Where Are We Now? with Rivkah Reyes.
US: As we collectively transition out of quarantine, this time in solitude has been much more than just staying in. What do you consider your greatest challenge existing as an LGBTQ+ person while in quarantine? What has been your greatest victory?
R: I moved to Los Angeles at the start of 2020 and I had about a month of normalcy before the global shutdown. I had just started making new queer friends, and then we all were thrust into this prolonged isolation period. I was in a straight-passing relationship and it was abundantly clear I wasn’t meant to be with that person. Since we lived together, I felt like I had to shut off my queerness around my partner. But once I stepped away from that relationship and stepped into my magic as a queer person, that’s when the victories and blessings started to flow in. I joined an online community of intuitive entrepreneurs called Holisticism, started providing Tarot and Akashic Records readings on Zoom, and business has been booming ever since.
US: Every LGBTQ+ person knows that coming out is not a singular, linear process, but rather something we are faced with nearly every day. How do you relate to the phrase “coming out” in your journey as an LGBTQ+ person?
R: I’ve had to come out many times. I came out as bisexual when I was in high school and everyone, including my family, was like “Yeah, that makes sense.” And in college, I came out to my BFA Acting cohort as a lesbian, but then I became more fluid and started identifying as queer. After working on a play in 2015 with a nonbinary person and connecting to them on a deep level, I started using both she and they pronouns interchangeably within my friend group. Then, during the summer of ‘rona’ (while I was in the middle of a manic breakdown), I came out very publicly via TikTok as nonbinary. At first I was terrified, but I was met with a lot of kindness from my followers and friends. Now I get to come out every time someone asks me what my pronouns are. It’s not always the most comfortable. Because lezbihonest, not many people are up to speed yet, even though nonbinary people and gender-neutch pronouns have been a thing since the dawn of time. I try to meet those who are a bit behind with as much tolerance and patience as possible.
US: How do you connect your identity as an LGBTQ+ person to your personal style and presentation of self?
I feel that anything I wear is queer, whether it’s a cheetah print jumpsuit, or a flowy pink dress, or a plain black tee and jeans. What makes everything I wear a queer ‘fit’ is the fact that I, a queer person, am wearing it. Quarantine made me really lean into the importance of dressing comfortably and supporting small businesses, so I have a lot of tie-dye sweat suits now.
US: Expression of self is a deeply personal experience, and one that is often connected with personal style. How do you connect your identity as an LGBTQ+ person to your personal style? How would you describe your style?
R: I’m super into breaking the rules of gender and I definitely think my closet reflects that. Give me neon, give me animal print, give me band tees, give me anything that makes me feel like Annie Lennox or an Edwardian ghost. I love juxtaposition in fashion. I also love jewelry. I have a lot of crystals, because I am a walking stereotype and love to showcase them. I also have a pair of simple chunky hoop earrings that belonged to my Grandma Audrey that I wear almost every day to honor her. And lately, I’ve been obsessed with Universal Standard because their brand is radically inclusive and their offerings are cozy and versatile, like me.
US: The campaign name From Staying In to Coming Out holds a double meaning for many LGBTQ+ people experiencing this time of quarantine. What are you most looking forward to as things transition and you reintegrate yourself back into the world?
R: I am fully vaccinated and can’t wait to go to plays and concerts again. Seeing live performance really revitalizes and reignites my passion for creating. I might get back into performing live comedy, although I still quite like being able to just go TikTok live and sing songs from the comfort of my couch. A few weeks ago, I went to Venice Beach for a Queer Field Day with like 100 INSANELY attractive women and trans/nonbinary people and it was overwhelming, but so nice to be around fellow hot people after being inside for so long.
US: Look back on the beginning of quarantine…what would you say has changed the most in your life from then until now?
R: I’m much more free from the mental bondage around my identity that I got myself into and I am much more in touch with my deep, divine, queer magic. This alone time has really taught me that I love to spend as much time with myself as possible, but also that I don’t have to be isolated. I’ve also really embraced engaging with the queer community. I want everyone to know that wherever you are on your queer journey, you are not alone.
Continue to celebrate Pride with US and read the next From Staying In to Coming Out story with Kie Tate.