Sakhara Johnson: Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Part 2
Hi Sakhara! Please tell us about yourself.
I am a NYC native living in Philadelphia. I have a deep love for food, art, music, traveling, technology, and making memories. I love spending time with my family, listening to audiobooks, binge-watching crime and comedy shows, and engaging in self-care, i.e. meditation, sleep, and embracing Oneself authentically. I proudly identify as a pro-Black queen lesbian who happens to be disabled (although I never let that hinder my growth).
What is your sleep disorder? At what age were you diagnosed?
I have narcolepsy with cataplexy. I was diagnosed in 2015 at the age of 26.
In your experience, are there similarities and/or differences between living with a sleep disorder and identifying as LGBTQ+?
Yes, I believe identifying as LGBTQ+ and living with a sleep disorder go hand in hand. I identified as queer way before my narcolepsy diagnosis. With both identities, I spent a lifetime battling internally with feelings of low self-esteem, self-doubt, and insecurity and was consistently concerned with others’ opinions of me. It took me years to learn to stand firmly in my own truth, power, and pride as a black queer person with narcolepsy. In learning to be myself authentically and unapologetically, I was able to find continuous support and community.
What does Pride Month mean to you?
Pride Month for me is a wonderful time of celebration! A time for me to marvel in awe at the progress we have made as an LGBTQ+ community. I unapologetically embrace my African ancestry as well as my queerness.
What advice would you give someone who is earlier in their journey in the sleep and/or LGBTQ+ community?
Be true to who you are! Love yourself first! And don’t be afraid to reach out. As a community, we welcome and embrace individuals of all backgrounds.
Thank you, Sakhara, for sharing your voice! Visit Wake Up Narcolepsy’s website to learn about and register for their LGBTQIA online support group.