Post submitted by HRC Nebraska Field Organizer Drew Heckman
This edition of LGBT Nebraskans You Should Know features the sibling pair of Deven and Jocelyn Muhammad. Deven (right) is currently a sophomore at Midland University in Fremont, and Jocelyn (below) is a senior at Millard South High School just outside of Omaha. Both identify as gay—but that’s one of the least interesting things about them.
Both Jocelyn and Deven are infectiously charismatic and wildly talented.
Jocelyn, 17, is a budding singer/songwriter who got her start two years ago when she picked up a guitar for the first time and learned to play “Anyone Else But You” by The Moldy Peaches from the Juno soundtrack. Shortly after, she began performing at open mic nights around Omaha. Several local musicians have since taken Jocelyn under their wings after getting to know her spirit and her talent. She was recently nominated for the Best Singer/Songwriter category of the Omaha Entertainment Awards. We wish her luck! Check out some of the music from her new EP, “Unchain Me,” on her website here.
Deven, 19, is an accomplished dancer, with multiple All-American awards already under his belt. At Millard South High School, he served as the school’s first-ever male dance team member, was crowned “Mr. Millard South” in 2013, and won his school’s talent show with a dance routine both his junior and senior year. He was crowned Freshman Homecoming Prince last year at Midland University, where he is currently a sophomore. Check out his incredible performance to Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love” at Midland’s 2013 talent show here!
The siblings have been close since they were little. Both came out as gay in high school; Jocelyn thanks Deven for paving the way for her. Now, they support one other in their creative endeavors, saying that each time they go home they have a new routine or song they’re dying to show one another.
Both siblings have been using their talents and charisma not only to chase their dreams, but to help the people they encounter understand that LGBT people are not solely defined by their sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other label. As multiracial, they understand difference from multiple angles and have been helping to dismantle stereotypes, especially in a place like Fremont where students from rural communities may not have many contacts who are people of color.
Deven says, playfully, “I’ve befriended many racist grandparents by simply approaching them as human.” It gives him hope that change can happen in Nebraska, even in the most unlikely places.
We here at HRC Nebraska commend Deven and Jocelyn for finding their passion and voice and paving the way for other LGBT youth to do the same. We can’t wait to see what they do next!