As I grew up, and came to know myself, I learnt how I didn’t quite fit into the world. A world built for those not like me – normal people.
In the tangled, layered mess that is our society structured by privilege, I do pretty well. I can’t imagine the experience of those queer folk – queer in the broadest sense of different – whose radical identities are routinely refused; whose heritage is one of the deepest oppression and pain.
Though I can’t speak for everyone outside of the normal, I want to learn – to be ready to listen, to bolster others with the power that society, through privilege, arbitrarily bestowed upon me.
I think that living as queer gives us all a power, however.
When our experience in this social world hurts us, we can know that others have felt, feel and – although we hope not for long – will feel something similar. When, in the constraints of a culture and history that reduces us to types or erases us, we’re drained, we can know that others have been disempowered too.
Though the faultlines of privilege layer queer identities so often, I remain optimistic. Hopeful that living as queer gives us the chance to authentically identify with others.
I’m consistently inspired by the capacities of queer folk. Many across the UK are celebrating LGBT History this month, joining in a mood of sadness and awe to witness the injustice that has been suffered. But we also rally with joy, filled with the hope that queer people have fiercely held and bravely defended through the years. The bold conviction that lead groundbreaking writer and advocate Audre Lorde to become a prominent voice challenging the intersections of sexuality, gender, race, and class oppression. The passionate love that allowed Virginia Woolf to carry on her relationship with Vita Sackville-West in a world where sexuality was constructed so differently to today. The wonderful freedom that LGBTAI+ people of all forms have been able to grasp, even in the smallest of ways, through a history of cruelty.
We remember that most resilient of hopes, one that has been passed on through the generations.
Living on the margins, though marked by suffering, bestows a gift. In the midst of tragedy and pain there remains one thing: the glory of humanity. This is the magnificence of human difference. The strength to care for others; the radiant generosity of love.
The radical, creative force of the imagination. We came to be queer in a world not made for us. It’s our calling to rebuild it. Whatever our stories – no matter where we are on our paths through life – we are poets.
In our knowledge of who we are, in the wonder of our communities, we call a vision of a better future into being.
The hope that queer folk have clung to in the darkest days overawes me.
Through everything, we’re prophets of a new world, dreaming our futures into being.
That’s why I’m proud.