what being queer
means to me
written by Georgia (she/her)
One of the best things about identifying as queer is that it can mean whatever you want it to mean for you. This may not be the same as someone else’s meaning of queer. It’s often called an umbrella term for the LGBTQIAP+ community, which I like to imagine as an actual umbrella, one of those really big golf umbrellas with a fancy handle, where you can shelter at least 3 people underneath from the rain. That’s what it feels like to me, sharing the umbrella of queerness, united underneath it, even if you’re all different in your own way.
I see identifying as queer as a courageous act, because in doing so you’re choosing to tell the world something true about yourself. This can be daunting, especially the first time you say it out loud, and you wonder if people that you love and love you will think of you differently knowing that you’re queer. This can be scary, but also wonderfully surprising when people (and I promise there are people) who will love and accept you just the same.
Being queer for me means falling in love with a person, and thinking, this feels so right, so normal, so
whole, how could this ever be considered wrong? And then you discover a whole queer
community of people that have wondered the same thing and accept you just the way you are!
I get so much joy from listening to queer podcasts and following queer accounts and feeling a
sense of belonging and community. Cheering inside (or loudly, outside) when there’s a queer
storyline on tv or in a book you’re reading. Feeling like you’re part of the best group ever. Seeing
rainbow flags and feeling warm and fuzzy.
I specifically like the word queer because the choice of labels available can sometimes feel daunting. Personally I’ve always found sexuality to be a bit like a rollercoaster: really fun, but mildly stressful, and trying to contend with lots of labels when you’re also working out your sexuality can be a lot to hold in your brain. I find queer is an inclusive word for all of these different terms: lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, asexual, gay, and more. Sometimes maybe you will find a label that will feel just right, and sometimes none of them will feel right. But that’s ok because you don’t have to justify your sexuality to anyone, even to yourself, you can just accept it.
That’s not to say that these labels don’t have their place, because they absolutely do, and sometimes they can be very helpful to yourself, and others, create communities, form bonds, and help understanding. But you never have to feel tied down by them.
Ignorant people might try and use your queerness against you. They might shout at you in the street, or make comments under their breath, it might just be a look, but your queerness is not for these people. You don’t have anything to prove. Your queerness is just for you, a part of who you are. But it also doesn’t have to define you to the exclusion of all else. There are lots of things that make me who I am: my height, my voice, the way
my face looks in the mirror, the music I like, my friends, the foods I like to eat, and the foods I don’t.
Queerness is part of what defines me, and I’m very proud of it, but it’s not my only defining feature.
People are like beautiful gardens, filled with lots of different types of flowers, all different shapes and
sizes, smells and colours. Your queerness can be one flower in the garden, adding to your beauty, but
it’s not the only element, and I would like to live in a world where no one ever feels reduced to their
sexuality, because people are so rich and multifaceted.
I wish I had known about queerness when I was growing up. I wish more people in my school and community had been more openly queer, more vocal about their queerness. I wish there had been the music, tv, cinema, comedy, podcasts, books, presence of queerness in culture like there is today. There’s a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way, and ultimately I’m happy to be here, now. I’ve found my community, my word, my people, and although life is a long way from perfect, I’ve got a little rainbow.