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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

Free to love?

Welcome back to Celebration Month, where I continue to serve you queer content surrounding the themes of Pride Month.

One part of being LGBTQ+ that separates us from wider society, is who we choose to love. Yes our sexuality - who we are attracted to- and our desires are seen as different. This is the original and first issue so many people have with us.

Quick recap for those that need it, gender and sexuality are very different. Yes they do connect, but they can be very separate to. In terms of gender, I see mine as a fluid object that incorporates many elements. My sexuality is slightly different, I’m gay attracted to men. So you see it can be tricky.

As a young queer person, trying to date and juggle all the ways in which you feel can be immensely challenging. I’m not the first to write this, and I certainly won’t be the last. We are told the easiest ways to meet people is online, specifically dating apps.

There are so many apps these days, and I know an awful lot of people who have tried them. There are specific apps for queer people, which is great. Hold on, because this is where the issues are embedded.

You would imagine that a minority group would be accepting, accommodating and easy to get along with? Well, most of the interactions I have had in certain apps have been some of the most traumatic and demoralising interactions I’ve ever experienced.

It’s no secret that I present in a typically feminine way. I am often found in a dress with a heel. I accentuate my features with makeup. To many, these are purely markers of a woman. Which is not how identify. Surely a person on a queer dating app will understand that? No, not at all actually.

Trying to engage with guys is stressful enough, without messages that are basically abuse. Standard ones focus on my appearance. ‘Why are you on here? This app is for men interested in men’ that’s a classic. Then you get the ones who kind of sound nice, ‘love your look baby’ okay a bit creepy, but not awful. A few messages in, ‘how often do you cross dress’ oh so you think I’m cross dressing.

At this point, I try to explain who I am - which is problematic in itself, because why should I have too. It’s not my problem, any way that’s beside the point. Yet, I do persevere, only to be rebuked. Sometimes I’m blocked, sometimes I’m sent abuse.

All I’m trying to do is make a connection with someone who isn’t my sisters dog. Sorry Norman, you are prefect for me, but I want a bit more than chin scratches. I’m looking for way more than a physical relationships I’m looking for love. Yet at every turn my appearance and personality seem to be a huge turn off for so many people.

It may seem that I’m taking this incredibly personally. Yet, stop for a moment. I am being told that my very being is not accepted by the people who I want to connect with. At very low moments, I have considered changing the way I dress, ‘toning it down’ presenting myself in a way that is more acceptable.

I sit here, typing this, knowing that in no world is this fair. I should not have to change who I am to feel accepted. I deserve to feel loved just as much as anyone else. I will not change who I am, and I will continue to live just as I please.

We cannot allow that only queer people who appear to be sexy by societies standards be the only ones to be accepted. You are not an ally if you only support queer people because you find them attractive. We have to support all parts of the community. We must strive for acceptance for ALL.

This is why pride month is SO important. It raises the profile of queer people. It makes us more visible. We are seen a little bit more acceptable. More and more people will slowly have their minds changed about what is right and wrong. I may never find love, but by being who I am right now I may make it much easier for future generations to find love.

Thank you so much for joining me, as always. I will see you next week, where I will continue to Celebrate all things Queer!

Shot by Rachel Pechey

Shop my lewk:

T-Shirt: M&S

Jeans: M&S, Old

Trainers: Primury


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