Do we all need to speak up?
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Oh hello darling, and welcome back to Pride season on benpechey.com. Over the next weeks, I will bring you narratives that centre and focus on the LGBTQIA+ community. Today I want to look at the individual role we all play in the community.
As queer humans, we exist in a state of marginalisation, which means we have less access, and there is a narrative of having to work to achieve the comfort we have. This frames the conversation of the queer existence in labour. Which in some aspects is true, as it can be hard work being yourself in a world that seems to oppose this at every turn.
So this struggle, or non-linear development story if you will, becomes a big part of our life. Other people in forthcoming generations will also have similar experiences of the world. So is it our job as queer people to share our experiences of what we have been through, the good, the bad, and the trauma?
Well, there are two clear answers to this question, and possibly a grey area too. The first answer is that yes queer people should share their experience. It is a very helpful resource to future generations, to see and learn from a generation of thriving queer adults. This has been one of the things we perhaps didn’t have growing up, and all know the benefit it would have had on our lives.
It also allows us to provide a more realistic representation for our community. Of course, we have some wonderful queer celebrities to showcase how wonderful it is to be queer. Yet, always remember that these chosen few are bolstered by wealth and privilege many queer people will never have access to. So a broader diverse representation from across the community will only help.
Validation is a very large part of being human, and outside the marginalised experience, this is very easy to find through the media that we are surrounded by. However, the queer existence is not often represented fully, or even truthfully. The more queer people that share their experiences, speaking up, and being visually present online offers a level of validation many people will have never experienced.
The second answer is no, no we don’t all need to speak up. I do a lot of work in this sector, and I know more than most what it is like to be booked because of what you represent and not who you are as a person. For this reason, I always argue that we are people first, and our intersections second. It doesn’t mean we can never show up for our community, but it does mean that you have the choice on what you as a person want to do and say.
This takes me very neatly onto the power of privacy. Privacy is very much underrated, and once you start being active in the public sphere, you lose so much. Now I am not being hounded like Paris, Britney and Lindsey, but nothing in my present or past is off-limits when it comes to work and conversations I have to engage in. So privacy is a huge consideration to make when thinking about being vocal.
There is also the simple fact that you know other people are already doing a great job. You can choose to uplift other voices and share their words and work. This pushes the reach of that work even further and contributes to realistic representation, validation and the number of resources that exist for the community.
The grey area I alluded to earlier? Well, you can do any mix of these things, it is always up to you. I also would like to say, that being open and visible can affect your safety, so always make sure you are safeguarding yourself. Do as much or as little as you want to, we’re a community after all, and we all have different roles that we can play!
Thank you so much for joining me, as always, I love you lots like jelly tots, until next time, uh buh bye.
Shot by Ruth Pechey