Oh hello darling and welcome back to benpechey.com. August has been all about desires and exploring what we can do to answer some of these things in our lives. To round out this month, I would love to explore one of my deepest desires with you. That is Queer Utopia.
Queer Utopia is a subject that I think about more than you would think. I am always more reflective about this subject in the wake of Pride season. Working with brands, public speaking and participating in panels, means that you end up having to answer this question plenty of times - and it has given me so much time to work out a realistic answer.
Utopia is a term that can trace its roots back to Latin. It was first used in written documentation by Thomas More. It was used as the title of his book - about an imaginary island enjoying the utmost perfection in legal, social, and political systems. Utopia in Latin means literally nowhere - and is a term that is still wrapped in the sci-fi attention of the 20th century.
What is interesting is that Utopia - and the sense that it doesn’t exist anywhere - is relevant when I think about a quote I say often about Queer people. That quote is ‘Hell is other people’ which comes from No Exit, a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The phrase is a reference to Sartre's “perpetual ideas of being caused to see oneself as an object from the view of another consciousness.” Which I think in the context of 2021 and the LGBTQIA+ community is incredibly poignant.
Our lives in the community are greatly affected by others, and usually, this is simply due to difference. Difference still seems to be the biggest hurdle that so many of us face. Living our lives in the way we have chosen, honouring our truth, seems to be such a dog whistle to the people we meet across our lives.
I long for a day where I don’t have to stare down people who stop and look me up and down in the street. I long for the day when I don’t have to worry about my personal safety in environments that are new to me. I also wish the same level of access and security for the whole community.
This brings me on to what I imagine to be Queer Utopia. I think that could be very similar to the world we live in now. Where individuals have different opinions, tastes and outlooks on life. The main difference is that those key differences are not picked apart day to day.
We don’t need to know the ins and outs of the lives of all the people we meet, and nor is that feasible! Instead, Queer Utopia would allow people to embrace difference by employing universal respect of individuals. Leaving us all the space to just get on with our lives - in peace!
I think that is something we should all be working towards. It’s realistic and could be easy to shift towards. It’s one of my deepest desires, to have a life where I am not constantly told I am wrong, or that I am too different - instead, I would just like to be left to my own devices a little bit more!
Thank you so much for joining me, today and all month long. As always, I love you lots like jelly tots, until next time, uh buh bye.
Ps: I’d love to know what you think Queer Utopia could look like! So let me know if you have any ideas!
Shot by Rachel Pechey