The Joy Of Being Queer And Fearless

The advent of the 21st Century has brought an epochal transformation in the gender dynamics landscape globally. Source: Pexels

The rich history of the LGBTQ+ community goes back to the 1969 Stonewall Riot, where Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, Stormé DeLarverie, and other queer activists stormed the New York Streets, protesting against police brutality, homophobia, violation of human rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, conversion therapy …the list goes on!

For a long time, queer folks were marginalized, terrorized, and dehumanized across the globe. Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community can be daunting and even overwhelming sometimes. Issues such as homophobia, transphobia, structural discrimination and hate crimes are not unheard of. Having an LGBTQ+ identity can fill one up with fear and despair rather than acceptance and pride.

Moreover, living in a heteronormative society with preconceived notions of gender and sexuality often leads to shame and self-doubt about one’s own identity. The person often finds themself treading over eggshells, torn between battling the homophobia in society and the internalized homophobia against their own self.

But all isn’t as dark as it used to be. The advent of the 21st Century and the contemporization of ‘being woke’ amongst the Gen-Z has brought an epochal transformation in the gender dynamics landscape globally.

Same-sex marriage has been legalized in over 30 countries across the world. Source: Pexels

Today the world is fast evolving, transforming, and progressing beyond regressive mindsets, as a massive wave of cultural and socio-political shifts across the globe sweeps through thus making inclusivity, diversity, and equality the increasing norm.

The abrogation of Article 377 in India, the criminalization of homophobia in Switzerland, the legalization of same-sex marriage in over 30 countries worldwide, the abolishment of conversion therapy, the introduction of inclusive policies and legislatures — are signs that the world is transcending beyond the binary shades of blue and pink and making space for all shades of love and wearing that as a badge of pride!

June, Pride Month is just around the corner, and will soon see the physical and virtual streets flooded with the colors of the rainbow, slogans, and banners advocating queer visibility and equal representation. Although, activism promoting inclusivity is a year-round cause and marching for queer rights is vital but isn’t breaking stigmas of self-love, understanding empathy, and acceptance equally important?

Isn’t it important for the LGBTQ+ community to center itself around queer joy, celebrate their victories, and highlight those moments that made their hearts explode with happiness restoring faith in humanity? For sure, it is. And well deservedly so.

Queer joy is all about having your inner pride parade every day. Source: Pexels

Queer joy can mean different things to different people. For some, queer joy is all about having your inner pride parade every day. For the others, it is about celebrating and appreciating one’s own individuality, uniqueness as well as that of the whole community.

No matter whether you are in or out of the closet, we bring you some ways we hope you can find joy and pride in being queer without fear! Read on.

  1. Watch queer-based films, series, and documentaries:
From top-left: Movie posters for Fire, Those People, Call Me By Your Name, The Portrait Of A Lady On Fire Source: IMDB

One of the best ways to find yourself is to see yourself well represented on the screens. Cinema has the power to emotionally move us, to make us tearful at one moment and burst out laughing at the other. Movies and documentaries are portrayals of the multifaceted complexities of our lives on reel. And hence, it becomes immensely important to watch movies that eliminate harmful stereotypes and give a deeper insight into the lives of LGBTQ+ characters and the world around them.

Oscar-nominated movies such as Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, Call Me By Your Name, Fire, Those People, and many more, capture the mental turmoil, self-inhibitions, moments of joy, and infinite other shades of emotion that can help us appreciate the various complex layers of life and self-identity.

2. Join local/virtual Queer clubs:

You are not alone in your trepidations and most importantly you are not alone in ‘being different’. Source: Pexels

The impending feeling of being alone is perhaps one of the gravest issues of being queer. The constant need to ‘fit in’ when one is born to stand out just doesn’t make sense. Feelings of shame, self-guilt and emotional isolation slowly eating away at the soul bringing up screams of- “WHY AM I LIKE THIS?? WHY AM I NOT ENOUGH??”

Well, living in a heteronormative society is not easy, for sure. And to find oneself dressing “differently”, thinking “differently” and even loving “differently” can be emotionally wrecking rather than liberating. Perhaps, that’s why, you must find your tribe!

Participating in local or virtual queer clubs could help not only with friendships across one’s own community, with meaningful conversations and shared experiences being the topic du’jour on more days than one, it can also make one realize that One is not alone — Not alone in one’s trepidations, one’s quirkiness and most importantly not alone in ‘being different’.

3. Know thy history:

From top-left: Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, RuPaul Charles and Billie Jean King. Source: CNN

It is only when you know who are you and where you come from, can you truly be proud of yourself. It is important to remember that Pride started with a riot, where thousands of queer people fought against the system for several years demanding what they always deserved– basic human rights.

Hearing the inspirational stories of those who fought for inclusivity and understanding the history of complex socio-political and the rich cultural significance of the LGBTQ+ movement, could make you proud and also give you the strength and vigor to build a better world for all people alike.

4. Support queer organizations and artists:

Play the active role in the collective inclusive future of humanity (Source: Pexels)

Renowned actress, Tamilyn Tomita once said, “If you are more fortunate than others, then build a bigger table, not a taller fence.” The best way to bring change is to act on it. By supporting queer organizations, charities and local artists, you are playing an active role in improving the collective future of the community.

The first step towards diversity and inclusivity is to acknowledge and accept the differences, reflect upon our inhibitions, and conquer self-imposed and societal barriers. As the LGBTQ+ community progresses towards a more inclusive space, we must treat others and ourselves with compassion, understanding and love.

But while we are focusing on the beauty of queer joy, it is imperative to understand the perils of ‘toxic positivity’. The constant preaching of “Live. Love. Laugh” and sheer disregard for the hardships and suffering of another human. An act of performative happiness that propagates the dangerous idea of denial of obstacles that others experience in their lives.

Queer joy is not about minimizing the hardships and sufferings that other queer folks experience, rather it is about celebrating the advancements of the LGBTQ+ community and cherishing those moments that make one feel alive, despite being aware of the LGBTQ+ struggles, discrimination, and improvements to be done.

Much like everything else, there is no simple formula to happiness. Queer joy starts with you– where you discover yourself and make peace with that discovery. May we find ourselves soon in a future where our children don’t have to live in the same worrisome state that we do today. May they find peace and exhilaration in declaring who they are rather than being fearful of what others might say.

Until then — Don’t be afraid to show off your true colors!!

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