Friday, 28 June 2019

Let's Talk About Some LGBTQIAP+ Topics | A Ramble About Being Myself

Hey everyone! 

Welcome to a brand new blog post! This post may be controversial for some, it may be relevant to others, but, as it's Pride Month, I thought that it was best if I had a little discussion with you all about some stuff. Without sounding self centred, most of this post will be about me, and it will be rambly, but I hope that you don't mind that.

It's probably going to be best to sort this rambling thread out into sections. I felt that it was mainly important to create this post, because not only is it Pride Month, but the LGBTQIAP+ community as a whole, are still very marginalised and as I'm a part of the community, I thought that I needed to speak up about some stuff. Some stuff is positive, some is negative, and some is in-between.

A picture of a grey t-shirt with love is love in white bold chunky font with rainbow colours behind the words like a shadow on a bright background

Non-binary

If anyone didn't know, I identify as non-binary. This is defined as, a term that is used for people that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍. ‌Identities that are outside the gender binary and cisnormativity. I did a post a while ago about being non-binary (click here if you want to read that.) Being non-binary is sometimes a weird concept to explain to anyone that is cisgendered (someone whose gender identity matches their anatomical gender at birth), because being both masculine and feminine can come across as a new subject to them, even though it has been around in many cultures for many years. Being 'enby' is still something that I am trying to express in a way that I want to and is still something that I am working on. I think that celebrities coming out as enby has definitely helped. It's showed me that the representation is slowly getting better therefore more people are learning to understand and accept enby, but also that no one fully has it together which helps my state of mind a lot with my gender. When I came out as non-binary, I got a fair few people asking me, can you be non-binary with a beard? Doesn't facial hair instantly make you conform to the attributes of one gender? Well no, why should something that grows on my face instantly define who I am? Society has told you to think that beards are ultra masculine, and well in my opinion, they are not. Clothing, again. shouldn't be categorised into gender specific sections. Yes, I know that many within society and media have had this debate, but for me, having gender specific sections, scared me when starting to understand my gender and who I am. I felt awkward going through female clothing sections in stores in case someone stopped me. I know that sounds stupid, but that's because society has told us that if someone that isn't a cis woman is looking at women's clothing is dodgy and weird, which is not completely true. We need to realise that most just want to look at female clothing, because, well there's sometimes better designs for certain aesthetics in the 'women' section. That was about a year ago, and I can't thank my female presenting friends such as Abbey and Michelle, who would help me look through such sections in stores so I didn't feel anxious. This year alone, I've dabbled more in makeup (an expensive and tricky hobby), worn crop tops and dresses outside and had genuine fun presenting as feminine when I've felt it in front of random strangers. All things that I was scared to do on my own this time last year. Dysphoria still and will happen,

Being Polyamorous

Polyamory is defined as, engaging in multiple sexual relationships with the consent of all the people involved. (I have also done a post on this before so click here to read it). When writing my previous post about being poly, I didn't really know how to explain any of it I just knew that it was something that I knew that was for me? I've slowly figured that it's more to do with mental health and that it helps my anxiety as I have a tendency to push some away when feeling 'bleh'. I also think that polyamory has a sort of stigma around it. I know that sounds slightly silly seeing as we live in an inclusive society, but stay with me. Polyamory has kind of being perceived as this thing that only a small minority do, that may be true, but its also been shown to be portrayed via hippies or America. By that I mean, polyamory being the centre of a communal lifestyle where many people come and live together and they share everything, or, something hidden in the corners of America in places such as Utah for it to be gawked at by the mainstream media, due to it being niche. The first one sounds kinda interesting, and, like a Marxists dream, but also sounds problematic. Also why was the stereotype with hippies? I guess that media didn't;t know what to do with it due to it not being mainstream and therefore decided to seek the first sighting of polyamory and just lump it altogether? That was wrong to do then, and, it's wrong to do today. When others ask me about polyamory, they get confused and anxious. I get that, being confused and anxious about something that you're not used to is expected. However, when I try to educate someone on it, they either just don't want to grasp it, slut shame, or, instantly come back with, 'oh well, I'd get jealous'. First of all, Karen, if you're confused about something and I educate you, the nice thing to do is to at least listen and nod. If you don't get it, that's fine, but ask questions, that's what questions are for. If you're not going to listen then why should I bother? Second of all,  you shouldn't slut shame anyone, no matter what. If I don't judge you, then why should you judge me? Third of all, everyone gets jealous, we compare and contrast within life. We shouldn't but its an innate thing to do, so of course polyam's get jealous, but communication is key. For me, polyamory is something that is still new in my life, but the way that I view polyamory, is something that improves my life. I'm not sure where I am with it, just like my gender, but I love love and I love people, so shouldn't that be enough for right now?

Holding Peoples Hands In Public

Most of you may think that holding hands in public is nothing, but for anyone in the LGBTQIAP+ community, it's not just a simple mundane thing. Homophobic/anti-queer attacks still happen. They happen in the UK, they happen around the world, and they probably happen in the town that you live in. Holding hands shows that you're being intimate within public grounds. Sometimes, this might be within safe spaces, sometimes this might just be shopping, but this still shows bravery. It shows that you know that someone might come up to you and shout slurs at you, they might punch you in the face but it shows that you're being your true authentic self. I'm still getting used to this for many reasons. Not only am I holding hands with people to show that I'm being myself, but I do it with my closest friends, due to needing help with seeing sometimes. I have an eye condition that means that I can't see that great within dimly lit places or well dark lighting/no lighting. Frankly, this isn't going to stop me going out at night, nor is it going to stop me going on nights out and adventures. This means that I let friends help me by holding my hand and guiding me, and that's fine, but to strangers they may not realise. By this, I mean that, invisible illnesses or even eye conditions, aren't recognised unless there's a visual cue to go along with it. No one gets that someone has a disability unless there's a wheelchair or a cane to show the disability. This means that I have still gotten scared that my face might get punched, or I'll get slurs shouted at me. I know what you're thinking. 'Jamie, it's rare that it will happen.' That's true, but it has multiple times. That's the only problem, most want to say that we've come a long way within queer rights, but have we? Should anyone be scared to hold hands? Hell no. Should someone be scared to show their loved ones affection in public? No. Yes, the LGBTQIAP+ community have some rights under the Equality Act, but that doesn't solve everything. We are slowly getting there though. This is why I've started to not care. Why should I be scared in case one thing happens, when I know that even if someone did punch me for being myself, that won't stop me being myself. I've started to hold hands with anyone and everyone that I know (after consent of course) because well, why should we care what others think?

Finding A Tribe

A lot of the LGBTQIAP+/queer community, decide to create their own family, as sometimes we're not lucky to have a family that accepts us as our true authentic selves. I have a family that does. I love them a lot, but I think that having a tribe/second sort of family was the best decision that I could have ever made. Not everyone in what ever tribe you find are the same, and that's fine, because its the best thing about being in a part of a smaller tight knit sort of community. You learn new things, you get educated on things that you would never know about otherwise, but, you get to do the same back. You can also rely and trust the people around you. and honestly, its fabulous. Finding people that share the same ideas and values has opened my mind up. It's also boosted my confidence, showed me that I can be open and not get hurt for doing so, and so much more. I don't talk about my mental health on here much anymore, but, its calmed my anxiety down so much. Honestly, if I hadn't had found people that I could trust, I wouldn't be able to write the above. Hell, I wouldn't really be able to write this post at all.

Thank you to, Alex L, Richard and Alex, Jim, Shaun, Mike, Vince, Johann, Kevin and Richard, Ben, Jos, Toby, Kris, Axel, Abbey, Michelle, Dan and anyone else that I've forgotten. (I'm writing this in the early depths of the morning.) Not to be cheesy, but to quote a misfit character that I relate on a spiritual level to, 'this is my family, I found it all on my own. It's little, and, broke, but still good. Yeah still good.' (Comment down below if you know the quote.)

Businesses With Rainbows/Commercialisation Of Pride

I read an article whilst planning this post that talked about how sticking rainbows onto brands logos isn't enough by one of the members of Years and Years. They said that they were sick of businesses just changing their logo to rainbow and thinking that it's enough to show their pride. I think that this is true. A brand can't just change its logo for a month and think that this is enough. If a brand is truly wanting to show their pride, then why not give a percentage of your profits to an LGBTQIAP+ charity? Why not make sure that your LGBTQIAP+ staff are being treated equally? Why not have a Pride range all year round? Pride can't just be a gimmick for a month to increase sales. LGBTQIAP+ can't be reduced down to a BLT with some added Guacamole to make it inclusive. It's pandering and it cheapens your brand as a whole. I'm glad that some brands have ensured that their Pride ranges do donate to a charity, but the ranges are only out for June which is problematic, because well Pride isn't just in June. Rainbows can happen at any time, and so can Pride and celebrating equality around the world. If you're going be loud, be so loud that they can hear from you the other side of the world and keep with it.

I hope that you've enjoyed this post and that you've had a good Pride Month. If you're going to any Pride events this year, be inclusive and be accepting. If you know any LGBTQIAP+ people, talk them, ask questions, let them educate you and accept and love them.

Thank you for reading this rambly post. 
Jamie x

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