What a relief to write that word. A relief to be myself. A relief to have people encourage me to be myself.
This post has been written for months but I have been afraid to press send, but in the light of the truly awful things that are happening to LGBTQ+ people in the UK and the around the world I want to be visible and proud.
I am well aware as a cis, white, middle class woman I hold privilege. Perhaps it would be perceived as easier for me to inhabit queer space and that would be right. I am also in a straight passing relationship and though that is not ground-breaking, I hope it might encourage others like me to feel they belong to the Queer community too.
This discovery of self has not come without it’s low and isolating moments, but what remains is the sense of belonging, community and joy I experience in queer spaces.
Cardiff is not quite Queer Utopia but with each year, it feels like there is more and more space for the queer community. Thanks to Queer Emporium, Mary’s Loneworlds Welsh Ballroom Community Queerdos and Cabaret in particular I have found myself amongst hugely talented and creative people. I am inspired by them and would like to thank each and every one of the performers, writers and activists I’ve encountered for just being them.
Sometimes I feel not queer enough to be in certain spaces, I’m on the outside looking in. However, I have met new friends who have been nothing but welcoming and slowly I am learning to let that insecurity go. Thank you too.
This country is not an easy place to be openly queer and those that choose to be themselves face oppression every single day. I hope that my new role with Stonewall Cymru as a Mentor Project Officer with the EPEV programme will help me champion those people and see them thrive. I want public life in Wales to be as diverse as possible because that is a true reflection of who we are.
Lastly I dedicate this post to my husband, whose non wavering support and encouragement has helped me get to this point. Without you, I might not have been me. Thank you for being proud of me. I love you.