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Embracing Queerness

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brighton chapter.

Living in a society that thrives to fit people into categories and labels, the umbrella term queer is being used by more people than ever before and has become liberating for individuals. Queer is an umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or cisgender, and for this article, I wanted to talk to individuals who identify as under this term and discuss their journey through embracing their identity.

When did you recognise you might be queer?

Ruby – “It wasn’t until I was like 12/13 that I realised I was queer, I feel like because other people would say things like ‘she’s so pretty’ I would just be like yeah of course without realising that others didn’t necessarily have the same attraction as I did. Because I have always been attracted to men as well, I feel like it was always pretty easy to fly under the radar and try and hide It although now I wish I hadn’t. It wasn’t until I was older like 14/15 that I started to embrace it more and tried to start releasing my internalised homophobia.”

Ella – “I didn’t really think about being queer until it was discussed in my school, I had always looked at men and women in the same way but didn’t think too much of it especially being surrounded by homophobic students in a public school. I first came out when I was 15 at school to some friends which was during the Ruby Rose era where every straight girl seemed obsessed with her so It felt more ‘allowed’ and no one was going to call me out. I came out to my family when I was 19 on New Year, my mum cried thinking I was a lesbian and my dad was adamant I was straight which sucked as a first reaction but they have now changed their views.”

Milly (myself) – “My queer journey was a long one, during school I was adamant I was straight and it was only until I was 16 when we had a talk in school I started to reflect on my experiences. It was only between the ages of 19-22 I have come to accept my queerness more so in the last few months as it is something I struggled with due to internalised biphobia. I have always had close supportive friends and I was worried they would view me differently and not want to associate with me anymore, not because of how they are as individuals but based on other people’s experiences. I also didn’t feel comfortable embracing my queerness in my second and third year because of people I was friends with due to some throwaway comments made towards me about getting with girls on nights out or finding girls attractive. After speaking to my friends and especially my mum who were all supportive, I finally came to love my queerness and became open to dating girls.”

What were the highs and difficulities you faced during your experience?

Ruby – “I have been very privileged to have family who has been supportive and accepting of my sexuality or at least tried their best. Once being in a relationship with a cis/het male for a long-time people often assumed I was straight which probably added to the difficulty in embracing my queerness cause a part of myself thought I was a fraud… not queer enough to be accepted into the LGBTQIA+ community. After finding the strength to leave that toxic relationship I finally felt free to embrace my sexuality fully and shed any feeling of not belonging.”

Ella – “In my head bisexuality had so many privileges like I don’t get as much homophobia generally because I’m in a hetero presenting relationship so no one would assume I’m queer… I appreciate that I have that extra privilege and safety in public and even coming out. I had a few family members that would use homophobic slurs about me behind my back and I cut them off. I don’t waste my energy trying to change minds anymore, people either respect and understand your sexuality or they don’t understand but still respect it, those are the type of people to surround yourself with. Being the queer supportive older sibling for my sister whilst she navigates her own journey makes all the lows, I experience worth it especially when it comes to her seeking support from the family.”

Milly (myself) – “Whilst being new still to my journey I haven’t experienced many lows apart from the few comments I’ve heard about me making others feel uncomfortable because of my queerness despite not being open about it. My mum always had assumptions but her main priority towards her children was that we are happy, and our actions aren’t harming others, she has always been open about not caring what our sexuality is because she loves us either way which for me when having confusing thoughts meant it was easy talking to her. My best friend also was always super supportive and pushed for me to start dating girls which I know is a privilege because not everyone has those support networks.”

What would you tell your younger self starting your queer journey?

Ruby – “I guess I would tell myself that there is no point even trying to hide a part of yourself. Do what you’ve got to keep your head up and accept the love all around you.”

Ella – “I’d tell my younger self to not ignore it… and to explore it in any way that feels comfortable and makes you happy. Accepting and embracing it has really made me a lot happier, you’re always going to invalidate yourself before anyone ever says anything but it’s your sexuality and whatever it is doesn’t matter as long you’re happy.”

Milly (myself) – “I would tell my younger self that the right people who deserve to be in your life will still love you regardless of your sexuality and if you’re happy that’s the only thing that matters.”

Being queer is something that is beautiful and amazing, it should be accepted and loved by those who are on that journey. I think for everyone it can be a difficult unique journey with many highs and lows but with the right support from friends or even the LGBTQIA+ community itself, people who are queer can create a safe space to embrace it. And as Ru Paul once famously said “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else!”

milly struthers

Brighton '23

I am a female van traveller with the desire to explore the world and interact with a range of people and engulf myself in new cultures. Reflecting shared female and queer issues across all race and ethnicities within my articles Creating a safe and open space in my writing where individuals can relate or emphasis with what is being written and most importantly feel connected and that their not alone in their experiences.