I didn’t fit in with my gender when I was growing up. I was forever in football kits and hated the pink toys and clothes I used to get for most birthdays and Christmas. I experienced negativity towards my gender presentation before I even realised I wasn’t fitting in. In the same way, I learnt about homophobia before I realised I was attracted to girls. I experienced anxiety and depression as a result of hating myself and these parts of me from a very young age. I have had to learn how to love myself and how to experience true, queer joy.
After my Dad passed away, and with the exception of a couple of cousins, my biological family are no longer in contact with me due to my sexual orientation. Things haven’t always been easy for me due to my sexual orientation and gender expression. So why do I choose to embrace queer joy?
My chosen family and my friends make it easy for me not just to survive, but to thrive. I know I am lucky in this regard. Thinking about moments of joy makes me think of the big moments. These include coming out when it went well – to friends and to colleagues. Other times include my first Pride and meeting Laura, my wife. I also remember our good friends having their twins via IVF, one of the first times I realised that I, as a queer person, could be a parent too. Seeing their children grow into independent, funny and fierce 6-year-olds who have two mummies has been one of the joys of my life.
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