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Queer inclusion, a double edged sword

Published on 03.07.2022 at 23:27

Do I feel included, certainly no! Being a queer person in a refugee community can be very scary, even life-threatening; especially for young LGBTQIA persons. Refugees from my small west African country have monolithic cultural beliefs that do not include, let alone, support the LGBTQIA community. Discrimination is a first hand experience among my people as a queer person. Yet growing up and going to predominantly white schools has been more daunting, as still, white people use racial prejudice to feel more dominant. Thus, being a gender, racial minority, I see exclusion perpetuated a lot at public places.

 

Entering these spaces, I feel this sense of staring eyes and silence that fills up the room as the door closes; the feeling of being an outsider, a queer person of colour. As I sit, I think of all these eyes staring directly at me as I try to ignore them which is obviously impossible. Then I think of all of my queer brothers and sisters who walk into these spaces with this sense of unknown hostility. Sitting there, with whatever clothes and whatever hairstile I chose that day, it felt like those people had no idea of how to react to something different; not different in the sense that I'm queer, black or whatever label they prefer. But a "different" that becomes incomprehensible and incomparable.

 

Because of misconceptions, fear of persecution, and discrimination, growing up I thought being gay was a specific way of life. You had one person who was more masculine and one person who was more feminine and that is how it worked. But there is no one right way to be LGBTQIA. I identify as a queer nonbinary person, I use they/they pronouns. I am pansexual and demisexual. So using queer as an umbrella term helps to cut down on the explanation. I have known I was LGBTQIA since middle school. Though my understanding of myself has grown in the past years, as has my identity, I do still feel society pushing me to pick a side, be gay or straight, instead of accepting who I am.

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