Self-Help for Queer Lockdown: Coping Without Community
You were never only a mirror. But I caught glimpses of myself in you; warm slices of colour you handed to me each time we met. I was an unfolding thing then, furled, bent winged; now unbound.
We mirrors are tended, precious breaths.
Did you notice them across the room and were caught off guard by the attraction that unfurled through your body?
Maybe your feelings for a friend grew until ‘the best friend I love’ became ‘the one I love best’ and a life together.
Perhaps the wonderings and images that threaded the margins of your dreams wove into a sense of self until you saw and named it for what it was.
We all have different experiences of recognising queerness and it can be a complex and spiralling process. But for many of us, our feelings emerged in relation to another person. Regardless, while living in societies that can be homophobic, transphobic and unsafe for LGBTIAQ+ folx, we may constellate our queerness around our community.
Community can support, hold, validate and reflect. It’s the moments when we realise what we thought as a child were ‘odd things I did’ may actually have been ‘queer things I was doing which seemed odd in a het-cis world’.
But what happens in lockdown or for those shielding who can’t access the support or validation of local queer spaces in the same way?
Queerness can be experienced in community. After folding ourselves into awkward shapes to try and fit a life that’s been expected of us, there’s something therapeutic about seeing ourselves in others. Being queer in relation to people or a community, says ‘this is OK’. I am OK. It reminds us of who we are, that we are is real.
We are here, we are gay/lesbian/queer/womxn/man/femme/masc enough. Because these are so many messages which say we are not.
This has been particularly tricky during lockdown and now Pride month. For many LGBTIAQ+ folx, Pride is a space to refuel and re-establish access to resources that allow us to keep navigating difficult situations in daily life.
The queer community can mirror something in us and reflect what’s beautiful about us that we can’t always see. But queerness also exists within us, apart from any other person. We don’t just have queer relationships, we are forever in a queer relationship with ourselves.
If we haven’t tapped into this before, and experienced our queerness in relation to external experiences or spaces, here are some ways to reflect on our own relationship to queerness that may need support during a time of isolation.