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Finding Myself Through Queer Friendships

There is something so special and beautiful about queer friendships, and how they can create a sense of safety and openness. You’re connecting with people who have similar experiences to you, even if you do come from different walks of life, they still have an understanding of the fear, shame and confusion a lot of us experience when trying to understand our queer identity.

For most of my childhood, I was friends with boys. I was essentially what many would call a tomboy. I only hung out with boys at school, and on the odd occasion spoke to girls, but deep down I felt uncomfortable doing so. I knew the reason why but wasn’t ready to have that conversation with myself at such a young age.

It wasn’t until secondary school that I started to have female friends, and I found myself in a group of girls who were very straight and boy-crazy. I was still attracted to boys, mainly one boy (who turned out to be queer as we got older). Still, I felt like I had to over-compensate with my feelings towards boys just to fit in. It was also during a time when “That’s gay” was used as an insult and I felt my straight friends wouldn’t understand where I was coming from, so there also just was a massive sense of fear.

At one point I found the courage to tell a girl I was friends with. Which turned out to be a big mistake as she went around our friendship group telling people what I had told her. Full of horror I sadly played it off as a joke which ultimately made me more withdrawn about my queerness.

As I got a little bit older, my friendship group began to change, particularly, because of the music I was into. I began to hang out with the goth kids, which was a group that allowed me to feel a little more comfortable, as felt there were people among the group who were sexually fluid. It felt a little easier to open up about who I was as we were all just a bunch of misfits.

It wasn’t until university that I met my people. In particular, one of my best friends, Sarah, who I would go on to have so many great queer experiences with and also just great conversations that I don’t think I could have had if they weren’t queer.

I just remember being completely in awe of Sarah as she posted her coming out on Facebook, and I just thought that was so brave and awesome. Shortly after that, she messaged me asking me if I would go to the LGBT society, and since then we’ve been friends for 12+ years. Being a part of the LGBT society at university was so formative for me as it was the first time being surrounded by so many queer people, and so many great bonds were formed during that time. I finally felt a sense of community and friendship I had been yearning for from other queer people.

When I think about my queer friendships now at the ripe age of 30, I think about the conversations we have and the space we create for each other to show up authentically.  For many queer people, we have to mask who we are from the world. But when you find your people and pull that mask down, you can fully experience queer joy with those around you.

Queer friendships can also be very healing as it allows you to be around people who affirm who you are. Many of us come from backgrounds and environments where who we are was completely rejected, making these friendships even more necessary.

I’ve learnt a lot from queer friendships, especially through our conversations on our own queerness or through the language that we use or associate with. Through these connections, we are allowed a space to grow, and to also mess up, but ultimately feel supported. It feels a lot easier to talk to my queer friends about the person I have a crush on or I’m dating as there’s a much more connected understanding between us, when it comes to queer dating. 

Ultimately, I don’t know where I would be without my queer friendships. They are some of the most special and beautiful connections in my life, and I’m very grateful for them. They have allowed me to grow in confidence and be truly authentic to myself, so this Pride month and every month, I celebrate them.


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