Hello and Happy New Year to each and every one of you!!
January is usually a time of renewal after the reflections of the past year, and where new habits are started in the spirit of becoming a better you. This is also a period of resetting for many queer people after the holidays but can also come with feelings of loneliness. Its cold outside, friends may be with their families, there aren’t as many activities going on, people may be on health kicks which means your socialising may diminish, amongst many other things which all contribute to feelings of isolation. This is known as ‘Winter Loneliness’ but loneliness can impact at any time of the year.
Queer loneliness is even more important to us, as a lot of information say about being out and about in the world, joining a club or a class, but this isn’t as easy for a queer person, as this often come with a checklist of safety and precautions before we can even venture somewhere. As a better understanding of queer loneliness is emerging, here are a few handy tips, but the antidote is often ‘Connection, Community and Belonging.’
Connection doesn’t have to be face to face. You can find connections online, in the media, and with yourself. I bet you all know that famous line ‘if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else’. This means to combat loneliness you need to take self-care as a priority. Before doing anything, find out what you need to do to take care of your mental wellness. This could be a walk, taking medication, reading, watching tv, engaging in a spiritual practice, or even talking about it with a licensed professional.
Community is also major factor. Seek out queerness in the media you consume. Whether this is via books, podcasts, movies, tv, magazines etc (see the Blog Pride lists for recommendations). These are a great way to feel a connection to the wider world around you, and representation reminds you that you aren’t alone! Find an online community! Sometimes physical, public, visible, queer spaces can be intimidating if you are looking to combat your loneliness, but digital queer spaces offer an alternative way to connect, this is especially great if you live somewhere where there isn’t a lot of queer spaces around you. Research community events. Explore options for meet-up groups that are queer focused or for the LGBTQIA+ community. If you have another lived identity that is important to you (for example, practicing sobriety), you may want to look at events or groups that include both of these identities.
If you feel like you belong in a community with connections, then you will be more yourself than ever (see the links here).
The focus of this edition is going to be around Queer Parenting, with guest editors Elaine & Kate sharing their experiences, and our astonishing artist, Vicky Blight, also being a queer parent. Queer Parenting comes with many challenges and obstacles along with the highs and joys of being a parent. However, the societal ideology of parenting is still heteronormative and based around prescribed gender roles, of both the children and the parents, and all the pressures of parenting can come with additional societal pressures to queer parents.
There are so many variations of being parents, that even if we tried to list them, there will inevitably be some that are missed out, and with as many variations of parents comes the many ways to be a queer parent. Family, or chosen family, can bring all of us as individuals a real sense of belonging.
With many LGBTQIA+ individuals pursuing alternative routes to becoming parents aside from traditional biological conception – such as adoption and foster care – queer parenting provides safety, support, and consistency to countless children and young people who are in need of loving homes. Despite pushback from those with bigoted views – same-sex couples could not even adopt in England until 2005 – studies have demonstrated that having same-sex parents has no impact on children’s development.
As with any other aspect of LGBTQ+ community, a lot of activities and spaces are centred around nightlife, so we need to try to be more inclusive with events that are family friendly, and open to queer parents. We also need to ensure that there are ways to be more supportive on a personal level, parenting is hard guys! As the saying goes “it takes a village”, and what better village than a queer community with its colourful, diverse, and inclusive environment!
Queer Parenting also offers the freedom to challenge gender norms. They can offer an environment where children can flourish and grow and are free from traditional gender roles. They offer an approach to parenting where all varieties of families and people are represented and celebrated, and this can only have a positive effect. If all family units take this approach then it can only have a positive impact on discrimination for future generations.
This seems like a great place to introduce to you our new Queer Community Supper, where queer people can get together, discuss things that matter to them, be their true authentic selves with no judgement, have a bite to eat, and meet similar like-minded individuals. Our first one will be happening Sunday 21st January – keep an eye on socials for more info! Also, on our socials you will find our Queer Community Socials planned with things like games night, quiz nights etc – we would love to see you there!!!