Photography Mia Rankin Words & Styling Kurt Johnson Photography Mia Rankin Words & Styling Kurt Johnson Photography Mia Rankin Words & Styling Kurt Johnson Photography Mia Rankin Words & Styling Kurt Johnson
Growing up as a young queer boy in the anglosaxon, heteronormative outer suburbs of Sydney was something I still often reflect upon. Being called a faggot as I walked through the streets of my hometown, being called a faggot as I walked through the halls of my high school, and being called a faggot by my own father.
A single word that held so much power over me when I was young, a word that holds immense amounts of trauma and suffering.
Through my teenage years, as I was discovering my sexuality and trying to figure out when and how I was going to come out, I was barraged with homophobic slurs day in and day out. Every day was filled with small minded opinions and even smaller minded attitudes. The people around me had never known better. To them, gay people, trans people, bisexual people, intersex people, non binary people, were all something they had seen on television, or maybe there was a singular LGBTQIA+ person they had met at a party once. They casually used words like sissy, faggot, poof, Gaylord to describe someone who was weak or didn’t fit the masculine, heteronormative, binary description of a man. To be weak, was to be gay. Skip forward 10 years and that same little faggot now wears this proudly on his body, tattooed as a memento, so that he never forgets his strength.
All of those years of torment shaped me to be the most resilient, strong, unapologetic faggot I can be. I am proud to be queer.
After I left high school, I could finally start to explore my queerness. I started to go to gay clubs, meet other gay people, socialise in gay circles and I started to sexually explore who I was. My queerness started to bleed its way into my wardrobe and I started to become visibly queer. I went through many evolutions between 18 and 23, I was briefly titled the king of Sea Punk by Oyster in Australia (lol), tried being a club kid; I was discovering so many facets to who I was that I had never had the freedom to explore. It was like hitting puberty all over again, but instead of growing pubic hair I was growing synapse connections to a rich and powerful cultural history of queerness. The more I learnt about queer culture, the more I wanted to visibly express my queerness. My queer ancestors and predecessors fought so hard and lost their lives so I could be queer today, so I sure as HELL am gonna follow in their footsteps and show the world every day, that I’m a PROUD FAGGOT!
I think it’s incredibly important to be aware of queer history, to be able to fully appreciate how lucky we are to be queers today who are able to get married, to hold hands in public. It’s monumental. Our history is the reason we have basic rights today.
That all said and done, I do think it also very important to recognise the fight that still needs to be fought. We need to recognise that our trans sisters, brothers and non binary folk, specifically those who are POC, are still being targeted and killed. They are struggling and dying at the hands of men, who are still taught by society that loving or accepting trans people is wrong. We, as a community, need to stand up and say something. We are strong as a community, but when cis white gays become complacent because of their naivety of the queer rights movement and our rich and pain filled history, we become a candle that oppressive heterosexual powers can easily extinguish. Complacency is the death of resilience.
The future is bright if we take it on together, as a strong and resilient community of loving queers who truly love and care for one another as family.
To any younger queer people, to any queer people who are struggling with publicly identifying as who they really are, you’re not alone. The queer community is so full of love, it is the family we choose because sometimes our blood relatives don’t accept us. We are a family.
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