Getting to know the LGBTQ+ community
“Dear,” “Darlin’,” “Girlfriend,” “Gorgeous,”…. I’ve been called many names in my twenty years of covering the LGBTQ+ community. The names, themselves, always make me smile and remind me of good friends and individuals who care enough about me to try to make me smile, especially on days when smiling doesn’t come easy.
People would often ask me why I’m so much into the LGBTQ+ community. Truth is that I’ve always felt at ease when around LGBTQ+ individuals and felt like I could be myself around them. Why that is? I’m not quite sure, and I’m also not the only one to feel that way. To best explain it, here’s an excerpt from Make a Difference, my July 2019 A&U Magazine cover story with Victoria Noe, activist and author of Fag Hags, Divas and Moms. In the excerpt I write, in part from personal experience, about women the author calls “fag hags” (a term I only became aware of upon reading Noe’s book) and their strong friendships with the gay community:
“Truth is that women in this particular category may live in happy romantic relationships of their own, but when it comes to friendship, they are drawn to the gay community. This kind of friendship might be difficult to explain, but, I believe, it has to do with a feeling of acceptance (flaws and all), of belonging. Perhaps there’s also a level of mutual understanding—of common histories, struggles—that underlines this kind of friendship. Personally, I’ve always found a safe place in my own friendships with gay men, a ‘home’ where I can be myself, because gay friends don’t judge, they listen and comfort, brighten the darkest and gloomiest of days, and always, always prove themselves friends in need, indeed.”
And, for me, it’s not only individuals from the gay community, but also from the entire LGBTQ+ community. Over the past twenty years I’ve discovered amazing friendships in this community. I’ve found inspiration, mentorship, guidance, patience, as well as ears to hear me out, and shoulders to cry on. This is my experience, and that’s why I feel the way that I feel about the LGBTQ+ community.
These Covid days I find myself missing my friends. We still stay in touch, mostly virtually and by phone, but it’s been a dark, depressing, tough and rough year in so many ways, for so many of us. I do miss getting together for crazy photo shoots and experimenting with wild outfits, lighting, and poses…or just chatting for hours over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, listening to them sharing their stories of resilience or talking about art and activism, and hope.
I hope this finds you well and safe. As always, thanks for stopping by.