Queer in Isolation
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
I know I have been struggling with this isolation lately. I've been learning and searching for new ways to engage with the Queer community outside of how I would normally. My creativity is getting a workout as I fall back onto the online communities that I previously didn't engage with. I find connecting over online and digital means difficult, I really value in-person connection and being able to just see and touch another person. To witness them and relate to them as we share space. Digital and virtual spaces are an interesting way for connection to occur, as before I only viewed them as ways to connect with people I already knew. That was comfortable for me. By attempting to make new connections I am finding that challenge one I can either step into and embrace or continuing battling.
I know how various relationships started online can be fruitful and rewarding, yet I struggle to connect in the same intimate way that I can in person. It comes back to how even if I am chatting or playing a game with a loved one online, I can't reach over and just touch them. I want to hold their hand as they tell me about something they are struggling with, I want to hug people as we greet, I want to celebrate (with a high-five even) as we complete a game mission or quest. This aloneness has been a huge opportunity for me to examine what beliefs I have around connection, how I can stay connected, and how I create connections in a digital space.
I think that for many of us, being around our partners and friends who share Queer experiences affirms our own identities in ways even well-meaning straight and/or cis folx can't. Just the presence of people who are Queer holds space for us to be fully our Selves. While the current social isolation and distance we are going through is different, we have all been through some form of Queer isolation before. Being in a workplace, a social gathering, a family, or even a relationship, where we realize:
“I am not welcome here.”
“I am alone in my experience.”
“I don’t belong.”
It then can become difficult to step forward in that group, unsure if our words will be heard, or our experiences validated and embraced. It’s difficult to keep coming forward, asking to be recognized, only to be isolated again.
Yet, here we are! Alive, breathing, and knowing our Selves as the people we are. We continue forward for the Loved ones who didn’t make it to today. We carry the legacy of those before us and of those lost due to their struggle with isolation. We can get through it, building off of the strengths both within our Selves and of others who inspire us.
So, in light of inspiring and building strengths together, I invite you to reflect on connection and isolation. If you want some prompts, here are a few I came up with: