I have a dear friend who is lesbian. She grew up in a conservative place where being ‘different’ would earn you a good kicking from kids of her age, and likely from some adults too. She did however have a supportive mother and she found her way.
I have another friend who ran away from their home when it became obvious that she was trans. I say, ‘it became obvious’ because their body was so obviously feminine, though through a convention of biology and naming she was assigned male gender at birth. She’s as feminine as any woman I know but for a minor anatomical quirk.
And of course I know a host of people who as they understood themselves better realised there was an enormous part of themselves that they had suppressed, doing their best to conform to societal norms and denying much of their nature. The fear of being outcasts is a powerful thing, even in the 21st century.
My lesbian friend has phrased it very well. She says, “We don’t raise our own young.” It’s not far fetched to say that the archetypal emo teen that flees an abusive home, misunderstood by their family and hometown, who ends up on the street in a big city – often homeless and friendless – is far from a meaningless trope. It’s practically a template for how some of us have rejected and been rejected by society. It all sounds painfully tragic.
But wait… As my friend points out, eventually – with a little luck – those ‘outsiders’ gravitate to others, and by some miracle find people who are like themselves. It can look a little odd to others, but somehow they find their people, or what we used to call ‘our tribe’. Whether it’s the ‘gaybourhood’ or friends within the ‘queerspace’, there are ways to connect with others. We find our way. And we grow.
As we do so we learn to support others like ourselves in whatever way we can. And suddenly there is something akin to family. Perhaps we don’t raise our own young, but they do find us and we can nurture them everyday in ways both direct and indirect.
Today we lost one of our own. Sophie was an amazing artist. A creative soul any family should treasure, even one so diverse and dispersed as our own. Let’s take a moment today to appreciate our sister.
Sophie died at 4 a.m. local time on 30 January 2021 at home in Athens, Greece.] According to their UK label, Transgressive, Sophie’s death was caused by slipping and falling while climbing to watch the full moon.
Finally, at peace.