As a lesbian who came out at the age of 34, I had no experience with the LGBTQI+ community, at all. I grew up in a regional town, moved to an even smaller regional town when I was 28, and only found my feet once moving to Melbourne in March 2019. When I say Melbourne, I mean a leafy suburb that is very family focused. So even though I came out a few months after moving to “Melbourne”, I was still unable to immerse myself in the queer culture.
I met a friend of mine in Northcote (who is queer) just a few weeks after coming out. It was a cold wintery Melbourne day, but I felt so open in the space as I could see that there were some queer people around and the place had a good vibe. I also purchased my first two queer books in a neat little bookshop there. After a lovely day out, I returned to the leafy family focused suburb and felt lost again. Where were my people?
When I started dating a woman, I started to feel like my butch lesbian identity really started to come out and be proud (finally!!) I attended my first queer event - so excited! It was the launch of Butch Is Not A Dirty Word (BINADW) at Hares and Hyenas in Fitzroy (Melbourne). I could not wipe the smile off my face – here are my people, I thought! I really enjoyed listening to the stories that were read as I related to many of them. I felt so comfortable and relaxed as everyone around me was having a great time and enjoying the atmosphere.
As I sit here today writing about International Lesbian Day, I am reminded that connection (with your own identity, your queer friends, and the queer community) is such an important part of feeling comfortable in the space. The first few queer events I attended were so important to me as I finally accepted myself for who I was, and who I am!
The other day my partner and I were talking, and she mentioned how difficult it would be for people who are coming out now, as they have no way to physically connect with the queer community. And I agreed. As human beings we all crave connection. As lesbians, we crave a connection with fellow lesbians in a common place so we feel comfortable being ourselves and can interact with others without fear of judgement and criticism. But how is this possible right now, during a COVID-19 pandemic when events are being cancelled, festivals are being postponed and face-to-face gatherings are banned in many places?
I thought about the types of resources I wish I had when I came out, and the organisations I could connect with to help me navigate my new life. Whilst I could do this physically at the time, it was difficult to find information and figure out what / who / where I should connect with fellow lesbians.
As a result of my “I wish I knew this when I came out” memories, I want to provide you with some things you can do / places you can go / organisations you can reach out to, to help you connect with your lesbian community during this difficult time we are facing.
Things you can do:
- Set up an Instagram account that focuses on lesbian posts (either of you or memes you find etc.) and follow the many millions of lesbian Instagrammers across the world.
- Sign up to your local library (you can get a digital membership) and borrow queer history books or lesbian fiction and read to immerse yourself in the lesbian world.
- Do some online shopping and buy some clothes or accessory that fit your lesbian style (or what you wish it were).
- Watch some lesbian romance films, and even some queer documentaries on Netflix or Stan (or any other streaming service you may have).
- At the end of the day, do what makes you feel happy and true to yourself. You are important and you are your number one fan!
For some great links and resources for Australian based LGBTQI+ organisations and support services you can check out the following links:
Check out some of our awesome Bisexual t-shirt ranges here.