Liberation of Identity

After Vicki Baars’ and Alan Bailey’s (NUS LGBT Officer Women’s Place and NUS LGBT Officer Open Place respectively) leaving speeches I have become increasingly aware of having to leave the safe bubble of liberal, tolerant and accepting university life to face the world in all its glory and faults. The faults are intolerance, discrimination and homophobia. I spent this week in Manchester at the NUS LGBT conference. This was surprisingly my first LGBT conference and it was amazing to say the least. I felt so incredibly liberated and safe as a Black, queer, Muslim, feminist.

The NUS LGBT Campaign and the NUS Black Student’s Campaign are literally like coming home. I feel safe, acceptance, love and support from people some whom I’ve known for a while and others not so long. It is a fantastic space for activism both online and offline.

This weekend I learnt something new about myself. I became more comfortable with who I am. I did identify as a lesbian which I am of course but I for some time now I’ve felt that this identity does not fit in with my idea and rationale of fluidity of sexuality. The Kinsey scale of sexuality fits with my thinking and I feel that labels such ‘straight’, ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’ and even ‘bi’ are polar opposites and don’t particularly give room for any movement and indeed the fluidity of sexuality. After attending the queer caucus at conference one of the questions posed was “why do you identify as queer?” and most people spoke about their experiences and how they believed it fit more with their gender queer identity and also queer in terms of sexuality. During the session I suddenly felt liberated in my understanding of queer and what it means to be queer and felt that this word fitted me more so than lesbian. In essence ‘queer’ is like a circle but with no boundaries.

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