By Becky StoneI have spent every day of my life, as far back as I can remember, wanting just one thing. To be thin. It would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to me. I would give up ten years of my life to just be thin and to never have to think about my body and why it wasn’t right, ever again. That was all I wanted.
By Kate MaxwellRace wasn’t discussed at home which on the one hand seems wonderful and idyllic, on the other, I never really understood who I was, what made me different and powerful. How my lived experience would be different from that of my peers. It meant I didn’t have the fire in my belly to promote change and inclusion. Until now that is!
My identity has always been stuck in-between the ends of different spectrums. I am bisexual, femme, and mixed race. The way I present myself as a queer multiracial woman has never really been accepted in the communities I'm part of. Never queer enough, never light enough, never dark enough, never masculine enough to fit the stereotype of women who love women.
My friends and colleagues have always known me as a strong and determined person but I have often been described as aloof and cold. Little did people know that I was wearing a mask that was constructed from all the expectations that my upbringing and society had heaped on me. I didn’t really know what my real self wanted or how she wanted to move through the world.
By GözdeI always just stuck out somehow. I was the tallest girl in my class, probably the weirdest too. I'm an only child and I didn't have a normal family life either. My dad left when I was 4 and my mother's mental health problems inevitably meant I grew up in foster care, which was definitely soul-destroying.
In the eye of society, I would be portrayed as a strong woman, a high executive working in finance but a few years ago I was a victim of violence and it shattered my world. Coming from the background I was and the ecosystem in which I was evolving, I always thought I would be protected from violence and always felt naively safe.
I spent my queer teenage years in Russia, where looking gay was both an act of resistance and a sign of conformity. It was a rebellion because wearing short hair and boy clothes were like screaming “yes, we exist, we are here, we are taking up space, despite all the fear and violence we deal with”. It was conformity because at the time there was only one way to be a “good queer” – you had to have short hair and boy clothes if you wanted to be taken seriously by the community.