#QueerJoy

What would happen if we flipped the script on queer stories? What if some of the words that come to mind when we think of the LGBTQ+ community - words like shame, marginalization, discrimination - were replaced with words like joy, success, empowerment?

What would happen if we flipped the script on queer stories?

What would happen if we flipped the script on queer stories? What if some of the words that come to mind when we think of the LGBTQ+ community – words like shame, marginalization, discrimination – were replaced with words like joy, success, empowerment? What if the news cycle around our stories wasn’t hyper-focused on trauma and harmful legislation? 

What if, like Rufus Wainwright said …

Wouldn’t it be a lovely headline?

“Life is beautiful”

On the New York Times

Rae Hill of Origami Customs–like so many of us–admits that they have “been feeling burnt out on the rhetoric and news cycles that have to do with queer and trans people these days.” So how do we fight the cycle of the repeated queer trauma dump? What helps Rae reconnect with their values is to remain focused on their work for accessible gender care for all. They’ve also found renewed purpose creating customized and handmade swimwear and lingerie for folks of all genders. Seeing how Origami Custom’s garments impact the people who wear them makes a lasting impression on Rae, who loves seeing people resonate with their vision. “The best moments are when we hear how our garments have affected the people we send them to!” Rae especially appreciates “Seeing parents of youth grateful for the access their child has to sports, special events, swimming, sleepovers, and things like that.”

On the phone with Emily from Simple Gay Apparel one evening, the concept of “queer joy” came up. “I have a hard time calling it queer joy,” she explained, “because [joy is] related to this greater self belief that goes deeper than my sexuality.” But queer joy, I proposed, was something all its own, something specific and special. I gave her an example of my own queer joy: When my wife Sam and I decided we wanted to have a family, I didn’t think my kids would grow up with friends who also had same-sex parents. I knew my kids would have various support systems, but I never imagined the reality we are living now, one in which my kids think it’s completely normal to have two moms. My 7-year-old has multiple friends with two-moms. Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky he is, how lucky my family is. That joy, for me, is particularly queer.

Contemplating this, Emily conceded, “I would have a hard time feeling queer joy if I weren’t doing something related to trying to overcome the struggle. If I were not working on my business I feel like I’d feel somewhat disconnected to my community.” Luckily for Emily, she gets to travel the country introducing people to Simple Gay Apparel and staying connected to the LGBTQ+ community. “This work brings me joy,” she says. Designing the life she wants has brought her gratitude.

“When you put positivity out for yourself, the universe listens to you,” Robin Willliams tells me. She’s the creator of Bow Tie Behavior and her brand can be found in TJ Maxx and Marshalls. That’s right, gender non-conforming accessories for all! Robin is a firm believer that queer joy can be found not only in queer spaces, but “being able to be yourself in any and every space all the time.”

I remember when my wife and I first became moms, I knew that our ability to “pass” was behind us. I was never going to pretend that my wife and family were something other than exactly who they were. It was freeing to know that I had to live my queer life out loud, that I would forever be myself in every space, all the time.

I would forever be myself in every space, all the time

Those of us in the LGBTQ+ community don’t have to define ourselves 24/7. Our joy doesn’t always have to be queer. We are multifaceted, dammit. But queer joy can be its own beautiful thing. My very favorite part of my life is my family and the community we have created around us. That community exists of queer people and our allies. That community is saturated in love and in laughter. My small business in the Hudson Valley is a safe space for all people, specifically those who identify as LGBTQ+. My home is a place where loved ones are always welcome. My life is bursting with queer joy.

So as these spring months guide us into warmer, brighter days, let’s think about what brings us queer joy, and how we can spark that joy and allow it to endure in our everyday living.

Hey there. Laura Leigh here. I’m a wife, writer, mama, small business owner, podcast host, and the Head of Content here at Pink Robin.

I love supporting the queer community and bringing shared experiences to life.

If you have a story to tell, I’m here for it.

lauraleigh@pinkrobinshop.com

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