In the first of her regular monthly columns for OutNewsGlobal, Taz Thornton ponders fitting in within the LGBTQ+ community and gives us a tempting taste of things to come.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t quite fit in?
Maybe you’ve reached that point where you feel absolutely comfortable in your own skin, you’re happy with who you are, you’ve stepped right into your own power but, still, you’re like a round peg in a square hole.
If I’m honest, I’ve often felt like that in the LGBTQ+ community – and it’s one reason I’m so utterly thrilled to be joining the team at Out News Global as a columnist.
Long hair and make up.
Let me explain…
When I first came out, way back when everything was in sepia (the late 90s), I had long hair, still my natural blonde colour, and my GF (now my wife) had flowing locks as well.
Not only that, but we both wore make up!
Horror of horrors! How could that be?!
Things have changed so much now but, back then, we’d regularly get stopped and questioned going into gay or lesbian bars, purely because we both had long hair and make up.
When did it stop? When I had my hair cut short!
Suddenly, we seemed to be acceptable and the inquisitions on the doorsteps of sapphic watering holes ceased.
Though all true, I am , of course, being a little tongue-in-cheek. It was entirely understandable for door staff to be cautious, though I have to admit to occasionally giving a rude response!
Pink hair and tattoos.
Fast forward, and I’ve never quite fit the desired mould for certain LGBTQ+ scenarios either. I remember, not too long ago, chatting to someone at a lesbian event, only for their first question to be: “So, what’s your area of activism?”
Errm… do we all need to have one, then? I don’t remember that being in the rule book.
I answered, perhaps a little glibly, that I was out and proud and living in a small, rural village in south Lincolnshire – I reckon that probably counts as activism, even without taking into account the pink hair and tattoos!
Let’s touch on my business now.
There’ve been a few times where someone in the media has wanted to include content from an LGBTQ+ business owner. I’m in the public eye quite a lot (best way to reach more people and spread a positive, inclusive vibe) and so, of course, I’d be all over that! Where does it fall down, though? I don’t specifically provide LGBTQ+ exclusive business services.
Whoops! I’m just not gay enough again!
We have a home here.
One more for instance… our pals in the media have actually asked me how my lesbianism affects my business. I’m a coach. I’m here to serve people regardless of how they identify. My lesbianism is by the by.
Years ago, I remember interviewing a lesbian author for a lesbian magazine. The editor specifically asked me to question her about how her lesbianism impacted her writing. I can still remember the look on her face. I won’t share her answer with you all here!
Back to my point…
One of the elements I love about Out News Global is its inclusivity. It doesn’t matter where we are on the rainbow spectrum, we have a home here – and that’s just bloody brilliant!
It’s also one of the messages I want to be passing onto you all through this monthly column.
Yes, of course, I’ll be talking about mindset, optimism, maybe even sharing a few business tips for the more entrepreneurial spirits among us, but I really want to remind us all that we’re okay just as we are.
Can we aim to improve ourselves? To grow? To turn up our positivity volume and use our past challenges as catalysts for positive change? You bet!
Does that mean any of us are less than perfectly acceptable, loveable and utterly wonderful in our current form, though? Absolutely not!
However you identify, wherever you sit yourself on that brilliant rainbow spectrum, your place in the world is perfect. You are right where you’re meant to be in this moment.
It doesn’t matter whether you feel your sexuality defines you, or is even a relatively insignificant part of your make up in the scheme of things, what matters is how YOU feel, how YOU love, how YOU live.
Being gay, lesbian, bi, trans, fluid – whatever descriptor you choose, wherever you hail from, whatever your pronouns – you matter and you’re needed.
If you’re doubting that, let me give you an analogy to think about (I love a good analogy – you’ll be getting plenty of those from me): imagine dismantling an old clockwork watch – cogs, wheels and whirly bits spread out across the tabletop.
If you put it back together and miss out even the tiniest mechanism, that timepiece won’t work as it should. It might be missing only a tiny piece, but that microscopic spec is a super important part of the whole.
Get it? No matter how small we might feel at times, regardless of how insignificant we ALL sometimes feel, we’re all important – we ALL have a role to play in the world.
Inclusivity rocks – together with diversity and equality, obvs. That’s why we still need Pride events. It’s why we need to keep banding together and spreading those all important messages. It’s why platforms like this are so important.
Thanks for having me, Out News Global. I’m plenty gay enough. This is home.
And so do you.
Until next time,
Catch the brilliant #TAZTALKS chat show here.