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I was forced to come out when I was in middle school around the age of 12 or 13. I actually was outed by my girlfriend at the time and I was super pissed about it. I was no way near ready to have a conversation with my mom about my sexuality.

I’m kind of glad it happened though. I was so sick of hiding who I was and pretending I was hanging out with a “friend” when they were actually my girlfriend! My mom thought it was a phase and that I wanted to be like my sibling who was already out at the time.

My parents made me feel like there could only be one queer person in the house which was pretty unfair. They told me it was probably a phase and I would eventually grow out of it so me coming out wasn’t taken seriously even though it should’ve been.

“It definitely wasn’t the norm to be gay”

I knew I liked girls and there were feelings I couldn’t explain that I never felt with boys and those feelings never went away. It definitely wasn’t the norm to be gay in 2002 in middle school so there were some situations in school that were pretty hard.

I remember playing basketball for a brief moment, I was not very good, so I was definitely a bench warmer haha! But I remember having a basketball game and a girl I grew up with, who I hadn’t seen in forever was playing on the other team. I recognised her right away and when we did the little handshake at the end of the game I couldn’t wait to catch up with her.

“I was still the same person, but people saw me differently”

Instead of her saying hi and giving me a warm smile back she called me a “dyke” and looked at me in disgust. Word had travelled I was gay, and some people started treating me differently. It hurt because I was still the same person, but people saw me differently. 

I continued to date girls on the low, but I also wanted to live up to this person my parents so badly wanted me to be. I wore really feminine clothes although I was super uncomfortable in them and even had a boyfriend.

High school and my first semester of college were the most depressed years of my life. It wasn’t until my second semester in college that I decided I needed to re-come out for my own sanity. This time, I didn’t care what my parents thought because I was done living for them and ready to start living for me and understanding myself on a deeper level.

  “Re-coming out made me feel so free and so happy”

My mom was accepting this time around which made me feel so good but I did tell her how she made me feel when I came out the first time and how hard it was for me to hide who I was to make her happy. Re-coming out made me feel so free and so happy. I’m so so thankful I can live freely every day. 

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Stray

Edited by Ash O'Keeffe

LGBTQ+ Blogger

Stray’s Coming Out Story
I was forced to come out when I was in middle school around the age of 12 or 13. I actually was outed by my girlfriend at the time and I was super...
Ari De B’s Coming Out Story
My coming out story might sound a bit unusual, but I want to talk about how I came out to myself. I've always known I was "different" -...
Ketch Wehr’s Coming Out Story
The idea of coming out stories is so multifaceted for so many of us. Which ones do I even count? How many times did I have to come out...
Jamie Chung’s Coming Out Story
I’m Jamie and I’m a non-binary queer person living in Chicago. I like food, sharks, video games, being on couches, having fun, and...
Kasey Nichols’ Coming Out Story
My coming out story, much like me, was quiet and unobtrusive. It was a long process consisting of growth, education, and deep...
Alexis’s Coming Out Story
My name is Alex, and I am queer. I prefer the term queer because it honors the fact that I exist somewhere in the middle of the beautiful, fluid...

The post Stray’s Coming Out Story appeared first on Unite UK.

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If you’ve spent ANY time whatsoever scrolling through LGBT pages on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll have seen those memes; the ones with pictures of Kim Possible, Daphne from ‘Scooby Doo’, and a handful of Disney princesses with the caption ‘if you had an obsession with one of these as a kid, you’re gay now’.

As well as feeling fairly  a t t a c k e d by these memes, they raise a few questions for me, and bring to mind something I’ve wondered about my whole life: how to identify that fine line between wanting to kiss somebody, and wanting to be them.

Putting the cartoons aside, it’s never been unusual for any of my female friends to appreciate other women. We’d happily spend time flipping through a magazine or watching a film, and punctuating the activity with agreed murmurs of ‘she’s gorgeous’, ‘her legs are AMAZING’, or ‘she is HOT’. Because of this, and the strong culture of appreciating other womens’ assets, I think it took me longer to come to terms with my sexuality. I found it fairly difficult to work out that I found a girl physically attractive, and didn’t just admire her.

Flicking through Tinder, or even scrolling through somebody’s Instagram selfies, I think it can be difficult for lots of people to know which side of that line they’re stood on, particularly for those still working out where they might fit in the LGBTQ+ community. Is this somebody I find hot? Or is this just somebody I wish I looked like? And how do I tell the difference? Making this harder still is the idea that you might feel both at the same time: I find my girlfriend incredibly attractive, but damn I wish I had her hair!

Admiration and Attraction are two very similar feelings – and of course attraction doesn’t have to be sexual in nature, so I’ve learnt that there’s not really any one answer. The subjectivity of attraction can make this distinction tricky, and the two overlap A LOT. It’s also possible to find somebody attractive without admiring them all that much – but in my experience that’s a lot easier to wrap your head around! As clichéd and unoriginal as it

Naomi Smart

Blogger at Unite UK

I’m Naomi, a Masters student and dance teacher currently living in London. I came out in my final year of university, at age 21, and since then have been keen to join a team such as UniteUK and use the opportunity to share my voice with others. I currently identify as a lesbian, and use she/her pronouns.

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The post Admi-GAY-tion: the fine line between wanting to be somebody and wanting to date them appeared first on Unite UK.

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Let’s be honest; it feels really good to be in an lgbtq+ space. We, little social skeletons wrapped in flesh (a.k.a all human beings), feel the need to surround ourselves with people similar to us in order to chase away the feeling of loneliness and feel understood. It can sometimes be difficult to find such places outside of Pride Month (at least where I live).

But! When you finally hit the legal age to be an adult, a whole new fantastic world opens its doors for you: lgbtq+ clubs and bars! Let’s take a look at this new queer ecosystem of your life.

Relax! You’re there to have fun

I remember behind so nervous before entering my first gay bar in Montreal during Pride week. How was it going to be? Would it look eccentric like in the movies? Well, each place is different, but you could feel the general open mindedness and that the atmosphere was ecstatic. I really ended up having a great time there. There was a dragqueen show, people were singing along and I was with friends. The thing that hit me the most was the fact that I could kiss my girlfriend without being scared of some drunk or annoying person making inappropriate comments.

Meet new people

It is the perfect place to be a social (rainbow) butterfly! As a professional introvert, I know how hard it can be start conversation with strangers. I found it easier to meet people at special events organised by the bar: drag shows, comedy shows, trans discussions, bears partys, etc. First, you have something in common to talk about, which can help break the ice.  Second, people are generally in a good mood at events and they are there to have fun. So, you can do it too! I believe in you, you incredible biped!

Some of my queer friends also feel a lot safer to flirt in lgbtq+ establishment comparatively with regular clubs or bars, for obvious reasons. You can meet people from all sexual orientation, gender and gender expression! There is also a general openness; imagine a guy starting to flirt with someone who turns out not to be interested in men. There will be less awkwardness in that kind of environment, trust me.

Little reminder

Even though you feel confident and comfortable to show affection and to flirt in those environments, always keep the concept of consent in mind. You shouldn’t touch someone without confirmation from them that it is okay. Grabbing someone butt may be seen as a funny and quirky way to get their attention, but it might also make them feel uneasy and unsafe. Consent is the key!

Still special in my heart

I always go to the same lgbtq+ bar in my city and I have been there dozens of time. I did my first drag king performance on its stage, I know people from the staff and I even made some friends there. It now feels like home and I’m glad to have this safe space to go out! I hope you’ll enjoy your experiences too!

Maika Montminy

Blogger at Unite UK

Hi! I’m Maïka, an LGBTQ+ activist, but also an artist and a writer for UniteUK . I’m from Canada and I am currently studying Applied Communications at University. I identify myself as genderqueer. I am passionate about everything that touches the community as well as mental/sexual health. I love sharing my own experiences, hoping that people can relate and accept themselves for who they are. As I like to think : Not everything is black and white, so come and join me in these little gray areas and lets learn!

Ready to party – lgbtq+ clubbing scenes

by Unite UK | March 18, 2019 | Maika Montminy, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

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The post Ready to party – lgbtq+ clubbing scenes appeared first on Unite UK.

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My coming out story might sound a bit unusual, but I want to talk about how I came out to myself. I’ve always known I was “different” – the type of word you use when you don’t have others. I was “not normal”, without knowing I was literally not normal as in not in the norms.

I grew up in an almost 100% white environment while being an Algerian migrant. My body has always been seen as too big or too strong or too fat. My hair as not straight enough – turns out it wasn’t the only thing that wasn’t straight enough about me haha. My style as not feminine enough… I even remember my mom telling me how desperate she was that I was a tomboy, that I was never going to be feminine. Which is hilarious considering how hard of a femme I am today.

  “”white” and “straight” are not identities in the mind of white straight people. They’re just “normal””

 

Long story short, I’ve been dealing with racism, sexism, homophobia and body shaming for like ever. And all of that was quite a lonely path since all of my “friends” were white and straight. And of course, not even framing themselves as such, provided that “white” and “straight” are not identities in the mind of white straight people. They’re just “normal”.

So how could I even think of myself as something else? Not white, of course, but straight was not questionable, nor thinkable, for that matter.

And not even with all the experiences I was having with girls! From a very young age, indeed, and throughout middle school and high school, and even college actually, I’ve acted quite a lot on the attraction I was feeling for girls, but without putting words on it.

I wasn’t even considering it as “sex”, since sex was, as that time, to me – and probably to many more – “a man penetrating a woman with his d*ck” (wow I’ve come a long way).

So, I was playing straight, and it stayed like that until I met the person who was going to be my girlfriend for the next three years. It happened on the first day of my Masters, everything went slow-motion when she entered the room. I had no idea what was happening to me.

I was thinking about her all the time, dreaming about her, and even told my boyfriend after a few weeks of this unknown feeling – nowadays called a fucking massive crush! He was like “oh she probably has a lot of charisma and you want to be her friend”. I was like, “sure”.

  “Everything started to make sense, finally. There were words to describe me, my identities, my lifestyle”

 

Two months after, this person and I were together and my whole life went upside down. Everything started to make sense, finally. There were words to describe me, my identities, my lifestyle. She was a hardcore anarchist queer feminist and showed me I was too.

She taught me so much, I’m forever grateful to her. Therefore, it only made sense for me to “use” her to frame me, being like “oh, I’m in love with a girl, cool, casual”, as if it was “just” this girl. As if my identity was defined by this relationship only.

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I was learning, I was learning how to define myself, how to come out to myself. I read a lot, travelled a lot, met awesome words and awesome people, who all helped me through this process. I found out I was a radical feminist, and intersectionality changed my life like nothing before.

I found out I was a dyke, then a feminine dyke, then that it was okay, and then that it even had a word: femme. And even nuances to it, me being a hard femme, becoming feminine as I was “becoming” a dyke, with a profound understanding of the femme identity being out of the heteropatriarchal gaze and system.

  “I found out I was a queer person of colour, feeling all the strength of this identity deep within me”

 

I found out I was fat, and that it wasn’t a bad word, and even sometimes a source of power. I found out I was queer, with all of the historical and political backgrounds of this identity, that I wanted to carry with me. I found out I was a queer person of colour, feeling all the strength of this identity deep within me.

I finally became myself, a qpoc curvy hard femme decolonial intersectional feminist body positive, a total hybrid, a giant identity octopus! Then, and only then, I started to feel like I could start trying to build my happiness. It was almost ten years ago.

  “I’m literally using my body to create a narrative for me and people who can relate to me to feel valid and legit”

 

Now, as a dancer, and an activist one, I’m literally using my body to create a narrative for me and people who can relate to me to feel valid and legit. I use the visibility I have through my work to come out all the time, about all my identities, to empower others and let them know their existence is precious and they are not alone.

Representation is everything, community is everywhere, and it’s our job to build it constantly. Because together, we are stronger.

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Ari De B

Edited by Ash O'Keeffe

LGBTQ+ Activist

Ari De B’s Coming Out Story
My coming out story might sound a bit unusual, but I want to talk about how I came out to myself. I've always known I was "different" -...
Ketch Wehr’s Coming Out Story
The idea of coming out stories is so multifaceted for so many of us. Which ones do I even count? How many times did I have to come out...
Jamie Chung’s Coming Out Story
I’m Jamie and I’m a non-binary queer person living in Chicago. I like food, sharks, video games, being on couches, having fun, and...
Kasey Nichols’ Coming Out Story
My coming out story, much like me, was quiet and unobtrusive. It was a long process consisting of growth, education, and deep...
Alexis’s Coming Out Story
My name is Alex, and I am queer. I prefer the term queer because it honors the fact that I exist somewhere in the middle of the beautiful, fluid...

The post Ari De B’s Coming Out Story appeared first on Unite UK.

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I have a very fortunate coming out story. I never had to deal with thinking whether my family would still love me or not if I came out. I am from the San Francisco area and had the opportunity of going to an art high school in San Francisco.

At the time of 16 when I was realising I liked men, I could just drive my mint green Prius down to San Francisco’s gay district, The Castro and see tons of individualised gay men. I think seeing all these gay men who weren’t afraid of being their queer selves really helped influenced my outlandish style I have today!

  “I told my best friends within a week of my discovery”

Once I realised I liked men I told my best friends within a week of my discovery. All my friends were really supportive of me. I remember the first people I told were my two good friends Piper and Karen. When I told them, we were on the couch at Piper’s house watching a horror movie and I was expecting them to act surprised but instead, they acted happy for me.

I guess with going to an art high school in San Francisco nothing much surprised them anymore about sexuality with their friends. Telling my parents, on the other hand, was more of an awkward experience for me than anything. I saw all those videos of the gay boy baking a rainbow cake for his parents to come out and I thought that was way too dramatic.

I knew my parents would be supportive. My mom is a liberal hippy who slept naked in teepees on Hawaiian beaches. When I told them, we were driving home from the movies and right as we were about to park, I told them “I am romantically attracted to men, have a good night” and then I got out of the car and locked myself in my room for the night. I did not want them to go through a whole speech about how they love me still or anything like that.

 

“I believe sexuality is fluid, my sexuality is always shifting”

 

I am really happy I have such supportive parents who are always there for me. I believe sexuality is fluid, my sexuality is always shifting. I identify as being bisexual. To this day I am still “coming out” in ways.

People oftentimes label me as being gay and that’s not ok. Just because I wear women’s clothes and makeup sometimes doesn’t mean I can’t have romantic feelings for women too. I love playing with gender norms, I think it’s so fun to have a beard and wear a skirt.

“In every city I go to all around the world, I have a queer community”

Let people label themselves and come out when they’re ready. I am really lucky to have such amazing friends and family in my life. If you are also like me look out for other LGBTQ+ people in the world who don’t have family or friends to support them. One of the best moments I have had about coming out is when I was 18 getting to travel around Europe for three months and realising that in every city I go to all around the world, I have a queer community.  

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Max Gunkel (Drag Name - Papa Cherry)

Edited by Ash O'Keeffe

LGBTQ+ Artist

Max Gunkel’s Coming Out Story
I have a very fortunate coming out story. I never had to deal with thinking whether my family would still love me or not if I came out....
Emily Gray’s Coming Out Story
For most of my life, I just assumed that I was straight. I’ve always liked boys and dated boys. I’ve always found other genders to be...
Jo’s Coming Out Story
Just after my 31st birthday, I am sitting on a turquoise sofa in Barcelona with my favourite person in the world at my side. She’s my...
Megan Dijkman’s Coming Out Story
I had always admired other girls. I always looked longingly at other girls throughout high school but I never thought anything more of...
Stephanie Harkin’s Coming Out Story
I was very young when I had my first kiss. Her name was Natalie and she was a beauty. We shared kisses in secret in my bedroom cupboard for years...

The post Max Gunkel’s Coming Out Story appeared first on Unite UK.

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Cat Runner is a transgender athlete who came out in 2013. A year after coming out as a transgender man, Cat was able to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and get top surgery while being surrounded by love and support from his friends and family. After top surgery, Cat found a new confidence and comfortability with himself that he never had before. This new perspective allowed him to return to his passion for rock climbing and find a love for running Spartan races.

Since Cat came out in 2013 through last year, “128 transgender people have been reported victims of fatal violence in the United States,” according to the Human Rights Campaign. The majority of these fatalities were trans femme individuals of colour. These are also only the reported cases — there are more victims that were never reported, or reported incorrectly (i.e. not disclosing the victim was trans).

Cat decided to do something to show respect to the lives lost since his coming out and bring awareness to the violence the transgender community faces.

This 2019 race season, Cat will be running a minimum of 128 miles in Spartan obstacle course races in honor of those who lost their lives and to raise awareness about violence towards the transgender community. His final race will be a big one — the Spartan Ultra, which is 30 miles long and consists of 60 obstacles. The final race will be dedicated specifically to those lives lost in 2018.

Cat explained to Point of Pride that “The Spartan races are special to me because they are physically hard. Since I began racing, I’ve run a lot of different obstacle course events and while I enjoy all of them, Spartans are the ones that push me the hardest.”

All proceeds from Cat’s races will be considerately donated to Point of Pride, a non- profit organization started by the astounding Aydian Dowling. Point of Pride gives back to the trans community in many ways. From their scholarship programs to help trans individuals access gender-confirming surgeries, to their binder and trans femme shapewear donation program, to being a great resource for the trans and ally communities, Point of Pride is a great, community-focused organization.

While Cat does not personally enjoy competition mentality and does not compete for money or to win, he felt this was a great way to raise money for a great cause while also doing something he loves.

Cat told Point of Pride, “These events are special to me because participating in them means I’ve been able to reclaim my athletic identity. In high school, I stopped participating in athletics all together first because of a medical issue and later because I could not openly compete as a transgender person. There is a comfortability and confidence that I find in racing because I can look at photos and video and be like ‘wow, I did that.’ It is a radical kind of self-love to put your heart into something you’re proud of. When I look back on the races I’ve done I don’t just feel pride in my heart, but I feel it all the way in my bones. These events are a testament to what I’m capable of.”

Several queer owned and operated companies, organizations, and individuals are jumping on board to support Cat’s mission, like our friends over at FLAVNT Streetwear. You can support Cat’s Race For Our Lives campaign, too by pledging per mile or a flat fee on his Pledge It page. If you want to follow Cat’s progress this season, follow him on Instagram @catlikeacat. Also, be sure to check out Cat’s video about his campaign on his YouTube channel.

Drew Parker

Written and Edited by Drew

Hi, I’m Drew! I live in the PNW with my beautiful wife, our cat and our dog. I am a transgender man and have been on testosterone for roughly 2.5 years. I greatly enjoy sharing my mental health and queer stories in an effort to show others they are not alone and it truly does get better

Cat’s Race For Our Lives Campaign

by Unite UK | March 1, 2019 | Drew Parker, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

Cat Runner is a transgender athlete who came out in 2013. A year after coming out as a transgender man, Cat was able to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and get top surgery while being surrounded by love and support from his friends and family....
lgbtq+ media shaping the future

by Unite UK | March 1, 2019 | Queer Voices | 0 Comments

There is a growing need for accurate LGBTQ+ representation and sadly mainstream media is neglecting our needs. In an exclusive interview with the director of Gender Code, we are about to show you how we are shaping the future for ourselves. It's no secret...
How the online LGBTQ+ community helped me accept my identity

by Unite UK | February 18, 2019 | Ellie Violet | 0 Comments

When people ask me when I first knew that I wasn’t straight, there is one moment that springs to mind. My teenage years were full of confusion, new experiences and wild changes as just about every teenager's are. Looking back, fleeting thoughts about how...
Being lgbt+ at a single-sex school

by Unite UK | February 12, 2019 | Naomi Smart, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

As a pre-blog disclaimer, I have to let you know that I didn’t technically come out until after school, well into my three years at uni. What I think a lot of people forget, though, is that just because somebody wasn’t out before a certain point, it...
Pride Doesn’t Have To Be Loud

by Unite UK | January 30, 2019 | Drew Parker, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

Based on social media and mainstream media, one would think in order to truly be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, they would need to wear their pride daily, have a car covered in Human Rights Campaign stickers, attend every pride parade possible, and not...
My personal tricks to calm anxiety storms

by Unite UK | January 21, 2019 | Maika Montminy, Mental Health, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

It can be hard to talk about our mental health to others, especially when we become overwhelmed by what we are feeling at the moment. I know what it feels like way too well; I have been struggling with a type of anxiety disorder since I was a kid. I had my...
FemmeBoy?: Finding an identity in a world ruled by labels

by Unite UK | January 16, 2019 | Naomi Smart, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

Not long after coming out, I was shopping with a friend. I tried on a button-up shirt, and asked her opinion. ‘You can’t buy that’, she told me, ‘you look so gay’. At the time, I had stared at her blankly, and said ‘but I AM gay’, and she’d told me that I...
Talk to Coco – Mental Health Vlogger

by Unite UK | January 6, 2019 | Mental Health, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

Opening up about our mental health is something a lot of us struggle with. I can relate and often find it hard to share my own experiences, which is why I find a good healing mechanism is reading others stories. Often I can relate to others stories, by...
3 Tips For Trans People To Survive The Holidays

by Unite UK | December 18, 2018 | Drew Parker, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

It is hard to believe (and somewhat relieving) that 2018 has nearly come to an end. With the end of the year nearing, holiday season is in full swing. The holidays are difficult for a lot of people for several different reasons; for trans people, it can be...
Flavnt Interview

by Unite UK | December 11, 2018 | Drew Parker, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

FLAVNT Streetwear is an independent clothing brand based in Austin, Texas catering to everyone within and who supports the LGBTQ+ community. The company is run by Courtney and Chris Rhodes, queer twins. Courtney is a self-identified lesbian and Chris is a trans man....

The post Cat’s Race For Our Lives Campaign appeared first on Unite UK.

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There is a growing need for accurate LGBTQ+ representation and sadly mainstream media is neglecting our needs. In an exclusive interview with the director of Gender Code, we are about to show you how we are shaping the future for ourselves.

It’s no secret that the LGBTQ+ community is full of talented artists and content creator 28-year-old Luka is no exception, for the last 6 years she has been working on the gender code. Over this period, she’s created an amazing documentary to explore gender and our views surrounding it. 

Watch the gender code trailer
The Gender Code (Official Trailer) - YouTube

It’s a bold statement to throw out that the LGBTQ+ community is shaping the future, but here is how Luka and the many others are. It starts off with determination and that is something we all have in the gallons. 

You see, Luka didn’t have a £10,000 dolly system that is used in big productions, she taught herself how to fix problems online and pushed through all of the hurdles faced.

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Making the gender code was a long and tedious process but hopeful and exciting. It was an intense mix of self-discovery and artistic learning of complex software and filming techniques. I had to learn how to solve cig problems that I could find online, for example spinning people around on a  €10 Ikea table with green cloth to create the illusion of a €10,000 camera dolly system! 

Within the 6 years of production, Luka herself went through many realms of her sexuality. This journey of self discovery allowed Luka to become more free with how she expresses herself. 

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I went through many stages and realms of identity, (fluid, trans, etc) before finding my own pace and sense of self. Through my observations and research (and intense it was!) I’ve come to the conclusion that most of society’s ideas, customs and rhetoric are passed down from an outdated and superstitious space, lacking scientific and feminine or (yang) consciousness. 

This research sometimes allows us to understand what is going on inside of us. So when it comes to creating content, a sense of realism is portrayed through our own experiences. The Gender Code offers this and more, due to the raw and intense research we are able to see gender through a lens never seen before. 

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I want to help open minds to the reality and spectrum of the idea of gender and sexuality and move to the next stage of human evolution approaching things from a scientific yet magical and liberating way. 

Documentaries like the Gender Code are the journey to acceptance. We need to start have these conversations surrounding gender and highlighting that it’s not as black and white as our ancestors once perceived. 

Alongside other productions created by the LGBTQ+ community, I’m certain that 2019 will see a rise in LGBTQ+ content. But it’s important if we want to see this type of content to support the creators. So, head of the Gender Code and go support Luka to ensure she can create more and more amazing media. 

Charlotte Summers

Editor of UUK

Cat’s Race For Our Lives Campaign

by Unite UK | March 1, 2019 | Drew Parker, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

Cat Runner is a transgender athlete who came out in 2013. A year after coming out as a transgender man, Cat was able to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and get top surgery while being surrounded by love and support from his friends and family....
lgbtq+ media shaping the future

by Unite UK | March 1, 2019 | Queer Voices | 0 Comments

There is a growing need for accurate LGBTQ+ representation and sadly mainstream media is neglecting our needs. In an exclusive interview with the director of Gender Code, we are about to show you how we are shaping the future for ourselves. It's no secret...
How the online LGBTQ+ community helped me accept my identity

by Unite UK | February 18, 2019 | Ellie Violet | 0 Comments

When people ask me when I first knew that I wasn’t straight, there is one moment that springs to mind. My teenage years were full of confusion, new experiences and wild changes as just about every teenager's are. Looking back, fleeting thoughts about how...
Being lgbt+ at a single-sex school

by Unite UK | February 12, 2019 | Naomi Smart, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

As a pre-blog disclaimer, I have to let you know that I didn’t technically come out until after school, well into my three years at uni. What I think a lot of people forget, though, is that just because somebody wasn’t out before a certain point, it...
Pride Doesn’t Have To Be Loud

by Unite UK | January 30, 2019 | Drew Parker, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

Based on social media and mainstream media, one would think in order to truly be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, they would need to wear their pride daily, have a car covered in Human Rights Campaign stickers, attend every pride parade possible, and not...
My personal tricks to calm anxiety storms

by Unite UK | January 21, 2019 | Maika Montminy, Mental Health, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

It can be hard to talk about our mental health to others, especially when we become overwhelmed by what we are feeling at the moment. I know what it feels like way too well; I have been struggling with a type of anxiety disorder since I was a kid. I had my...
FemmeBoy?: Finding an identity in a world ruled by labels

by Unite UK | January 16, 2019 | Naomi Smart, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

Not long after coming out, I was shopping with a friend. I tried on a button-up shirt, and asked her opinion. ‘You can’t buy that’, she told me, ‘you look so gay’. At the time, I had stared at her blankly, and said ‘but I AM gay’, and she’d told me that I...
Talk to Coco – Mental Health Vlogger

by Unite UK | January 6, 2019 | Mental Health, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

Opening up about our mental health is something a lot of us struggle with. I can relate and often find it hard to share my own experiences, which is why I find a good healing mechanism is reading others stories. Often I can relate to others stories, by...
3 Tips For Trans People To Survive The Holidays

by Unite UK | December 18, 2018 | Drew Parker, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

It is hard to believe (and somewhat relieving) that 2018 has nearly come to an end. With the end of the year nearing, holiday season is in full swing. The holidays are difficult for a lot of people for several different reasons; for trans people, it can be...
Flavnt Interview

by Unite UK | December 11, 2018 | Drew Parker, Queer Voices | 0 Comments

FLAVNT Streetwear is an independent clothing brand based in Austin, Texas catering to everyone within and who supports the LGBTQ+ community. The company is run by Courtney and Chris Rhodes, queer twins. Courtney is a self-identified lesbian and Chris is a trans man....

The post lgbtq+ media shaping the future appeared first on Unite UK.

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The idea of coming out stories is so multifaceted for so many of us. Which ones do I even count? How many times did I have to come out to myself, to friends tentatively while I didn’t know even half the story of my identities?

Telling friends I was “bi or something” when I was a baby dyke in the ’90s wearing boy-scout uniforms to school with doc martens and had a scant few and loyal friends in a stiflingly Catholic town. But high school was 15 years ago, and sometimes it’s easier to just let it fade out.

  “I fought so hard to cling to a cis illusion”

 

Another coming out story is when I fought so hard to cling to a cis illusion at my all ‘women’s’ college. I knew I needed a gender-neutral name and changed it as soon as school started. But then insisted to anyone who asked that I used “she” pronouns.

Maybe I was scared, or just felt like I was failing at being a girl, or just mad that supportive people were seeing the writing on the wall before I could face it. But I finally lost it on my 21st birthday when I watched Ma Vie En Rose for the 11th time and cried and cried because I knew this was going to be very hard and it was also very true.

  “I remember putting this rarefied thing on and feeling new and free”

 

I knew then that I was trans. My friend gave me the old binder he had worn when he lived in India, it was stained through with all the colours from Holi. Back then you could only get binders from maybe 1 or 2 places at all, and they were expensive. I remember putting this rarefied thing on and feeling new and free.

After that, there were so many careful and maybe less thought out conversations with my (amazing) parents, friends, a letter to my grandparents when they visited New York. The morning after I had given them my letter telling them I’m trans, my grampa comes up to me and put his great big hands on my shoulders and told me “that’s just fine, we love you.” I guess those are some of my coming out stories.

After that there are so many more, they are sort of daily with my fey gender expression and queer sexuality and being married to a queer cis femme woman who so often gets pitying looks from people who read us as a gay boy “tricking” some poor oblivious girl.

No, darling, you just don’t see us at all, it’s fine, try again. There are those coming out to aggressive drunk co-workers at holiday parties who insist they know everything about us because we don’t make sense to them. But those are the tiresome and really unimportant ones, the casual microaggressions that I can take on because someone should and I have every reason to.

  “It’s just going to get even more confusing for the binary obsessed strangers from here on and I am here for it”

 

Now we are starting a family, hopefully having a baby in 7 more months. It’s just going to get even more confusing for the binary obsessed strangers from here on and I am here for it. 

My name is Ketch Wehr, I am a genderqueer transfeminist queer artist. I make things all day and I’m trying all the time. My life is full of love.

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Ketch Wehr

Edited by Ash O'Keeffe

LGBTQ+ Artist

Ketch Wehr’s Coming Out Story
The idea of coming out stories is so multifaceted for so many of us. Which ones do I even count? How many times did I have to come out...
Jamie Chung’s Coming Out Story
I’m Jamie and I’m a non-binary queer person living in Chicago. I like food, sharks, video games, being on couches, having fun, and...
Kasey Nichols’ Coming Out Story
My coming out story, much like me, was quiet and unobtrusive. It was a long process consisting of growth, education, and deep...
Alexis’s Coming Out Story
My name is Alex, and I am queer. I prefer the term queer because it honors the fact that I exist somewhere in the middle of the beautiful, fluid...

The post Ketch Wehr’s Coming Out Story appeared first on Unite UK.

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In 2019, I would never have thought I’d be here writing a how-to guide on homophobia. But, here we are. So let’s not mess around, what is homophobia? Homophobia is the dislike of homosexual people, which results in verbal or in extreme cases, physical abuse. Sadly homophobia has followed the LGBTQ+ community like a bad smell.

Before, homophobes could only hurt us on the streets, but we’re now facing a new era of online bullying. With social media being the powerful tool it is, we’re allowing homophobes access to our platforms to spread their hate. From emojis to hurtful comments or outrageous dm’s. This new era of homophobia is affecting LGBTQ+ members. But not to worry, we’re here to help you deal with homophobia online and offline.

How to deal with homophobia online and offline – 2019 edition
Ignore, block and report

Online bullying has become an ever-growing problem and new laws are being passed in the UK to punish those partaking. The LGBTQ+ community is exposed to online bullying and homophobes are finding new ways to send abuse. But the beauty with online platforms is we have the ability to block these idiots out of our lives.

Sometimes it’s so tempting to battle with keyboard warriors, but it’s really not worth your time. These losers feel untouchable behind a screen and often make outrageous comments to get a reaction. But honestly, blocking and reporting their account is much easier than wasting your time listening to their homophobic views.

Walk away from homophobes

Many of us have spent hours arguing back and forth with homophobes online or offline. I’ve had comments from “being gay is a sin!!!” to my favourite “you’re going to lesbian hell” and on all occasions I’ve walked away. It’s so tempting to argue back and defend your sexuality or relationship. 

But what is important to realise is that these idiots don’t want to have a discussion. They only want to hear their own voice and this means what ever you’re saying will go right over their head. Engaging in these homophobic conversations only spurs them onto sharing more of their own ridiculous views, so don’t waste your time. Walk away and do something enjoyable with your time, like a nice walk or even a romantic meal.

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Don’t let words hurt you

The one thing homophobes have over us is the ability to hurt us with their words. These homophobic comments can hurt and overtime we have to learn to develop a thick skin as idiots are constantly trying to bring us down. 

But luckily for us, their words don’t determine how we live our lives. I often laugh at these sad individuals who spend their time finding LGBTQ+ content to comment hate on. They are only preaching hate to hurt you, so once you find a way to laugh at them, they have nothing over you.

Surround yourself with love

There is only so much hate you can take, so it’s so important to surround yourself with love. Whether this be an online community, family or friends, we all need people there to remind us that the world isn’t a shit place to be.

To find online communities, social media can provide comfort and reassurance. Follow people who represent you and interact with them, we’re all here to support each other.

Homophobic Family and Friends

One of the most common questions we get asked is, “how do I deal with my homophobic parents?“. When we look to our parents for guidance, we want their approval. But it’s important to understand that we can have different views to them and being gay can be one. 

Parents naturally want the best for their children and some often don’t understand how to approach the topic of LGBTQ+. But always give your family the benefit of the doubt and talk to them. Give them patience and offer them the opportunity to get to know you, because until then you’re living behind a guard. 

If your parents still don’t accept you, then that’s their problem. No matter who they are, we should never let anyone choose how we live our own lives. BUT, if you realise that you may be kicked out due to your sexuality, then wait until you’re able to support yourself. Your safety is the main priority here!

Dealing with homophobia on any scale can be a frustrating and upsetting experience, whether it be online or offline. We still get upset and shocked by the pure mass of homophobia that still exists. But have your people and stand strong, some day the world will catch up to us all. 

Charlotte Summers

Editor of UUK

Homophobia has haunted me for years online and offline. It’s a serious problem for the LGBTQ+ community and we need to address how we can improve the situation for future generations. 

5 ways how to deal with homophobia

by Unite UK | February 24, 2019 | Homophobia, LGBTQ Topics, Top level | 0 Comments

In 2019, I would never have thought I'd be here writing a how-to guide on homophobia. But, here we are. So let's not mess around, what is homophobia? Homophobia is the dislike of homosexual people, which results in verbal or in extreme cases, physical...
we need more lgbtq+ representation in the media

by Unite UK | February 17, 2019 | Lesbian Topics, Top level | 0 Comments

When it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in the media, it's no secret that queer-baiting is a common occurrence in mainstream media. We are often left with undeveloped relationships between so called queer characters that hint at the possibility of some...
Coming out as queer changed my life

by Unite UK | February 8, 2019 | LGBTQ Topics, Top level | 0 Comments

Whilst coming out is considered to be scary and I confirm... it's quite daunting. It opens the door to a world and life that you think was impossible. Since coming out over 4 years ago, I now identify as queer and this label has changed my whole...
Why do I feel excluded from the lgbtq+ community?

by Unite UK | January 18, 2019 | LGBTQ Topics, Top level | 0 Comments

When we picture the lgbtq+ community, I used to picture a community that supported each other no matter what. But I'm quickly learning that within our own community lies all the qualities we shun society for. Forming before our own eyes are communities,...
Butch is NOT a dirty word

by Unite UK | January 12, 2019 | Lesbian Topics, Top level | 0 Comments

Being seen as butch for years has been considered an insult, it’s common to describe a masculine woman as butch or a dyke. It’s this reason why the LGBTQ+ community has refrained from using such terminology until now. We got to speak to Esther Godoy who is...
What is my sexuality? Take our sexuality quiz!

by Unite UK | November 29, 2018 | Sexuality Topics, Top level | 0 Comments

When it comes to our sexuality, we often spend months if not years trying to understand the emotions we feel. Sexuality is a whole can of worms & many LGBTQ+ members struggle finding a label that fits. But our sexuality quiz helps all of those...
Is the lgbtq+ community changing fashion?

by Unite UK | November 7, 2018 | Lesbian Topics, LGBTQ News, Top level | 0 Comments

Over the years, we’ve seen a variety of fashion trends from flared jeans to bright neon leg warmers. But, a new trend has begun and it’s in the form of LGBTQ+ fashion brands appearing from the queer shadows. Major brands such as H&M, River Island and...
Queers of the year awards

by Unite UK | October 11, 2018 | Top level | 0 Comments

Welcome to our queers of the year awards! 2018 has been a roller-coaster of a ride and even though it's not over yet, we thought we'd celebrate those who have made this year so special.   So let's get straight into it and celebrate all you beautiful...
Sexuality 101

by Unite UK | October 4, 2018 | Top level | 0 Comments

What if I was to tell your sexuality can be 100% fluid, would you believe me? Currently there is a big debate around whether our sexuality can be fluid or not. We've heard the dreaded sentence "You're just in a phase", which is one of the worst things we...
Dear Homophobe, Read This

by Unite UK | September 20, 2018 | LGBTQ Topics, Top level | 0 Comments

So many people say that LGBTQ+ people are defensive, quick to close anyone down with different views and won’t accept those with different views to them. But let me tell you why, How I live my life, doesn’t affect your judgemental ass anyway. Whoever I choose to love,...

The post 5 ways how to deal with homophobia appeared first on Unite UK.

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