Write Minds.Write Matters
A monthly column by Alexis of her thoughts on things that matters to her. It may be funny, serious, both, neither or some combinations of those. "My thoughts are my own - the only thing I really own."
Follow her on Instagram (@alex.is_imm).
Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts. ~ Soren Kierkegaard
[ Translated Chinese version here 中文翻譯在此 ]
This is a serious matter that I need to get off my chest.
Just like with any non-LGBTQ+ friends, there are certain questions that we should never ask. At least not until we get to know the other person better.
Being in a queer safe space doesn’t give anyone permission to pose any questions to fellow brothers and sisters. Some questions are very uncomfortable. Some questions are deeply personal. Some questions are truly traumatizing. Some questions are totally off-limits.
Yes, we are in a safe space. Amongst fellow LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters. A place where we feel free and safe to be our authentic selves. A place where we do not judge through a lens of heteronormativity. A place where we throw out the stereotypical binary gender roles. A place where we share our fears, insecurities, frustrations, joys, and accomplishments. A place where we seek comfort, understanding, acceptance, and support.
No, being a fellow queer brother/sister does NOT give us the consent nor the right to poke our heads into other people’s business. This is NOT the place to tattle the details of people’s love/sex life, or lack thereof. This is NOT the place to gossip about people’s exes, nights out, or dating experience. This is NOT the place to pressure people to tell their stories and experiences before they are ready. This is NOT the place to satisfy curiosity and need for ‘scandalous’ stories and rumors.
We all have our pasts and baggage, good and bad. There are topics that we may not want to bring up because we are too traumatized, scared, guilty, ashamed, etc. There are topics that we may not willing to discuss because they are still affecting us. There are topics that we may not be comfortable sharing with a crowd because of the fear of being judged. There are topics that may be a panic or anxiety attack trigger for some of us. These topics may seem trivial or mundane to some, but we all have our scars, darkness, and demons that we do not wish to or can not talk about. Not until we feel comfortable and ready.
In a recent study, researchers have found that it took about 50 hours of interaction to move from acquaintance to casual friend, about 120 hours to become a friend after just meeting, and more than 200 hours to qualify as a best friend. Using this estimation, you would need to attend at least 25 two-hour Meetup sessions if you are going to be a casual friend with the people you meet here. However, being a fellow LGBTQ+ brother/sister may have cut those hours down as we need lesser time to break down the barriers of friendship and camaraderie. In this safe space, we tend to open up more easily as many things are implicitly understood and accepted. We are part of an intimate and personal group. Nonetheless being a fellow queer doesn’t give us the right to ask any questions we like, not until we have established a true rapport with an understanding of each other.
Please be mindful of the possible cultural differences. Some questions are offensive to some and some questions are never appropriate. Please be respectful if people do not wish to answer your questions. They have their reasons and do respect that. Please be considerate if people are reluctant to elaborate further on their answers. They do not owe anyone an explanation or detail. Please be wary if the discussion is causing distress or anxiety and stop probing when it is. Do speak up for your fellow brothers and sisters if someone is trying to steer the discussion to topics that you sensed they are uncomfortable about.
We are not trained psychologists or psychiatrists. We are fellow LGBTQ+ who are here to lend an ear and a shoulder to lean on. We are not here to solve problems or fix anything in anyone’s life. We may provide our views and suggestions, but ultimately we are responsible for our own lives. The world is ugly and cruel enough. We should not make this safe space an uncomfortable environment for anyone. So do speak up and speak out if you are feeling uncomfortable or simply walk away from the conversation (best excuses to use: “I need to get a drink” or “I need to make a call”). Also, if you were made uncomfortable during the Meetup session, please feel free to approach Kurtis or me.
To all my friends from the Taiwan LGBTQ+ Meetup every Tuesdays, we welcome anyone to this safe space, but do be kind and respectful to all. Everyone is worthy of love, acceptance, and respect.
(Editor: Zac.) (Column graphic: modified from www.pngtree.com)