One of the ways a lot of us learn things about the world we live in is through the media we’re exposed to, especially as children. Books and television raised me as much as (if not more than) my parents did. Growing up, Sesame Street taught me it was hip to be a square, Matilda showed me that sometimes your family may not really get you, but that’s ok and eventually you make your own family of people that care about you, and Dana Scully made me realise it was possible for a woman to be both a scientist and a bad-ass detective.
I recognise these role models sowed the seeds of scientific inquiry and feminism in me, but now that I’m older I realise there was something missing, something I had to learn as I grew older, by asking questions and seeking out answers for myself. However, there is no doubt that I’m one of the few incredibly lucky people that lived in a place and had the support of close friends and a partner that enabled me to ask those questions and not feel afraid or ashamed to. And I’m really glad I did, because I’ve now met people that inspire me so much, that give me strength and hope in my new-found identity. But for all the people that may not have been so lucky, it sure would’ve been nice to have some more people of colour and queer role models (either in the media or real life) to look up to as we grew up, to tell ourselves and the world we exist, that we’re not weird or aberrant, and that we can live and love the same way everyone else does.
Who was/were your role model(s) (queer or otherwise) that you looked up to, or took inspiration from, during your formative years? Who do you think might be fulfilling this role now? How visible are they and are there enough?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3pm ET.