This week the queers have taken over Salient.
My name is Charlie, and as a member of the queer community, Sam has asked me to write the editorial this week. The aim of this issue of Salient is to show the diversity of Victoria’s queer community. Through my recent volunteer work with transgender youth, and writing a few pieces for this issue of Salient, it has become clear to me how important community and representation of diversity is for queer people. What you are about to read will not be like your experience on Tumblr, where people direct angry messages at you because you have not been taught about the intricacies of different identities. It will not be like Facebook, where the person who outed you to the entire world changes their profile pic to the rainbow flag just to show how accepting they are (true story).
As queer people, we need to celebrate our diversity and support our community. This is our chance. The queer community has not suddenly become equal with the passage of marriage equality. Even legally, there are many more struggles to overcome. With alarming suicide rates, homelessness, and unequal job prospects, we need to change both the system and the view of queer people as abnormal and different. I am lucky. I pass as male. People only really know that I am transgender when I disclose it. But there is a problem when as a society, we automatically assume is that a person is straight and cisgender unless indicated otherwise. The fact that people need to come out is an issue.
The queer issue of Salient will reveal some of the struggles of the queer community—our fight for recognition and acceptance, our personal battles of survival, and the erasure of asexual, bisexual, agender and transgender identities even within the queer community. It acknowledges what out queer people put on the line to be seen for who they are. This fight for recognition causes frustration and anger. I am a firm believer that understanding this anger is an important step in understanding the queer community and being a good ally. Indeed, anger is sometimes a big part of the lesson. However, I also want to acknowledge the beauty of the stories shared in this issue of Salient. The diversity found in these stories is reflective of the diversity that can be found in the human experience as a whole. It is on this level that I hope all of you—queer or otherwise—will be able to connect.
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Let’s celebrate us and let’s celebrate being queer.