Hello, it’s been a while. A year in fact. And a lot has changed.
This was supposed to be a one-month project for 2019’s Pride month. But here I am, a year later, in the Pride month of 2020 finally sharing the fourth instalment. It’s been a slow labour of love brought to life during a period of self-examination, and as a crutch for the in-between moments when I needed a smile and a little dose of nostalgia. More on this later.
While I was busy creating the first three instalments of Four × Pride in 2019, three friends from Australia were visiting. Together, in between work and the usual touristy business, we attended many Pride events across San Francisco and New York. We revelled in an overt appreciation for LGBTQI+ culture and history, in a way we hadn’t seen celebrated in Australia. Knowing I wanted to document the entirety of my 2019 Pride experience, partly for this project and partly for a keep-sake, I carried a camera everywhere we went, much to the dismay of my friends, capturing many of our celebratory moments. Some of them were wild, others were heartwarming. There were funny celebrations, quiet celebrations, and a few teary ones too. Some celebrations were made by marching to the sound of beating drums, and some celebrations were made in the smaller moments we’d share over drinks, while ironing, while we were laying on the kitchen floor eating pizza at 3am, or while as laid in bed curled into balls of anxiety contemplating our queerness from the night before.
I share some of that with you in this video.
I’ll tell you the truth though, I expected this video to turn out… gayer. Pride, exemplified, perhaps. Rainbow flags, parades, glitter, parties, sexual liberation in the form of selective nudity, all of that. Instead, what I ended up with was a beautiful 9-minute vignette of a month spent with three of my closest pals. I didn’t notice until I started editing but a majority of what I captured was my friends. When they were smiling, frustrated, tired, joyful, laughing, excited… when they were proud. When they were themselves. I came to realise that during that month I was really conflating Pride the event with Pride the feeling. My camera lens was pointing me to where my true source of Pride existed, even without me knowing. I was proud of my friends, and myself, for being there. For existing, for being content, for living in our truths all while knowing that they, and I, have been through tough internal struggles to identify as we do today.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our month. You can watch it below, and if you were playing along a year ago, thank you for being patient with me.
P.S. I’m no video editor, but I think I did an okay job! 😅
I created this video over the course of a year which was, essentially, my first year living in the US. Being so far away from home and the environments that were such a deep part of my identity, I spent a lot of the past year being quite introspective. I’ve confronted a lot of my personality, many parts of my intersectional identity, dealt with a lot of guilt, and reframed the ways that I think and process. It’s been a difficult year in terms of my Self, and I keep referring to it as a year of existing in front of a permanent mirror, constantly confronted by who I am, or rather, who I am not. I’m still in this.
During some of this introspection, I came to the realisation that I identify far less with the term “lesbian” than I ever have. And although I’m not precious about being referred to as a lesbian, I relate much closer to the term “queer”. This is a huge change from Project One last year, although my sentiments have not changed. The thing is, the term “lesbian” is all I had to work with 10+ years ago. Since then, things have significantly changed and the concepts around identity, gender, and sexuality have become more complex and nuanced. I feel a pull to adjust accordingly. For me, the term “lesbian” feels far too binary. It’s understood to refer to cisgender women and in truth, I do not believe that my attractions are limited to cisgender women only. My sexuality leans away from cisgender men, yes, but it also exists in blurry spectrum somewhere on the other end. One I don’t feel the need to clarify entirely. So while I don’t believe in labels, I feel it’s important to not only be visible as someone who is not-traditionally-straight, but to also be visible as someone whose attraction doesn’t exist in the binary, and clearly includes those who identify as trans, non-binary, and/or genderqueer.
For me, 2019 was a year of new beginnings and of celebration. It would be remiss not to acknowledge that 2020 is very, very necessarily different. 2020 is the year of education. It’s the year of listening, reflecting, and action. I hope with what I’ve learnt over the past year, and what I continue to learn, about myself and the world around me, I can contribute positively and productively to progress that’s long overdue.
This is a 4-part Pride month project. Each week I’ll be producing something new in an effort to push myself to be more visible, and feel comfortable doing so. If you’d like to support this project and the issues it surfaces, please consider donating to my fundraiser. All proceeds will go towards Minus18 and Black Rainbow.