Twelve years ago, I moved from Montreal to Ottawa. I left a lot behind when I did, but I’d never realized until now how much that was.
One of the things I hadn’t really thought of is my LGBT community. When I came to Ottawa, I thought, surely in a city that’s almost a third of the population of the one I just left, I could find a community. And I tried. I tried to see out groups and places to meet others like me, the first few years I was here, but was never successful. After 3 years of trying, or so, I gave up, and decided that moving to a small town was what it was, and that was that. I felt further isolated recently because of work stuff, and just resigned to live in a silo.
This weekend, however, thanks to Queer Coll(u/i)sions, I’ve spent nearly all my time with amazing queer folk, and it made me realize how much I missed it, how deep the connection to my community is, even when they are strangers, and how much of a family they really are. I hadn’t felt this welcome since I was a tiny teenage queer making my first forays in the queer community.
This weekend, I got to have my pronouns respected, my identity assumed as valid, my family recognized as a real family, and even talking about myself didn’t feel like I was exposing myself to rejection or worse. I’ve hung out with someone who I feel a deep kinship to because their identity is so much like mine, and I’ve realized that the feeling kinship was shared, which is something so joyous I can’t even begin to describe it.
This weekend was like coming home after a long, difficult journey. It was also something even more important: it was me being older, and reaching out to the new tiny queers figuring themselves out, just like the people I found when I was young and unsure to welcome me in their community.
To everyone I was with this weekend, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You are my family, my community. I missed you.
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