When your existence goes against society’s fundamentals
Being members of the LGBTQI+ community who used to smoke ourselves, we at Shift MN know how difficult it can be to quit something that seemingly has been intertwined with our culture for quite some time. Our very existence is a resistance against what society has deemed socially acceptable, thus making us out to be deviants. Somewhere along the lines of us struggling to embrace our identities and its accompanying vulnerabilities, corporate tobacco companies saw a revenue-boosting opportunity. At a time when we so desperately sought out positive representations of ourselves in mass medias that typically portrayed us in negative lights, these corporations gave us exactly that whilst selling us something that would inevitably harm our bodies.
Coming to terms with our LGBTQI+ identities, especially after the age of 17, can sometimes feel like a ‘second puberty’ in a sense. From going on Google to search for the words that accurately describe one’s sexuality to finding a similar group of friends just understand some of your confusions even without you fully understanding them yourself, this can all seem as if you are going through the motions of finding-your-place-in-the-world again but with a deeper sense of self awareness. On top of feeling as if you are restarting a couple developmental processes, a large majority of the world is telling you that who you are [coming to terms with] is... incorrect? Inner turmoils can become incredibly depressing as some may start suppressing themselves or unintentionally lead double lives. Freedom begins to seem like a delicious fantasy that will always be just out of reach and so we become victims to anyone who’ll provide us the slightest bit of validation, despite their ulterior motives.
At the end of the day, our identities, bodies, existences, go against this cisgender heterosexual patriarchy that of which has become the societal default. There are many ways to advocate for our rights to life and basic liberties worldwide, however our very beings is the most in-your-face effective way. We must make sure we take care of our bodies so that we can continue the fight for equity. Our health comes first, and will continue to come first often. Living in a place where the average lifespan of a black trans woman is only 35 years old in addition to over 70 countries that still have anti-lgbtq+ laws, it can be quite difficult to get out bed with our best faces and go about everyday being unapologetically ourselves. There will be days when someone’s stare will make you feel more self-conscious than usual, the drunk guy who shoved you randomly will have you questioning the outfit you’re used to get compliments on, when a certain person using a slur will feel more hurtful than most, but it is okay. Regardless of whoever reduces us to a “shameful lifestyle” we are a resilient group of innovators who have paved the way for numerous icons.
All in all, we at Shift MN want to serve our community better. From hosting a variety of free events to directing you to resources and opportunities you may need, our passions lie in contributions that help make the local queer experience a good one.
How can we better serve you? If you have any suggestions (be it events, collaborations etc) please do not hesitate to send us a message. Our inboxes are always open.