Friday 19-02-2016 - 10:53
This is a guest blog by Kelechi Chioba, Disabled Representative on Black Students' Committee.
This month we celebrate LGBT history month. And I do this with pride – not ashamed like society, religion, tradition, myths, beliefs and patriarchy want us to be. I am queer yet until very recently I was scared to accept it. I was scared because my father is a church Elder and my mother is a church Deaconess. I was told and taught to deny the facts about my identity and unable to embrace my beliefs.
I travelled to the UK and discovered activism through NUS, and felt like I was welcome for the first time in my life. Even so, the deep-rooted fear of what people would think about me or what they would say if they knew I was queer was still there. I was gradually dying in silence, unable to be myself, and this significantly impacted my mental health. I am not surprised to learn that LGBT individuals have 1.5x higher risk of experiencing depression and anxiety orders compared to their heterosexual counterparts. I was even scared to talk to my psychiatrist about it because I didn’t want to reveal my sexual orientation.
I have now come to accept who I am – and you know what, I am proud to be Black, a woman, disabled and queer.
It is people of colour who suffer the most LGBT-phobic discrimination – and that is only heightened when you are also a disabled woman. Increased suicide rates, poor mental health and fear of coming out are all heightened.
So it is during this month that, whilst we celebrate our histories and the success many of us have had in coming out and surviving, I pause and ask what the government and society are doing to end the oppression.
I will end with these quotes:
The only queer people are those who don't love anybody.” -- Rita Mae Brown
“Gender preference does not define you. Your spirit defines you.” -- P.C. Cast
"Be yourself. You're OK. And it really doesn't matter what other people think." -- Taylor Schilling
"There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself." -- Anthony Rapp
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Disabled representative, BSC Committee