Don’t miss anything from queer stories!
Why should you spend your precious time reading my newsletter? Instagram is not really designed for texts, so here I get to write in more depth about my project queer stories. You can find out:
how I realised I wanted to do this project;
why I think that visibility of queer-related topics is extremely important;
what my process of writing this graphic novel is;
about the wonderful and courageous people who decided to join my project;
what we can all do to contribute to a more open and accepting society.
Moreover, you'll stay updated on events, such as art installations or podcast episodes I'm invited to, and most importantly, on the crowdfunding campaign I'm planning on launching in 2024 in order to fund the printing of the book.
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The reason why I started this project is inextricably connected with who I am, so let me introduce myself: My name is Nicole (she;they), I am a 34-year-old artist and musician based in Vienna, Austria. I've started calling myself and my way of life "queer" only in the last year or so.
When I was a kid, I behaved like what a lot of people called "a failed boy" at the time which frustrated me immensely. To fit in, I adapted to what was expected of my gender and pushed my feelings to the back of my mind. For a long time, I refrained from digging into some emotions and thoughts that had always been lingering just underneath the surface, revealing themselves only in certain moments. When I turned 30, they refused to be pushed down any longer. I spent a while in therapy to find out what was wrong, why my anxiety wouldn't go away, why I was suffering from regular panic attacks even though everything seemed fine on the outside: I had an amazing long-term partner who I was about to marry, sharing a nice flat in the beautiful city of Vienna; I had a challenging yet exciting job and a good support network and family.
Eventually, I realised that I was not heterosexual but pansexual. Through the process of accepting this, I found out something else about myself: I was able to love more people in a romantic way than only one person. My partner and I went through a really tough time, re-shaping our 11-year-old relationship which we both wanted to hold on to. It transformed from a monogamous to a non-monogamous relationship and over time, this shifted to a polyamorous relationship. This means that we both can have other romantic partners. After years of adapting to societal norms, I have also accepted that I am gender nonconforming. Now I can finally say that I am truly happy with who I am.
In my bubble of friends, everyone accepts these facts about me which makes my life in Vienna easy. It took me a while to come out to my parents who still live in the Austrian countryside where I grew up - in a tiny village of 400 inhabitants. When I talk to people there, I notice how little the topics of "gender", "queerness" - and LGBTQIA+ in general - are discussed.
I believe that the reason is not so much that the topics are taboo but that people just don't know enough about them. When someone comes out in the countryside as, let's say, non-heterosexual or transgender, this fact then tends to blow up and become the gossip of the village. People of my generation and younger are used to googling things we don't understand. Older generations don't yet do that automatically or sometimes even know how to do that. In addition, tabloid media and right-wing parties spread misinformation and stoke an unfounded fear that a queer lifestyle threatens the "traditional family."
I am convinced that providing easily accessible information can help people who have never looked closer at these topics to understand and accept queerness as a valid way of life.
Through the testimonials in queer stories, I'm aiming to make this topic more visible and accessible to the general public. Additionally, I'd like to show other people who identify as queer that they are totally fine exactly as they are and that we can build a strong community of support together.
I recorded an episode on the topic of gender with my friend Ralf who has a history podcast. (Öffnet in neuem Fenster) We also talked about queer stories. Release: 21st August.
I am exhibiting a part of the artwork of the graphic novel at the "Waves Conference" (Öffnet in neuem Fenster) in Vienna from 8th-9th September.
Goodbye for now...
Thanks for reading this newsletter until the very end, I appreciate your interest and support. See you again next month!