What has being kicked out meant for you?
Being kicked out has meant finding my own feet in a world I’m still not sure of. But it’s also shown me that I have a family that is completely not biological in anyway shape or form. The meaning of family has altered and changed completely for me since being kicked out and I have learnt that we, as people, are often left to face the unknown by ourselves. My trust in people in general has dwindled and it takes a lot more for me to let people in. If your own biological family, the ones who are meant to stand by you no matter what, refuse to do just that, how are you expected to trust others? I only let people in as far as they show me I can. And for some that will never be beyond the surface.
What role has art & writing played in your life, and how do you see that as part of community building?
I’ve been writing since I was a child, in more recent years I’ve added graphic making to my repertoire, and both have allowed me release and enjoyment, a way of expressing myself. If someone sees my work (as I have with that of others) and takes something from it, be it a sense of belonging or a deeper understanding, then I feel I’ve done my part in creating a feeling of unity. Of showing that each person is valuable and worthy of someone else’s attention.
What has being part of the Kicked Out anthology meant to you?
I’m not alone. For the longest time, that’s how I felt. As if I was the only one it had happened to. Even though a part of me knew I wasn’t. And it means I can let others know they aren’t alone either. We all have different experiences of being kicked out, but we all have that one thing in common. We were kicked out. It’s also widened my created family. I can’t thank a certain member of the Kicked Out family enough, for their words of kindness, wisdom, and support as I continue to battle the demons that come with being kicked out.
What are three things people don’t realize about being kicked out?
1) It isn’t their fault they were kicked out – for the longest time I blamed myself for being kicked out, I thought there was something wrong with me and I couldn’t understand how my once loving father had turned on me. So it had to be my fault, there was something wrong with me.
2) It is common – there are more and more LGBTQ youth being kicked out for being who they are, each and every day and a lot of them don’t have the resources at their disposal to find somewhere safe.
3) Just because someone has been kicked out and in effect is homeless doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent – I hate seeing the way anyone who is homeless is treated by society as a whole. Stop and have a conversation with someone who is homeless and you’ll realise that they are just like the rest of society only for one reason or another don’t have a roof over their heads.
What is one message about homeless LGBTQ youth you hope people take away from reading Kicked Out?
That we’re not diseased or unworthy of help and that everyone deserves the chance to succeed and become productive members of society.