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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pledging Support ... by Matt

I am getting to grips with this camera malarkey now. I have also realised that we only have one official session left. It's not panicking me, as such, rather I will miss the opportunity to take photos of just about everything. And men in their bedrooms, of course.

Somehow I have broadened my horizons by taking pictures of my own life. I suppose I rarely take the time to reflect on what's happening right now: I tend to live it and forget about a lot of it. Since embarking on the Queer In Brighton project I have noticed a subtle change in the way that I view the World around me: I certainly take notice of things more, now. I still miss opportunities to take pictures of those new things that have been there a long time before I was born but I'm looking.

The project has also helped me come to terms with being unapologetic for who I am. I've stated before that being queer has not been a negative experience for me, in fact quite the opposite. But I've always been sensitive to the plight of others and meeting several people who identify, in one way or another, as trans has confirmed that it's okay to be an unapologetic gay man: It's just another label, after all. I have so many freedoms to enjoy thanks to my queer ancestors in the UK and Europe and to a limited extent, the US. They didn't have a smooth ride so that I could sail on to greater things.

And now the focus, for me anyway, turns towards gender identity: Is it the next frontier of human rights? Do we need the same kinds of protests as happened with Stonewall, that are happening across the globe with issues not related to sex or sexuality? I think we do and I think I can be part of that foundation of people who don't have to be trans to be angry and concerned and compassionate about issues that affect trans people.

This all sounds very grandiose as I re-read it and I've been guilty of pledging an allegiance and purpose to a cause before and then finding myself without the time to devote to it or the funds to travel to the places that I need to be in order to help.

So, if there's anything this gay man can do to support the 'trans community' then count me in. I'm a good problem-solver and administrator so if an organisation needs that then, for example, I could devote some of my spare time to helping in that area.

And all the while I'll be taking pictures of random men in the street who catch my eye. And listening to music as I stomp to work in the morning and again on the way home. And cooking, cleaning, ironing, going out on the razzle, dancing, walking, smoking (hopefully not forever), eating and having a life like every other free person on the planet.

When I answered the call to the project I did so because it was doing something new and a bit frightening. Pledging my support in whatever capacity that turns out to be in is also bloody frightening.

Bring it.

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