The LGBTQ+ panel took place on Saturday at Summer in the City 2016. It featured creators such as Dodie Clark, Jimmy Hill, and Jake Edwards.
The panel took place in Panel Room 1 and also featured Rose Dix, Rosie Spaughton, and Roland West. The panellists spoke to a packed-out room about topics such as coming out online and to family and friends, the use of the LGBTQ+ acronym and labels, and LGBTQ+ representation on YouTube. Jazza John chaired.
On the topic of the increasing number of coming out videos uploaded by creators recently, Jazza questioned whether there was now a monetary motivation to coming out, or whether there has been a change on YouTube which made people feel more comfortable with coming out online. Roland thought it could be to do with education, saying that “people are finally getting real life information about stuff”.
“I was made to feel so horrendous about [being LGBTQ+]” Roland continued. “If I was to get some monetary thing about it then why not?”
“We finally feel more comfortable in our own skin,” added Jazza.
— Oliver (@OlyBliss) August 13, 2016
Speaking about his coming out video, posted a year ago, Jimmy shared that his age had influenced his decision: “I finally felt like I was comfortable enough to put it out there”. He also mentioned that coming out videos can help visibility, contribute to authenticity and can be cathartic for the creator.
Dodie said that her coming out video, in which she came out as bisexual, was partly to help decrease bi-erasure.”Bi-erasure is so real,” she said, speaking about her own struggles with her sexuality, and the times when she would ask herself, “Am I bi enough?”
On the subject of visibility, Jake mentioned that there has recently been greater trans* visibility, using Laverne Cox as an example. However, when the panel was asked whether they feel obligated to speak about their sexuality, Jimmy said that “nobody should feel obligated”.
He also added, though, that if someone of influence was to come out online, it could have “social weight”. Roland agreed, saying: “People forget how hard it is [to come out].”
— Seán of the Dead (@TheSonicScrew) August 13, 2016
The inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ acronym came into question during the discussion. Roland spoke about being genderfluid, adding that the term feels inclusive: “I don’t need ‘fluid’ added onto [LGBTQ+].”
While considering the possibility of using a single umbrella term, such as “queer”, rather than the acronym, some panellists such as Rose agreed it could be beneficial.
Jake, however, said that he is very conscious of the fact that “queer” has commonly been used as a slur against LGBTQ+ people, but added that “it’s something our community can reclaim”. When the use of labels was discussed, Dodie emphasised that labels can be empowering and helpful for people who may be confused about their sexuality, but that they can also limiting.
Audience members asked for advice on coming out and how to deal with the difficulties involved, to which Rose answered, “Find the people that you need”, whether they are in an online community or in person. Rosie added that if coming out is currently impossible, “you can work on accepting yourself”.
Jake was asked about gender roles, specifically from a trans point of view. He answered that he struggled in the past with “overcompensating” by avoiding stereotypically feminine things, but later realised that gendered products have nothing to do with his gender identity: “I really like effeminate stuff and it doesn’t make me less of a dude.”
Header image by Electra Snow.
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