Sometimes queer love can not be explained or expressed through words.
How do you describe that feeling you get, when you witness the joy between a queer couple holding hands in the park or smiling at each other over an inside joke or just being? These tender moments that remind you that in spite of how exhausting it is to sometimes just be ourselves in this world, our love for each other transcends any social norms. Sometimes it’s hard to explain the joy that comes with finding people that relate to you and somehow share the same experience as you.
Moving to the UK from Nigeria a couple of years ago as a closeted gay person, I had no idea that within months of my arrival, all I had known to be true about love, friendship and family would change so drastically. Having to rebuild my life and redefine what community meant for me was no easy task and yet myself and friends-turned family at Black Queer Women UK have managed to create a beautiful community for ourselves and others. Although we are united by our West African backgrounds, gender identity and sexuality, we differ in so many ways but have still found ways to build and indescribable connection to each other. Sometimes it’s hard to explain the joy of finally finding yourself and accepting who you are.
Self love can be illusive for those of us who grow up being told over very existence is wrong. The journey of understanding who we are as queer people, standing defiantly in this truth and concluding we are deserving of love, just like anyone else can be a challenging mission. And yet, day after day a lot of us wake up and choose ourselves; and that first moment- when for the first time we decide we will not hide ourselves for the sake of others, that- is self love.
Love when you’re queer can take so many forms, and if words aren’t enough to capture the magnitude of what this means,they say pictures tell a thousand stories if you look closely.
The camera and the photographer is able to capture the essence of this joy of being able to hold one another, laugh and even cry over shared pain.
Freedom, strength, love, empowerment for myself and community, representation for the underrepresented is what I see when I look through my lens. – Jhawadat 2023
Queer Space – Black Queer Women UK
Writer – NESSAKEM