I had an idea. A pretty big idea, a vision that for such a long time was mostly a fantasy, one of those that was always prefaced with ‘what if…’ or ‘one day…’ and even ‘if I win the lotto…’ that would float around in my head and occupy my thoughts.
One day in earlier this year, I started to share this idea with others, people I had known and worked with who I felt a level of connection with. And what I found was that I wasn’t the only one with this idea!
And as we worked together, this idea became tangible, something that was not just a vision but a reality.
It is now time to share this idea, this vision, this goal with all of you. Essentially we want to build something, we want to build a community, a community where all of us are welcomed and can belong. And we want you to be a part of it.
I have worked, lived and played in the LGBTI community for quite some time now. What I have come to appreciate is the value to belonging as an intrinsic element to our wellbeing, but is something that so many of us struggle so hard to find. As LGBTI people we aren’t fortunate enough to be born into our community, rarely does our family share our identity and sadly so often they don’t understand it. And each of us over the years at some time or another have ventured out to connect with people who share our interests, values and way of being to find that elusive sense of belonging.
So how do we do it? We venture out of our comfort zones and look for connections. We usually go to the gay positive spaces that are visible and easy to access, namely our pubs and clubs, which are great to have fun and to have a drink, but they often do not help facilitate the types of connections we are really craving. I have seen so many people walk away from these spaces feeling more disconnected than when they walked in. There are cultural norms to navigate, the fear of reaching out alone, cliques and established social groups to penetrate. Additionally so many of our spaces are tailored to one part of the LGBTI community and therefore exclude some either deliberately or incidentally as they try to cater to the needs of some and thereby shutting out others.
Because of this many people speak about the LGBTI communities, as a plural, that there many forms of community taking place at the same time. And with this complex combination of communities operating, how many times have you being told that this space is not for you? If you aren’t a woman or a man that you aren’t welcome? What about those times you have had to prove that you are trans enough, gay enough or woman enough to be included?
With these boundaries, the LGBTI community can put up so many barriers, so finding your community, your people, can be so hard. And it can be hard when you are resilient, confident and resourceful, let
alone if you are vulnerable, uncertain and scared. Sometimes we are lucky to find our people, however many times we are not. I have had this conversation with so many different people who are all craving that sense of belonging, but there simply aren’t the opportunities available that they are looking for and their
experience of the LGBTI community is one of exclusion, not inclusion.
Consequently , I have heard people say that the LGBTI community is a myth, and that it doesn’t really exist at all, but I felt disappointed by this realisation, knowing how vital community and belonging is to us all
Not wanting to accept this, I wanted to go out there and create a space for the whole community that welcomes all people regardless of their identity and celebrates the vast diversity sex, sexuality and gender identity that connects people in a way that we have been craving.
But perhaps community isn’t a place or even a destination that we can just turn up to, but rather community is something that we do. That we create community ourselves through merely participating with a willingness to embrace each other in our differences and from this place share our stories, learn from each other and create the type of community that we are wanting.
This is what The Wendybird is all about – building a community; connecting with each other; and finding a sense of belonging.
We would like to invite you with open arms and open hearts to be a part of this community and create with us a space where we are all welcomed
So, welcome to The Wendybird (and, yes, that does mean you!)