Queering intimacy

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Experiences of intimacy, in so many of my own cases, were often wrought with the anxiety of underperforming or oversharing. It was with some relief that I finally arrived at my own queerness in my late teens and felt my world grow bigger. Finally, I had arrived somewhere where I could set my own pace and my own definitions. My understanding of intimacy changed radically.

Queerness eliminated so many of the rules I had understood myself to exist within, and, within the state of unrest, queerness allowed for a vast range of acts to fall under the umbrella of intimacy. At its core, intimacy is to explore, and perhaps share, parts of oneself. That connection, to oneself or to another, and most especially in the context of queerness, allows for the attainment of some small slice of liberation.

In spite of the inherent risks, and against the odds, there is power to be claimed in these acts of queer intimacy. I found power in screaming at my best friend’s drag show debut. I found power in kissing my friend on the street in broad daylight. I found power in cooking breakfast for my first girlfriend. I have found unparalleled intimacy and safety in so many of my relationships with other queer people.

In thinking about this photo essay, I thought about twin beds and toothbrushes in pairs, about picking up the bill and carrying the grocery bags. I thought about inhibitions and shyness, and about bravery both quiet and loud. I considered all those ridiculous and beautiful moments that are made free under the banner of queerness.

Queer intimacy, like all intimacy, can exist as a haven in which to shelter oneself. Queer intimacy is a place for growth that is both euphoric and aching. It is the capacity to say, “Here is what my chaos looks like. Will you celebrate it?” It is the capacity to be heard. Queer first loves, whether romantic, platonic or somewhere in between, have an element of unique shared vulnerability that I have found indispensable to my own growth as a young queer person. In taking these photographs of a queer couple, I did my best to capture this particular flavour of softness.


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Author: Madeline Neumann

Madeline Neumann is a fourth year Religious Studies major. She is passionate about photography and you can see it in her dynamic work. She has a motherly disposition that makes her an amazing friend and a pleasant coworker. She loves her dog, cat and hamster.