And this is Aaliyah.
Aaliyah who is 22, who is queer, who is gender-fluid, no specific order, just a fresh start.
Indeed, Aaliyah freshly relocated in Cape Town. She did so for a few reasons plus one. And regarding this one, and on this planet, Aaliyah has come a long way.
Aaliyah’s family is from Harare, Zimbabwe, where she was raised in the catholic faith.
Her family moved to Canada for a few years, then to Kinshasa, DRC for a few more, where they became part of an evangelical church. Needless to say that, from catholic to evangelical, there is one step, one more observant step.
After her father passed away, Aaliyah and her mother moved back to Zimbabwe, a place she should have been able to call home.
There, she was sent to a boarding school. A christian one. Because of course. Because of Zimbabwe’s heritage of British puritanism in its school system.
There, she was bullied. By her classmates. Because of course. Because she was this tomboyish girl who was not dating boys, nor was she dating girls, but that was enough for the other kids to call her, or rather call her out for being, a lesbian.
Then, 18 years old Aaliyah, out of school, was healing the wounds of the bashing and isolation people had made her go through, presuming her identity. Queer.
She resorted to heterosexuality for it is everything queer people cannot be. Straight.
And what a rewarding experience it was. What an uplifting lover he was. Mentally Abusive. Compulsorily unfaithful. How straight is that?
And because of course. Because it takes more than one lesson to learn. She’s kept on dating guys up until very recently. Up until she really got tired of men, of masculinity, of all it entails for a queer woman.
At this point, Aaliyah knows that she’s done. She first came out as asexual because being done with men and not opening up to women made her think she was asexual but really she’s not.
And how confusing?
At this point, Aaliyah knows that she’s queer. She recently came out as a lesbian to a friend, a gay friend. He won’t judge her but other people will. As soon as she’ll give them the word they want to hear, they’ll pull a “I knew it”.
And how displeasing?
At this point, Aaliyah knows that she can’t tell everybody. She can’t tell her mother because she would send her right off to conversion therapy. She can hardly come out to herself because her recent attraction to women face off with the homophobia she has internalised during all these years.
And how conflicting?
And how and in the name of which God do you expect a young soul like Aaliyah to find shelter?
From Zimbabwe, from men, from christianity, from her mother, she’s run away. To lift the pressure.
And because of course. Because she’s a young soul. Because she is queer. Aaliyah reaches out for the tools that will make her life better.
Online, she’s found the confidence and a few role models to embrace her sexuality. Facebook groups. Famous youtubers.
Offline and in Cape Town, she’s connected with different LGBTI organisations. Safe spaces. Sane answers.
About Aaliyah, about all the others, if you don’t have the time or the energy, please, do not worry.
From time immemorial, and as set in this story, to their plight, queer people always have known some kind of remedy.
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