“If your blood family isn’t supportive of you, there is always a chosen family out there that is waiting to nurture you and teach you everything.”
What does being visible mean to you?
Being visible to me means amplifying your own voice and using any platform you have to help others to have their voices heard too. Whether on social media, in interviews or with my photography I can only tell about my experiences. I believe in sharing your platforms with other people as opposed to speaking on behalf of them.
How do you imagine the normalization to queerness in mainstream society?
Until there are laws in every country allowing queer people to live safely, freely and fairly, we can’t say that we are there. Yet, in terms of representation we dominate television, fashion, art and music. I think queerness is all around us now more than ever and it’s pretty inescapable, especially during the month of June. It might be because of my echochamber, but I believe that even the one person who lives in nowhere, they can turn the TV on and see queer people on the news, shows, in film. I think we are at a turning point and we have to use this opportunity to make a difference in laws and actually educate people on what homophobia and transphobia is.
I think being gay is pretty normal now. If I was white, and wouldn’t open my mouth then I could be the least bothered person walking down the street as opposed to the openly loud-out-queer Asian boy or a queer black woman, a trans person. We still don’t get to just pass as normal as white straight men do.
I remember when I was young and Ellen came out as lesbian, it was a big deal, when Adam Lambert came out as gay, it was a big deal, but now I feel like the world just doesn’t care as much anymore. This is why we need to redirect all of our energy towards trans people, making sure that they are safe, that they have all the rights that they want and need and have access to healthcare, gender forming surgeries and counseling.
As gay people, we had our time to normalize everything and get the whole world to be comfortable with us. We should all come together and use this privilege to make trans people feel like the world is changing around them for the better.
What is the single best piece of advice that you could give to a queer person living in a not-so-liberal environment?
I’d say, you are definitely not alone. And there is nothing wrong with you. You’ll find your people and you’re gonna make friends that are gonna look after you for the rest of your life. If your blood family isn’t supportive of you, there is always a chosen family out there that is waiting to nurture you and teach you everything.
I’d say, it gets better the second you leave whatever environment you’re in. And that’s tacky and cliche but it really just does. You just need to get going and start making those things happen to yourself as opposed to waiting for a miracle to happen, the family to switch their mindset or the town to be less conservative. I think neither of us have the time to just sit around and wait for other people to come around to us.
Rob’s latest book I’m Going to Miss You can be purchased here.