The DSG community is a rich collection of unique and individual people, each with their own story and identity that allows them to be who they are. Listening to the stories of our community we can learn so much about pride.

Today we are listening to Lily who identifies as asexual and is a performer and theatre maker from Sydney, NSW. This is a little bit about Lily’s journey with Pride.

What does pride mean to you?

Pride is interesting for me because I started as an ally. I was engaged with the DSG community from a perspective of allyship and wasn’t acknowledging my own place within that community as an asexual. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be different, I felt like I was taking away from other people who needed a sense of pride more than I did and I think it’s taken me a long time to engage in pride for myself; there is a difference between pride in yourself and pride for the community that you’re apart of in any way. And it’s important to do the work to feel pride in yourself ‘cause it is very freeing.

How do you celebrate pride?

One of the most important things in my life was one; learning what asexuality was, and then two; accepting it for myself. And then seeing people who didn’t have the same struggle as me, seeing people marching, waving asexual flags, proud and a part of it. That was a really powerful image for me to see. For a long time I just thought I was broken and different and I didn’t work in the way that humans are supposed to work and that brings with it its own sense of shame and so seeing those people celebrate pride gave me an enormous amount of healing in my life and that led me to being able to celebrate pride in many different ways.

I celebrate with my other queer friends, my sister who is queer, I celebrate pride in many different ways. I feel like because of the way other people have celebrated pride in my lifetime and the way that I’ve been able to see that and take that in, I almost celebrate pride every day because I am no longer saddled with some of those feelings.

Who are your DSG role models?

The first people who pop to mind are the people when I was young like Kurt Hummel on Glee or Ellen Degeneres. As I grew up and went to university, I learnt a lot more about queerness and there is a much more diverse range of human beings who are public in their queerness for people to look up to, and one person I really respect is an Australian artist called Justin Shoulder who makes amazing work, and I wish had’ve known about him when I was younger because it would’ve shaped a lot of perspective and it would’ve given me a much wider worldview. But also there is people in my personal life who I consider huge queer role models like people who I studied with at uni, and close friends, and it’s a mixture of the vast array of people out there in our public life and also really important people in my private life as well.

If you could say anything to your younger self – what would it be?

I would tell my younger self to follow their gut more and to not let other people tell you what happiness or success is. I think cause everything in society is built around the idea that you date people and eventually you find someone you really like and you guys get married and have a child and you raise another generation and that’s the aim. And for a lot of people that is absolutely the aim but as someone who doesn’t want that, I’ve often done things and said things to show people that I was just as successful as they were and I’ve gone out with people I absolutely couldn’t stand because at least I was going out with someone and that’s what success is and if I don’t everyone will think I’m a failure of some kind. I would tell my younger self not to worry about all that noise. Making theatre makes me happy and that’s my priority day and night and I don’t need to feel bad about the fact that I’m not looking for someone to date and anyone who tries to make me feel like … a spinster or something frankly doesn’t know me very well and I don’t really need to listen to them. I wish my younger self had known that and that people’s opinions of my activity is their business and not mine.