The night of Friday, October 28 was the annual Reclaim the Night.

It is a time for all of us to find our voice, and to reclaim the spaces we have lost through violence, bigotry, homophobia and grief.

The below is an excerpt from one of the stories that was shared on the evening from a young queer-identifying person.

“I’ve spent years trying to find an identity label that fits me. Years trying to find my voice amongst the rhetoric and the language of gay.

“Years of feeling like my voice was only truly mine when it was inside my head and because of that spending too much time with just me and that voice. We got to know each other well but then I stopped letting myself be seen by others. And I became what they wanted me to become.

“My first partner wanted me to be a free spirit. To run with the elements and to not be tethered to all things material — because that is where she came from.

“And so I untethered myself and became free and when she left me for someone who was from the same world as her, I was carried away by storm clouds of turbulence and gusto.

“And I had to find myself again. My next partners wanted me to be a mother, a dyke, a fem and their world. I gave myself over to those identities and all that identity entailed — and as each of those relationships ended in words and actions stemming from anger, I made friends with the voice in my head again to find out where I had gone.

“My inner voice was my constant. It did not go away with the punches or the slurs, the taunts or the belittling. It stayed constant, and it questioned and it poked holes in my excuses for their behaviour and for my disguises.

“Slowly, recently, I started sharing my inner voice, my inner me with the world. And I know I have opened the floodgates and it won’t stop talking now. Its resistance to the weapons of the world that were used against me and so many others is strong and it wants to find a place in that.

“It is my voice and I am speaking it. This is me.”

By REBECCA REYNOLDS, Twenty10

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