When I was 19 years old and living in Paris, I had become the epitome of a basic gay, I was cruel and bitchy and entertaining for others. I did this so as not be lonely. Everyone liked having me around, but didn’t particularly like me. I do not put blame on others for creating this monster. Towards the end of my time in Paris I was attacked by a gang of men while coming home from a gay club with friends. The gang spent 35 minutes mocking and beating us until we were covered in our own blood. This experience made me question who I was, it made me drop everything I had become and start again, to recreate myself in the image I wanted. I lost friends, but gained my truth. I also do not put blame on the men that attacked me, they are also victims of a society that has let them down! And I feel pity and sadness for them!
I came to Berlin for a weekend last February to visit friends, I’d never experienced a city quite like this before. Ugly and beautiful all at the same time, after two days here. I had made my decision. I went back to Holland (My home at the time) quit my job, packed up my flat and left for Berlin two weeks later. The spontaneous decision was horrifying and exhilarating, I had very few friends, no job and no money. But I had a new home which allowed me to fully express the true essence of my being! I was given the freedom to play with my gender, body, and sexual limits. To truly discover me limitations and my likes!
Growing up queer in the south of England, in a small town wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard. I became increasingly skilled at playing the role that others wanted to see of me, the hard part comes now. Living in Berlin. A space that accepts the non-binary, femme being that I am. I am slowly trying to work out which parts of myself are truly my own, and the others that I created. Constantly asking questions of my identity. It’s hard but I revel in the understanding that I will never really know who I am, so I can keep searching. This world is a dark, scary, lonely, and beautiful place. And with the current social norms and political climate, it’s impossible to decipher what characteristics are mine and which are my survival mechanism.
This is my truth of being queer, and my responsibility is to make it easier for those around me to live freely as themselves! To be photographed nude is exceptionally liberating for me, I have never been fully in love with my body, weather I feel to skinny or to male. But I understand what my naked figure can do for my soul, and that in a masculine gay scene, it can subvert the idea that our body has anything to do with our gender or lack there of! And it can be a much needed representation of queer femme in a homo erotic system.
After almost a year of working extremely hard, and destroying my body. I am in the best place I have ever been. With a thriving career and beautiful soul mates. Restarting my company @tobylikesmilk a queer dance, theatre & activism company with the support of loved ones is feeding my soul more than ever before! And now I know my mission!