Individuals need to have access to as many different ideas and lives as possible to find their community

Darren Hodge

Darren Hodge, a Faculty Support Assistant, is appreciative of diversity and is an ally of the LGBT+ community. Here Darren speaks of his experiences growing up around heteronormative parenting and why it’s important to reflect on the past for LGBT+ History Month:
From a young age, certain ideas were fuelled into my upbringing, and family members were even forced to hide their true sexuality in the name of heteronormative parenting. LGBT+ identities and history were concealed and demonised. 
Once I escaped this environment at university, the works of such writers as James Baldwin and Tennessee Williams were opened to me. I discovered a sense of kinship and community. These writers presented different models of masculinity and showed me that I was not alone in my uncertainty and questioning of gender norms. This showcasing of the diversity of life is what makes LGBT+ History Month so important; individuals need to have access to as many different ideas and lives as possible to find their community and realise that other people share their feelings. 
LGBT+ History Month can be seen as a reclamation of history that's often suppressed and concealed. Making this past readily available helps ensure there's a future where everyone has a place where they belong. Therefore, even though I may not have all the answers yet, I know there are resources and communities available to help me find my way. 
As I consider myself primarily an ally and still haven't fully understood my identity, I was cautious about contributing to this campaign. I wanted to ensure the appropriate voices had the space to be amplified. But, if my story of uncertainty and allyship can be of any assistance to anyone, I’m happy to share it.