In collaboration with Anita Photography, LesBeHeard is launching a campaign in hopes of spreading a message of love and acceptance. We want our queer family to know that, it’s okay. No matter who you are and want to be, it’s okay to just be. We hope that when anyone wears our merch, they will feel empowered, proud, and inspired. For others who see us donning our products, we want them to know that they are not alone.
With this project, we wish to encourage people to stand up, speak up and continue to be an inspiration for those around them. It’s our hope that this campaign becomes a voice of comfort and support for members of the community who need it most.
We have reached out to several queer individuals and invited them to model our merch, some of whom you might be familiar with! These diverse individuals often advocate for the queer community and understand the need for specific safe spaces to encourage a sense of belonging.
We’re kickstarting our campaign with Clydia, who brought us smiles and cheerfulness the moment she walked through the studio doors on an early Sunday morning. She was eager to share her story as a queer disabled person, and we were immediately captured by her passion and strength.
What’s your story? Could you share a little more about you and your senget journey?
My name is Clydia, and I identify as queer pansexual as well as a person with hearing loss. I’ve bilateral hearing loss and I’m wearing a Cochlear Implant on my left with a right hearing aid.
Growing up, I didn’t really feel accepted, I felt like an outcast, and I didn’t really have many friends. My medical condition also affected my appearance so that didn’t make things easier and I felt very alone. I’m very lucky now to have a support system that I’ve found and they’ve been a huge support to me.
I never used to feel like I could relate to anybody else because there were no media representation in the earlier days. It was hard trying to talk about this to my parents because they’re quite traditional. When I first came out, it wasn’t like an “oh, I love you,” the incident was closer to the negative stories that you’d hear in the community. My story isn’t very different, my parents don’t really accept me for who I am.
But in a way, I wasn’t “normal” from birth. I have hearing loss, I have asthma, I have eczema, and a whole bunch of other things. It’s quite ironic that I don’t have their full acceptance. Even though I have hearing loss, I was put through the mainstream because in my parents’ world, spoken language is superior to sign language. They were worried that if I learnt sign language, I wouldn’t be able to express myself well and survive in the society.
It took a lot of self-exploration and being in safe spaces for me to reach where I am today. I’m really proud of myself, and how far I’ve come despite my parents’ response. I’m a lot happier than I used to be, and at least I’ve the heart to say that I’m authentic.
I know a lot of disabled individuals don’t feel connected to who they are and their disabilities, but I think that’s okay. I came here today because representation matters, you’ll never know how much your story brings solace to someone. So, I’m hoping that if you’re having a hard time now, know that it’s okay because things will get better.
Please complete the sentence: It’s okay to be… And what’s something you would tell queer people who are still struggling with their identity?
It’s okay to be weird, and it’s okay to be an outcast in whatever phases you’re in now. It’s okay to feel left out, but know that it’s not permanent. You will find your tribe who will love you for who you are. Always remember that the right people will love you for who you are. Whether you’re trans, lesbian, pansexual or have any disabilities, the right people will always accept you. Until then, just keep trying and just keep going!
"I came here today because representation matters, you'll never know how much your story brings solace to someone."