In collaboration with Anita Photography, LesBeHeard is launching a merch 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.
Jamie is a founder and host of SPEQ:TRUM Podcast, which features queer stories and dialogues to promote visibility for the queer community. Jamie's confidence and tenacity commanded our attention both during the photoshoot, and with their words.
What’s your story? Could you share a little more about you and your senget journey?
Hi, I'm Jamie Nonis and I identify as transmasculine. I embraced my trans identity, last year in 2020, after a very long journey of coming to self-acceptance. And, really just, accepting myself. I’ve always thought that I was a lesbian for most of my life, throughout school, throughout my twenties. Even in my thirties, I grappled with my identity for quite a long time. It was only in the last year that I finally, truly embraced my trans identity. Part of it was also with the launch of Spectrum Podcast, which I founded. That process really helped me to explore deeper levels of my sexuality and my identity as well as what it means. Through interviewing a lot of people in the community, I feel like I’m less alone and there’s a whole community out there.
Most of my journey was pretty isolated, not so much in the community, not so much taking part in events or community organisations. So, last year was a huge year for me. I have this quote which goes like, “own your truth, live your purpose, and achieve extraordinary”. I truly believe that when we’re able to be true to ourselves and express who we truly are, that’s when we’re able to achieve another level in life. When we’re unable to completely be who we are, we close off parts of ourselves or we hide parts of ourselves. So, the world doesn't get to feel who we really are. But once we’re able to embrace that, and the world can feel who we really are, it just takes things to another level. That’s what I found on my journey, that’s why it’s pretty awesome.
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 you, to be exactly who you are, to be exactly who you were meant to be, who you were born to be. It’s okay, you know? Don't let anyone tell you that it’s not okay. Just be who you truly are, and know that there will be people out there who will accept you for who you are. Maybe there will be some who won’t, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is having your group, your tribe, your support group and that’s the most important thing. And loving yourself.
What does having a ‘sense of belonging’ mean to you?
I think being in the community is important because it gives you a sense of belonging. I feel that sometimes, we can feel like we’re alone in this. But it’s really not the case. So it's up to us to take the responsibility to reach out. To know there are so many organisations in the community and they’re willing to help. They’re willing to give support and everything. So I’d really encourage people to go out there and find that sense of belonging within the community.
"Own your truth, live your purpose, achieve extraordinary."