By Ross Hickman (they/them) ‘22 and Lyra Seaborn (she/her) ‘22
Home is where I can fully express every detail of what goes on inside my head. The dark parts, the strange parts, the sad parts. I am at home with the deer in the forest. I am at home in the arms of my closest friends.
Rather than a physical place, I feel like myself around particular people.
“At home” is a Venn diagram. On one side is my parents’ house; on the other is safety, comfort — my authentic self. There’s both overlap and distance.
I don’t love being excessively gendered.
Queer is real. Questioning is also queer — people forget that a lot. I didn’t feel at home in queer spaces for a long time because I didn’t know how to prove I was “queer enough” without a label.
My queerness feels new to me, but I know it is not.
Living in a hot pink bedroom with a closet full of dresses for six months might have prompted me to wear baggier clothes and toy with the idea of purchasing a binder.
Now I’m more at home with myself, but less at home in my home.
We continue to build homes in each other.
Reflecting on our experiences of queerness during the COVID-19 pandemic, we reached out to other queer Davidson students for their own reflections on what being at “home,” being “queer,” and living through the “pandemic” can mean. Above are their responses, which emphasize the diversity of relationships queer people have to their homes, to queerness, and to the unfolding crises around us and within us. A slew of cultural tropes about queer folks’ connections to home and family (mis)fit queer people’s actual lives in multiple and intersecting ways — and in many cases, these tropes fail to capture the breadth of queer experience. The complex paths surrounding our homes have dominated our lives during this pandemic, and the realities and ramifications of social distancing and physical isolation fall unevenly across lines of gender, race, sexuality, and (dis)ability.
To get a sense of what the pandemic might mean for queer folks’ mental health, we interviewed Jasmine Peters, the new LGBTQ-specific counselor at Davidson’s Health Center.* Peters’s perspective on queer mental health in the current climate was refreshing, resonant, and not altogether rosy about the impact of social dispersion on the communities that queer people build and depend on. The value of queer family-building and home-building and the necessity of figuring out ways to translate those into pandemic-safe alternatives are formidable tasks, especially given our already strained mental and emotional energies. Queer community, however, has reinvention and restoration at its core, and we will find ways.
*Find the transcript of the conversation hyperlinked here and above.