Introverts in the Queer Community: Is There Room For Us?
I turned 33 earlier this month.
Just a decade ago, you would have found me at least three nights a week dancing the night away in a queer-friendly bar district in Chicago called Boystown.
Lots of drinks. Lots of dancing.
A decade later, I now live in Brooklyn and often find myself home, cozying up with my sweet and sassy black cat, named Liza.
Well, for starters, decade-ago-hangovers were an entirely different beast.
While I believe I was still the same introvert that I am today, how I approach now life is calm and quieter.
I’ve learned to embrace my old-soul nature, opting for cozy nights in, instead of being out late and boozed up in Manhattan or Brooklyn.
Is There Room For Queer Introverts?
I always appreciate when people speak about queer communities (the plural), instead of us being one, monolithic “Community”. Saying communities acknowledges the vast range of people who identify as queer.
What makes for “Community”, anyway?
I love Charles Vogl’s definition.
Communities are created when at least two people begin to feel concern for each other’s welfare.
It’s not that we may agree on everything, see eye-to-eye on every issue, but at the end of the day, we are deeply committed to showing concern for each other’s wellbeing.
Yes, I believe there is plenty of room for queer introverts. We’re already here and queer, as they say. It’s just that much of the social life for queer people seems to center around extroverted activities and atmosphere. Loud music. Late nights. Intense sensory stimulation and often alcohol.
There don’t need to be judgments around the social rituals of queer extroverts — it’s just important to acknowledge that it’s not for all of us.
Alternatives to Amped-Up Spaces
There’s a history to queer nightlife that is important for us to remember and arguably still participate in from time to time. Bars were some of the first places queer people could congregate in a way that was at least somewhat safe and protected from the violence and judgment of larger society.
What’s so amazing about the queer community is that we know how to create. We’ve adapted because we have to. We’re able to create vibrancy out of pretty dark and dangerous times.
This creativity was what largely drew me to create queeret. I wanted to see if there were other queer people out there who felt the same way as I do:
joyous about spending time alone
perfectly fine with silence
might have an aversion to intensely stimulating environments
prefer to wake up the next day refreshed, instead of hungover
not the loudest voice, but still has something to say
These are the queer people I’m looking for and hope to bring together.
What Shall We Create?
Here’s where I become giddy and excited — what is it that we could create together?
A few types of events have already been floating around in my head:
qalm: A sort of monthly salon for queer people to come together to chat, over non-alcoholic beverages. Perhaps some conversation-starters to mix things up or just let the energy flow as it will. What about cozy candles? Thoughtful. Mindful. Serene. With a twist of humor and light heartedness.
bookqlub: Another monthly gathering where we as queer people are able to read and discuss books by queer authors.
storytelling: I haven’t fully realized this idea, but I personally would love to hear more about the experiences of other queer people. Creating more spaces for queer people to witness one another’s stories, in order to expand that feeling of concern for each other’s welfare.
I imagine these spaces being sober, thoughtful, calm, inviting, heart-expanding, and welcoming.
Who knows what this will end up looking like, but I’m hopeful there are other queer people out there who feel the same way as I do.
Queer introverts, it’s time to come out from your bedrooms and other quiet places (I know this is a tough ask).
Let’s declare our queer introverted nature and take a place at the table.