by Meghan L.

During a panel in New York, bell hooks defined queer as “not being about who you’re having sex with (that can be a dimension of it); but queer as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live” (The New School, 2014). When I think of thriving this is what first comes to mind. 

I moved to Montreal two years ago and the biggest change in my life was my newfound space. The space to grow up from my high school adolescence and to become my own person without the influence and watchful eyes of my family and friends back home. The space to make independent choices and learn from my own mistakes. I was able to explore who I was and who I wanted to be. During this time, I came to terms with my sexuality, began to fall in love with who I am and embraced my own queerness instead of hiding it away.

After eight months of being away from home, during my parents’ first visit to Montreal, I came out to them. We sat crowded in my tiny dorm room, eating instant ramen on my bed while I stumbled through my confession and invited them to meet the part of their daughter that they didn’t know yet. 

I’m lucky. They were as supportive as I hoped they’d be. 

But the strength I built to share myself with them defines, for me, what it means to thrive. Thriving is my queerness at its very core because being queer has given me the space, as bell hooks says, to invent, create, speak, and live, but most importantly to find my joy.


The New School. 2014. Are You Still a Slave? Panel Talk with bell hooks, Marci Blackman, Shola Lynch and Janet Mock. New York: The New School. May 6. https://livestream.com/thenewschool/slave/videos/50178872. Accessed July 7th, 2023.