I first heard Alex Jay Lynam speak at Dani Wallace’s Bee Inspired event in March and I was so struck by their Don’t Fear the Queer talk which left a powerful impression on me. Since then I started to question myself and the work I do on my podcast. Was I really showing up and creating a fully inclusive space for women on my platform, and if not why?
Looking over the 130 guests I’ve invited on the show so far, I don’t think I’ve ever had an open conversation with someone from the gay or queer community. I’m holding myself accountable as I think I’ve been avoiding the topic for fear of getting things wrong, not wanting to offend people, saying the wrong thing, and upsetting somebody. Listening to Alex made me realise that we all have an opportunity in whatever work we’re doing to include and show our support for people from the LGBTQ community.
From the age of 5 Alex had a love of musical theatre and they had the opportunity of working with a range of celebrities in theatre and TV. From the age of 10 they were determined to be in the West End, you would even have watched them on Coronation Street. By the time they were 12 Alex begun questioning their identity and sexuality and when auditioning for Masculine roles and being knocked back, the question came up, ‘Am I a boy or girl.’
Alex came out in high school as a cis female lesbian, a decision they thought would ease the uncertainty of how they felt about their body, but it got worse as they were then bullied in high school and also into college. Not fitting the ‘stereotype’ of a musical theatre female, feeling isolated and shamed, Alex dropped out of college.
The following years saw Alex hit the party life in Manchester hard, into alcohol and substance misuse. Their mental health declined further, falling into abusive and toxic relationships. Alex felt there was no light at the end of the tunnel, with little support and guidance around the questions of gender and self-discovery, they felt alone.
Hearing their story really hit home just how important our role is in showing up and supporting anyone we know that may be coming out. It’s easy to assume once they’ve taken that brave step then the weight drops off their shoulders, but if there isn’t that open acceptance from society how do they feel valued? Alex’s life was spiralling out of control and at the age of 22 they were arrested; they were given the option to change their path or go to prison. Thankfully Alex chose the latter and completed a journey of rehabilitation, learning how to find and build their self-love. They finally got to place when they could embrace their true self and came out as non-binary.
Alex has used their life experience along with their previous work with young people and vulnerable adults in all different settings, to create Beyond the Binary. With a passion to help schools, companies, families, and individuals around LGBTQIA+ inclusion through training, consultancy, and public speaking, so that everyone can be seen and heard unapologetically as themselves.
We all have a responsibility to make sure no one is left out of the active inclusion conversation. Alex reminds us that it’s ok to get things wrong, use the experience to learn and have honest and open conversations.
What does Free to Be mean to Alex?
“Free to be means for me to be my whole self and be my whole self in the spaces that I take up and being able to be safe in the spaces that I am. Being able to be visibly queer and not have to worry that I’m going to be hit with discrimination or abuse”.
Whilst it’s great that June is Pride month this should not just be a token gesture so I’m making a commitment today to make sure I include and seek out more midlife stories from those in the LGBTQ community who want to share their stories.
Keep being fabulous
I love sharing all these amazing and inspiring women and have learnt so much from all of them, If you enjoy listening to them as much as I do, then please feel free to Buy Me A Coffee I really appreciate your support. https://www.buymeacoffee.com/RachelPeru1
I have now created a FREE "Step Liberte Free to Be" private Facebook group.
A safe space to share and feel part of a community of women all finding their own way through midlife.
Where you get to hear from amazing women who are embracing life and leaving a trail of inspiration along the way.
Encouraging women after 40 to try something new and step out of their own bubble.
A group to share, celebrate wins, encourage and support other members.It's your time to shine!
If you'd like a weekly dose of midlife inspiration you can also subscribe to my weekly Liberté Lowdown
Keep being fabulous!
(Liberté - Free to Be music credited to Adam Ward)
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Liberte Free to Be Podcasts
Ep.33 with Kaz FoncettPodcast
Liberte Free to Be champions women who are embracing life and leaving a trail of inspiration along the way. Inspiring others to become more confident in body and mind and spirit.
We all have a story to tell.