Image of a queer youth sitting on a rainbow path

Growing Up Queer In Airdrie

Since I was seven, I knew I was different from my peers. I didn’t understand how, but it didn’t make me happy so to hide that I was different, I started to do weird and “quirky” things. Once I was ten and I started watching more mature shows with queer characters, I realized that I might be queer.

I spent a while questioning my identity and coming to terms with what I thought I identified as. I then came out to my friends and close family near the end of grade five as bisexual. I then identified as bi until the summer break of 2021. Throughout that time I learned to become more comfortable with who I was. After experiencing being outed and made fun of in grade seven, I was more comfortable expressing myself with my queer identity.

In 2019 I had the opportunity to go to an overnight leadership conference at W.G. Murdoch High School in Crossfield. There were a few speakers there but there was one that became an essential part of helping me find my identity. Nick Foley used the term “non-binary” referring to it as a gender identity. I was unsure what that was and researched it when I got home. After spending weeks struggling with my gender it felt right to say I was non-binary. Over this time of accepting who I was, it was difficult to connect with the queer community when Covid-19 shut the world down. I luckily celebrated 1000 days of identifying as non-binary on August 28th, 2022 by taking a peaceful bike ride to the rainbow sidewalk in Nose Creek Park.

In March 2021, I started to think about changing my name. I tried out a few names, stuck with one for about two months, and changed it to Kameron. Some people just called me Kam and I usually tell people my name is Kam.

Throughout grade seven, I spent some time questioning my sexuality, when I started to realize that being bi wasn’t the right identity for me. In the summer of 2021, I began to identify as neptunic (someone who is non-binary that is exclusively attracted to women and non-binary-identifying individuals.) After not even a year, it still didn’t feel right. No label felt right. I am now confident in my identity as unlabeled. I feel comfortable in knowing who I am attracted to but labelling it never feels right. I have experimented with the labels of bi, lesbian, pan, poly, and neptunic but nothing felt right. I experience a lot of hate even from people within the community about needing to label it and that ‘being unlabeled couldn’t be a permanent identity’. But as long as I am confident in who I am, I can look past the negativity.

In April of 2022, I decided to look for some ways for me to connect with the queer community in Airdrie and found the Airdrie Pride Society. I attended community coffee and just got to know others within the community. I have since then, gone to PRYSM, pages of pride, more community coffees, and the pride festival. I have made strong friendships with queer peers and some allies. I have been fortunate enough to come out to my parents safely. I got my name officially changed on all school-related sites and forms. I have many supportive teachers who are willing to advocate for me and other queer students. I still struggle with not being out to my grandparents and extended family, but I am mostly able to avoid awkward interactions with them.

I have been living in Airdrie my entire life and have been able to experience my own journey of identity discovery. Growing up queer hasn’t always been the easiest but I am fortunate enough to have the opportunities I do as a queer person in today’s society. I will be a voice for those who can’t be their own. I believe I will get to see a world where these opportunities come to many more people like me who sit at home wondering who they are.

– Kameron Seabrook

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