What I Love About Being Queer (WILABQ) is a book that is composed of various peoples’ opinions about the statement posed by the title. It was put together by the George Brown College (GBC) positive space co-ordinator/ human rights advisor Vivek Shraya.
The book can be purchased at the GBC bookstore. All proceeds go to the GBC Positive Space Award. WILABQ was also nominated for the prestigious Lambda award.
As a straight female that is not minority, I have had the privilege of not having to face much judgement in my life. However, I have friends and family who have not had the same privilege. After talking with Shraya and reading the book for myself, I could not wait to tell the queer people in my life about it, as I instantly knew how empowering it would be for them.
When asked about why he wrote the book, Shraya describes how in his position he has seen many students experiencing homophobia and how this has transitioned into a type of self-hatred.
“I really wanted to make something that could speak to these students, something to say ‘hey, you know this complicated part of who you are is actually worth celebrating'”, said Shraya.
He made a short film that featured 34 local Toronto artists, educators, and lots of GBC staff and faculty which expanded into a Tumblr project where anyone in the world could submit answers to the title question. The book then became a selection of answers from these projects.
When asked about why he chose the question, Shraya answered, “I came up with it because I think most of us grew up in a world that told us that being queer was wrong or that there was a lot that they didn’t like about queerness or queer people and so for me it was like, well what are the great things about being queer?” He adds “[the question] gives people a chance to express the positive aspects of being queer without diminishing the challenges.”
The book is full of many touching, humorous and insightful answers from people primarily from Canada, but also from some other countries as well.
Here is a sample of some answers published in the book: Jes-torronna writes, “Oy. The parties? The poetry? The People? The sex.” Sarah Fobes writes, “In one sense, I’m part of a very privileged world: I’m a white Canadian. So without being queer, I don’t think I would have perspective on the feelings of people that are undermined on a daily basis.” Sara B writes, “Getting to be a part of gay curling…in Alberta!”
No matter what your sexuality is, this book is worth checking out because it centres on something that affects us all: being human.