VideoUnderstanding Disenfranchised Grief

Understanding Disenfranchised Grief

Telling the story of loss, injustice, pain, and grief allows us to find support in each other. You are not alone.

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(gentle music)- ` You know, I think we as queer people, wherever you identify within the rainbow, we get more than our fair share of grief. We almost become experts in pain, but that pain can be used to grow. (gentle music) When I was 14, 15 living in East Belfast, "Top of the Pops" was filled with boy George and Duran Duran and Campeche code, and that wasn't happening in Northern Ireland. So whenever I had the opportunity to visit London, I did. There were very few queer venues, very queer few clubs, couple of bars, everybody went to them. So the muscle gays` and the femme gays and the drag Queens and the transgender community and the lesbians and we all went to the same places and we celebrated our queerness and the freedom to be queer in such a wonderful city. HIV and aids became tangible when I moved to London and started losing people , people who were close to me. it kind of just wiped out this generation of beautiful young men. Families will maybe have taken their children home to bury them or to die, you know, going home to die. And that, just that phrase was something that really sits with me. And I understand why families do it. What I don't understand is why they feel the need, and this still happens, to cut off the people who were the nucleus of that person's life and not allow people to commune with the celebration of that person's life and express your emotion for the loss. And that, that's kind of what disenfranchised grief is to me it's that separation from being in the moment. So being diagnosed with HIV much later on it changed everything. Everything was blurred and everything was muted. And suddenly I was in this space on my own. I would cut myself off and I would maybe cut myself off from people who were armed with tools that could help me and support me. But I started exploring different methods of therapy. It was a really tough process, but it really worked. That unlocked an ability for me to be able to talk to other people, people close to me and um... allow them in. But I still find it tough To tell them exactly how I'm feeling. I'm learning that there are people that love me, who want to help me. And you have to manage grief. You have to do it in your own way and you have to be kind to yourself. And if you've lost someone or you didn't make it in time to say goodbye, fall apart, collapse, let it out. Cry, scream, rage, break things run a marathon, climb a mountain, go swimming whatever you need to do to process your grief. Don't stop yourself from doing things because the person you've lost, doesn't want your life to stop as well. When as a community we commune... we're so strong. Don't discount...

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