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ON THE WORD QUEER ?✨ For most of my life, I’ve let words have so much of an effect on me. I’ve let them define me, break me down, tell me how to live my life, what to wear, what not to wear, who to love, and all the rest. The pages of most of my life were written by other people’s words & their meanings – and NOT my OWN ? One of those words was QUEER. Queer was a word that was thrown around in high school and uni – a word mainly used for insults more than anything else. “look at that queer over there”, “who’s that queer”, and on & on. Being queer or identifying with the word queer just wasn’t something I was ever comfortable with. I was fine sticking with my G in LGBTQ+ and calling it a day. But ya know, over the course of this year and ESPECIALLY this month on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, I’ve been trying to educate myself on our ENTIRE community – the L’s, G’s, B’s, T’s, AND the Q’s. And one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is this… ✨ WORDS only have power OVER you if you LET them. ✨ When we RECLAIM the words used AGAINST us, we take their power away to be used by US. Words are just that – WORDS. The same word can be used as an insult, but turn it around & it can be used as a tool of EMPOWERMENT ?? And tbh, I would still say that I identify more with being gay than being queer, but the most important thing I can tell y’all is this…YOU ?? DEFINE ?? YOURSELF ?? HUNTY ?? Lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gay, non-binary, Two-Spirit – HOWEVER you identify – you are worthy as hell and as you go on your journey through life, you can write your OWN story with your OWN words ? What are your thoughts on being queer? Any stories to share? Would love to hear from y’all in the comments ?? LOVE YALL & HAPPY SUNDAY ??️?
Like Louzado, Benfield is similarly motivated by his own status as an anomaly in the industry, as both a male in the lifestyle space, and a gay male. Growing up in a small town in North Carolina, Benfield says there was little representation he could relate to. “It was very backward and not a great place for a gay man to grow up,” he says of his hometown. “I didn’t see many LGBTQ+ icons in my community growing up and the only people I had to look up to were gay couples on Youtube and Instagram.”
Seeing two men living together, Benfield says, was such a foreign concept to him. “I didn’t understand it at that point and I didn’t know if that would ever be my life, but I was interested in it,” Benfield recalls.
Now, living in Toronto with his partner—fellow influencer Omar Ahmed—since 2018 as a lifestyle influencer, Benfield is trying to be that positive icon for young men like himself around the world. “They’re young people who are maybe in small towns, maybe in places that they want to get out of eventually,” he says. “ In Alabama or small town India, and they’re looking for some sort of inspiration to exit. I think that’s the main reason why a lot of people follow me.”
His posts range from fashion and fitness to sustainability, all with a positive angle, and often featuring Ahmed.
A May 27 post shows Benfield posing in front of a wall, throwing up a peace sign, tongue cheekily out, with the word “Sunshine” emblazoned on the wall behind him. The caption touches on the hard days—of which he says there will be many—telling his followers: “You’ll come out of those storms STRONGER than ever before. A lil rain & winds & lightning ain’t got nothing on you bb!!!”
“People are just looking for a little bit more positivity and inspiration in their lives. And it’s kind of what I try to provide on my page.”
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✨ R E M I N D E R ✨ There are going to be DAYS when you feel so dang down. There are going to be WEEKS when you feel more shitty than ever before. There might even be MONTHS when you’re so lost you don’t know if you’ll ever find your way. – I’m gonna tell you right here, right now that those days, weeks, months, or even years are going to be the MOST IMPORTANT ones in your life. Those are the times when yes, you’ll feel lost as hell, you’ll feel like you’re on the wrong track, you’ll feel sad and lonely and all those emotions – BUT you’ll come out of it. EMBRACE the heartache. EMBRACE the challenge. EMBRACE the discomfort. – You’ll come out of those storms STRONGER than ever before. A lil rain & wins & lightning ain’t got nothing on you bb!!! You’re literally a sack of meat and bones, riding a flying rock, hurtling thousands of miles per hour through the vastness of space and time – YOU’RE COOL AND POWERFUL AS ALL HECK ??? (ps props to whoever’s meme I got that from lol I reference it legit all the time) – I’ve said it once and I’ll say it 10 million more times…the sun’s ALWAYS gonna come out tomorrow. A L W A Y S. While you’re figuring out your life & trudging through the worst of it, you can have the confidence that when you come out the other side, you’ll have that sweet, sweet sunshine waitin’ for ya ? – If you’ve got someone in your life who needs this reminder today, share this post with them!! And have the best Monday EVER ✨