“The world should be safe for me”

This interview was broadcast in April 2021 on the #YouAreIncluded podcast, created by Copenhagen 2021 and hosted by cultural historian Anders Larsen – aka drag artist Chantal al Arab. In this episode, Anders sits down for a talk with Robin and Lukas, two young LGBTI+ people living in Copenhagen. The interview can be heard in full on your preferred podcast platform – just search for Copenhagen 2021. For this article, the interview has been shortened and lightly edited.

Anders: I remember when I first came out and started going to the clubs in Copenhagen – I didn’t always feel included in the community. I’m curious to learn what it’s like to be a young LGBTI+ person in Copenhagen today and have therefore taken the time to talk with Robin and Lukas. Thank you so much for being here!

Robin: Hi! My name’s Robin Andersen, I’m 22 years old and my pronouns are she/her. I currently work freelance with my own magazine, Triaudes.

Lukas: I’m Lukas, I’m 21, and my pronouns are he/him. I’m studying Humanities and Technology and besides from that, I work with the Copenhagen 2021 team on developing the youth venues for WorldPride.

Anders: Lukas, what is the work you’re doing with Copenhagen 2021?

Lukas: I work with the youth venues and we are really putting focus on developing a safe space for young people in the age group 13 to 18. It’s super important to me that we create a space where you can come as a young person, because when I was 15-16 I thought it was difficult to navigate a big event such as Pride. I felt pressure to be a certain way, to be a party monster, get drunk, be sexual – and, I mean, it was fun too, but I don’t want to put that pressure on young people.

Anders: Robin, you’re nodding, what do you recognize in this story?

Robin: I recognize the pressure in the community. You have to be a sexual being to be accepted. Also thinking about the whole MeToo movement going on now – it’s not a thing within the LGBTQIA+ community. There are so many things that have happened to me and my friends that shouldn’t have happened. At a young age, you’re vulnerable, and going into the club or a Pride environment can be so overwhelming that it’s hard for you to know what’s right and what’s wrong.

Anders: Let’s say I’m giving you a magic wand: You can now go out and fix everything in the LGBTI+ community in Copenhagen. Where would you start?

Lukas: I would fix how a lot of LGBTI+ people sexualize each other. I felt that a lot when I came out, that I had to have sex with a lot of men. That put a lot of pressure on me as a teenager and as a young adult, to really put my emotions aside and just focus on being super sexual. I want to take that pressure off young people.

Robin: When people say safe spaces… It’s like, there shouldn’t be something called safe spaces, the world should be safe for me! But I think if I had a magic wand, I would put a thought in people’s head that said, “you’re so much more than your sexuality, and you’re so much more than your gender expression or gender identity”.

Anders: I asked you to prepare a question for each other – Lukas, do you want to start?

Lukas: For sure! We talk a lot about the standard for how you have to look in the gay community in Copenhagen – did you feel that you had to look a certain way to be accepted in the community [before transitioning]?

Robin: For sure. It was a uniform that you put on. For a time, I tried so hard to appear like a cis man because I knew I would get accepted if I looked like that.

Lukas: It’s interesting to me, because I look like that, like the box you tried to fit into. It has made me understand my privileges more, and it makes me want to be a part of changing that.

Anders: Robin, your turn.

Robin: What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?

Lukas: Try to be aware of your feelings and feel the room or the situation. Is it overwhelming? Is it comfortable? Listen to your gut – and sometimes don’t, don’t do it just because you’re drunk and it’s fun!

Anders: I think that’s wonderful advice. Thank you both so much for being here today!

Info

The #YouAreIncluded podcast is made possible by Jemma Tracey and Steve Taylor from Copenhagen 2021 and is produced by hearHEAR. A new episode comes out every Thursday with inclusive discussions about sport, human rights, arts and culture, and Pride.

If you have any feedback or suggestions, just drop an email to communication@copenhagen2021.com

 

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