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  • Lauren Flower

I thank YOU.

Dear QWD family,

Thank you for being a part of this community and for being with me throughout every step. You have made this part of the year beautiful in a plethora of ways. I can certainly say that 2020 has been a year of heartache, fear, anxiety, defeat, and overwhelming emotions but it has transpired into a year of patience, hope, willingness, possibilities, opportunities, and a time of seeing things a bit more clearly. While my life has been flipped upside down a few times, and I'm sure many of yours has as well, I know just how important it is to focus on the change life brings and the opportunity of growth that lies within that change. I say this because within the hardships that took place throughout this year, it has brought me to a wonderful new journey that is this, Queer Women Dancers.

I go back to the month of June, Pride month. A month in which we look back on the bravery and courageousness that was led on June 28, 1969. The heroic Marsha P. Johnson alongside many others who forever shaped the defining moments of Pride and our history of the LGBTQ+ community. On June 26, 2020 this platform was created and I had no idea what was going to come about within it. I took a risk to try and bring a page for us all that would provide a safe space and one that we could call home. Queer Women Dancers began because it was more than clear to me that many LGBTQ+ folks (including myself) have continued to be underrepresented in the ballet industry and change needed to happen. I do believe change still needs to take place but I can confidently say that I am more hopeful than I ever was before.

From the first Instagram post that was created, to sharing my story, to open ended conversations, to hearing your stories, to live videos, to my own videos, to bringing questions about, to article features, and much more...I thank YOU. I am sitting here, typing with butterflies in my stomach from the unexplainable feelings I have conjured throughout these past months and I can pinpoint just how these overwhelming emotions are far more beautiful than I can express. This community has grown into something more than I could have ever imagined and I know it is still only the beginning. From what has transpired from then into today brings tears to my eyes.

This community has helped me in far more ways than I ever knew was possible and each day brings a new opportunity to dive deeper into who I am. I look back to when I came out and the journey I have had from then to now. It has been a process for myself to hone in on my truth and comfortability in expressing myself fully. My hope for each of you falls right along those lines as well. I hope you have found or are beginning to find the comfort in genuine authenticity. We can certainly say that life brings us many curveballs but what is most important is being true to who we are and allowing our vulnerability to shine through.

So, let’s say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021. I am excited and hopeful to see what the new year has in store for Queer Women Dancers and this heartwarming community. You all have filled my heart in many ways.

Much love.

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