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Jamie Lee: Pride Interview
To celebrate PRIDE month, the mindyourmind team wanted to highlight the stories of the diverse and inspiring people that make up the LGBTQ+ community. In many ancient cultures storytelling was not only a way to entertain but it was a way to pass on history, values and provide meaning to the listener. It was a way to learn from the past and the journey of others to better understand yourself and where you come from. Just like the stories of the past this interview is meant to give you a glimpse into one person's experience navigating themselves and sharing their journey, challenges and triumphs to become their authentic self.
Name: Jamie Lee
Pronouns: She / Her / Hers
Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey?
I am a proud Londoner that works in the non-profit sector in our community. I am also a Queer polyamorous woman who is married. It has been a journey for me to be able to openly share the latter statement.
To elaborate, I met my husband, who is a heterosexual male, when I was a teenager. We have been together for a decade now, and when we met, I identified as a heterosexual female who was interested in a monogamous relationship. What I think I love most about my husband is how he has given me the space that I have needed to grow and discover who I am as an individual while being with him. Through a great deal of self-reflection and connecting with other open-minded people, I have discovered that I am in fact Queer, and that monogamy is not for me.
To say the least, it has been a journey alongside my husband of navigating how to open up our relationship and to do so in a way that is respectful, authentic, and fulfilling for both of us. We have built a great deal of communication and trust over the years, and this is what allows us to openly see, date and have meaningful relationships with other people, while still remaining committed to one another.
What is one obstacle you faced on your journey and how did you overcome it (or how are you overcoming it)?
The most significant obstacle that I have faced thus far in my journey has been coming out and showing up as my whole self. Although there is a growing awareness about non-monogamy, there is still a real lack of representation and understanding in our society. This lack of visibility is what drives me to live openly though! When I share with others that I am queer and/or polyamorous, I am (not always but) frequently met with surprise, skepticism and a general lack of understanding. I hope that every time I have these conversations with others though, that I am helping to slowly shift norms. Perhaps the next time they meet someone who is LGBTQ+ and/or non-monogamous, they will have more of a frame of reference, and can meet them with more understanding and compassion. I think it is important to pave the way for future generations, and to also model to others how you can live outside of society’s expectations and still thrive!
How do you practice self care and/or where do you find support during tough times?
Self care is so important; especially on those days where I feel like I am struggling to live authentically. On these days, you can find me retreating into nature and doing something active, such as going for a bike ride or a run. Alternatively, I might huddle up inside and have a bath, express my thoughts through journaling, or watch a show or movie that is queer or poly friendly to feel more connected to these communities. Oftentimes I need solitude to reflect and regroup, and then I can access my support network to get fully back on track. I consider myself very privileged to have supportive family, friends, and partners, who always want to see me be my happiest and best self.
What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am aware that I display as a heterosexual female. I am quite femme to begin with, and as soon as someone learns that I am married, the immediate assumptions are that I am straight, and that I am in a traditional monogamous marriage. And this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Oftentimes I am coming out to others when I am in another relationship and wish to share this with them. My past significant relationships have been with females, so whomever I am telling is processing my alternative sexual orientation and relationship style at the same time; and this can be surprising! But again, it is a priority for me to decrease stigma around being LGBTQ+ and polyamorous. So whether I am coming out to someone one-on-one, or sharing my lived experience via my writing or public speaking opportunities, few things are more important to me.
If you enjoyed reading this interview check back weekly, for the month of June, to hear from other amazing members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Photo supplied by Jamie Lee
mindyourmind speaks with advocates, authors, musicians, athletes and other people about their own opinions and life experiences.