Gayish: What is queer joy and how do I get some?

Author: Gayish

Gayish on GLUE: Two homosexuals, unpacking queer stereotypes one at a time.


As Pride Month wraps up, corporations and wannabes tear down their rainbow décor and return to life as normal, leaving queer people to continue to fight for their bodies, rights, and lives.


In a time of anti-trans legislation and continuing and new attacks on LBGTQ+ rights and freedoms, pain and outrage are important emotions. But queer joy is resistance, too.


Queer joy is a topic that’s been showing up in more conversations lately. Different from pride, it’s a deep happiness that brings warmth and purpose to queer lives.


It reminds us that we are worthy. It sets an example for the next generation that happiness is possible, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s proof that love can conquer hate.


Queer joy goes beyond just ‘feeling happy’ about something – although similarly it may be a positive feeling that we get from encountering signs of progress in gender equality and gender diversity. However it’s poignant because, with it, we are reminded that queer joy is still a radical concept. 


Queer joy is vital to our livelihood.


It’s also something that doesn’t come naturally. Many of us were taught to hate ourselves from a young age.



We learned homophobia before we knew we were gay (or LGBT+).

It’s why we face more mental health issues like anxiety and depression than our cis-het counterparts. We have to learn, and perhaps retrain our brains, to seek out and feel joy.


Here are a few tips on how to pursue queer joy all year round, using queer artists as a starting point.
(Reminder: while taking in doses of queer joy can help all of us, mental health issues should always be discussed with a medical professional, like a doctor or therapist.)

  • Follow social media accounts that center queer joy. Your feed doesn’t have to be all news, politicians, and unattainable influencers. Founded by Dalila Ali Rajah, Black Queer Joy (IG: @BlackQueerJoy) is a great account to follow to bring a smile to your social media. They “shine a light on our joy” by centering images of Queer POC.
  • Celebrate our community by reading stories of our triumph and happiness. This Pride, the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity shared stories from their LGBTQ staff about what brings them joy at home. For example, Blake (he/him) wrote about “cuddling on the couch with my husband and dog while we watch a movie, or painting my nails, or dancing with abandon.”
  • Share your joy. One way to contribute: The Queer Joy Project. Aimy Tien (she/they) is collecting stories of “happiness and serenity” from LGBTQIA+ folx to give voice to the happy ending we rarely see in TV, movies, and media. You can participate by telling your story through their website.

Pride Month is one way for us to celebrate our community, but it’s not the only way. Lean in to your queer joy every month of the year, whether it’s by learning about queer history, watching queer media, or hanging a rainbow flag on your wall.


To learn more about the queer happiness gap, tips for finding queer joy, and the queer anthems that define happiness, listen to Gayish podcast’s episode on Queer Joy, available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or your favorite podcatcher.

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