When I accepted the offer from WestWords to facilitate this group back in August of 2019, little did I know how different our world would be as we neared the close of a tumultuous 2020. Lockdown, online meetings… what a journey it’s been!
Our initial meetings were tentative – we were getting to know each other. We had just started talking about the possibility of an anthology when COVID struck, and I wondered whether the group would survive. But as it did for so many, Zoom came to the rescue, or so we thought, until it became apparent that the writers, who in many cases were working from home, were beginning to struggle, then, just in time, the lifting of the lockdown!
I strongly believe that our return led to us solidifying as a group, with our stories of coming out, cultural heritage, sexual adventures, and all the other vital architecture for a queer writer finding fertile ground. I for one started to feel at home. I became aware of the impressive risk-taking required, whatever the genre, in exploring boldly but gently those childhood, teenage and adult perspectives of identity.
I am very grateful to WestWords, and of course to the wonderful group of writers that is slowly developing. I hope this group will continue to make a lasting contribution to telling stories that need to be told about Western Sydney. They have created a space where queer writers can safely come and share their vulnerabilities, and can see that confidence spill into their writing.
Wilfred Roach: LGBTQIA+ Group Facilitator