Dick Richards believes you need to confront your past to secure your future.

You probably don’t remember, but a few years ago, we were fist-deep in a pandemic. Yes, I’m being facetious. It’s not something we remember fondly, nor something we’d want to repeat. Although sometimes I do miss getting paid to stay at home – I got a lot of work done on the house during that period! But it was a global event that we, as a population, had to face head-on.

As a queer community, we’ve had our own pandemic, and it’s still happening today. It’s not an acronym, but it’s silent, subtle, and sometimes deadly. It’s kept us single and alone, and it’s become so commonplace, like a rite of passage, that we don’t take its full effects that seriously anymore. But as with any issue, we eventually have to acknowledge its existence or face its consequences. What am I talking about? Our trauma.


When I came out, I really believed life would be better. After years of denying myself, this act of self-acceptance would be the key to unlocking that door that had kept me trapped in loneliness and isolation. What I realise now is that you can’t move forward without acknowledging what happened before. Just like admitting you’re an alcoholic doesn’t stop you from being one, coming out of the closet doesn’t just erase the bruises of self-hatred and denial.

I’m sure you would have seen those pre-war/post-war photos of army veterans – if you haven’t, it’s an easy Google. The effects of their trauma are undeniable. It’s impossible to experience something so heinous and come out unscathed. It’s also impossible to come out of the closet without trauma. Because when you’re in the closet, you’re at war. It’s a fight with yourself and the world. It’s a fight with what you’ve believed is wrong, with what’s actually right and normal. It’s horrific, and it happens in our most formative years – the years when we should be grounding our identity, not rejecting it. Our trauma is unquestionable, and it affects so much of our lives, our identity, and our relationships. It’s why there are so many single queer people in the world.

One wrong ingredient can spoil the entire meal and self-love is the most important one.

In order for us to be successful in our relationships, I believe we need to take our trauma seriously. It’s not a rite of passage, nor is it something we should have to go through – AKA, you didn’t deserve it! It’s something we’ve done to survive. We did it because we felt unsafe, unlovable, “not normal,” scared and confused. We have to go back and heal those deep wounds we got in the closet, because if we don’t, we are again denying ourselves of our truth.

If you’re struggling in a relationship or in the dating scene, maybe this is something you need to do. We all deserve a happy ending – it’s just harder to get there without a helping hand. It’s a universal experience within the queer community – we’ve all been there, and you’re not alone. Acknowledging trauma doesn’t make you a victim of it – it makes you a hero.