LGBT History Month: Noah Slee

To celebrate LGBT History Month, we've asked a group of queer musicians to pen essays and share stories that reflect this years theme: Peace, Activism and Reconciliation.

Writing this piece got me reflecting a lot; thinking about all the bullshit that has happened in my life, thinking about things I’ve overcome and about what the near future looks like. Sometimes everything can be so overwhelming. We constantly adhere to information projected on us even when we don’t want it, we exist in that world. I am grateful that there have been so many memorable moments in my life when something feels so good that it feels like freedom, it feels like acceptance. Like that moment on stage while I’m singing and the energy I feel is reciprocated with the people in the crowd. On the dance floor, I look around and I identify with everyone around me. When the law changes so people can love freely and feel apart of society, I am grateful…

... and so, we move to Otherlands

My name is Noah Slee, I’m a New Zealand/Tongan man. I make music and sometimes short films. I always ask myself if I am doing enough for my community. I’m surrounded by amazing people and I am constantly being challenged to be a better person, but I guess I was raised always needing more, and to be better. This can be a curse at times because I’m never celebrating the win but always working for what’s next, and maybe I have a lot of unnecessary baggage I carry on my shoulders because of this. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from my friends who are activists, it’s prioritise self and everything else follows through.

A friend once told me that I encouraged her to be her authentic self and that using my voice has given her light. I guess I took for granted the opportunities I’ve been given or maybe the way I view myself is inaccurate. The thing is, being my sensitive self writing these songs and being honest is the best I can do. It’s a privilege and as I reflect on who I was and where I am right now I never would’ve thought I would’ve come out, doing my thing and having fun along the way.

"Lips" by Noah Slee

I grew up in New Zealand and I am now based in Berlin. Being gay and growing up in New Zealand, although living in biggest city (Auckland), I felt confined at times. I knew I wanted to experience culture and be challenged and to be among like minded people. So I started my journey travelling the world. I love to engage myself in the city I’m in and get to understand the scene and its challenges. This has given me so much insight and strength. It’s weird being a touring musician and only being in a city for a night but it’s also dope that you can engage with queer people in that city and have an insight to their world for a night. I am proud to be part of a community that is moving the conversation forward. A community that is inclusive and also creating change for other minority groups. To be on the outside ain’t a bad thing at all. It’s taught me so much about life, but to be unified and living in a world of peace and love is definitely the goal.

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