Editor’s Note: Amy is the founder of The Happy Healthy Lesbian, a website dedicated to supporting queer women to live their best lives. She’s a fantastic life coach and focused on increasing happiness among women in the lesbian and queer community. In our interview with Amy, we find out her inspirations, what life is like for lesbians in her home country of Australia, and what she sees happening in the future.
1. What inspired you to found the Happy Healthy Lesbian website?
I created the Happy Healthy Lesbian community because I believe that all queer women deserve the happiness and health they desire. After a very traumatic breakdown of a relationship, I was left with feeling like I had nothing. From this place, I was able to rebuild, but it was hard work and took a long time. One of the things I learned through that journey was that my own heath and happiness (and my commitment to myself to create those feelings through self love) is paramount. That our own wellbeing is central, critical, in the health and happiness of our relationships with others.
2. Please talk a bit about some of the issues facing Australian lesbians today.
Statistics in Australia show that queer women still don’t have the same health and happiness outcomes of our straight friends and family. The research shows that lesbians have reduced access to health care, have greater fear of violence, smoke and drink more, and are less physically fit than straight women. We are twice as likely to suffer anxiety or other mental disorders and three times more likely to suffer substance abuse.
Politically, things are slowly changing and while we don’t have marriage equality here yet, there is a strong, savvy and influential movement. I don’t think it will take much longer.
I’m excited about moving away from these negative stereotypes and statistics. The Happy Healthy Lesbian is a place where other queer women with this same desire can come, learn, share and celebrate being happy and healthy!
3. What advice or tips do you have for lesbians who want to be happy and healthy?
The biggest piece of advice I offer to all of my clients is ‘love yourself first!’. This is a big mind shift for many of us, but absolutely essential. We need to make a switch from thinking of self care as selfishness to self care as service. Looking after ourselves first is the only way we can show up at our best for everyone else in our lives.
My newsletter is always full of advice on this topic. I also have ten fun tips to be happy and healthy in my ebook that you can download from my website at www.thehappyhealthylesbian.com.
4. What are your thoughts regarding terms like “lesbian” versus “queer”? Which do you prefer and why?
I believe that terminology is important to some and not so important to others. I think we need to choose language that is supportive, empowering and feels ‘right’. So this will be different for each of us. Some women in my community love the term ‘lesbian’, others strongly identify, and are proud of, the term ‘dyke’. Having said that, some are more at ease with the fluid term ‘queer’. While my community uses the term ‘lesbian’, we are open to anyone who identifies as a queer woman, and chooses language that best represents herself.
5. What changes would you like to see in the world?
I’m excited about a time when we can use all of these words–queer, lesbian, trans, dyke–as we want to, without having to worry about things like spam filters. Did you know you still can’t use the word ‘lesbian’ on Facebook? Health and happiness equality will come so much more easily when these sorts of archaic and discriminatory things are sorted out. It’s just a bit too high school, don’t you think!?
6. Where do you see the future of The Happy Healthy Lesbian?
Our immediate future is heading to Bali for the Happy Healthy Lesbian Queer Women’s Yoga and Wellness Retreat. Then I’ll be offering some one and two day workshops in Australia and in the States in the coming couple of months.
Longer term, I’m excited about generating places for discussion and support for queer women who are ready to really step up and take control of their health and happiness. That might be coaching with me, coming to one of my events, or just meeting other like-minded women through our Facebook group or programs, for support, motivation and inspiration.
7. Do you have any events coming up that we should know about?
I am super excited about the retreat I have coming up in Bali the first week of April. The Happy Healthy Lesbian Queer Women’s Yoga and Wellness Retreat is my favourite thing to offer my community Together we’ll explore meditation, yoga, healthy eating and DELICIOUS meals and setting goals for happier, healthier living.
We’ll learn about techniques to stay on track, treat ourselves better and listen to what our bodies really need. And, of course, there will be LOADS of time for relaxing, sleeping, resting and restoring. Register by Wednesday 12 March and bring a friend for 50%. All the details are here: http://www.thehappyhealthylesbian.com/retreat.html