Queer Night Stands: A glimpse inside the safe spaces of LGBTQ+ youth

By sharing bedside tables, Instagram account Queer Night Stands gives a glimpse into the lives of queer youth.

Cozy bedroom with fairy lights, books, and a teddy bear

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bedroom can be defined as a safe space. For nearly all of us, inside those four walls, we can be our own person. It’s where we discover pieces of ourselves and who we are. The Instagram account Queer Night Stands, explores just that with queer youth.

Molly-Margaret Johnson, a 27 year-old writer and influencer is the founder of this Instagram account. Set up earlier this year, Johnson says that the account was originally set up as a joke, saying, “I cleaned my nightstand in my room and I actually laughed out loud because there was a salt lamp, a plant, a dildo and some old grandma hand lotion, and I was just like ‘this is such a comedy version of a queer night stand — this is making fun of itself.'”

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9.23.20 Galway

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Johnson snapped a photo of her nightstand and sent it to her friends. “My friends then sent me theirs and it was almost like being able to read someone else’s love letters. You can get to know someone very intimately, earnestly and sweetly,” she explains.

From journals to books on queer and feminist theory, plants and art pieces, healing crystals to sex toys, all seem to be a staple on nightstands across the account. But the most reoccurring nightstand piece? Salt lamps.

“A running joke on the account is that salt lamps are like, The Thing, which I never even thought would be a queer thing,” Johnson adds. Whether exclusively queer or not, salt lamps add to a soothing aesthetic that the LGBTQ+ youth might be drawn to take a break from the outside world, that can be not the most accepting place.

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10.4.20 Sligo

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According to a YouGov poll in Britain, one in five LGBTQ+ people and two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months. Four in five anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBTQ+ reluctant to go to the police. Is it any wonder that queer people find comfort in the four corners of their own room.

The idea to be able to see people through the trinkets and knick-knacks they keep on their nightstands is almost equally as comforting as being able to close the door to your room. Seeing that other people read the same books or have the same hobbies or even the same decor as yourself, gives a feeling of solace that you’re not alone even when it’s just you and your thoughts in your bedroom.

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9.29.20 Dublin

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“Our stuff is often the last thing we see before we go to bed and the first thing we see in the morning. It’s the things that make us feel most cosy and seen, and also what we want nearest and dearest,” Johnson continues.

Queer Night Stands is more than just the laugh it originally was, it has become a space as safe as your own room. With nearly 300 posts sent in by queer individuals, and nearly 32,000 followers, Molly-Margaret Johnson has brought together a community that didn’t exist before.

“It’s this place where you don’t have to be gay a certain way, or be gay the ‘right’ way,” Johnson says. “It’s a place where I can exist in my queerness comfortably.”

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