In Queer in Utrecht we share portraits of queer people in and around the city of Utrecht. Through these short profile sketches we aim to represent and celebrate the local queer community in its diverse ways. In this first article, we introduce you to Fumi.
“I relate more to the term “queer”. It doesn’t just describe your sexuality or gender, but it also shows how you’re part of an entire movement.”
Identifies as queer.
Interests: art (modern/contemporary), food and cooking, sports, fashion
Current location: Utrecht Centrum
Fumi was born in Venlo but grew up in Nijmegen for the most part. She also lived in Japan for a while. Eight years ago, she came to Utrecht – and she hasn’t left since.
What brought you to Utrecht?
I came here by chance. I’d finished school in Nijmegen and lived there until I was 19/20, then I went on the typical backpack journey to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. When I came back, my relationship ended. I felt like I needed to do something else with my life and thought I should go to university, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. A good friend of mine invited me to come to Utrecht, where we lived in Kanaleneiland together. Eventually I found a course I liked in Amsterdam. Utrecht was supposed to be a transitional period, but so far, I haven’t left, so apparently I’ve been enjoying it! I like Utrecht’s location, in the centre of the country.
What are your hopes for Utrecht, especially in terms of queer community?
I’ve always seen Utrecht as something more like a village. I think a lot can be done still in terms of queerness. I don’t find it very culturally exciting, yet. So far, I’ve found Utrecht an extremely hetero-normative white city. There’s a lot to win in these areas.
What is an object at home that means a lot to you?
This came up in conversation with a friend of mine recently: what items would you save if your house was on fire? As a joke, we drew an entire route. I have so many sentimental items; a basket with photos from my childhood, I find those very important; a wooden statue of a Japanese girl, which was gifted by my Japanese grandpa when I was born. People visiting my place might see a lot of random objects, but to me they all have sentimental worth.
How long do you think you will stay here?
Since I moved to a new place, I’ve found Utrecht quite pleasant again, but I don’t feel strongly attached to the city. Nearly all my friends live in Amsterdam, so I’ve been going there more and more. Although I don’t feel a strong connection with Amsterdam, either.
I can see myself leaving the city at some point in the next five years or so. I don’t live here for the city; I live here because of its location. I live in a nice space, and I have a few strong friendships here in Utrecht, but I wouldn’t stick around for the city alone.
Do you see yourself as part of a queer community in Utrecht?
I feel there’s a lot more happening in Amsterdam. I did, however, set up International Women’s Day in Utrecht with a group of local feminists, and recently I’ve become attached to Savannah Bay for their Queering the City of Literature event. Because of those events, I can tell I’m now more in touch with the local queer community, which I really enjoy. I get to meet lots of interesting people, which gives me energy.