Reflecting the Queer Me
Memories of Finnish Queer Youth from the 1950s Onwards
This article explores the construction of Finnish queer youth in a collection of life writings. Writers with diverse queer identifications told their memories about growing up queer in a society that is characterised by heteronormativity and gender normativity. They also shared their reflections on their queerness when they found the public queer figures and available identity labels hard to identify with. Although this study deploys written accounts, it is part of the Finnish oral history tradition. Finnish oral historians often work not only with interviews and oral testimonies, but also with written accounts that have been collected and studied for generations. One productive way to gather research material on memories has been organising writing competitions or collection campaigns (see e.g. Fingerroos and Haanpää 2012; Savolainen forthcoming). My current focus is on the collection titled Rainbow Youth Present and Past, which I will use to analyse memories of queerness from the 1950s to the 2000s.