HUMAN OF THE WEEK ⋆ CHARL SUMMERS

Human of the Week is an initiative by KosmicKult, featuring queer individuals who are killin’ it in their fields. Every week, we celebrate an individual (preferably human) by showcasing their work and talent. Through this, we aim to create a platform for representation of queer folk.

Charls Summers

This week’s Human of the Week features Charl Summers, from the United Kingdom. Charl is the founder of ‘Unite UK’, an online LGBTQ+ publication focused on amplifying LGBTQ+ voices. She also hosts her own podcast series, ‘Lestalk’.

Charl Summers refers to herself as a ‘Professional Lesbian’ over on the Lestalk podcast, where she and her girlfriend, Aislinn, discuss everything Lesbian & Queer Womxn-related. Through the podcast, the couple hopes to help normalise stigmas and taboo topics at the intersection of femininity and queerness. In doing so, they have created a safe space for queer women to celebrate their sexuality/identities and embrace who they are. 

Charl’s influence as an LGBTQ+ content creator does not end there. As the founder of the platform ‘Unite UK’, she works endlessly to amplify, listen to, celebrate queer voices. Unite UK provides the community with a myriad of valuable resources, including advice to help cope with bullying, discussions about mental health and wellness, and more. Unite UK has now over 19.7k followers on Instagram and their reach continues to widen every day.

In this week’s Human of the Week feature, we spoke with Charl to understand more about her experience as an LGBTQ+ content creator.

 

1. What inspired you to start Unite UK?

I started Unite in 2019 (I think) when I was an angry teenager trying to make sense of a world that discourages you from being yourself. I created a space where I could vent and express my frustrations, to my surprise people were feeling the same. Fast forward to now, we have a reach of over 500,000 people per month and are slowly becoming a small online community. It's crazy to see the growth but it's beautiful.

2. We understand that you also run a queer womxn podcast ‘Lestalk’, could you tell us more about how it came about?

Whilst I run loving Unite UK, as we grew I stopped sharing my own opinions as I didn't want the platform to just be about me anymore & it became more diverse within the voices shared. So one night, whilst having a few jagerbombs (drink responsibly), my girlfriend and I just recorded one of our conversations and with that, lestalk was created.

In summary, it's a space where we as queer womxn can express our frustrations, experiences and normalise many lesbian/queer womxn topics. But really, it's something that we love to do & it's my highlight of my week!


3. We love your artwork, could you share your illustration journey with us?

I started creating artwork via Unite UK - We used to use the free icons you can get online, but they weren't diverse and didn't showcase our community correctly. So I realised I had to learn, or else the platform wouldn't be as I envision. At the time, I was currently working full time & my boss showed me how to use illustrator, from then I have been learning ever since it's still a learning curve but now the platform is inclusive and I get to create cute lesbian art, win-win.


4. What are some of the most memorable experiences you’ve had so far? (When interacting with guest hosts, hearing stories or reading comments etc)?

If I'm honest, there are so many moments. Running Unite UK has allowed me to connect so many amazing individuals across the world, but one that sticks out was a few years ago now. I was feeling super low within myself & was contemplating giving up Unite UK, as it's a lot of work and I was becoming frustrated that I wasn't achieving what I had envisioned. But that night, I received an email from someone who had struggled with their sexuality and had finally found peace within themselves because of an article I wrote. It was at that moment I realised it didn't matter how big the platform was, we are still changing and helping LGBTQ+ members, which is the most important thing.

5. Share with us some difficult moments you’ve experienced as a vocal member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Homophobia, on a daily basis. You have to grow a thick skin being visible online & understand homophobes aren't worth the time to argue and emotionally drain yourself. But as a baby gay, I would find it so hard to not fight back and upset myself. You had to protect yourself & whilst I don't agree (obviously) with homophobes, I have learnt they aren't there to listen and ignoring, blocking and protecting my own sanity is way more important than having a 5-minute argument with a moron.

 

6. You have been so active in sharing LGBTQ+ voices, do you have any words of advice for other LGBTQ+ platforms out there?

It's going to be hard, you're going to be met with homophobia & something I never even considered, hate from within the LGBTQI+ community. Be open to grow & learn, and if you make a mistake, be open and honest with it. We still make mistakes as we're humans and our community is ever-growing, but be willing to learn with your community.

I also would say, you're not going to please everyone & there will always be a few individuals who disagree with your content. We had a graphic that went viral for the wrong reasons & whilst we never meant to cause any harm, we acknowledge our intentions were missed. It's moments like these you apologise, state your intentions and grow from the experience.


7.  Are there any artists or platforms that you look up to or have inspired you?

There are so many people that I love their work, a huge inspiration for me at the moment is Florence Given - Her whole outlook is so inspirational.


8. Do you have any goals set for Unite UK and Lestalk in the next 5 years?

Wow, ideally I would love for them to reach and help more LGBTQI+ members. There are so many goals I want to achieve, but I'm keeping them close to my chest!

 

9. Any words of encouragement for your viewers and supporters?

If you're doing something you're passionate about, whatever that may be, don't give it up. I think we compare ourselves to others so frequently, that we forget what we're achieving.

 


 You may find Charl Summers  on Instagram at @CharlSummersUK

Charl Summers UK Instagram

UNITE UK Instagram