“Nobody bought flowers in our house. My mother used to have a vase. And it was always empty. It was one of those cultural things. And as a child, I always thought it was quite sad. The vase was worth quite a lot, and thought how beautiful it was and how beautiful it would be to have roses in it. Recently, I took the photograph of a pink rose that I had bought for a friend. It represents something very personal to me. The picture of the rose is an image I can keep”.
“When I used to watch television, straight people or heterosexuals would be buying each other roses. And roses are quite significant cause they say I love you, they give it to a partner. You always gave it to a partner that you loved, somebody you have chosen in life . . . I used to think to myself I don’t want to give it to a woman, as a child I wanted to give it someone that I love and it didn’t seem to be a woman to me, that didn’t seem to be right. I wanted to give it to someone of a similar sex, so for me, the rose symbolises something that is love. And something that is natural and right. So for me, my sexuality is always felt right. And for me as a child, there were no flowers around me, it was absent thing, and so was my sexuality. It was forbidden, something you couldn’t really touch. The flower presents something significant and beautiful, put onto this earth like we are. And deep inside ourselves, it is very hidden emotions, and our sexuality is very deep inside of us. When you receive something beautiful, it ignites deep emotion inside”.
“Six months ago, I bought myself a prostrate massager, and I didn’t know what shape it would be . . . when it arrived it was quite beautiful, it looks like a rose before it even opens. The shape and handle looks like a seahorse, or even the head of a swan.
And for me it is beautiful because if you were to put something like this inside of yourself as a male, your prostrate which stimulates an excitement and an emotion within you. And as an adult now, I am able to express my sexuality more outwardly but yet I am still a single man, still looking for that partner to give that rose to”.
Numan, 36, Pakistani, male, b. UK