Ever since I was a kid, I knew there was something different about me. And ever since I was a kid, I always brushed it off. The epiphany of a morning when I found out the tag in me, it struck me as odd. It was like waking up and realizing you have green eyes or small toes. It sounds like a weird comparison, but that’s what it frankly felt like. It’s always somehow been there, yet never prominent nor labeled, but always an eerie presence. Announcing that to the world is tiring, and heartbreaking, and unnecessary. Honestly, there’s so much about coming out that is deeply superfluous. For example, I found it rather bizarre that immediately after you discover, come to terms with, or come out, you have to team up with team small toes to be at level with team big toes.
-You have a penis?
-Omg me too!
-You like penises?
-Omg me too!
It’s a community, sure, but it doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be. This does not define me and I may have nothing in common with these people who I now call brothers or sisters or siblings. But the way things are now, with the way we’re treated, certain shared experiences cause a sort of familiarity with members of this ‘community’.
And as empowering as unity is, the need for unity is a depressing reality.
See, growing up, it was both I and my parents who, well, grew up. They became gradually more liberal and consequently proud of themselves for it. A certain pride (I, at least, saw it as pride) came over them, causing them to gradually dissociate or, shall I say internalize (for lack of a better word), other or new values, beliefs, views or stands. And really the more they grew, the more they ceased growing. By this time, the world had stopped being black or white to them. But when I became a teen and had to face my coming out…I realized a part of their world was still pink and blue. And no matter how much I preach that this did not hinder my growth, it did.
Perhaps, despite my discomfort with such an instilled sense of community prevalent in most struggling or once struggling lgbtq+ individuals, it remains a part of my identity. Because if something chained you to the ground for so long, when you free yourself from the shackles that it caused as a reaction, it will stay and it will never be the same. So don’t tell me to not rub my “gayness” in your face when I’m proud of overcoming what’s banned me from jobs and school, connections, social stances, what’s caused my father to scream and be ashamed of me in family meetings and my mother pick away all which hinted who I was and bedew what was expected. Never, ever expect me to be coy or not make you feel uncomfortable with my active seek of equality because the more I get what I deserve, the less you and I speak of it. Or when we do speak of it, it will not be as delicate a topic; I hope my rights won’t offend you when they’re approved by the state. So when all of the times I tried to reach a milestone in my life, I was met with ridicule because I felt strongly about my gender identity, when all the times I picked flowers at sunset instead of being with the guys playing soccer, sat a wrong way, spoke a wrong way, dressed a wrong way, I was met with ridicule and disapproval, I will never shut up about it. I will internalize my gender identity, I will internalize the state of being who I am because of all the times I’ve been stepped on because of a wrong turn I took in an invisible (to me) fork.
Perhaps you never had to internalize any of this and I am very jealous of that. But never, ever ask why there’s no straight pride parades or anything similar because being a minority, I am always considered less than human to the point I’m more gay than human, more transgender than human. Because each and every single time I got closer to the person I am or want to be, this is what held me back. And maybe because being like this is a part of who I am because of people like you, you can bet your privileged ass that you’ll hear about people like me.