So I’m queer, and I started coming out to people on an individual basis about two years ago. For those of you who may not know, queer is often considered as an umbrella term for different LGBTQIA+ identities, however, it can also be the term people choose to identify their individual sexuality, like I do. To be completely frank, talking about my own queer experience would not be very interesting, but there are still insecurities and troubling points that I find myself in that feel worth discussing. Queer can seem like something of a vague term, and it’s still important to me that even if people don’t always understand it, they can still accept it.
Before I continue further into this however, I feel it’s very necessary for me to acknowledge my own privilege within the LGBTQIA+ community. I am white and cisgender, and for the most part I would consider myself as straight passing. That’s what the world will see before they see that I’m queer, and because of that I am not put in the same harmful situations that trans people, people of color, and other members of the LGBT community may find themselves in. I come from a fairly liberal area and I have always been surrounded by family and friends who, are the very least, accepting of queer folk. What I’m trying to say is, that where I fall in the queer community hasn’t threatened my wellbeing or my daily life the way it does for others. I’m not trying to demean or diminish my own issues or those of anyone who identifies similarly to how I do, it’s just important to acknowledge, while I have your attention (if I have your attention), that trans people, people of color, trans people of color, are frequently in danger simply because of their identity, and that there are also many individuals that are not able to live in their true identity because it would put themselves in harm’s way. Though what I plan on delving into is different, I feel it still needs to be said.
Without going too much into my romantic and attraction type feelings (it makes me feel weird), I have found myself attracted to men, women, and those who’s gender identity is more fluid. I feel that the term that identifies me best is queer, as opposed to bisexual or pansexual. There isn’t that big of a reason why, it’s just what I feel like works best for me, and I can’t imagine it’s really all that interesting. I’m also mostly just explaining it in case anyone reading this (anyone other than my mom) is wondering “what does she mean by queer?” Maybe no one is, but you know, just in case. I guess I also wanted to explain it because even though (like I had previously mentioned), I have very accepting friends and family, I was worried people would question me, or not take me seriously, or not believe me when I came out to them.
A while ago on twitter, I saw a random tweet from a random account that I don’t follow say something mocking white girls with boyfriends claiming to be queer (specifically using the word queer). I am a white girl with a boyfriend (hi Matt) and I am queer. Though I have boldly claimed before that maybe I don’t care what people think me or of my sexuality, I was deeply bothered by this short tweet, so maybe I still kind of sort of do (about my sexuality, not other stuff, I am a queen). It was that sort of mockery that made me so anxious about coming out. Seeing how many people liked the tweet was disheartening, as I imagined that must mean many other internet strangers that had nothing to do with me feel the same way. I grew concerned that if that many internet randos mocked my sexuality, maybe people who actually knew who I was would to. My dating history is made up entirely of cisgender men, and I am currently in a relationship with a cisgender man (hi again Matt), and I knew people would look at that without me asking them too and have their doubts about my queerness even though they perhaps have no business having such doubts. I can say as many times as I want that I don’t care about that and it doesn’t bother me, but it does, because I truly hate the idea of someone denying my sexuality just because it doesn’t suit what they think it’s supposed to look like.
In a college I took a class called LGBTQ Rights and Representations, and one thing that always stuck with me (and this was before I came out), was the discussion about how you never come out once. Coming out is something queer folk will have to do with every person that comes into their life, over and over again. Having people question the truth to your identity I know isn’t just something that people who use queer as their identifier face; people across the full spectrum of sexuality and gender (bisexuals, pansexuals, asexuals, transpeople, nonbinary people, and so on) have their identity poked at, questioned, and even denied. It happens both outside of and within the LGBT community. So I guess I thought that if I could face my fear of being under people’s microscope of sexuality the first time I came out, that I wouldn’t have to worry about it again. It really is constant though, and even though I don’t mind explaining what I mean when I say queer, I still have that concern somewhere in the back of my mind where I can’t help but wonder “is this person going to doubt the validity of my identity.” It’s not because I’m going to cry boohoohoo if someone’s like “meh she’s not really queer,” it’s because I really don’t want people putting my sexual identity, or anyone’s for that matter, under their scrutiny where it does not belong.
Questioning, understanding, and accepting identity are core parts of queerness, and being able to express them are some of the most joyous and celebrated parts of Pride. Do not make it more difficult for queer folk than it has to be. When people come out you don’t need to look for evidence to prove the validity of it. You actually don’t need to question it all, you need to be a decent person and accept what queer folk tell you and then go about your merry way. Sexuality isn’t a coin that landed on its edge, where you can sit and watch to see if it’ll land on heads or tails, where someone’s choice in partner becomes their finite answer to their who they are attracted to. I’m sure I will continue to get unnerved when people question my own queerness, as well as the queerness of other’s, but personally a lot of that has to do with my life’s mission to get people to mind their own business all the time forever. Keep who I am, who others are, out of your concern. If anyone has questions for me about my own queerness I welcome you to ask me, and if you don’t want to ask me then it can’t possibly be that important so, and I cannot stress this enough, mind your own business. Have fun taking couple pics as a dead deer and a hunter or going to the Kia summer sales event or whatever it is that heterosexuals like to do.
Since you’ve gotten this far in this piece (if you’ve gotten this far in this piece), listen to what members of the LGBTQIA+ community tell you. Side note; when queer folk tell you that you do not get to be gay for the day by wearing space buns and glitter at a Pride parade, do not respond by taking a picture of yourself pointing a gun at us (you can message me about that if interested). As a people both within and outside of the LGBT community, our job is to uplift, support, and protect one another. Do not be a force that brings people down.