I was in the midst of writing a post about my current favorite music acts when suddenly I scrolled passed something on a Tumblr (I’m have tech ADD and on any regular day you can find at least 14 tabs open in 2 different windows) that made me sad. Although this is not the first time I’ve heard or seen this statement from a member of the LGBTQ community, it still makes me cringe and ultimately evokes some emotion within me. “I don’t want to be gay,” the young blogger posted followed by a series of questions asking her why. Her response was simple, “I just think it would be easier.”
She is completely right and I am sympathetic toward her. Life would be twice as easy if we didn’t self-identify as LGBTQ. I don’t know about other members of the community, but when I came out the last thing on my mind was how difficult life would be if I came out. I just knew that keeping the secret and those thoughts hidden would be more difficult than anything else. After being out for almost 7 years now, there have been utterances resembling “I don’t want to be gay,” mostly in the context of dating and social life.
The discouraging reality is that if you don’t live in a major metropolis area such as L.A., Chicago, NYC, D.C., and the like, your pool of potential mates probably resembles the number of Blockbuster stores left. The selection of bars and clubs are most likely teeming with heterosexual clients making it doubly difficult for your gaydar to be perfectly calibrated and detect true lady lovers and not “strategic lesbian seekers” (no seriously, strategic lesbianism is a thing according to this Vogue article). Visibility is such an annoying barrier when it comes to dating. Your city probably doesn’t have a designated gayborhood like West Hollywood, Boystown, Dupont Circle, etc, for you to stroll the sidewalks and shops looking for a reliable pack of queer friends. Luckily for me I’ve recently become closer to a couple of queer folk and it has done wonders for my comprehensive outlook on life. It’s really quite nice to express your fears, happiness, concerns, and problems to someone who is looking at life through a similar lens as you.
In addition to dating being a herculean task, watching television and film repeat the same heterosexual story lines and stereotypical “queer” story lines is just plain exhausting and again, discouraging. I don’t have to go into detail about this because you all know… we just want to see something we can relate to every once in a while damn it. There’s also the whole thing regarding laws and regulations that don’t protect us against discrimination when it comes to housing, employment, marriage, and benefits (making strides though). Walking down the street holding your significant others hand might be a trying experience especially if you’re not in a progressive city. The process of trying to have your own child appears daunting while adoption still has it’s hurdles as a same-sex couple. Concluding findings: of course it’s difficult being gay. So how do you deal with your conflicting feelings?
The first step is embracing yourself. You can’t be something you’re not, so why try to be anything else? The faster you do this the more quickly you can use your experiences to your advantage. You acknowledged a nagging feeling within yourself and made the conscious effort to address it instead of running away from yourself. That takes strength and you deserve all the credit in the world especially if you partook in the journey alone. As a member in a marginalized group you have a perspective that is unique and valuable. You have a special community spanning the globe that would most likely welcome you with open arms (that is if you don’t have to deal with racism, which is a whole other topic on intersectionality). Your sexuality is not the defining characteristic of your being, but you should be proud of it. You don’t have to ride with the Dykes on Bikes at the pride parade or sport rainbow colored everything. Just love yourself for the progress you’ve made, love your significant other in a way that shows you’re proud of her, love your family and friends for supporting you and making efforts to move society’s acceptance along, and finally accept that none of us ever wanted to be gay… we just got lucky.