I’ve been thinking a lot about identity lately and about the role my sexuality plays or should play in my day-to-day life. Right now, my sexuality plays a very small role in my daily life. Yes I am dating a girl. Yes I think about her every second of every day. Yes she has made me happier than I have ever been. Still, I rarely think about it as a gay relationship. To me it is merely a relationship.
Being gay was actually a far more pervasive aspect of my identity when I was in the closet as well as for the few months following my coming out. It is not easy to repress something like that, and holding it in affected me in heavy and sizable ways. It was only when I began to release it all that it stopped being such a big deal, that it slowly but surely became as natural a piece of me as I imagine heterosexuality feels to straight people.
As you can see through the way these blog posts have progressed, my sexuality has moved from being this all encompassing self-identifier to one aspect, albeit a very important one, of who I am. This growth has come from allowing myself that time to be confused and explore and navigate how to be gay in a heteronormative world. I didn’t start this blog because I wanted to be defined by my sexuality or because I ever felt like it was the major element of my identity. I started this blog so that other people on a journey similar to mine wouldn’t feel so alone. Being gay may not define me, but it does come with a sizeable amount of baggage and challenges that are important to work through and discuss so that maybe someday it won’t have to be so difficult or complicated. I hope my childrens’ generation can be whoever they want to be and not have to think much of it at all, but unfortunately, we are not there yet.
The notion of being proud to be gay has always interested me. I think when you are a member of a marginalized community, pride in that community is important. Looking the haters in the eye and showing them that you are not ashamed of who you are is the only way to make them listen. I am proud to be gay. I wish I didn’t have to be because the concept of being proud of the way I feel about a certain gender is strange, just as I imagine a heterosexual woman might find it strange to feel proud to date men. It’s odd, but for the LGBT community, it is also necessary.
Showing gay pride is a way of standing up and speaking out against those who don’t believe we deserve the basic rights all other humans do. Showing gay pride is a way of demonstrating to that scared little girl that how she feels is normal and okay and can lead her to amazing things. Showing gay pride is a way of joining a strong, supportive, accepting community. Showing gay pride is a way of being proud of myself for overcoming the challenges that, for far too long, stopped me from accepting who I am.
The fact of the matter is my sexuality will always be more relevant to my life than someone who is heterosexual. I don’t spend all day thinking about my sexuality and considering what being gay means to me, but my heart does beat a little faster when I kiss my girlfriend goodbye outside her door or when we decide to hold hands in public because what if the wrong person sees? There will always be people who look at me differently or ask ignorant, offensive questions. My mind will always spin in circles when I mention a girl I’m dating to a person I don’t know well because how can I know how he’ll react? We all want to believe we can brush off a person who’d react negatively or uncomfortably, but deep down I know it would hurt me. Otherwise I wouldn’t get so nervous, would I?
Until there is no one left that has a problem with homosexuality, I think there is really no choice but to consider it an integral piece of me. It’s what happens when you have to fight for the right to be yourself. This doesn’t mean there aren’t many other integral pieces that make up the person I am; it just means that being gay is one of them. And I truly am so proud to say that.