From ally to queer, and everything in between

Published on HelloGiggles.

I’ve always been a passionate, staunch supporter of LGBT rights, long before I fully came into my sexuality, but it was a war I could fight from afar. I’d march in with the cavalry, sweep the foes off the field, and leave elegantly, letting these people have their hard-earned party in peace. But now I’m expected to dance, and I don’t know how to move without feeling like a party crasher.

This invitation didn’t come as a total surprise, though. In hindsight, like most things concerning one’s sexuality, the psyche’s breadcrumbs become clearer ¬— I distinctly remember first discussing bisexuality at a sleepover at age nine or ten, and thinking, “why isn’t everybody that way? It makes so much more sense!” This wasn’t as popular an opinion as I thought it should be —. I may have felt, in the back of my mind, that all this would someday impact me far more directly than I knew.

Also, it’s not like I’ve ever been averse to things traditionally thought of as queer. Not to engage in any stereotyping here, but I’ve watched the entirety of Glee, and I loved High School Musical! I love female artists and will only listen to country music that way.

But when my queerness hit me like Newton’s apple — one low-hanging fruit that had been scratching my head forever —, that just meant my dating pool had doubled, and parties were about to become much more fun. I didn’t have to like Cher, though, or know what voguing meant — nothing against Cher, by the way. I’m not terribly familiar with her work, but she’s a great anti-Trump presence on the webs, so I’m totally for her. #ImWithCher!

The rainbow was still something to gaze at, but never touch. I was an American soldier fighting to liberate France from the Nazis. The blood, the sweat — I would drench the soil with them, proudly, but I wasn’t going to stay the night. It wasn’t my place, my flag, my party. I was just a good-willed visitor.

Even now, referring to the LGBT community as my community still feels a little like cultural appropriation. My tongue stumbles before rolling out the words, aware that it just did a morally terrible thing. Every queer person has struggled to manage the balance between self-hatred and self-acceptance, and I’m not exempt; but my sense of inadequacy has picked a weird direction in which to flow here.

I’m extremely comfortable, happy, proud and confident about my sexuality, and have been for a long while. I’ve never experienced shame or huge internal turmoil about any aspect of it, which I know makes me very lucky. I feel blessed! — and I’m not religious, so that is a word I use sparsely. But I’m just now figuring out how to feel those things within a larger group. Maybe it’s a matter of time, maybe it’s my very individual, weakness-in-numbers nature — I’d be fine being the only bisexual person on Earth. I’m a millennial snowflake! Tell me I’m special.

Maybe it’s the resistance in the LGBT community to accept the B in the acronym. I don’t want to have a foot on both worlds. I’m not half queer, and I don’t wish to be. But sometimes I feel like an unwelcomed creep, surreptitiously peering from behind a curtain; or a Cold War spy posing as someone they’re not, my queerness a trench coat I’ve put on just to hang out with the cool kids. None of this feels great.

This Pride Month, I’ve been feeling prouder than ever, and eager to claim LGBT culture and history as my own, loudly and stubbornly, until it doesn’t feel like I’m intruding on a space that wasn’t built for me. Until I can drink from the punch bowl without feeling like I’m ruining prom. I’m putting the work in: educating myself, seeking communion — I’ve even started listening to Lady Gaga! I still prefer the Glee version of most songs, but maybe that’s the crux of it: once I carve my own space, it can be anything I want. I get to deck my own locker. I get to live my own version.

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