Hey there! Happy Pride!
I knew I would come back to this. I knew it. Last year I wrote a post about pride month expressing my discomfort in queer spaces and identities, despite identifying as a pansexual genderfluid human. If you haven’t read that post yet it’s worth taking a look before diving into this one.
I don’t yet know if I’m going to the local Pride celebration this year. I would like to, but I am confronting a lot of the same old issues as I was this time last year. My partner and I appear to be a straight couple, and while they can probably safely call themself an ally I am a straight-cis passing queer.
I am queer.
I am pansexual and genderfluid.
A year after declaring myself to the internet, and several years of identifying that way with anyone who would care to know, it still feels strange.
A year ago I was feeling really disaffected with the community. I wanted to just be a person and was tired of carrying around labels that seemed to separate me from LGBTQ+ spaces as much as they separated me from cis-hetero spaces.
I was also looking for a space in a college community where being out but only quietly queer, meant that I was constantly being asked by my straight-cis companions to translate for my more flamboyant queer siblings. My opinion was constantly asked regarding the re-branding of the LGBT resource office to LGBTQIAA+ Resource Office (I like the longer acronym because it’s more inclusive, but would have been happier ditching the acronyms all-together in favor of the Rainbow or Queer Office). I don’t want to think about the hours I spent explaining dysphoria and gender identity in general, especially when I was explaining it while experiencing gender dysphoria myself. Or times spent explaining poly relationships, kink, promiscuity, flamboyance, kitsch, camp, or any of the thousand other things that, purely by being outside white picket fence sensibility must be queer, or queer adjacent.
And yet, I was not part of the community I was consistently being asked to translate. I was the friendly almost-gay that was still safe to approach.
Only then to turn around and not feel I could be part of the LGBTQ experience because I was and am still straight passing.
It was frustrating.
It doesn’t hurt so much anymore.
Granted, I still wish I felt like I was part of the LGBTQ+ community in a more meaningful way. But in this last year I have remembered and re-connected to the queer self that was modeled to me growing up. Queer people who were who they were, weren’t going to apologize, and didn’t see why it had to make them any different. I learned it was okay to love fashion from a gay man who spent an hour talking about high Elizabethan fashion with my little 10 year old self at a medieval reenactment event. I learned it was okay to love gaming from a gay man who loved all things geek and was always happy to share his passion with my brother and I. I learned it was okay to be a fighter from the dozens of lesbian, bi, and straight women I saw putting on armor and going at it like modern knights. I learned it was okay to be masculine in a feminine body watching butch lesbians live their best lives, and eventually by dating a butch woman who probably doesn’t know how much she taught me. I learned it was okay to express my gender (even when it didn’t match my parts) dating a trans-woman who let me be masculine and loved that side of me as much as I did.
The queerness of all these people wasn’t what defined them, or their influence on me. It came wrapped up in this bright shiny package of willingness to be themselves, with or without place.
So, instead of trying to occupy a place that is still uncomfortable, I’m going to rep my queerness by being who I am and not compromising.
I want to go to Pride. Maybe I will, maybe I wont.
But while I’m at home I’m going to be happily enjoying a relationship where gender roles don’t matter, with a partner who lifts me up, and who lets me lift them up in return. I will continue drooling over corsets and dresses and suits and binders. I will continue to have long hair and probably continue to contemplate shaving the sides of my head. I will continue to appreciate beautiful people. I will continue to support LGBTQ foundations and charities, and continue to oppose people like Vice President Mike Pence.
For me, being my best self means being and owning that I am queer – all the time, and with everyone. Last year I was searching for a place. This year I have learned that I don’t need a place. I will be who I am, unapologetically, and no one but me and my love need to like it.