Queer

Queer-phobia. What is it? How can it affect you. Read on to know how homophobia and heretonormativity affects not only the ‘queer’ but also the ‘straights’.

Now and again in my dreams and, when depression hits particularly hard when I close my waking eyes … I see them: the hate in their eyes, the sting of their spit, the brutal impacts of their fists … but most of all their words.

Queer … fucking queer

We never talked about anything at home, let alone the horrors my brother and I went through at school, but it was there as well: my mother talking about avoiding “those kind of men,” and my father, deathly frightened that we might turn out gay, packing our Christmases with gifts like ultra-manly tools–while his sons gave each other comic books and action figures.

Queer … fucking queer

I was, and still am, sensitive: tearing up at, what I freely admit, are often silly little things.  I was, and still am, creative: more interested in writing stories, drawing pictures, playing let’s pretend than throwing a football around.  I was, and still am, empathetic: someone else’s pain, their fear, tearing me up inside. I was, and still am, smart (well, smart enough to know I’m not actually all that intelligent): and so didn’t see the point in always doing whatever everyone else was doing.  

Odd … was and am.  Different … was and am.  And so, in the limited imaginations of far too many, I must be gay.  

Queer … fucking queer

To be fair, I accept that because I’ve written quite a few gay books and stories today it’s natural that many think of me that way–though I have been very clear and outspoken that those works are fiction.  Still, I consider it a tremendous honor that not only has my fiction been pretty well received but that the queer community has so often been positive about my contributions–despite my sexuality.

Do I have a point to all this–and, most of all, what does any of this have to do with sex?  

Be patient, grasshopper, I’m getting there.  You see, here’s the thing about being gay bashed for so long, at home and everyone else, it changed the way I look at the world.  

After receiving so much hate, I began to do some serious thinking.  So I read and thought about what I read.  I saw the hate directed towards them … no, I felt the hate directed towards them: politicians, “will somebody think of the children” hateful parents, religious fanatics, crude comedians: each and every one of them wearing the same face as my parents, as those bullies.

Queer … fucking queer

And I thought some more: all they wanted was to be loved, to be accepted, to be allowed to live their lives without hate and fear … just like me.

When I saw the marches, when I saw the rainbow flag for the first time, when I saw a caring and supportive moment of representation, when I saw hands held, kisses given, celebrations of togetherness I felt … home.  

Even though I sexually wasn’t part of that world, had really nothing in common with anyone aside from being on the receiving end of hate, I still felt more akin with that community than anywhere else.

It has led to a kind of social schisming–being caught between both worlds, not being part of either–but even so, I have to admit a positive that’s come about through it.  

All those hard times, all that hate, gave me something: a quality that’s become a large part of my consciousness, my sexuality.  

I guess you could call it a form of bravery.  Not that I consider myself actually that, for I deal with issues around self-worth every day, but with regard to sex.

It’s like this: the only thing that matters to me is if my partner and I share a share pleasurable experience.  If that means something that other people might think of odd, strange, kinky, or (heaven forbid) gay, then so be it.  As long as it’s mutual and consensual, then I’m game.  

That’s the gift: I don’t worry about what other people might think–because what I saw in the eyes of those bullies, and my parents were certainly hatred but it was also fear.  

They lived, and probably live to this day, terrified of what people might think of what they do in the bedroom: they limit their pleasure, and that of their partners, because they are frightened that they, too, will be on the receiving end of queer … fucking queer

I’m not perfect, far from it (and then some), and still carry those scars, but through it, I learned to care, to love, to feel, and most of all to understand that the core of hate, especially of homophobia, is fear.

Fear of what others might think, of being an outsider, of being exposed, of being their true selves, of being queer.

I’m not gay and most of the time I’m not really sure if I’m actually straight.  But one thing I do know is that I am myself.  It can be lonely, most certainly, but when I look at the world, at others who have received, and survived, homophobia and come out the other side as themselves, and (often though just living one day at a time) “fuck those who think otherwise,” I feel so much less alone.

I might not be gay, I might not be straight, but in my heart when I hear someone refer to me as queer … I smile.

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