I am so tired.
I’m 34, and when I was 15 that seemed like a huge age- more than double what I was then. Light years away…
I picked 15 because that was the age I came out. To my family and friends, at school. I was so lucky; the bullying that had plagued me because I was effeminate and shy stopped. I found confidence, I could stop lying about things and hiding. But so began a journey that is wearing me down- like the head of a hip bone in the joint I was strong in my youth but there are some arguments I’m honestly so tired of, and I want to set those out here, on pride month, so people who aren’t part of this community or who are and feel differently can see my perspective.
“Why do you need to make it your whole personality” is one of the most headache inducing sentences I can hear.
Do you think I do it on purpose? It’s on my mind a lot. And I urge you to think consciously about how often you reference the people you like, the people you love, sex, sexuality…
But let’s look at some honest to god things that I’ve seen in the last month.
In a queue in Tescos a guy squeezed his girlfriends arse, right in front of me, brazenly. Do I need to be party to that? Is that not over-sexual and a bit grim when there could be impressionable kids around? Or is is ok because it’s ‘natural’ because boys will be boys or because straight is the ‘right’ way to be…
Less than 2 weeks later I went for a walk down by Leeds river and saw a guy literally rubbing his girlfriend’s buttHOLE through her lycra running pants. Sat by the river. In front of anyone who walked past. THAT is gross- and yet so normalised that apparently my response of looking like someone had shot me with a crossbow was inappropriate, not the whole guy rubbing his girlfriend’s bum-hole publicly thing…?!
I’ve seen so many straight couples holding hands, kissing, cuddling, I saw a guy pick his girlfriend up and carry her down the street- at the gym a girl sat behind her boyfriend and cuddled him as he did weighted rows. All normal, right? All acceptable and totally cool…
I was in Starbucks the other week and heard a lengthy conversation from an extremely loud guy talking about how he plans to ask his girlfriend to move in in September. It was cute- but Imagine for a moment if that was a nasty gay or lesbian or bi doing it. Filthily shoving their sexuality down my throat. It’s totally different in no way whatsoever and I for one am sick of it.
The inclusion trope is so funny as well. “You cant turn a TV show on now without a trans or bi character”. Oh no! One to two characters who aren’t a carbon copy of little you?! Is this erasure? We can watch 3 hour long movies about blue aliens that use their tail fibres to communicate with their planet, but god forbid one of those blue aliens goes home to a woman instead, that’s degenerate, unrealistic!
The double standard isn’t even the most exhausting part, it’s bigoted people’s absolute transparent desperation to remove the nuance of anyone and reduce them down to sex sex sex… trans people only transition for sexual reasons, gay men are filthy disease ridden sluts and on and on and on go the stupid tropes – if anything’s being forced down anyone’s throats it’s your unbidden opinions of us! I don’t care if my sexuality disturbs or bothers you, it’s possible anything from your chunky jewellery and unflattering shoes to your miserable hatchet face disturbs me and yet I can and do keep it to myself.
I’m tired of us being called the thought police. I don’t care if you’re a bigoty piece of shit- just keep it to yourself. If me being gay, being gay publicly, kissing a man, being effeminate bothers you- grow up. Your discomfort isn’t my problem any more than mine is yours, but I can’t help being gay and you sure as shit can help being a bigoted piece of shit. Look away! Go on your phone, imagine something, get a hobby- just leave us alone! The reason I’m worried about you saying shit to me is because violence is usually sure to follow.
And let’s be honest, it’s not just about SAYING it, is it? I was once teaching two girls the dance to Bad Romance in the bar I frequented when a guy came storming up to me, stuck his chest on mine, stared me right in the eyes and said “ERE…are you a fucking FAGGOT”.
I panicked, but I figured I’d rather get punched out for being honest than lying so I said yes.
He shook his head confusedly and walked away- I dont get it either. But the point is, I wasn’t doing a gay act, I wasn’t pleasuring a man, I was doing a fucking dance and that’s STILL too much for you people, still too provocative. How dare I… know a dance to a very popular song? People like you won’t be happy til every man has a “mum” tattoo on his bicep, anger issues and a pending restraining order from an ex girlfriend.
We are MORE than our sex, sexuality, gender – but we’re never allowed to be by you people. Even if I never told people I’m gay they’d know, and even if I was achingly private about it people would still ask. It’s never a case of “you wear it on your sleeve”, it’s a case of your coat is torn off by nosy strangers who expose you regardless of whether you want to be open or not.
Rebel Wilson was recently outed by a newspaper- staffed by gay people who made the decision to completely shatter someone else’s privacy! Wilson hadn’t spoken out about it but suddenly it was in the public’s interest to know that she is dating a woman… why? If homosexuality is so sinful and wrong and we should stop shoving it down your throats, why is it that we can’t just live in peace without neon headlines buzzing our names and announcing “she likes WOMEN!”
It’s because, to you, we’re the car crash you can’t turn away from. Straight bigots love to point and whisper behind their hands about us, gossip about us, ask each other who does the fucking and who does the sucking but the second we step forward to say “yes, it’s true. I like men” suddenly we’re the perverts.
If you can’t look at a progress or a pride flag without thinking about sex and orgasms, about sweaty bodies it’s not because that’s what that flag, or this community, or we as individuals represent- it’s because you are literally a pervert. You sexualise a community who comes together because of our feelings, because of who we are. And of course sex comes into sexuality. But it’s so funny to hear people whinge endlessly about pride. Overly sexual pride. Gee guys and gals, it seems like having a big party in the street is the least we can do after our predecessors being sawn in half from the genitals to the neck because we’re gay, or being burnt at the stake, or gassed, shot, hate crimed, forced to bury who we are because you people are so reductive you can’t for one second accept that we are not human cookies, churned out in a factory somewhere all from the same mould, same taste, same look and any divergence is a weakness.
I would be a gay man even if I never touched another man in my entire life- it’s about my core identity- it’s about the fact that when I look at a handsome man I can feel my pupils dilate a bit. It’s about imagining having a conversation with him and seeing if his teeth are nice, about finding out we both like to write, about that electric moment his hand brushes mine and we look into each other’s eyes. Its about when we’ve been dating for 8 months and he casually asks if he can keep some things in my drawer. About the morning after a huge fight when I wake up to 6 texts and we cry then laugh together. To take from real life, it’s about loving a man who passed away and being devastated that I’ll never get the chance to put my arms around him again and tell him I forgive him for the way he left me, about how frustrated I am that his ashes are sat in his homophobic father’s house and how every so often I get the crazy urge to go to his old haunt and steal them back and spread them where I know he was happy.
These are the real lives, the genuine things you overlook every time you roll your eyes and sigh about the nasty inclusive flag.
Every time you look at that flag you should see the bodies of people who died rather than face the endless suspicion, persecution, violence you put them through- because when you reduce us to nothing but fuck puppies you take away our humanity. I’ve seen more humanity in one random member of my community, one transgender person who spends their time counselling younger fellows or one lesbian spending her weekends working for a charity than I ever have in a thousand red faced, yelling homophobes whose lives are empty because they cut out a huge group of people just for standing under a rainbow.
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