I’m not lucky enough to be straight. From the second I started being open with my sexuality, life got harder for me. If I could be straight, if I could blend in, if I could be normal. I would. I don’t hate being gay, I hate how hard it is to be though. I love who I am, just not how hard it is to be. My sexuality means everything to me. It’s given me great friends. It makes me a recognizable face. It’s taught me how much I can overcome and how strong I really can be. But why do I need to be?
Today, being gay is a hurdle to jump. I’m a disenfranchised member of my community as a result of my sexuality. I may be white and male, typically the most privileged of populations, but I’m also the new it taboo. I’m the new thing people hate. I get looks, I get stares. Hell, I’ve even gotten a yell or two. My sexuality makes it unsafe for me to be in some parts of town, to be involved in some social circles. Being gay makes it unsafe to be.
My plight has created marches on Washington and parades in the street. Pride parades are no longer a celebration. They’re a spectacle. As long as we stand out though, right? We need to remind people we’re people too.
Being gay is a commodity today. I’m not a person, I’m an accessory. I’m someone’s gay best friend. I’m someone’s shopping buddy and I’m someone’s gal pal. I’m not a person underneath my homosexuality, and I know that I wouldn’t get half the attention I do if I were straight. I’m always asked to go shopping, called someone’s sassy gay friend, someone’s gossip queen.
Truth is, I’d give anything to be the person in the back, not the person that always has to be up front. I want to be in the middle of the crowd, not the head of the pack. I dye my hair and paint my nails to stand out from all of that, so people remember that I’m a person, not just some homo they know.
For decades, society has dictated how my community acts and is perceived. We were pariahs in the 80s, the counterculture in the 90s and, now, in the 2000s we’re the center of attention. Our issues are now seen as “human-rights issues.” Our lives, both personal and public, are on display and it’s almost as if it’s everyone’s business whether an actor or actress has confirmed his or her homosexuality. In 2014, I am under a magnifying glass I wish I could avoid.
Gay men are expected to be muscled and sexy. People want us to be feminine and masculine at the same time. They want us to dress better than everyone, but still be approachable. They want us to be one of the gals but also one of the boys. They want us to be everything, but at the same time they treat us like nothing.
When a politician makes a crazy statement about members of my community, I always hate going on Facebook. There’s always one or two messages waiting in my inbox from a concerned friend telling me just how unfair or stupid that person is. I know that, you don’t have to tell me. Thanks for the reminder that I’m not safe in my own state or my own country.
It’s almost as if being for gay rights makes people feel comfortable, like they aren’t actually prejudiced or ignorant. It gives people that little button to wear. This rainbow button is a badge of honor to these people, a little tool of self-satisfaction that reassures them of their humanity. I am not a tool for you to use to remind yourself of your moral compass.
My life is not my own anymore. My plight, my struggles, my issues are those of the LGBT community, because everyone goes through these issues, right? Why can’t these just be my own? Because I’m gay, I can’t take ownership of my depression, my anxiety or my crippling desire to surpass my peers. Because I’m gay, I’m another LGBT teen suffering from depression or anxiety. Because I’m gay, I’m another LGBT working my ass off to be better than the rest. Because I’m gay, I’m a statistic.
Homosexuality has made me a number, not a person. When I’m scared walking home at night, I could just be another statistic, because if I were to ever get into trouble, my sexuality would make headlines instead of my crime. Being gay has made me a number and a victim. I cross streets when groups of guys are walking together.
I keep my mouth shut when my friends talk about their girlfriends because I’ve been told by society that straight men and I cannot relate; they are a threat to me. Society has made me an outsider. Society has made me a victim. Society has made me a number.
I just wish my life could be easier. I just wish I could be straight.