This is something I haven’t really been open about before - mainly because I never really saw the need to - but that I now have a desire to be authentic about.
I am queer. And after over a year of navigating the process of owning this piece of my identity...a couple weeks ago, on National Coming Out Day, I finally did! Came out, that is.
Many of you know that I’m in a relationship with a man. My public declaration of queerness doesn’t change that. In fact, nothing is changing - except for the fact that I’m finally ready to be honest about this piece of my identity.
I’ve known since I was a teenager that I wasn’t only attracted to people of the male gender. I’ve dated women, but it has just happened that all my serious relationships have been with men.
Does that make me any less queer? NOPE. What it has done, however, is make me feel like I shouldn’t talk openly about my queerness. I’ve identified as straight for the longest time, despite knowing I’m not, because I didn’t feel I had a valid claim to queerness - as though I wouldn’t be queer enough unless I’d had a long-term relationship with someone of a gender other than male, or some other quantifiable criteria that I simply didn’t meet.
I’ve also felt uncomfortable identifying as queer because, as a straight-passing person, I have a higher level of privilege than so many others in the LGBTQIA+ community. It felt - still does feel, if I am being honest - as though trying to lay claim to that community as my own is a selfish thing to do, given the privilege my relationship affords me.
So why did it suddenly feel more and more important to come out? I don’t have a simple and straightforward answer for that, other than that the more comfortable I grow inside my own skin, the more important it feels to me to claim all my identities - all the parts of myself. Whenever I go anywhere with my male partner - or even mention him in conversation with others - people make assumptions about me; namely, that I am heterosexual. That never used to bother me. When did it start to, and why? I can’t say exactly, other than to reiterate that the more comfortable I become within myself, the more authenticity I desire. The more empowered I become, the more I want to be seen for who I actually am, rather than for the things people assume to be true about me - assumptions that are based solely on the gender of the partner I have chosen.
As I said before, nothing in my life is changing due to this revelation about the identity I’ve held in relative secret for so long. It’s just about...speaking my truth, I guess.
I think what it really comes down to is saying the thing that we've always wanted to say but never felt like we could, or should, or would. I'm so proud that, finally, I did.
And it feels damn good.