Category: Queer Stuff

The Reveal

822041a63443dc389c2978be73ce8f2b

 

It has been one week since I came out to my folks and it has been a whirlwind of feelings. I needed to process my emotions but it’s led me to realize some things need to still happen if I want to be happy.

Last week was marked by panic and sadness as I tried to fine-tune my coming out letter. My mind obsessed about the unknown as I tried imagining each scenario, the majority of them negative including being tossed out of the house. I tried keeping up with my studies at the same time but realized that I needed to schedule my proctored mid-term exam, which wasn’t going to happen because I realize my limits in terms of how fast a class can go. I’ll probably drop the class and try again in the fall when it’s at a normal pace. Even if I did take that mid-term, I probably would’ve been too distracted by the future to even do remotely well. As of now, it just sits there incomplete.

I let my friends know on Facebook that I was going to do this and needed all of the positive energy that I could. I tried catching a quick nap by falling asleep to Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” but couldn’t because my mind was racing. Mom drove me over not knowing what to expect. Dad drove separately and Nathan made a mad dash to get to the appointment.

Once everybody was inside the office, I pulled out the letter as they sat across from me. I took several breaths before reading the line that laid out the truth: “I am bisexual and Nathan is my boyfriend.” I reached for his hand to help me get through it.

After I read the letter, I waited for their response and it was surprisingly tolerant, more so than I thought it would be. They told me repeatedly that they loved me but I could not bear to make eye contact with them. Like the Philip Selway song says, it will end in tears. I tried to explain as best as I could why this was so difficult for me to do, bringing up their views on religion and how I was afraid to speak out. There was some anger on my end towards my dad (which I expected would happen anyway) but in the end, I walked out of that room a mess despite the fact I did something that’s considered brave.

I went home with Nathan after the appointment a complete wreck. I needed space away from my parents and was not in the mood to do any more dialoguing with them. Oh my, was I a wreck. I was hungry and wanted to do nothing more than collapse on the couch, distracting myself with Rifftrax. I barely got any sleep that night but then passed out on his couch when he left for work.

After that weekend and some considerable time away, I came home to sleep in my own bed. The next day, dad called me into the kitchen in that tone of voice that implied “we need to talk”. It took not even five minutes but I was told that I could not spend the night at his place anymore and that I couldn’t leave home in the middle of the night, even though Nathan told me he would do that if need be.

At this point, I’m seriously considering moving out because I do not agree with these rules. My birthday is a month from now as it edges ever closer to nearly a quarter-century and I am told “no sleepovers”. Nope. Not having it. I need to spread my wings, which is really my next step, but now that’s going to be a whole other conversation that needs to happen with my folks at some point. A one-bedroom apartment opened up in Nathan’s apartment complex and would be an improvement for the two of us but the question is when.

There’s a lot that I’m conflicted about and still trying to work through. It’s going to be a long journey. I have a family reunion this weekend and, now that my parents know, it’s going to be a rough ride.

Advertisements

The Q Word

wild-foxes-ivan-kislov-1

I’m going to take a moment, since it’s Pride Month, to talk about a small part of my journey of being a queer man. My journey does have its twists and turns but I’m not going to explain all of it in one post; that’d be too long. Instead, I’m going to discuss the first experience of hearing the word “queer” and how it was treated.

I moved to a different school in seventh grade because my first school only went up to sixth grade. It was in the next county over and was the only Catholic school in the area that went up to eighth grade. I didn’t have a choice in the matter but I went anyways. I was still trying to get my bearings on this transition as I sat in a science class.

My class and teacher got on a tangent about some subject that I can’t recall. At one point, the “edgy” kid in our class (a Polish kid who we assumed was anorexic and did some shady stuff but was taller than any of us) said the word “queer” and everybody laughed. The teacher, after wiping away a few tears, commended him on the comment but reminded him that he could really only get away with saying that once. I muttered that word to myself a few times, using that conversation as echolalia and then the teacher told me I can’t say the word. That moment conditioned me to wince every time I heard it because it was “bad”.

(Unrelated note: the following year, the same teacher used “Brokeback” as a euphemism for “gay” in class as Brokeback Mountain made a splash in Hollywood during that time and also said that the ACLU stood for “Anti-Christ League of Underminers”)

Nobody really told me what that word meant in terms of sexuality. The definitions I looked up just meant “strange” or “different”. But that I couldn’t use that word at all? That seemed odd.

A few years later, I finally got around to watching The Nightmare Before Christmas in a high school class. One of the lyrics in the song “What’s This” uses the word and at the time, I would just whisper the word when I would sing along as I thought back to that moment. If there was a book we had to read for class that used “queer” in the original sense of being different, I tried to glide past it.

Late in college, right when I started to come to terms with the fact I wasn’t straight, I picked up the original Broadway recording of Avenue Q. I popped it into my player and then the song “If You Were Gay” came on. I’m laughing all the way and then the second verse kicks off with “If you were queer/I’d still be here…” Again, I mutter the words but it was foolish since I was the only one in the car. It took a while but I conditioned myself to let that word flow from my mouth without pain because, after all, I was queer.

Nowadays, I use that word as a second label because, while I still call myself a bisexual, I find that my orientation is more fluid and I can’t quite find a label that best fits. I’d like to experiment with my expression but can’t do that while I’m still under my parent’s roof. I hope that by the time my town’s Pride event rolls around next month, I can attend my first Pride how I want with my boyfriend by my side. It would be amazing but for the moment, I just have to bide my time and bite my tongue.