I am queer.
Well, that was easy! But wait- was it really? Sure, it was easy to type up that three word sentence, sure. But that doesn’t discount the fact that my armpits are sweating, my mind is racing, and my hands are shaking just a bit. I can’t control the sweaty pits, racing mind, and jittery hands, so I’ll just keep writing.
I could write about what it was like to come out to my mom for the third and final time at the age of 26 (the first time was when I was in the 4th grade and the second time was in college). I could write about the years I spent praying to a God whom I wanted so badly to serve with all of my heart, but couldn’t understand why this God made me “wrong”. I could write about all the times that people have asked me if I have a boyfriend and I’ve purposely chosen to just say “no” with no further explanation. I could write about all the reasons I have been told I shouldn’t be gay (that’s an interesting list). I could write about all the times I talked about how gross it was when a girl had a crush on me, even though I may have secretly liked her too. I could write about how scared I have felt that I would have to watch friends and family members walk out of my life if I ever decided to come out. I could write about how disappointed I have been in myself for being an open supporter by day, and living it up in the safety of the closet by night. I could write books about all of those things…but what has really fueled my passion in writing today, has been this…
Last week, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky’s prohibition violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law by treating queer folks “differently in a way that demeans them.” You can imagine the conversation that this ruling has sparked amongst Kentuckians- those who support as well as those who oppose. I have listened to people talk about “the abomination of our nation” and “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” I am not surprised that some people would react this way…I mean, if people didn’t react that way, then there would be no need for a movement, no need to fight for OUR rights (ooh, “our”…that felt good). This is not to say that I approve of the commentary, it’s just to say that I am not surprised.
But what has prompted my writing today has been my questioning people’s constant assumption that a) I am hetero and b) I concur with their views and opinion. I would find it rather odd if a man walked up to me and expected me to agree that I should be paid less than my male counterparts. I would be baffled if a white person walked up to me and expected me to agree to use a different water fountain than my white counterparts. I would be baffled with these approaches because it should be seemingly easy for one to look at me and see that I am woman, just as it is also pretty obvious that I am black.
But sometimes, I forget to put the “QUEER” stamp on my forehead on my way out the door in the mornings. So, on the mornings that I forget my stamp, I have realized that there is really no way for people to know that I disagree with their views or, even moreso, to know that they are talking about me, unless I actually open my mouth and say it.