Please welcome Courtland to Gynomite- Courtland wrote an essay about being an outcast within a minority that I enjoyed, so I asked him if I could repost it here. You can follow Courtland on Twitter (@courtlandishere) and visit his Tumblr at your leisure!
I’ve been in anomaly in multiple ways..at a young age i had reading comprehension of a high schooler, in high school i got an on and off again eye disease that my eye doctor still isn’t exactly sure what it is…but the biggest anomaly of them all is the fact i seem to be a minority with a minority..that 1st minority being the gay community…thinking back on it I wondered if i’m just an odd exception to the rule, or if times and perspectives are actually changing. I thought of three main reasons of why i’m so on the outside, and here they are.
REASON 1: I never really “came out”
One reason is I’ve never really lived the stereotypical coming out. I guess i could say i started “coming out” in mid 7th grade, and it’s still technically happening now…I never quite understood the concept of a big announcement of being gay..it’s a sexual issue, which to me at least, is rather personal..so I didn’t think it necessary to reveal to the masses…I’ve only told people I’m gay when it’s been convenient ..other than my mother, i can’t even remember the specifics of telling people….if a friend and i were talking about dating/sex/who’s hot , then it’d come out ,because i never felt the need to lie about it…so naturally, my close friends learned of it first…then eventually, random acquaintances i had at school found out, whether it be a discussion on sexuality in some sort of class, or if a friend spoke about me and they asked to confirm, i didn’t really care…it wasn’t really important..the only one i remember is my mother because I think that basically any person remembers the first time they tell a parent….it’s such a not dramatic story but here it goes…
It was the summer…i can’t remember which (though i could look it up if i wanted to), me and her were bored out of her minds and watching I’m a celebrity get me out of here (ohh god that show…so terrible…also how to date when i came out to my mother, heidi and spencer from the hills were on it) ,anyway, so on this episode heidi’s sister was talking to Sanjaya (yeah, he was considered celebrity) talking about he was her straight gay best friend..I had a lot of girl friends at the time so my mom turned to me and asked “so ,is that like what you are to all your friends?” , and me being a smartass of course went “well yeah, except the straight part.” Her response: “Ohhh, well thats nice, at least they don’t have to worry about you eventually perving out on them.” that was it…there was no discussion…no anything…my parents are very liberal, hippy generation parents, so they just didn’t care..they just changed the line they gave my brother “so, do you have a girlfriend?” to “So, do you have a boyfriend?” It’s never been a big deal.
So back to the coming out to friends , it just progressively happens..i don’t feel it necessary to have a sticker or a label or anything with some rainbow text or anything saying “GAAAAAAY!” on it, so the routine just repeats, i meet someone, if the subject of sex or dating comes up, my sexuality comes out, if we don’t talk about dating and such, it doesn’t.
Going with my not really coming out, and being open about my sexuality from middle school is i don’t really connect with my peers even because the only 2 gay people i’m “friends” (more acquaintances) with both came out late..junior year of high school for one ,and like midway through his first year of college for the other…And I found 2 things incredibly just, weird about it. 1. The event of it: they marked those days on their calendars and on their timelines on facebook like it was a birthday, something i just couldn’t understand and 2. The support…this one i kind of understand more but basically i found it odd that people who’ve known i’ve been gay for years and what not and who’ve been very chill about it and mild mannered and what not suddenly went in and “OMG I’M SO PROUD, CONGRATS!!!!!” mode with them, like for a few weeks after their coming out, people posting congrats, i’m so proud, you’re so brave and such..
I met with it with both understanding and annoyance (possibly with a twinge of jealousy)..i was annoyed because these people, though they’re not rude about it or anything and are fine with my sexuality…were never so celebratory and this proud about it , but I understand that these are completely different cases…i’ve obviously been out for so long and “came out” so early, that i’ve always had a sort of confidence/don’t give an f attitude about my sexuality…but these people coming out later in their lives probably did so because they weren’t necessarily secure about their sexuality or were concerned about what people might think, so the big exclamations of pride and such act as a reassurance that it’s okay..
REASON 2: I wasn’t bullied about my sexuality
Most stories i see of LGBT youth are that of bullying..whether it drives them to depression, suicide, dropping out of high school, it seems so many in the gay community have to deal with bullying..and yet again, I had a lucky circumstance…I wasn’t..There’s only been one person ever to truly try to bully me about my sexuality calling me a “cock sucking faggot” and a “gay abomination”…the thing is, this person was an asshole i knew from 5th grade and had quit caring about what he said to me back in 8th grade ,so even this didn’t really phase me..
Now it just might be just a bunch of collections of lucky traits
1. i’ve always been tall, in high school 6 ft to 6ft2 i belive
2. I’m big (not as in muscle but still, unless you’re really REALLY fat, people are less tempted to mess with you)
3. I’ve got a sense of humor, i’ve always been able to make people laugh and what not, and whether it’s jokes about myself, or celebrities or just general sarcastic smartassery, i’ve always had an attitude to fight off things with a generous amount of snark….
Because of all these things or because i was already out before they met me or because i’m not necessarily over flamboyant, I never got bullied…I was friends with all types in high school…the actually like smart computer nerds, the gamer nerds, the popular girls, the sort of bohemian hippy girls, the goody Christians , the theater folk, even a couple jocks and etc.. It’s been another thing that’s sort of set me apart. I find this one the most interesting to think about…Am i just an exception to the rule? Or is it possible i’m one of a new wave of LGBT teens that are able to be themselves and be out and be generally accepted…I truly hope it’s the latter (and not just because the former makes me a weird exception)
REASON 3: I’ve never quite understood pride parades.
Now this is an unpopular opinion (in fact, i was nervous writing this because this very day i wrote this, some of my favorite cast members from 1 girl 5 gays were posting snarky/borderline rude gifs and what not about gay people who don’t like pride) but i’ve never understood the fun about pride parades…I’ve watched multiple ones of the big ones online and such, i’ve been in our counties pride parade (yeah it’s lower key than like Seattle’s or something but it still counts) and i’ve just never quite gotten it..I participated in my town’s ones the 2 years, first one by accident, me and my friend were standing along the route near the beginning, and some PFLAG people kindly brought us in and gave us a sign and to march with them. The second, marching with PFLAG by choice…and yes they were okay…but it was a parade…And don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my sexuality, but I don’t see the need of it for me..here are a few reasons:
1: To me, being gay and sexuality is such a personal thing…it’s sex for crying out loud! I don’t like sex and such being so forefront and public…I mean i’m not for PDA of any sexuality, anything past hand holding and like a quick kiss gets kind of unpleasant to my eyes…so something ALL about sex ,i just don’t see the need for public event…Like my idea of pride is getting together some of your close friends, and having a marathon of something..maybe start off with something light hearted like a “were the world mine” and a “latter days”, then something more history based, either the biopic milk , or an actual documentary of harvey milk or a documentary on queer cinema..then after dark, if you’re in a comedy mood, go for one of the raunchy “eating out” movies..or if you’re wanting dark/wtf, go with a gregg araki film like “kaboom” or “mysterious skin”…that sounds more my kind of celebration..if it’s not enough, add cupcakes or something??
2: Other than the political aspects (there’s usually at least one referendum up for vote that marchers are out promoting to legalize same sex marriage) , I don’t see the need …same with the above, it’s about sex..i don’t think it’s necessary to have leather daddies, or twinks in speedos and such marching up the streets..and as much as i do love drag queens (i watch ru paul’s drag race or drag U every monday it’s new, and then again with my mom the next morning) I feel it partially draws the wrong crowd… I always see the people watching like it’s an animal got out at the zoo..the freakshow is in town..and yes, fuck them for being stupid..but still…it’s kind of putting our most bizarre aspects of our culture out on display ,so that’s of course what gets the attention..
3:if it’s purpose is for gay people of that community to meet one another and what not, that’s what the local gay bar is for in my opinion….
4: I feel it counters my personal feel on the subject of sexuality: I believe it’s not and shouldn’t be a big deal, yet pride is making a huge deal of it and putting ourselves out there as different..I love the idea of april (i think it’s april) as gay history month, that is necessary..but i feel pride, which seems to be strictly pointing out our differences, is unnecessary for the cause.
5: It gets antagonistic…Every year i see at least 2 or 3 angry protesting Christians with signs (Sorry Christians that it seems your worst people are the loudest sometimes) and that’s not necessarily what i’m talking about…it’s people of the community who step down to their level of arguing with them or trying to tell them how they’re wrong or purposely trying to make them uncomfortable…for example : the gay Friend who came out in college? this year he posted about his pride experience with this “made out with my boyfriend in front of a preacher!” as a good thing….That pisses me off…Purposely trying to upset people, or saying their beliefs are flat out wrong is just as wrong as them saying we’re an abomination and yelling bible verses…You don’t change people with yelling and the actions of children.
Now you might be asking, “so what??? why is this is a problem???”
Everyone looks for common people to bond with..it’s kind of a human trait to look for people like you….the thing is..because of my lack of similar situations or in the parade case, similar opinions , I haven’t been able to really bond well with other LGBT people on that level…And though most the times i don’t really care, there are times you just break or have something that literally no one else can understand, and then you realize you have no one that you can talk about it with..there are times you just need someone similar to you on that level that you don’t have to try and translate and explain it to girl or straight boy, and you can just relax and talk and though i’m not generally one to admit it, it’s shitty to not have that.
It’s very strange being on the outside of the outside…Don’t get me wrong, I live a very fulfilling ,happy life…but part of me almost wonders if it’s a detriment to not have these things..To not have that bullied experience that I can truly bond and sympathize with another LGBT person and say that I know how it feels..To not know that apparent thrill of coming out as your true self for the first time after 18 or 19 years of your life…To not be able to just let loose and go with the crowd in the bizarre yet entrancing stream of neon ,glitter and drag queens known as pride…I hope that i’m wrong, that i’m not the only one that feels the same way ,and that there’s someone who shares the same stories (not the exact same ,cause that’d be odd)..that i’ll find people who understand my point of few and instead of casting out someone who, like them, has been cast out it seems by a lot of people, will take me in. Mostly, and i don’t mean this in a like narcissistic self sucking way, I hope there’ll be more like me in the future, because something just feels wrong about being sort of looked down upon and being almost outcast, because you don’t have these (in my opinion) horror stories… To wrap this up, I hope I live to see a world where, this whole essay doesn’t matter, because having a different sexuality won’t matter…Thank you for reading.
(Slightly contradictory PS, i do kind of wish i went to Seattle pride this year though, only reason though is cause Sharon Needles was there and I fucking loved her on this season of drag race)