The LGBTQ+ Column:
Little Less Colorful, Just as Bright
Pride is bold. Bright. A word describing the celebration of love and life and the personal freedom of self expression. But to describe the LGBTQ+ community as a monolith would be false, as many of those in the community do not fit the (ironic) mold of what a queer person should look or act like.
I have lived my whole life as one who fell between the cracks of the rainbow, commonly and naturally assumed to be a heterosexual woman, as straight as you’d please. I did not have a pixie cut, wear flannel, or cuff my jeans over my Doc Marten combat boots, like the clear symptoms I was told that were used to diagnose one’s sexuality. Instead, I wore dresses and hung out with a chronically straight friend group that helped me ignore some of the confusing thoughts and memories I held aside.
It was because of this that it took me so long to realize that I could be queer—and even longer to accept that I was. When I finally admitted to myself that I was a pan/bi woman, it truly felt as though I was too straight to really be considered a part of the LGBTQ+ community. I had a history of male partners, but I was too queer to be straight given my literally 99% preference toward women. In my naivety I believed there were two courses of action I could take: continue pretending I am straight to avoid having to come out frequently and have people never believe me, or have it so obvious that no one would question who I am.
Through my journey of self discovery I tried doing that second option repeatedly, but I just felt ugly (read: nowhere near as attractive as my crushes) and as though I was dressing up as someone else. I felt guilty when I returned to the bows and lace that had always made me feel pretty.
It all made me question the validity of my queerness, wondering what would be the harm in simply portraying myself as the straight woman that quite literally everyone sees me as? But both ingenuine performative actions and self denial were harmful to me. It was through the gracious loving and acceptance of my close friends that helped me realize that I had the freedom to love myself for whatever I am as much as I have the freedom to love whoever I please—and that there is a reason why our flag is made of rainbows and not shades of gray. Each and every member in the community has their own story and a right to exist however they are. The internal victory of simply being able to accept yourself for who you are is perhaps the greatest and most beautiful victory I hope we may all share.