[Part 3 of "To Live Is To Survive"]
Before I started writing here I spent (wasted?) a lot of time in gay chat rooms, sometimes giving my real age, sometimes making myself 18 or whatever I felt like that day. The attention I was given pretending to be an adult was freaky and usually scary, strangers wanting personal info like my phone number, location, and penis size...and other stuff. It got to where I'd just do a intro giving that out (never using a location anywhere near where I live) and the weird questions would happen like magic.
I thought and was always told that being gay meant you were simply attracted to your own gender, and my Grandma never made it out as anything weird. Just like people have different skin shades and races, some people just have different attractions.
In the gay chat rooms I learned the truth of being gay, and most of that is still creepy to me. I would ask questions that I now know proved how little I knew about being gay, and some of the answers are simply repulsive to me even now:
Is you waist more then 30"? If "yes" you're fat, which makes you a bear, only a bear, and nothing but a bear. You must be into and idolize "real men" that have extra facial and body hair and are much older than you. A leather fetish is mandatory. Failing to agree to this means you hate yourself and now are "The Enemy". YOU WILL BE PUNISHED!!!!!
Being gay requires a strict role of giving or getting anal sex. You either get it or you give it. Any questions? Oh Pussyboy, anal sex is gross to you? You think rimming is disgusting? Fisting isn't your thing? Gay sex HURTS and you better accept that!!!! Condoms?!?!?!?!?! Is you butt going to get pregnant?
Not into Katy Perry? Glee? Musicals? Dance music? What are you...straight? You like Metallica? Iron Maiden? Ewwwww! Gross!!!!!!
You're not out???? What's the problem? You must hate yourself! What are you afraid of? Are you ASHAMED to be gay? It's 2012 and nothing bad will happen to you.
Hey you little twerp, this is a FAG chat room! Bet you can't even get hard? I didn't when I was your age! Get out of here! Go play video games! Come back when you're a MAN!!!!!!
I know what kinds of reactions I'll get from this, and I'm smart enough to expect the worst.
All I ask is that you read the rest of this journal before putting me in front of the firing squad.
If you're still reading (I hope so) my goal here is to show what the gay world looks like to me. This is what I KNOW based on my experiences, and it makes me not have much faith in my future, at least as a gay person.
The gay community has many sides, but the one that is most visible has little to do with my life as I live it, but it's what you are expected to be as an openly gay person.
Don't I have a choice?
Honestly, I don't. You're either with us or against us, either or 100% of the time, no exceptions. I see this in politics, in Church, and even among the groups that make up my interests.
As a gay outlier (thanks Nat Geo for introducing to me that term) I don't know where I belong in the larger gay culture, or even if there even is a seat at the table for me?
The shitty part of this is that I know I'm not alone here, and my struggle to me just myself is going to be a lifetime uphill battle.
My Dad has told me this.
So has my boyfriend.
So have so many others.
Some of them are dead from suicide, some are contemplating it.
All we want is to be ourselves, and be accepted.
We have PRIDE, and I know that for some attendees that's the one day of the year you can be open about being gay, but is running around in your underwear the best image for us to show the rest of the world...
The straight majority.
President Lincoln wrote that a divided house cannot stand, but we are just that, and divided we don't fall.
We just exclude.
I've experienced reaching out to local gay support groups and having the door slammed in my face for not being "gay enough". In my heart I know my physical limitations and speech trouble didn't help things, but fucking damn I'm still a person! And think whatever you want but I'm just a gay as anyone else, I'm just being myself!
Is that so bad?
I sometimes think that minority groups really don't want acceptance, and I'm saying that because one you're accepted you don't stick out as much. People look beyond their prejudices and take you as you are.
You become invisible, but people know you're there.
I'm invisible too, hiding in plain sight, but I know the truth about me.
I'm strong and I know it.
Every day of my life is a uphill battle, and I accept that.
I may not be able to get a seat at the restaurant of my choice even though it's empty, but there's other places that will satisfy my hunger. I'd like to think that as smart as the members of our community are that we'd learn to accept the outliers among us, and I won't give up on that hope.
To anyone reading this who's given up hope, don't.
You're stronger and smarter than you think you are, you just have to accept yourself as you are and find you own community.
Or even create a new one.
Just don't ever forget how it felt to be rejected by your own kind.
I never will.