I feel that after years of feeling awkward, socially inept, and unsure about my sexuality, that I can finally put a better label on myself. The main reason it has taken me so long is because the labels I use to define myself just didn’t exist in my world until the past few years. With an increasing exposure of the LGBTQ community comes more talking about it and understanding it. On the flip side it also comes with more people who are opposed to LGBTQ people speaking out and speaking strongly against them. So while we as a nation have come a long ways in acknowledgment and tolerance that LGBTQ people are here and aren’t going to stay in closet, we still have a long way to go toward acceptance and equality.
Its only been in the last few years that I’ve been aware of terms like Transgender and Pansexual and Gender Fluid. Despite there still being a long way to go before we see wider acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ+ community at least people are talking about it-defining the spectrum and becoming visible. As a kid, I lived in in a town of about 58 thousand not counting the surrounding towns and rural communities with which I had frequent interactions. I had a single mom but spent about a third of my year with my grandparents and other family in their farming community-which included the church they attended. The terms “gay” and “lesbian” didn’t often come up in conversation. I didn’t pay much attention in church as a kid but I don’t remember any specific sermons about homosexuality. I don’t remember homosexuality coming up in any conversation at among the kids or adults.. In high school I attended church religiously-the youth group and my best-friend were my whole world. With a few exceptions, I rarely attended gatherings with other people outside my church and family. I graduated high school in the mid 1990’s from a class of about 300. I didn’t hang out much with other students, didn’t go to many school events, and kept mostly to myself and my best friend. I can’t say if there was much bullying or rumors about other kids being gay-although, funny story, I learned later that I was presumed a lesbian by many of my classmates, probably due to my very close and exclusive friendship with my best friend-but i don’t remember kids being mean to me. I was fairly un-aware of much outside my circle of friends, I was probably a bit self-centered though I could argue it was a defense mechanism for a general feeling awkwardness. Basically what I’m saying is that the LGBTQ community wasn’t really even on my radar growing up. I didn’t know the issues they dealt with, I didn’t understand the different labels, and I certainly didn’t self-identify as being someone who was queer. Other than a few ignorant sound-bite-like beliefs, such as, “homosexuality is a choice and its a sin” I didn’t really hold any hatred toward gays. I thought it was wrong, like I thought drinking was wrong. It was something I didn’t want to do and didn’t want to be associated with, but I didn’t feel strong animosity toward those who were or feel like they were going to hell because of it. All the while, I was in fact was queer, and the awkwardness I often felt can be contributed to not understanding myself or having an ally nor anyone like me who understood me.
Which bring me to the way I felt about myself growing up. I always felt a strange dis-connect from others. I’ve blamed that on many things, from being an only child of a single mom, to my sarcastic and morbid sense of humor, to shyness, to adolescence, to just plain naivety. And while those are all probably factors, in hindsight I can see it went a little deeper. I can look back to my thoughts, my behaviors, and my beliefs and see that I have in fact always been somewhere on the queer spectrum. While I used certain labels for my sexuality and my personality in general, they never really seemed to fit. I’m going to list some of those thought and behavior and this page will be continuously edited as I remember them.
This is where I’ll talk about my place throughout my history on the LGBTQ spectrum.