Is Same-Sex Attraction Funny?

As a gay male who has mostly progressive-thinking friends, I tend to participate in spaces where I don’t run into anti-LGBTQ attitudes or micro-agressions. This doesn’t mean that I forget that there are still attitudes like these present in our society, but it does mean that I usually have to take a minute to assess when it happens. Most homophobic things that people do are fairly predictable, like using the term “gay” as an insult, saying unnecessary junk like “no homo,” and letting the term “faggot” slip out when they’re upset at someone. However, there’s one thing that happens that not a lot of people seem to get fed up with, yet it’s been hitting a nerve with me more and more. 

It’s when people act like the mere act of a man flirting/hitting on another man is hilarious.

I see it most often with straight guys who want to pretend that flirting with one of their friends is so gosh darn funny. It’ll usually happen because the man who’s the target of the flirting displays some intensely masculine traits, such as a full beard, or muscles that show that they actively go to the gym. I can tell that it’s happening because they get this tone that suggests that the “flirtation” that’s coming out of their mouth (which sometimes could just be a simple compliment) is just something they’re saying to try and be funny. Because, you know, guys flirting with guys is just a hilarious concept.

Not only that, but we have a slew of comedians who use same-sex attraction as the butt of a joke, which doesn’t really help changing society’s view on homosexuality. Yeah, Seth and James. I haven’t forgotten about this, and I’m sure many others haven’t, either:

I mean, that’s how it goes, right? Two guys touch each other and make weird faces while doing it so everyone can laugh. You two basically know what it means to be gay! (That’s sarcasm, for those who can’t detect it over written language.)

Though this isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s something I see happen so non-chalantly in most groups I interact with that aren’t my immediate friend groups. Though I didn’t usually get angry about it in the past, I would often ask myself why they thought it was funny. Now that I seem to notice it constantly, I think it’s worn on me to a point where it seems like much of society doesn’t actually take the idea of a man being with another man seriously. It seems so innocent at first, jokingly flirting with another man or poking fun at two guys who are close to the point where you think they could be dating, but the real-world implications can be pretty harmful.

Talking about straight people’s attitudes toward same-sex attractions makes me think of the time a straight man told me he knew a lot about gay culture because he has a gay cousin. My story isn’t about that, though; it’s about another semi-ignorant something he said shortly before he said that semi-ignorant thing. He told a group of guys at this party, “A gay guy hit on me once, and I thought it was gonna be weird, but I was actually flattered.” In that moment, I felt like he didn’t take same-sex attraction seriously, and I knew he couldn’t have been the only person to feel that way. I get that the gay guy flirting with him wouldn’t do much for him other than offering a potential ego boost, but what makes it “weird” compared to a girl flirting with him for the same reasons? Is it because, oh, I don’t know, he thought a gay guy flirting with him would be awkward enough to laugh about it with his friends, later? I can’t attest to that, but I also wouldn’t put it past him.

I can already hear a bunch of people reading this and dismissing me for being a “social justice warrior” or “being too sensitive,” but I guess I’m just fed up with people making jokes about guys being together. It’s not that I hear someone make a joke about men dating and immediately become furious; it’s that I’ve heard people make these jokes over the course of almost 10 years that I’ve been openly gay, and I’m getting pretty angry that people still think it’s a quality joke.

This is where micro-aggressions occur, a term you may have heard of when it comes to marginalized communities. It’s when people outside of that community (usually straight white people) make a joke or remark that is more subtle than outright discrimination, but those micro-aggressions build up over time to a point where we’ll react to them the same way we’ll react to outright racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. Imagine it like being poked in the stomach repeatedly. Sure, the first few times aren’t bad, and it’s not like it really hurts, but after a while, you get the urge to grab the finger and hurl the person through a window. Then, someone else might come by and poke you in the stomach without realizing you’ve already had your fair share of getting poked, so then you immediately get the urge to throw them out the window without any warning due to the pent-up rage you’ve already gained from being poked in the stomach several times before. Mind you, I rarely blow up at anybody who’s metaphorically poked my stomach in that same spot, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t fall victim to someone who has a shorter fuse.

So when you, as a straight guy, make a joke about being butt buddies with your straight guy friends, I’m not necessarily mad just because you did it that one time. I’m mad because it wouldn’t be the first time someone thought it would be funny to make a joke about guys being attracted to each other, and the optimistic side of me hoped you’d be better.

I get that there was a time where homosexuality was a strange topic to navigate, so making jokes about two men or two women being together must have seemed like a good way to have conversations around it. Now that we’re in a time where we’re trying to normalize LGBTQ+ identities, I feel it’s demeaning to be making jokes that frames their attractions in a way that makes it seem like they, themselves, are a joke. I also get that people’s intentions when making these jokes aren’t malicious, but it doesn’t change the impact of those remarks. So while it seems like I’m making a big deal out of nothing, it’s actually me making a big deal out of something that’s bothered me for almost a decade, and despite how much progress we’ve made, it still happens regularly.

Let me know how you feel about this in the comments! I can’t imagine I’m the only one, but I could also be the only one. Anything is possible, y’know?

Discovering your Sexuality “In a Heartbeat”

Imagine being a child in a world where you’re only exposed to opposite-gender attraction. You’d then have to go to school with that bias while meeting new people, making new friends, and starting to develop a sense of what you’re interested in and who you like. Imagine that person being someone of the same gender, what it would be like to know and feel that it’s wrong to have these feelings for them. Those attractions would be so inherently uncontrollable that everyone would see it, casting judging glances that cripple your heart with doubt. Imagine how it would feel to have that doubt instantly alleviated when the person you’re attracted to just so happens to like you back.

If you’re an LGBTQ+ individual, and/or if you’ve seen the short film In a Heartbeat, you definitely have an understanding of how this feels.

I absolutely loved this short film from the moment it started to the moment it ended. It showcased the wide emotional spectrum of what it’s like to grow up while discovering thoughts in your head that no one prepared you for. It told such a complex, relatable story that has you smiling in one moment, crying in the next, and saying “awww” more often than not. In my opinion, it’s just the thing that kids, as well as the adults who are raising those kids, need to see so they can understand that same-gender attractions exist, and feel like they’re not alone in the process of discovering them. It’s so great to see these kinds of stories put out into the world, especially since it touched on such important issues targeted at a younger audience. 

The most important aspect of In a Heartbeat is the fact that it centers around two middle school students. We’ve seen stories about boys who like other boys, where they’re discouraged by society to act in alignment with their identity because it’s not the norm. However, we rarely see stories where this is happening to someone who is so young. This aspect of the short film changes the commentary so much, because then it becomes focused on the struggles of discovering your sexuality during the earlier stages of growing up.

When you’re a kid who’s discovering that you might be attracted to the same gender, you find yourself in such a vulnerable position. You were basically told from birth that you’d get married to the opposite gender some day, so coming face-to-face with a situation that hurls those instilled views out the window is quite jarring. We see this in In a Heartbeat by seeing just how panicked the main character is as he tries to pull his blissful heart away from the love interest. Yes, we could easily point this to the typical “OMG I don’t want him to know that I like him,” but considering the judgmental glances he received when the students at school saw who he was attracted to, I think he feared some sort of consequence for his feelings. Kids can be so harsh when it comes to something they think is out of the norm, and seeing that scene in the film felt as if the creators were reminding us that these attractions, even innocent ones between two young students, are still treated with disgust. I thought this bit of realism clashing with the amount of fluff in the story was a genius way to draw out sympathy for people who may be in the main character’s situation.

The portrayal of the attraction as this happy, impulsive, excitable little heart was beyond perfect. Though I don’t feel that it spoke directly to same-gender attractions, I thought showing it as such an innocent character was a good way to remind people that being attracted to the same gender feels very similar to being attracted to the opposite. You get giddy, and all you want to do is talk to the person, but you have this dumb brain that sometimes delves into some grossly negative logic, holding you back from a rejection that might not even be there. It spoke to the power behind romantic love, and the blissful determination of the heart pursuing the love interest insinuates that our attractions are too powerful to stop. Whether it was intentional or not, it was such a subtle way to normalize attraction to the same gender.

If you read this whole post and somehow still haven’t watched In a Heartbeat, please do so. After you’re done, watch it again. After that, show a friend. Show your family. Show a neighbor. Show your pets. Seriously, show this video to all of your acquaintances. This short film is so good for anyone of any community to see. Straight parents of LGBTQ+ kids could benefit from it by seeing what they may go through among their peers. Straight people in general could benefit from it by understanding just how hard it is to come to these realizations about your sexuality. LGBTQ+ kids could have a protagonist to relate to, and see that they’re not the only ones who struggle with these attractions. I think it’s so important to have media like this for younger audiences, and if children’s films and TV shows continue down this route, we just may see a world where same-gender attractions are normalized, and maybe sooner than we originally thought.

Dream Daddy? More Like Dream LGBTQ+ Representation!

The ever anticipated Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator finally made its release after having to leap over several dad-sized hurdles, and let me tell you, I am beyond impressed with the game. What I originally thought would be just a silly dating sim filled with dad puns and jokes about “daddies” as a sexual fetish evolved into something so much more impactful. There’s such a level of LGBTQ+ representation that most games haven’t come close to displaying, and along with that, the story writing itself is well beyond what I expected it would be. My little gay heart was beating with so much joy, and it might not stop as long as this game continues to exist (even if my favorite dad rejected me. It’s fine and I swear I’m not secretly sobbing, right now.)

I jumped into the dating sim thinking I’d just be a gay dad who goes on dates with other gay dads, you know, because I guess I just assumed the developers might not think past the G in the LGBTQ+ spectrum. That changed immediately after I started making my custom Dad character, when I saw that they included the option to make him trans! That’s huge! I have a trans friend who actually cannot stop talking about this aspect of the game because it means just that much to him. It’s already tough to get any good representation for gay, lesbian, or bi people, and to see that they made an option to be inclusive of trans identities is beyond progressive, compared to other games. Even Damien, one of the dateable dads, is trans! That’s more possible trans representation than even some of the most progressive TV shows!

Something else I’ve found pretty game-changing about Dream Daddy is that none of the sexual orientations of the dads are explicitly mentioned. This could seem non-progressive, because it might seem like they’re avoiding representing specific identities, but in my opinion, it’s quite the opposite. Many of the dads talk about previous wives, relationships, and even current wives (oh, Joseph) and the protagonist of the game doesn’t bat an eye at it, whatsoever. The fact that they may be something other than gay doesn’t have any importance to whether the main character wants to pursue them, which is so much more progressive than most people are in the real life LGBTQ+ community. I’ve seen so many gay people not want to date someone who identifies as bi because they could “fall for someone of the opposite sex,” or because they think being bi is synonymous to being questioning (which is false), when that’s something that should have no bearing on whether or not we choose to pursue them. It was so uplifting to see that the game focused so little on whether the dad was gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, or anything else under the spectrum, and more on the fact that there are very apparent feelings between the main character and the dad of choice.

The thing that impressed me most is just how seriously the game takes itself, despite how silly it can get. We all expected to put a dent in our heads from face-palming at just how many dad jokes/puns there would be; that was a given. What I didn’t expect was just how serious the writers of this game took the story, and how the idea of men dating men was never the butt of the joke. Though TV shows, movies, and video games have gotten way better with how they represent same-sex relationships, they still manage to slip in something that makes their sexuality the subject of humor, which to me, is counter-productive for normalizing LGBT identities. I can’t even begin to tell you just how gosh darn pleased I am that this game is the actual best representation of LGBT people in a video game that I have ever seen.

It was also so refreshing to see LGBTQ+ men as parents in this game without zeroing in on the fact that they’re not straight. Society seems to have this idea that being a non-straight parent is wildly different than being a straight one, and it ends up being reflected in a lot of media that we consume. Sure, a child may be raised differently by LGBTQ+ parents in the sense that same-sex attractions would be normalized for them, since they’d be learning by example, and there might also be a higher chance that they’d encourage more freedom when it comes to gender expression. Other than that, the actual parenting experience isn’t all that different. They change diapers, they get emotional about sending their kid off on their first day of school, and they pull their hair out about their teenager getting angsty, all in a similar fashion to how a straight person would. Dream Daddy did a perfect job of representing parents in the community, as it never calls to attention that these dads’ parenting styles have any relation to their sexual orientation. Even their kids treat it like it’s just a typical thing, knowing that their dad is into guys. They just treat it with the nonchalant attitude that it should be treated with, because it’s not a thing that needs to be treated like it’s anything out of the ordinary.

Aside from the positive LGBTQ+ representation, the story, dialogue, and characters are all so well-thought out, that it was just the icing on this dream of a cake. The characters are multifaceted and complex, the story takes twist and turns that I never expected, and some parts even get you right in the heart-strings. It felt so validating to play a game with such well-rounded LGBTQ+ characters that also had quality story writing, because more often than not, the quality of representation ends up taking a back seat to the quality of the content, itself. I’m so pleased to see that this game has great representation condensed into an entertaining story, because it’s really showing that you can have a successful video game that also normalizes same-sex relationships. It seems bizarre to me that you’d even have to prove that such a thing was possible, but regardless, It feels great to see that Dream Daddy made this impression in the gaming world.

Without trying to sound to hoaky or overly sentimental, this game is honestly a gift. I truly appreciate the work Game Grumps, Vernon Shaw, Leighton Gray, and the whole crew put into making this game with the kind of refreshing representation that it has. The way the game features the LGBTQ+ community is honestly one in a million, and it shows a great deal of consideration to us to show us in a way that doesn’t make us seem so different from the rest of society. With the overwhelming success that this game has gotten, I’m hoping that it can inspire other developers and gaming companies to put our community in the same kind of light.

 

The Love/Hate Relationship with Being LGBTQ+

I’m gay. Whether or not I, or anyone wants to believe it, it’s an important part of me. I love being gay, but I hate being gay. Well, “hate” might be a strong word. It makes it sound like being gay is a truly miserable experience. I love it more than I hate it, but society doesn’t make it easy to love being gay. But if you don’t love being gay, people will try to change you. By default, if you want your life to be easier, more fulfilled, and less impaired by your own, downward spiraling thoughts, you almost have to love being gay. Of course, I don’t feel forced to love being gay. That just happened due to a small desire to spite everyone who thought that I would hate myself after coming out, but a side effect from it was actually being comfortable in my own skin. I have to live with it every minute of every damn day of my life, so anyone who tries to make me feel like shit about it would have a more productive time forcing their words down a garbage disposal.

I wouldn’t ever tell someone that I don’t love being gay, because first of all, it’s not true. I love it way more than I hate it, because this community I’ve ended up in is the most loving, accepting, and powerful community I’ve ever been a part of. It’s put me in a community that truly understands me without feeling like they have to infiltrate my personal life. They understand me without me even having to ask if they understand me. They make me feel comfortable, safe, and accepted just for existing, whereas straight people create the feeling of crippling uncertainty. I’m not necessarily crippled by how uncertain I become, but the uncertainty itself is so crippled, it takes a good amount of hobbling before it can see itself out. 

The community isn’t all beautiful rainbows and unicorns, though, that’s for damn sure. I love being gay, and I love the gay community, but sometimes, I kind of hate being in it. Sometimes I wish the community would get itself a moral face lift, because we can’t tuck away those racist, masculine-worshiping, misogynistic, elitist attitudes unless we’re all willing to tactfully pull that skin back. A procedure like that requires the power of choice, and lord knows only a fraction of us have used that power. Of course, if we really want to eradicate that kind of behavior, it would take more than a face life. But, you know, baby steps. Regardless, you’d think a community that’s known for being vain would hate having that kind of a blemish. 

I hate being in it because it can be just as isolating as it is welcoming. We separate ourselves into twinks, jocks, bears, otters, tops, bottoms, and so many other random, arguably unnecessary categories. We have to find our place in a community where we already feel like we have one, and if we don’t struggle to find a place among a group where we should feel welcomed, we basically become a blank page in a coloring book with no direction on which hue goes where. They’ll color us incorrectly, or think that one color is actually another, filling in our identity with a shade of their choosing, and putting us into a box of their creation. You’re probably thinking “Jeff, straight people do this, too. Why is it a gay thing?” You’re right, of course. However, this “gay thing” shouldn’t be a thing when being gay, or any other part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, is already it’s own thing that people can’t color correctly. I don’t want to have to define myself again in a community that has to define itself constantly.

I hate that we celebrate “pride,” but don’t take pride in the diversity within a community that’s already considered diverse in society. We come together and celebrate how our identities make us stronger, and how we’re all beautiful, complex, and inspirational in different ways, but only if you’re beautiful, complex, and inspirational according to some mysterious gay doctrine. I wish I could describe the gay doctrine for a better impact, but I’m pretty sure it just has something to do with “being gay enough.” I hate that I can walk into a Pride festival and immediately revert to isolation when I see bodybuilders in underwear talking only to other bodybuilders in their underwear, when I had felt the most warm, welcoming vibes just moments before. Am I not allowed to celebrate by covering my lack of abs with a Trixie Mattel t-shirt, with some denim shorts that go just above the knee? Does the doctrine say that this is “gay enough?” I should probably read it before I attend another Pride event.

I hate that gay boys with abs will post pictures on Instagram with only their other gay friends who have abs; did the average-to-plus-sized friends shoved to the side right before they took the photo? I hate that our bodies are fetishized or ridiculed. I hate that even our racial identities are treated pretty much the same way. I hate that so many of us say they “don’t really want to date, right now” when they really just don’t want to date you, or I, or somebody with a beautiful personality who just wants an honest answer. I hate that we argue about monogamy and polyamory when it’s nobody’s business but your own as to whether or not you should participate in it. I hate that if you’re not “masc,” then you’re femme, and if you’re femme, then you’re “basically a girl,” but if you’re neither, then you might as well just be femme. I hate that we put so much importance on being “femme” or “masc” when being either, both, or neither of those things is only a small fraction of what makes someone attractive. I hate that many of us think the LG is more important than the BTQ+. I hate that we appear to hate each other in times when we need to love each other.

I hate that we can’t be more functional, but I guess that just wouldn’t be realistic. 

Families always have some form of dysfunction. They don’t always love everything about each other, but that doesn’t mean they stop loving each other. Though I hate our dysfunction, I’m far from hating us. I love being in this community, because it’s humbling to know that I have this community to make me feel more accepted. I love being in this community because though we have moments of tearing each other down, and moments of judgment, the amount of love we have to give is bigger than I’ve ever seen come out of any other community. I love being in this community because I have never felt more accepted, more in-place, and more free to be who I am. Sure, we often don’t accept each other over the most trivial things, but in the end, we all love each other in the face of having one aspect of ourselves that society may not ever fully accept. I’ll deal with all of the shortcomings if it means that this one thing keeps us knitted tighter than any community out there. 

Possible LGBTQ+ Representation in Life is Strange: Before the Storm?

We’ve just now finished the biggest event in gaming culture, the E3 Conference, and I’ve got to say, I’m pretty hyped for a lot of the games that will be coming out (also yes, “hype” and versions of that word have appeared in my vocabulary more often now that I am on Twitch quite often.) There’s going to be a new Kirby game (one of my FAVORITES), a very innovative Super Mario game (Super Mario Odyssey) and even the Metroid series is getting an exciting new addition! However, when they announced that Life is Strange would be getting a prequel, I just about flipped my lid, for more reasons than it just being an amazing series. 

It means we may see a same-sex relationship as a main plot point in a VERY popular video game! Of COURSE I’m gonna be hyped for this! 

If you didn’t get a chance to play Life is Strange, I’ll give you a relatively spoiler-free summary of the game, just in case you still do want to play it. The game is about Maxine Caufiled, a geeky, mildly-hipster teen who gets the power to turn back time. She uses it to save a girl who gets killed in the bathroom at her school, Blackwell Academy. This girl ends up being Chloe Price, her best friend before Max left for Seattle for five years. The game covers the two of them re-connecting in the midst of their hectic lives, and working together to help uncover the mystery behind a missing student, Rachel Amber (whom the game hints to be a love interest of Chloe’s). The game revolves around the decisions you make while playing it, and those decisions greatly affect the way the story plays out. 

Before I move on to the reason why I’m so hyped for this next game, check out the trailer for the prequel, eh?

Because of the nature of how Life is Strange ends, it doesn’t leave room for a sequel. The game has a lot of back story that was never explicitly shown, so I imagine that the prequel will heavily feature exactly how Chloe became so jaded, as well as the relationship between Chloe and Rachel. Of course, I lost ALL of my celebratory marbles about this, just because of the lack of same-sex couples (female/female couples, at that) that we see in video games. Not only did it feel natural to add a prequel to this wildly popular series, but I think it will be a much-needed drop of sunshine in the darkness that is LGBTQ+ representation in games. 

Of course, I’m just theorizing, here. Because we were never given that explicit explanation into Chloe and Rachel’s relationship, the prequel could really include anything, when it comes to the two of them. However, I’m gunning for them truly being a couple (or at least them being very into each other) because of the lack of LGBTQ+ representation in video games. The ambiguity behind the true nature of their relationship leaves quite the open door for the writers to make it happen, and I know there are a lot of fans out there who would celebrate it. Not only that, but I know we would feel extra connected to their story because we can actually see ourselves in that position. While that’s also possible with an opposite-sex couple, I’ll find myself emotionally connecting to same-sex couples more than I do with opposite-sex, just because I actually exist in their community. That kind of connection can really impact the way fans would enjoy the game, and I know that LGBTQ+ community members and allies alike would appreciate seeing this happen.

Whether it ends up happening or not, the Life is Strange series has still touched on serious issues such as mental health, corruption in schools and authority figures, and the weight our decisions have on others. If LGBTQ+ representation isn’t something they decide to include, then it’s not like they failed in trying to create conversation about other important topics. However, in a community where there is still a lot of homophobic attitudes (i.e. using “gay” as a degrading slur in online games, calling people “fag,” and people getting upset about games where there’s same-sex dating options) there definitely needs to be more representation. The more we normalize these identities through representing them, the more people will realize that it’s not something to keep out of video games, and we’ll be able to move onto a deeper sense of equality. Honestly, with the way it brings such an intense realism to the way it approaches its respective topics, I couldn’t think of a better series than Life is Strange to offer a beautiful glimpse into LGBTQ+ relationships.

The first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm will be released August 31st, 2017! Will you be playing it?

How I Contribute to LGBTQ+ Visibility

So we’re now about a week into Pride Month, which means my 100% enthusiasm about being gay will now be unapologetically upped to 1,000%. This month really gets me thinking about my status as a gay male, especially in relation to my existence in contrast to a straight person’s. There are several different topics that come to mind, but the one that seems to float through my brain the most is something I try to contribute to on a daily basis.

That, my friends, would be the topic of visibility.

Now, I could do a whole blog series on visibility alone, but what I wanted to talk about is how I contribute to visibility with how I present myself online. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve mentioned on pretty much all of my bios on social media that I’m gay. I had a very, very long debate in my head as to whether or not this was good because it would enhance visibility, or if it would be bad because it would make it seem like everything about me is defined by the fact that I’m gay. I definitely wanted to slide something in my bios that at least suggested that I identify with the LGBTQ+ community, but in the end, just labeling myself as gay in the bio felt the easiest.

It also felt…right, you know? 

When I meet people in my day-to-day life, there’s not a casual way to make my sexual orientation visible, unless the conversation manages to go in that route (and it definitely doesn’t always). Sure, I could say “I’m Jeff, nice to meet you. I’m gay,” but that’s one of those social scripts that you have to force, thus feeling like your LGBTQ+ status is the ONLY thing you want them to focus on. Not only that, but it’s weird to be a part of when you’re on the receiving end. Because it isn’t a necessary step in greeting someone, trying to get it out there shortly upon meeting them feels like you’re forcing it out, rather than simply presenting it as a fact you want them to know about you due to its importance.

There’s more hesitation in trying to be visible in person, because you’re going to get those direct reactions from people, whether they’re favorable or not. However, people online who see it can react, but they won’t always feel compelled to tell you how they feel about it. If the reaction is good, then great! They know you’re gay, now. Cool beans. However, if their reaction isn’t necessarily positive, having them see it online as opposed to in person means that both parties can avoid whatever sort of impact that could create. I’m not saying that people would be openly hateful about it, but revealing your gayness is vulnerable no matter how many times you do it, so any sort of disapproval could result in quite a negative impact. No matter how comfortable you may be with your sexuality, it still feels like another “coming out” moment, creating a feeling of dread in how the other person will react.

Though these things contribute to difficulties in being visible in society, labeling my identity in my spaces of the internet provides an open way for people I know, whether in cyber-land or in person, to know about this part of my identity without us having to take a chance with an awkward encounter. Though I did struggle with whether this would help or hurt my impact on the community, ultimately, my gayness is a very important factor of my identity. Even though it’s not the only aspect of me that matters, it does contribute so much to how I move through society, and how I’ve been shaped into the person I am, today. It’s very important to me for people to know that I’m gay, not because I’m “shoving it in their face” like some people may think, but because it’s important enough due to how it would influence our interactions. Even if their reaction is to shy away from me due to some homophobic tendencies, I at least made my identity known (and good riddance to them). Even though that could cause some unwanted stress, I know I feel more comfortable having my identity known than having it be a part of me that everyone overlooks, or thinks doesn’t even exist.

See, the thing is: I am gay. My gayness heavily contributes to how I experience life. Though it is not the only thing that drives my experiences, it is something that sheds light on my world view, and how I exist in it. That is why I contribute to this aspect of the community the way that I do. 

I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who’s had this idea, so I’m not trying to present it as if it’s completely original. I just feel that this is the easiest way to be visible (for anyone who feels safe to do so) to be open about their sexuality. Of course, this is not the only way to contribute to LGBTQ+ visibility, but given that the world of social media is such a staple in today’s society, slipping in a quick “yo I’m gay” is the easiest way to show that we have a presence in this society, and straight people should remain aware of that.

Visibility for our community is incredibly important, whether it’s in the media, online, in books, or whatever else can include LGBTQ+ representation. Seeing people in the community in such a public way is so inspiring, which could then inspire others to come out, or even to take more pride in their identity. Though I had my internal struggles about labeling myself in such a public way, it feels good to have it out there. It’s making my identity more visible, and through that, I’m normalizing identities like mine in our society. It’s know it’s not the biggest contribution, but I definitely feel like it helps.