When I took the plunge and came out as a QUEER individual, my parents weren’t the types of people who feared my tarnished soul would end up in the fiery pits of hell.
They didn’t send me to conversion therapy or endlessly pray for my redemption.
I was one of the lucky ones: My parents are two open-minded, forward-thinking individuals who dutifully educated me about the upmost importance of accepting all kinds of people throughout my childhood.
That’s not to say they were ready to put on their glitter jumpsuits and throw me a “coming out” party.
They were scared -- not for my queer soul, but for my queer life.
They worried life would be hard for me as I would inevitably face heaps of cruelty and homophobia from the plethora of bigoted entities of the world.
They wished I wasn’t queer not because they were in any way ashamed of my sexuality but because they had witnessed, firsthand, the unethical treatment society bestowed on to their queer friends.
After all, they came of age in a time where gay bars were incessantly raided by the police and men were arrested with their first and last names printed in the local newspaper -- for simply being there.
Two generations later, and a lot of the kids I talk to regarding the struggles of coming out reflect the same fears as my parents.
While they're able to accept their sexual identity, they're laden with sheer terror that their lives are going to be a never-ending fight. A daunting uphill climb.
Today is the day when I reveal some really awesome f*cking news to all of you concerned parents and afraid LGBTQ+ kids of all ages: It’s a blessing to be queer, not a curse.
I promise you I haven’t fallen off my rocker (at least not yet). While I’m not denying the slew of idiotic bigots I’ve been confronted by in my day (though truth be told, the most twisted breeds of homophobes are slowly dying out in America -- we're already down one since the 2014 death of the hate-spewing Fred Phelps), however, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve reached the empowering revelation that there are so many positives to being queer.
Positives that outweigh any and all negatives.
We all know being queer is absolutely NOT a choice -- but at this stage in the game, even if it were, I would choose my LGBTQ+ lifestyle over a heteronormative one. I’m grateful to be a member of this badass community, and here is why:
You have an instant family of people who are eager to support you.
The queer community is so incredibly supportive of its people.
When you’re struggling to come out, battling a black depression or moving to a new city where you don’t know a soul, head to your local LGBTQ+ Center.
In an instant, you will have a network of people who are on your side, regardless of how long they’ve known you.
The LGBTQ+ community has an affectionate secret name we call one another, and that’s “family” -- you will hear us ask everyone from waiters in restaurants to girls in bars to new friendships we cultivate on the street if they’re “family.”
Because we are a family -- queer people share a special bond with one another, no matter how different we are.
The adversity we’ve faced in our lives has made us stand together, and we are a strong, loving community I couldn't be prouder to be a part of.
We have the power to educate and open minds.
Through practicing patience and compassion, we have the ability to educate the people we love.
We have the ability to open up the eyes of a person who is blinded by ignorance as a result of their fear, upbringing or culture.
We can show a person we are not different to him or her and make a positive, ever-lasting impact on his or her life.
We can easily weed out the bullsh*t.
OK, lez-be-honest my queer babies: Being LGBTQ+ isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.
While the subgroups of hateful bigots have vastly diminished due to the rise of education and LGBTQ+ visibility in the media, they’re still out there.
And sometimes you will find the most hurtful bullies in the most unexpected places, like in your group of friends.
While most of my friends were unsurprised and unaffected when I opened up about my sexuality -- there was also a small handful of "friends" who iced me out.
People who I was once close to began to suddenly look at me differently and make hurtful, homophobic comments behind my back.
While I am enthused to debunk the myths about being LGBTQ+ to my friends and family who are genuinely confused and uneducated -- I’m even more enthused to cut out those who are teeming with nothing but unabashed hatefulness and dark negative energy.
I don’t want those people in my life, and I’m grateful for their transparent homophobia because it's granted me the ability to see them as they are: unkind and unnecessary to my life.
We don't subscribe to traditional gender roles.
I can’t imagine how oppressive it would be to be forced to do things a specific way because of the gender I was born into. It feels so outrageously backward to me.
We queer people have the luxury to simply play to our strengths because we have no preconceived notion of who is supposed to take on what gender role.
We do what feels right, often fluctuating between both masculine and feminine roles within different aspects of the same relationship.
We are actively part of a movement that is changing the course of history.
We are currently amidst the biggest LGBTQ+ rights movement history has ever borne witness to. And by simply being out and unashamed of who you love, you're inspiring positive change in the world.
How cool is that?!
We are wildly empathetic.
It doesn't matter where you land on the spectrum of LGBTQ+ sexuality -- we all know what it feels like be different.
All of us in within the community have experienced a similar childhood anxiety, the swelling fear that what we found to be sexually attractive might be different from Peg and Max who sat two desks over and longingly gazed into each other's eyes, like boys are girls are supposed to do... right?
Whether you were a girl lusting after Peg, or a boy feeling hot for Max, or a girl wanting to be Max, or a boy desiring them both -- facing your queerness is hard to do.
Because we know how isolating it feels to be on the outside.
We are wildly empathetic to the pain of others. We have a keyed-in, hypersensitivity to the sufferings of all human beings in the world.
This is why we’re often great artists, writers, directors, actors and creative -- we have an inherent understanding of humanity.
Our culture is fabulously diverse and undeniably colorful.
The LGBTQ+ community is rich with so much diversity and incredible characters.
When you're forced to look adversity in the eye -- you come out the other side the most honest, fully-realized version of yourself.
Our culture is filled with awesome self-expressive people who don't hold back who they are.
So darling, don't worry your queer little head. This life is a blessing, not a curse.