Let’s be frank: sometimes being a homosexual man or woman can be completely, utterly exhausting.
The majority of time, at least for me, it feels like a constant waltz of gauging how comfortable others are with you–not to mention you with yourself–and how this plays into the manner of their interactions with you.
Everything related to our quote unquote ‘alternate’ sexuality has to be actively sought after. Special bars, special coffee shops, bookstores, special music, special online dating sites. Don’t get me wrong–it’s fantastic we have these things, and I know the older generations in the community point to these as blatant progress. I’ll point with you. These ARE examples of blatant progress. I certainly recognize that without these outlets any sense of community would be lost. And yet, personally, the mere fact everything I do in terms of sexuality—not to mention dating of any kind–is such an enormous effort, leaves me waving the white flag of surrender to the tune of R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts.”
Melodramatic? Old complaints? Definitely. But if I am resonating with you, then perhaps it’s not simply my latent teen angst.
It would be nice not to have to be ‘tolerated’ as a homosexual woman. Who in their right mind wants to be ‘tolerated’?
I ‘tolerate’ the bitter Minnesota cold–does this mean I have to be it’s best friend? Hell no. Teaching ‘tolerance’ sounds a bit unpleasant; it has a wrinkled nose negative “okay, we’ll leave you alone… we guess,” double meaning.
Acceptance for gay individuals won’t come from tolerating us, it will come when sexual fluidity and different sexualities other than straight are recognized as the norm they actually are (and have always been), and not as the exception to some man-made heteronormative rule.
Which brings me to my oh so very flammable point:
Before I open myself up to derision, I would like to say–I think the ‘It Gets Better” campaign is fantastic, moving, and incredibly important in the wake of such a terrible string of suicides. And with that disclaimer, here I go.
We can’t just say it gets better.
We have to make it better.
We’re working on it, but it’s not enough. We need to work harder. As a homosexual woman, I need to work harder. My straight allies need to work harder. We all need to work harder.
How much better does it get right now? I’m less comfortable with my sexuality and I feel more isolated as a homosexual woman now than I did in high school. This is thoroughly confusing and backwards; I’m 23 years old.
Does it get better?
In the sense of ‘don’t kill yourself’?–Yes. Absolutely. Life, no matter how turbulent–and it will be turbulent, often– is always worth living.
Still, I would venture to say it’s not gotten better for a lot of people (or perhaps I’m in the minority with this feeling) and I, sadly, count myself amongst them. I have wonderful supportive friends and family which I am not in any way taking for granted, but finding lesbian friends, community, events, music, film, literature, not to mention anything resembling a functional romantic relationship is like playing Where’s Waldo? except Waldo is…invisible. All you can do is just hope you bump into the guy. Such an effort is so utterly draining that all that is left is a haunting loneliness. These children–our children, your children, future children–need less bullying, but what they need more than that is less isolation.
It’s not about tolerance.
It’s about visibility.
And maybe it’s the snowy weather, but these days, I can’t see too clear.