What It’s Like To Be Gay In Trump’s America

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I’ve been putting this off for quite a while, I’ll be honest. I’ve wanted to avoid speaking about this as long as possible because this blog isn’t really about me.

It’s about politics and factual truth. Yes, my views are a major part of the blog, but I’m not the focus; the politics are.

While that’s not changing, I feel it’s important to speak up on who I am, for context’s sake. My second post was a deeply personal letter that I published here because I felt it was important to share.

I’ve been up front about things when they come, but I’ve never really addressed this particular side of me on the blog, for reasons I didn’t really know about until just recently:

The moment I say this, every single word I say will be completely disregarded by a portion of people.

They will be completely blind to everything else I say because of who I am.

The message that I’m trying to get out, the facts, the points, everything will be completely thrown out because I’m simply “using identity politics”* to make a point and not looking at things objectively, even when that’s the majority of what I do here. That’s what I’m setting out to do, anyway.

*More on this in a later post.

It’s like whenever you say anything on the internet and someone who doesn’t know who you are comments and you reply with something that’s logical or pushing against them or even just presenting new facts they didn’t know; the immediate reaction from them is “oh, you’re one of them” or something to that effect.

Except…for members of the LGBTQ+ community, this transfers over to real life as well.

People aren’t stereotypes; they’re individuals. While there may be a correlation, that doesn’t always hold true, in either direction.

Prior to the election, people, strangers I should say, would assume I was straight, mostly out of, I believe, politeness or some pseudo-equivalent in their minds; just a quiet way of pushing my existence back into hiding.

Guys (and I use that term for everyone), I know what my voice sounds like. I know what it sounds like when I speak, how I move, how I interact with people I don’t know.

I’m not “traditionally masculine”; I’m a geeky gay guy with glasses and dyed hair who wears flip-flops all year round and carries around a book bag and kind of acts like a “strong female character”.

I don’t know, I’m trying to make it easy to show who I am outside of the written word and…I’m basically Piper Halliwell from Charmed meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Rachel Morgan from The Hollows by Kim Harrison meets Yuna from Final Fantasy X/X-2 meets Gin from Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep. Throw some Sora from Kingdom Hearts in there and you’ve got me almost completely.

I’m not a bro-y, tough guy, sports fanatic with a deep voice and disregard for general appearance. (I’m not saying that all straight guys are like this or anything, just pointing out the stereotype.)

I’m not flamboyantly bouncy either. (I’ve got masculinity issues from bullying.)

I’m just kinda…me; someone who’s kind of in the middle and watched way too much Charmed. Seriously. I’m like 80% Piper.

Anyway…

Before the election, people kinda left me alone. I’d sometimes get the side-eye from some people (read: men), but for the most part, I faded into the background, discounting the looks I got from my blue/purple/teal hair.

And, yes, I can tell when I was being looked at because of my hair and my sexuality. It’s…a different feeling.

With my hair, the looks always give off the feeling of “that dude’s hair is blue/purple/teal”; with my sexuality, the looks always give the feeling of “how disgusting”. It’s easy to tell the difference.

For one, people at large aren’t as good at controlling their facial expressions as they would like to believe. For another, those feelings you get of people watching you, those instincts built up throughout evolution and growing up, they’re telling. Very telling.

More and more often since November 9th, I’ve been getting those “how disgusting” looks. And it’s terrifying.

It’s terrifying because some of those looks from some of those people, sometimes the feeling they put off very clearly says “I would hurt you, even kill you, if you were alone and I got the chance”. I’m not saying it’s common, but it’s not rare anymore. Before, I’d only felt like that twice. Before, most of the looks were just disgusted, irritated that I existed. Now…

Now, whenever I go out in public, I’m scared. I won’t go anywhere alone, unless it’s somewhere I know will have a lot of people or has a big enough public view where other people could see. I won’t wait outside of the bathroom at the mall for my boyfriend to finish using it when I notice that people are looking my way, giving me those looks, or when it gets too quiet. I won’t walk through the grocery store to grab something alone unless the store’s populated enough.

Some of these I don’t even do consciously and I only just realized I did them as I was typing that out. It’s just an instinct that I’ve somehow obtained or cultivated without realizing. Just noticing how many people are in the store through sound or not walking anywhere I know won’t be in easy view of other people.

Realizing that is almost as terrifying as living it.

I just kinda stopped for a couple of minutes. I feel the need to point that out.

This past summer, I went to a small town bar with my mother, aunt, uncles, and a few cousins, on vacation. The entire time, I felt people watching me; judging me; being disgusted with me; appalled that I had the gall to exist, to even step foot in their bar.

At one point, I got pushed, just a bit, it could’ve been unintentional drunken imbalance, but it wasn’t. At another, I got felt up; not overtly, not super intrusive, but still. That person proceeded to watch me the rest of the time we were there.

(This is what women go through every day. But, sure, men and women are totally equal. Go read this thing I wrote on feminism.)

I avoided the bathroom all night. Until I saw my big huge uncle go in there; then I went. He noticed me in the mirror and started talking to me. I went to the bathroom. That dude that had felt me up and was staring at me came in. My uncle stayed in until I was done. I know he did; I could tell.

Imagine that feeling, take it and ratchet it up even more; now apply that to every single day.

That’s what it’s like now. That’s what every day that I leave my house is like.

I leave my house and I’m terrified, sometimes even just walking outside. I don’t let it keep me from living my life; that’d be letting them win. But…

I’m constantly hyper-vigilant, scared for my safety. Luckily, I’m also incredibly perceptive and it just fades into the background until it’s necessary to notice.

(I’ve probably mentioned this, because I’m a super braggy person about it and it’s a decent-ish way to push back against the rampant idiocy, but I have an IQ of 156; I’m an actual genius.

Let me be clear: IQ is not how smart you are; it’s how easily you process information, how high your capabilities are, even how you process information.

I learn at a phenomenally fast rate and process information faster than I can usually comprehend unless I’m really focusing.

When I tell you that I’m incredibly perceptive, that I can take things apart, that I can see threads and connections where most people wouldn’t until it was obvious, know that I mean it.)

That’s what life is now. Add in the fact that there’s that niggling feeling that’s reminiscent of history lessons of WWII and more and more throwbacks to that time…

It’s terrifying to be gay in this country right now.

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