I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends and strangers on the internet about what it’s like being queer in a straight relationship, especially after the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando this past weekend. It’s hard for everyone in the LGBTQIA community right now to deal with knowing that someone out there was so full of rage and hatred that they came to one of our safe spaces and shot so many of us down. Like we were nothing. Like we deserved it.
How does this happen?
Well, hatred, basically. Hatred of people unlike yourself. Hatred of the unknown. Hatred out of jealousy, perhaps. Hatred of people who are free to be themselves, who are unafraid to be honest. Growing up in an environment where queer folk are the butt of jokes, where queer folk are persecuted simply for being who they are, for loving who they love.
But that’s not exactly what this is about.
I’m just trying to figure out if I’m even allowed to talk about this. Am I allowed to feel the rage and sadness of the queer folk who are in queer relationships? Am I allowed to cry, really cry, really feel the pain and weight of this while reading about the lives of those lost in the Orlando shooting? Where the hell do I stand in all of this? Am I an ally or am I a part of the community? What if I have no LGBT friends that I see or speak to on a regular basis? What if I’ve never been to pride? Never donned a rainbow t-shirt or bumper sticker? What if I never inhabit queer-friendly spaces? What if I am not active in the fight for LGBT rights? What if some folks don’t even know I’m queer? What then?
After spending a few days in silent contemplation (which is to say, randomly Tweeting about it and consulting with some of my lovely Facebook groups), I’ve decided all it means is that I need to accept that I AM allowed to talk about it, that it DOES affect me, that I AM queer and I need to be as open about it as I possibly can be.
Because there’s no one way to be gay, or lesbian, or queer, or straight.
And the more i think about it, the more I know it’s true. Sure, I’ve never been a regular at a gay bar, but I did watch all of The L Word and I love reading AfterEllen and I check out girls (or anyone attractive, really) as much as any guy does and I enjoy a good yuri anime and I don’t always dress or act “according to my gender” and this is all part of my personal queer identity.
It’s Okay to be queer in a straight relationship. It’s okay to be queer in a queer relationship. It is ALL Okay.
And my suggestion to you, queer reader who is in a straight relationship, is to figure out your own path and accept that you’re also a part of this. That it’s okay for you to be feeling sad or depressed or angry this weekend, that it DOES hit closer to home for you than for our allies.
A wonderful Queer Friend was quick to point out to me that I am family.
That I am accepted. That I am loved. It brought me to tears. It was validating to hear. I need to hear it. I need to know it. So this is just a note to tell you all the same. Just because you aren’t with someone of your gender right now doesn’t mean you’re suddenly straight. It doesn’t mean you’ve got “straight-passing privilege” (because that’s bullshit). It doesn’t mean you don’t count, that your voice shouldn’t be heard, that your opinions don’t matter to the community, because they DO.
I’m still settling into the queer label (as I always identified as bisexual), but I know that this is all a part of me. And this, fellow queer reader in a straight relationship, is a part of you, too.