From: Les-Be-Friends on Jun 29 15, 01:01 (edited: Jun 29 15, 01:36)
I thought today about when I first understood that I was gay (is it really already fifteen years ago?) I was reminiscing over the excitement of learning something new about who I was, the uncertainty of what it meant - just generally remembering my young queer self, I suppose. I found myself reflecting on my earliest exposure to the complexities of gay life, on how I began to identify with gay pride, and how I learned about the diversity of love. I was struck by how profoundly things have changed since those days, when it still seemed sometimes like I was making a choice to live my life differently, when all I was doing was trying to live authentically.
We all want to be ourselves. To be recognized for who we are - people who love and hope and dream...who kiss, hold hands, flirt, have one-night stands and great love affairs, break hearts and have our hearts broken. Who live, and want to live, just as we are, without asking to be excused for the gratuitousness of our existence. To live without apology or shame or fear, in open view, as many do every day of their lives. It is an extraordinary gift, one that I hazard to say you cannot appreciate fully unless it may be taken away (or indeed, has never really been yours to have).
This is the great truth of our struggle. That living and loving should belong to everyone, to have without question. Because its ours. All of ours.
Yes, when denied, we still took what was ours. Or at least we tried. Often in secret, behind closed doors, invisible to everyone but each other, terrified at being found out. Some of us allowed ourselves to hate, and scorned traditions that excluded us and highlighted our inequality. Some of us bent (broke?), and purchased conditional acceptance for the exorbitant price of never loving themselves unconditionally. And sometimes, wildly defiant, we waved flags in faces and strutted in parades so that everyone MUST see us.
How desperately we wanted to be seen.
And how much has changed in fifteen years. (In ten!) Fear gradually - but not entirely - replaced by hope. Every crushing failure pushed back by a swell of heartening victories, victories that promised one day to give us everything we ever wanted. And what we wanted was so simple: just to be free to join others in the open, to share in our common humanity (or even merely just to have it acknowledged).
The promise has yet to be fulfilled in its entirety. There are wrongs still left to right, challenges to face, and people to convince as we emerge from the margins.
But right now, I just want to bask in this light. I am grateful and joyous. And I have hope.