I’ve been called gay a lot.
When I was young, I had faggot written on my gym clothes a couple times. Been picked on on the school bus, been called a queer at clubs, sporting events. My dad sat me down and asked me if I was gay, after I came back from college. My mom, in her mom-ly way, asked plenty of times. Teachers. Dad sat me down again like twelve years after college and asked me again (lol srsly tho, does u has the homos). One memorable time I had it spit in my face at a lunch table, and when I chose to pay up and find a less phlegmatic place to eat my fries, two more folks threw their (pro) opinion in on the Great Gayness Debate. I mean, _I_ knew I liked looking at boobs, but when you’re a young virgin with zero sexperience, life is a confusing, terrifying haze of insecurity. After the accusations piled up and mounted in direction, I started to wonder. I mean, this was like some kind of social signalling, right? This many people can’t all agree on a thing without some kind of significance to their accusation. They could site all kinds of reasons I was a faggot, from drivin’ in the fashion of one to liking “their” type of music, my disdain of the cocaine-and-cheap-vodka-pressure-cooker rapeshed atmosphere of dance clubs, my lack of proper bro-upmanship to male friends who successfully cheated on their girlfriends (regardless of how hot the chick was – this earned me a “giant faggot” I think that’s like the difference between Assault and Aggravated Assault), my clothes, my “faggy eyes” and my “soft little gayboy face”. Even my love of books was a significant statistical point, and what did I have to balance all this? My insatiable lust for vagina? Hardly enough, it would seem, to balance over such a huge pile of obviously reasoned opinions.
Clearly we needed more data. I catalogued all my interactions as I entered the adult world. Again, more data, again, no solution to the equation. I just kept having to assess. Did I have frosted tips? OF COURSE I HAD FROSTED TIPS. IT WAS THE 90S YOU GUYS. Did I keep my hair neat? Yeah, my shit’s all curly and it looks greasy unless I do something with it. Was I fat? Duh. Was I introverted? Of course I was, I was constantly trying to figure out why I was straight when I was CLEARLY gay. Did I tip even the ugly lookin’ strippers at the strip club? YES, DID YOU NOT SEE THE CHEWED UP DROOPY HALF-TAN ORANGUTITTY HOMEGIRL JUST SHUCKED OUT HER FILTHY GREY K-MART NURSING BRA? THAT WOMAN HAS CHILDREN TO FEED. LIKE EIGHTY CHILDREN OR SOMETHING — OF COURSE I’M GONNA DROP A FIVE. IF SHE DANCES FOR TOO MANY MORE SONGS WITH ALL YOU CHOADS SCRATCHIN’ DICK WELL OFF THE RAIL, I MIGHT BE FORCED TO GO BUY HER A FUCKING BREAST PUMP AND SOME VITAMINS AND A BOOK ABOUT BECOMING A DENTAL HYGIENTIST. I neither fell in love with a stripper nor believed one was secretly in love with me. I didn’t think joining the Army would be that much fun, I hadn’t shot a gun, stolen money from my parents, vandalized the school to stick it to the man, nor snuck out late at night to meet up with my “boys”, I’ve _still_ never caught a fish. I shouldn’t have to point here that Team Hetero is losing the numbers war in a big way, and I could keep on these completely un-straight facts about myself for seven more rambling pages, but you can relax, I won’t.
It took years of gathering this data and taking it to heart, amassing such a huge wide catalog of reasons I’m a faggot that it bordered on silly, accepting that there was simply something wrong with me that for whatever reason I couldn’t quantify. I accepted my faggotry. Over the years I toyed around with things. Had some awkward threesome makeouts with some very lovely couples. I called myself “Bi” in college. Maybe it was because I was confused, maybe it was because I wanted to be. Bisexual is still sexual, and that’s better than asexual faggot. Obviously the chicks weren’t diggin’ my whole faggy “situation” as outlined above, and while I still wanted to stick my weiner in THEM, many of them seemed quite convinced that I was looking for a penis to stick in me.
And so it went, for years and years. I dated, mostly online, I found people who were willing to talk to me despite my fagginess. I found women to date, and people to talk to. And I stopped trying to correlate other people’s “data” to my reality. It turns out that’s not healthy, you can’t try to live for others perceptions, and you can’t try to live for their validation. And back when I was trying to balance the sheets on my sexual preferences considering outside sources as valid as my own opinions? Every single accusation was terrifying, every time my dick was called to doubt it slayed my confidence and my mood. Now that I know better? I just look at the hater who is spitting his hate, and think, “Bitch, I know I’m fabulous! That homo hate? Old and busted. You need to upgrade your haterade to something fresh.” And that’s what’s up.
It does get better, in part because as you get older the accusations of others have less impact, but mostly because you learn how to make it better. You learn how to weed out the assholes and let them live their miserable lives as far away from you as you can. You learn how to be you. I’m 33 now. All official. And I’ve finally learned how to be me without fear and without shame. It’s magnificent.