Like I said before, this Pride Month project has given me such an amazing opportunity to get to know some really unique, talented, and beyond-awesome people. Going into this, I was hoping for some sort of outcoming like that, but I can assure you that this collaborative experience has become way more than anything that I could have imagined.
Each person that has been willing to bear a bit of their soul for the purpose of this month has blown me away, and it makes me so excited to share their words each day.
Today’s piece is written by Kevin, whom I was introduced to by my very great friend Louise. Before I even talked to him, I knew he would be cool. Louise just has this way of gravitating towards people that are worth knowing. Here is how she describes Kevin:
“From meeting Kevin Freshmen year, covered in highlighter in the basement of Llamda Chi, to watching the soulful, creamii rapper perform live – I could tell that he has always had a gift for lighting up a room. I’ve always admired and loved how Kevin could make everyone instantly feel at ease, no matter the situation, like a friend you have known for years. I’m excited for you all to read on about how he finds solace in being part of the LGBTQ community in the same way in which I, and many of the people that know Kevin, have found comfort in him.
He has more talent than Pablo Picasso, the dance moves of Brittany Spears, and an absolute soul of gold. I hope his story inspires you as much as it continues to inspire me. (p.s. Kevin, ILY and miss you more than DHAWL DASH)”
Check out his words here:
I remember laying in bed at night as a kid, in the late 90’s through the 00’s, worrying about my own future. I vividly remember wishing my gay away as I would try to fall asleep. I had instincts of how difficult coming out would be when I got older. I would lay there worrying about how my older brother would view me — worrying about how my straight friends react. Coming out is very mentally taxing. The process is truly the most exhausting thing I’ve endured, just because of how patient you have to be when you receive insensitive or rude responses after you open up with somebody who may not have ever even met a gay person before. BUT it’s worth it. It feels good.
Today, I recognize that being gay is both electrifying and frustrating. I love the camaraderie I share with my “sisters” and I feel like my truest self when I can say whatever is on my mind, without non-identifying people making remarks or raising an eyebrow. This feeling is something my immediate family probably won’t ever understand. The relationship I have with people who are gay or sexually fluid or trans or queer is something I’ve become quite protective of — it is something that I honestly don’t want to share with straight people. Too often, they just don’t want to hear about what is really happening in our world… they may think they do sometimes, but I’ve noticed that even if it’s through their stiff body language — queer-talk can easily make straight people uncomfortable.
Sometimes I wonder how my parents and brother would react if I talked to them about what I talk about with my LGBTQ friends. I’m sure they’d be super uncomfortable and want to crawl in a tiny hole and die — and that kind of makes me giggle. Just because everyone knows for sure that I’m gay, doesn’t mean they can handle the full experience, and honestly, I’m learning to feel content with that. My immediate family offers me strength through advice and love and concern and care. They are what keep me from not tattooing things onto my face that I’d probably regret and adopting 13 cats… they keep me grounded. Even though sometimes I want to be a lot more reckless with my behavior– my family as a unit is always on my mind during the trials and tribulations of life, which is something not everybody can say, so I do my best to not take that for granted.
Friends can shift. You get into fights, you have falling outs, you say words that ultimately break bonds you thought could never break. But there is always community in being gay. In just 5 years, I’ve gotten to meet some people I never thought I would connect with and the common denominator between us is —– gay. We share a bond that is felt without always having to say what you’ve been through in words. We already know first hand how difficult gay experiences can be, especially when you’re young and don’t have a single outlet to open up to, which is why the common threads in our community feel so special and deep.
Speaking of special and deep…… Love. If you’re gay, you’ve never grown up knowing what a prototype of “love” is because it is so underrepresented in our culture. It leaves many of us jaded by the mere idea. I like to speculate that if and when LGBTQ-identifying folks DO experience love, that it may be even more special and even more deep than those prototypes that were always shoved down our throats. Speaking of love – ily Samuel.