Normally, Pride Month just sort of passes under my radar. I’ll see the odd meme or see a logo change, but it doesn’t really have a large presence in my social media feeds. This year, though, my feeds are full of Pride posts. At the same time, I’m listing to lots of 90's alternative, and it’s gotten me thinking about when I was in my teens / early twenties, and my uncomfortable relationship with the LGBT+ community (mostly the LG part). Please excuse me while I word vomit for a bit, since there’s not many places I can share stuff like this.
I’m attracted to men and women. I tried to come out to my mother in my teens, and was told straight up that, no, I was not attracted to women and that if that were true, my gay cousin or aunt would have said something to her and they hadn’t. I was also told that being bi meant you were confused and probably also a slut.
Also, if I brought a girlfriend home, I could kiss away my college tuition. Being gay was for my cool cousin and the aunt that she couldn’t do much about, not her only child.
I didn’t feel too terrible about this, since accepting me as I was wasn’t my mother’s strong suit. I decided to go get support from the local LGBT+ groups near me.
It... didn’t go well.
You know those posts where people who can’t be out are encouraged to stay safe and that they’re still accepted? Yeah, that wasn’t the late 90's in my area. If you weren’t out, you were ostracized. It wasn’t just that no one would go on a date with you. You got the hairy eye at meetings, and even people who were friendly with you pressured you to come out as soon as possible, consequences be damned.
And being bi? Yeah, anti-bi feelings were high, especially on campus. You were pressured to ‘pick’ or it was implied that you only were into opposite-sex relationships because they were a cop out. If you were dating a dude, you were pretty much invisible to the community, including the allies. Hook up with a woman? You were just a ‘college lesbian.’ Try to pursue a relationship, and it got awkward really quickly, because you weren’t out (okay, fair) or ‘gay’ enough (wtf).
So, yeah, I backpedaled out of that pretty quickly. It was honestly much worse than being rejected by my mother. I expected that shit from her. I didn’t expect that sort of backlash from the community that was supposed to be ‘for’ me.
So, today, I joke that my sexual orientation is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, but the reality is I’m still kind of struggling with what I went through back then, and I still don’t feel welcome in the larger LGBT community.
Is it just me? Anyone else have a weird relationship with this month?