"I’m fine with being gay, but I am also effeminate - my voice, my mannerisms, even the way I walk. People from within the gay community have told me that ‘I’m just making it harder for everyone else to be accepted,’ and people at school have been super accepting, but they still make fun of me for being girly. I am at the point where I don’t even want to raise my hand in class. I’m fine with being gay, but this is horrible. What do I do?"
- Question submitted by Ubuntu
This is so many messed up things all in one.
First, the fact that anyone in the gay community is telling you not to be yourself because you’re making them look bad? FUCK. THAT. Nothing pisses me off more than ANYONE from ANYWHERE like EVER saying “stop being you, it’s making me look bad” … i’M SORRY WHAT? HOW ABOUT YOU FOCUS ON YOU AND I WILL FOCUS ON ME. ugh.
I want to move to your school friends for a second. Chances are, they think that making joke comments about the way you act / talk will show you just how comfortable. We all, at one point or another, make jokes to prove that we’re totally cool with whatever is going on.. I remember having a friend in college who was a gay man and he would make comments about how I was being “so dykey” AND I WAS SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I didn’t have the wherewithall to say something, but if I were me now, I’d literally just be like, “listen, i know you don’t mean anything negative by saying that, but it makes me feel really weird for some reason and it would mean the world to me if you could make fun of my love for popstars or something instead.”
If your schoolmates are cool with you, they’re cool with you. It doesn’t sound like they’re trying to hurt you, it sounds like they’re trying to be funny and failing. SOOOOO… Just say something, don’t make them feel super shitty or anything, just let them know in a gentle and nice way, they’ll come around.
This question makes me want to flip all of the tables in my house over. I only have a kitchen table and a coffee table, so it wouldn’t be quite as dramatic as it sounds… BUT YOU GET MY POINT.
First of all: bullying is bullying is bullying (is being shitty is being mean is being inconsiderate is making people feel othered is deciding what is normal) is bullying is bullying. If you are out there and you think you are just ‘playing around’ with someone by pointing out things that you find to be ‘different’ from other people, hold on just a second and reflect on what you are doing. Do you know that the person you are joking around with is actually enjoying those jokes as well? Are you saying those jokes in front of other people who may not completely understand your sarcasm? Where does your sarcasm even come from, and is that a thing you want to emphasize in this world? These are important things for ALL of us to think about.
Second of all: If you have ever told someone else to not be themselves, to not express themselves, or to hide any piece or part of themselves because you were worried about your own reputation or the reputation of a community: shame on you. This fight, our fight, is about acceptance. That DOES NOT MEAN acceptance of things that still ‘seem normal,’ and it DOES NOT MEAN proving that ‘we’ can be just like ‘them.’ Don’t try to prove your sameness. Be yourself, and demand acceptance. Let others be themselves, and demand that they, too, be accepted.
Third: my advice (sorry for ranting). Regarding other LGBTQ people who knock you, I would advise you to speak some of those words I spoke above. Tell them they are fighting against themselves, and that you are always going to be you. If they don’t understand that, find the people who do — we are out here and we are plentiful. Regarding your schoolmates, I think it would be a really good move to pull a few of the people you trust the most aside and explain how you are feeling. Ask them to act as your ambassadors, so that you aren’t left with explaining everything to everyone. Tell those few, and, since you have been met with a certain level of acceptance already, see if that conversation can spread its wings and alert the others to the fact that their words are hurtful.
I understand why you would be afraid to raise your hand. Know, at the very least, that there are thousands of people reading this right now who would never say those hurtful words, and fight every day so that you can be you without having to feel those awful feelings.