"My girlfriend and I had both planned to go to pride in Orlando... she's still dead set on it, but I'm scared. I just graduated and she's just gotten into medschool... I love my community and am proud, but with everything that's happening I'm scared."
-Question Submitted by Anonymous
Hi there, Anonymous.
A few days ago, a friend of mine reached out to see if Everyone Is Gay had any specific resources that she might offer to people who were trying to navigate through the days after Orlando… and I couldn’t find anything that I felt would connect us properly. How could I find something that would connect us properly? As a community – as communities – so much of this is uncharted territory.
In the past week, my thoughts have been wrapped tightly around my own sadness and fear, the sadness and fear of the LGBTQ community as a whole, and the devastation faced by the LGBTQ Latinx community, specifically. I’ve been more silent than usual here on Everyone Is Gay and across my personal social media accounts, because I haven’t known how to speak, what to say, how to engage.
Today, though, I am going to start talking a bit more – and I am beginning with your question because it is one that I am also wrestling with, directly.
First: There is nothing wrong with feeling scared.
I want to repeat this, Anonymous:
There is nothing wrong with feeling scared.
I have always struggled with my own personal fears of being in large groups; a fear that was compounded when a vendor was shot just about five feet away from the booth that Dannielle and I worked at San Francisco Pride in 2013. After that incident, it was months before I could go to music shows or other large gatherings without having my back against a wall and knowing where the exits were. I also lived in NYC when 9/11 happened, which forever altered my own feeling of safety riding mass transit, working in city buildings, and honestly, just living. There were events I didn’t go to in the aftermath of both of those experiences because I was afraid; there were times when I had to get off the subway and take a walk before getting back on and completing my ride.
I don’t mean to conflate any of these experiences, because they are distinct in so many ways; but the one thing they share in common is that they made me feel unsafe in spaces where large groups gathered. That is a part of how I am feeling after Orlando, too, just like you. That fear is weighted differently this year as it intersects with my identity as a bisexual, queer woman who has always aimed to speak as loud as possible about my identity.
I will be working at NYC Pride this year. I will have a booth down where the parade empties out in the West Village where my interns and I will let people know about the resources that Everyone Is Gay has to offer, where people will come to buy themselves hats and shirts that say Everyone Is Gay, and where – as happens each year – many people will come to say hi to me, personally, and tell me how our work helped them get through a break-up, tackle a coming out experience, or find a better understanding of their identity. It’s always a powerful experience, and an important one, and one of many powerful ways that pride celebrations allow us to come together.
I will also be feeling scared while I am down there. I am not sure how scared I will feel or how it will manifest, and I won’t really know until I am there this Sunday, surrounded by so many of your beautiful faces. I also know that many of you will be feeling similar things, and that some of you won’t feel safe enough to attend. That is a sad reality, because LGBTQ people deserve to have spaces where they do not have to feel scared to be who they are… and those spaces are few and far between.
I have had many conversations with those close to me, and with myself, about my own relationship to this year’s pride celebrations, and to gauge my own needs around self-care and wellbeing. I’ve spent that time doing that work so that I could figure out my personal best path forward. For me, that path leads to standing next to those I love, and celebrating who I am amidst the power of that shared space and presence. But that is my path, Anonymous, and the only way to find yours is to have those conversations with those you love, and with yourself. It is okay if you can’t make it out this year. It is okay if you want to talk through things that will make you feel more safe if you do make it out this year.
One thing I can promise is to stand that much taller for you this Sunday – and for (and with) all of you who are also feeling scared and unsure.
I said this the day after Orlando, and I will repeat it here again: If you’re out there, also shakily trying to put one foot in front of the other, you’re not alone. We wobble together.
We can only take these things one moment at a time. We will all continue working to hold each other up, and that includes compassion and understanding for how you, personally, navigate your grief and your fear.
Much love to you, Anonymous.
“I'm a 21-year-old female student and have feelings for another girl, really strong feelings that are far beyond friendship. But I don't want to be lesbian, I want these feelings to go away! I'm so desperate. What should I do now?”
-Question submitted by Anonymous
You know when you go out against your will and you’re like ‘ugh, i really don’t wanna be out right now, i HATE dancing, i don’t like these people THAT much, drunk girls are dumb, i have homework to do, my head hurts and i just wanna be asleep’ AND THEN… your mothereffingJAM comes on (probably SINCE U BEEN GONE) and all of sudden your left arm goes up in the air, your jaw drops to the floor, your eyes get the size or grapefruits, the upper half of your body leans back, and in no time you’re doing this weird crab dance b/c you don’t GIVE A FUCK WHAT PEOPLE THINK B/C IT’S YOUR FUCKING JAM THIS IS KELLY WHY DOES NO ONE UNDERSTAND!?!??!!
Well, this is a lot like your life right now. I mean, let’s be real, this is a lot like everyone’s life before they figure themselves out. You’re going to feel these feelings again. If you decide ‘NO I DON’T WANT TO DANCE’ and you leave the bar, no matter where you go… SINCE U BEEN GONE is going to play again before your life is over. It’s going to play more than once, and eventually you’re going to jam the fuck out.
You can’t help how you feel, 21yearoldfemalestudent, but you CAN help what you do about it. You can try and suppress your feelings all you want, but they’re going to come back. The longer you try and pretend your feelings aren’t there, the harder they’re going to be to deal with.
Also. Why would you deny yourself the opportunity to love someone? Love is the most beautiful, fascinating, breathtaking, mind-blowing, nerve-wracking, nail-biting, wonderful experiences that life has to offer. Don’t pass it up just because you’re scared. Fear vs. Love, y’all.
btw. i’m totally going to start referring to ‘boning’ as ‘jamming out’
If anyone has ever wondered why Dannielle and I work so well together, it is because that is literally exactly what happens to my body when Kelly Clarkson plays. #shegetsme
In other news, yes, figuring out that you may be gay is a lot to handle. You have probably always seen your life a certain way…maybe a husband, a few kids, a couple of houses and an indoor swimming pool. I am not sure how that imaginary life looked, but since it is imaginary, I’m really hoping you included the indoor swimming pool. The hard truth of it all is that it was only imaginary. You cannot know what your life is going to look like before you live it, and so the only advice we can give to you is to stop fighting those feelings, and start trying to accept them.
You may fall in love with a woman who then cheats on you with a married woman whose husband takes solace in your understanding, so then you start boning the scorned husband and accidentally get pregnant and you keep the baby, but you resent the ex-husband so you leave him and move to a farm where you meet the woman of your dreams, and you raise your baby and adopt a dog and grow tomatoes and buy a swing for your porch.
Stop trying to figure out where to put the swing on your imaginary porch, and start at the part where you follow your feelings and kiss that first girl. The rest will follow, and there is no stopping any of it. Try to find people who can help you adjust to these new feelings, but don’t bury them. Take it one day at a time, and send us an email when you kiss that girl and are like, “HOLY BALLS I AM STILL NOT TOTALLY SURE I CAN DO THIS BUT WHEN DO I GET TO TAKE HER CLOTHES OFF?!?!”
"When people ask my why I haven't told my parents I tell them because I know that my parents will disown me. I strongly believe this but my friends who have really healthy relationships with their parents judge me a bit and say I'm overreacting (tho they've never met my parents). I'm scared to tell my parents and feel like it's a dumb idea. What do you think?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Number A. Your friends are jerks for not being supportive of you. Coming out is hard for everyone, harder for some, more than others, and a lot of that is based on family/religion/livinginthebiblebelt.
Letter 2. I always, always, always vote it’s better for them to know. The truth is, you have no idea how they will react, and it’s a matter of you telling them, and them being pissed for a couple of years before finally coming around, or you never telling them and never being able to bring your person home for Christmas/Thanksgiving/Weddings/Birthdays/Reunions/whatever. More than that, never knowing if they would have accepted you. It could also become an issue within your relationship, eventually. I’ve been on the other side of that and it’s EXTREMELY hard. And let’s be real, having to be two people is hard. The person you are with your family VS. the person you are the rest of the time. No Thxxxxx.
First, I think you should ask your friends if they also came out of your mom’s vagina (unless you were adopted, and then that won’t make sense). But SERIOUSLY, your friends do not know your parents better than you, so they need to back off a bit and let you go through your own process. If you aren’t ready to be honest with them just yet, that is a valid decision. You should feel confident that you will know if/when the time is right to have that discussion. Everyone has a different set of circumstances, and while I do think that being honest about your life is extremely important, you have to weigh the consequences and trust your gut.