Coming out a third time
What it means to be Queer for me
If you know me, you’ll know that I am an obnoxiously positive person. I believe that there truely is a silver lining in every cloud, even the clouds you cant see yet. It is over the course of my life so far, that this exact principle I live by has gotten me into more and more holes than I ever thought possible. For the first half of this article, I am in storyteller mode, and then I delve deeper into how these stories relate to what it is like to be queer for me. if you would like to skip the story (which is actually possible) just scroll down until you see large text that says “revelation”.
In grade 8, I met this girl. For the first six months, I absolutely dreaded her. I was on her table for most of our lessons, and it seemed that her mere presence made me a bit ill. We were always at each others throats, a beautiful rivalry at its best.
Note: Being bullied my whole life has always made these situations harder for me, as I tend to lash out a bit more harshly with my words than usual, whereas now if I don’t agree with or like someone wholly, I make sure to remove myself from their life and leave it at that. Nobody needs to be around people who don’t like them, so why should i stay?
Then, out of nowhere, I woke one day, most probably from a dream about her, and was madly in love. This girl could do no wrong in my eyes. Every moment, movement, action was a delight for me to be around, and her safety to me became paramount. Boys came and went, but over the course of 2 or so years, everything I did I hoped that it would somehow bring me closer to her as a person. The only downside to the whole situation would be that she did not reciprocate these feelings, but she treated me so well as a person and instead chose to respect those feelings and be friends with me.
I didn’t really understand the fundamentals of relationships at the time, and instead moved blissfully into a hyper-friendship situation. I always respected that she couldn’t reciprocate the feelings, but she respected that I had a lot of love to give, and let me be the loving person that I can and want to be. I always walked her to her car, bought her gifts on the days capitalism let my baby man emotions free and just generally funnelled most of my positive energy into this person, whilst maintaining a respectful distance for the deeper parts I wanted from the relationship.
It was around the end of grade 10 I started to understand the basics of relationships and at that point my love started to fade. I understood the deeper levels relationships could get to, and as I moved through puberty I started to want more from my emotional relationships. I wanted to respect her more as I wanted more, so I began to limit the amount of emotions I partook in with the idea of her. It was also around this time I started asking more girls out, as essentially my mind became more single, and so did my actions. Of course, it was rejection after rejection, cause most girls just perceived me to be gay and pitied me more so than anything, keeping me around as a friend, just like my first love. I think I will always resent those looks of pity, as if they knew something I didn’t.
Everyone from my school and family hemispheres also knew about the love I held for this girl, and when juxtaposed with the bullying I received for perceptive homosexuality, it made me really confused about my sexuality and what I wanted deeply from other humans. There would be this constant dynamic of guys knowing that I really had it out for her, and they would question me about it, but at the same time keep me as far away as possible because they perceived me as being Gay. I was also afraid that if they found out I wasn’t really into this girl anymore, that they would finally be able to nail down some sort of cliche. Thats the biggest fear I have, not being found out that I was different than the rest, but more just found out to be anything more than a stereotype. I was everyones friends and nobodies friend, all rolled into one. Is that what a therapist is called?
By this point I had also kept up an intense rivalry with this beautiful albino guy, and from a social hemisphere point of view, everyone also knew about it. As I started to drift more and more from her, I funnelled all of my energy into keeping that rivalry up. I always wanted to be the best, and it really awoke some kind of primal dominance in myself. My roasts were better, my genetic defect was rarer, at every step of the way I was just trying to be THE BEST. This rivalry went on for a long time, and I think we secretly both enjoyed it anyway. At least for me anyway. I drove me to be a better person in general, trying to somehow be even more morally correct, if thats even possible, and sometimes on the days I didn’t want to go to school, I would still go just so I could one-up him in some way.
As this odd dominant male competition progressed, so did my sexuality with guys start blossoming. I have always been that kid thats lived two lives, and one of them was being in my fathers side of the family in England, as my parents divorced when I was young. I had a few of these girls-that-I-had-asked-out-but-kept-me-as-a-pet as friends still in England, and because of their culture, their other pet’s sexuality started blossoming as well. In England, on Australia day (of all days), after having my first kiss with a girl ever 26 days earlier in the beautiful glow of a new years sunrise, I had my first kiss with a boy.
This boy I had tuned into a bit was from a friend group I was in at the time in England and was cute in the way that he was just doing what he loved (theatre) and had odd features in his face that separated him from other guys. I’ve always admired little quirks in people, things that make them stand out. Everyone was still on myspace at that point, but it was also around the time Facebook got slightly more popular, so it still felt that I could reach out in a relatively safe way on Facebook because no one in Australia had it. We got messaging, and arranged to go for a walk and watch Ponyo on the cliff by the sea (old style “netflix and chill”). Making out and just exploring that side of your sexuality is so important for growing as a person, even though it was a weird experience, its supposed to be weird, so I just enjoyed the heck out of it.
This was a more one off type of experience, but not in a negative way. I walked him to his bus stop and we had a hug and that really was that. I am sure it was a crazy time for the both of us and living in Australia would’ve just made everything more complicated.
Low and behold though, quite literally the next day, I met my next love, and he was a guy this time. Just like girls in the past, he kept me around, never truely developing the relationship further than what he needed from me. The only difference in this one was that he actually LIKED me back. I don’t think I will ever forget the day. Two days fresh out of turning 17, I took my sister to Lancaster to do some shopping, I sat down on the train, I locked eyes with this guy, he locked eyes with me for what felt like eternity and that was it. From that moment something deep inside me felt “Have you met this person before?”. I distinctly remember that that is what the feeling would be titled. I felt some kind of invisible history between us, something further back than that day. I chalked most of it up to small town fever, and just enjoyed the butterflies I felt as we both kept stealing glances from each other, sometimes meeting eyes again. Anything he ever did to me felt like icy poles and fire balls shooting through some isolated part of my body, or all at once. He was also this beautiful mix of British and Portuguese, which helped absolutely nothing.
Me and my sister got off the train, and I thought that was it. I respected the moment for what it felt like, and I moved forward into the fun day that was likely to be ahead. We ended up running into this guy and his friend group multiple times throughout the day. Every time it was just like a shot straight to my brain. All these possibilities, feelings flooding back, the exact same feelings I had had for my first love. I used to fall in love within seconds. Now I would say I keep it on a pretty tame leash these days. 2 hours into a date, at minimum.
Because life loves to fuck you up most of the time, by coincidence we were all catching the same train back to the village we all ended up being from. I ended up being closer to him on the train this time, and god did it BURN. As we hopped off he approached me and asked me “Have we met before?”. I couldn’t deal at that point, I just remember melting into a puddle and then I was back home. He separated from his group just to walk and talk with me and my sister, asking me more questions and wondering who I was. It was severely intoxicating. Again, I wasn’t really into relationships with guys at that point, it was more of an evolving side to me. Well I mean it was one day in, so I would have to cut myself some slack. The encounter finished, and I walked home as the butterflies flitted their wings and eventually flew off.
One month later, back in Australia, settling into grade 12 life, I had a random Facebook request. It was him. Back in those days you couldn’t just whisper their name into the air and have all their social media sites come up on cue, you actually had to have their last name and to have met them at least once so you could know which profile picture to search for. This made my stomach do backflips.
Frankly, I had had no awareness of sexuality at this point, and it was still months and months off. I barely even knew what gay was, let alone how it worked. I had some blueprint on what it was to be a lesbian, but gay, no data found. So I still wasn’t really into the idea of relationships with men, which of course confused me, but hey, thats life!
We exchanged messages back and forth, sometimes skyped, like digital love letters from far across the globe. For the both of us, the friendship developed oddly into a more amorous one, and then slowly we were exchanging messages of deep love, gratitude and sharing our experiences with each other. I think it confused us both, extremely. On my side of the world I had no idea what gay even was, so I was just confused about what it was like to be in a relationship where someone also loves you, how to be yourself in a relationship and so forth. On his side, he was closeted, was older and more mature and had a beautiful family life that was being torn apart by cancer. The relationship was doomed to fail from the very start, and I see that more and more every day, and going through those emotions and not being afraid of them have helped me deal with them as we drifted apart further and further.
So fast forward now to 2017, I am 23 and trying my best to lead an emotionally healthy life. I have a lot of positivity and love to give, but only recently has it occurred to me that I can funnel these energies to things like my passion for work instead of people who like to use me as a person and then toss me aside when they are done. I can funnel that energy into other loving beings that give love back, and I can also channel that energy in small amounts for those right moments when I just need everything to go good.
What these stories have to tell about being queer, is that the root definition in my reality for being queer is that it is just a sexuality of giving love. For me, it helps me to categorise myself for those that just have to categorise, but also helps me to define and seperate my world based on what I need to grow as a person and what is keeping me down.
It was around the time that one of my friends came out to me as trans, and having liked him before as a boy, called into question a lot of my feelings towards sexuality itself and what it meant to be defined by your sexuality. I always was in denial that by being non-straight, I was never going to be defined by my sexuality. It was these questions that I asked myself that blew a part my philosophy for love, relationships and sexuality.
After finally letting everyone at school know I wasn’t straight at schoolies, the goading began as I entered a more gay lifestyle.
People said, and still do say, that they knew I was gay before I even knew, which always makes me feel sick right near my belly button and stomach area. I heavily disagree with people who do this, because it is just a quilt of judgements made upon a person which in turn makes them feel even more isolated, as if they were dumb enough to not know something right from the start. The reality is that these sweeping statements sweep every gay person into one box, and in my case, the box was the positive ally, always there to lend a funny and positive hand and to be oh so gay (lighthearted and carefree) about it all.
Being the positive person I am, since schoolies I have lived a predominantly gay lifestyle, as expressing myself emotionally has been the easiest in this community. Gay people are quite cut throat, and I honestly love it 80% of the time. There’s always some type of hyper-drama going on as well, so its great material. I have met way too many “You’re gay and thats the way you’ll stay” kind of guys (both straight and gay), and its also been really toxic towards my sexual development as a person. But as we move into a post-feminist era, men have started expressing themselves more and more casually, and I have found my straight relationship’s developing much more because of this new straight male’s willingness to overlook the way I express myself and look further into my personality. This is all started when i started asking myself this question:
This question felt most appropriate as it encompassed all queer aspects of a person, and tried its hardest to disregard well-established stereotypes such as breasts being only a female attribute. This also takes into account a post-transition phase for this made up person, as in my reality I perceive trans not to be of a sexuality, but more of a phase of moving from who you are not, to who you truely are. It just so happens that most popular of transitions humans can go through have been those of sexuality and gender.
As this question rolled around in my head, the more and more it eroded everything I thought my sexuality to be. By this point I had just accepted that I was just a gay with straight history. I thought that I would actually be fine being in a relationship where people perceived my partner to be male, but was inherently female. Which in turn, if considered from a different angle, that would “technically” make me straight, with a very masculine partner. After that question was answered, a million more then flew in. What did that mean for me sexually? Am I actually straight? If I enjoy masculinity but also femininity, where does that leave me? And that was the start of my queer awakening. I essentially moved from a gay with straight history to fully queer.
It also didn’t help that there is basically nothing bisexual yet, everything is either straight or gay/lesbian. Trans is only just finding its feet. The evolution of seeing yourself reflected not physically in the space around you, but emotionally, helps peoples consciousness to develop and helps people to build lives that are more tailored to them, rather than tailored to making sure stereotypes stay alive. I was lucky enough to have an internal monologue doing the questioning for me.
I still barely know anything about what it is to be queer, but there isn’t that much to know I don’t think. A part from queer history, the queer life that I am leading now seeks to destroy the stereotypes that need and want you to define your partner, your friends and your family. This culture pushes you to base your judgements on what you think you might know, rather than what they have already done, or something that you DO know. If a straight person can tell me a story of a time when they have kissed someone of the opposite sex and didn’t like it, then ill willingly accept that they are straight. I know that I have definitely been that launching pad for others on many an occasion, and if i’m being honest, those are definitely exciting times when that happens. The experimenters always remember their firsts, and its very poetic to imagine yourself etched into someones memory for all eternity, till death doth you part.
Thats called trying something out, and we do it in all areas of our life. I just cant accept that people don’t want to try out something different sexually, people do it all the time in their normal lives. Bedtimes, food, partners, phones, you name it, someones probably tried something different.
So it is through all this learning that I am dedicating my love to my passion, which is loving. But by learning more and more about my self sexually, it has helped me to discover that I enjoy giving love in all areas, not just to a partner. But also to myself. I have learnt how to make sure love doesn’t always define my work, but that I should love the work I do. I have been taught to not love myself, and sometimes its just hard to get people to see that confidence doesn’t necessarily mean I love myself. It just means that I have been put through a hell of a lot, and I have had no other choice than to be strong in the face of my oppressors, and to rise up and create a world I would be happy to live in.