Everyday I walk around with a gun to my head

The other day a straight friend asked me what the hardest part was about being LGBT

So, I told him.

I am an athlete. I am a brother. I am a son. I am an American. And I am bisexual.

The hardest part about being LGBT is probably the guilt that you carry around with you everyday, like an anchor strapped to your back. It is heavy and exhausting. After a long day you just get home and collapse into bed, after hours of hiding who you are.

But no, that can’t be it. The hardest part about being different has to be the way that your family treats you. Your family who said they would love and support you no matter what. Your aunts and uncles who would call you every Sunday night only to subject you to periods of uncomfortable silence. Your parents who look at you like you’re someone else, who look at you like you’re something else, who look at you with disappointment in their eyes.

No, no, no, that’s definitely not the hardest part. The most difficult thing about being bi must be the way that straight girls say that you’re too gay, or the way that gay guys say you’re too straight.

Woody Allen once said, “Bisexuality doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.” He was wrong.

I guess the hardest part about being LGBT is the way you lose old friends or how you can’t make new ones. Longtime friends suddenly become “way too busy” once they find out the truth and new friends just stop responding to your texts.

Some might say that the hardest part is the way that the media portrays you. Risky. Unfaithful. Disease-ridden. Confused. Greedy. Broken.

Perhaps what’s even worse than being called names is being told that you don’t exist, that you’re just experimenting, that it’s just a phase, that you just want attention.

But the attention isn’t always good. Not the attention you receive from the bar crowd yelling fag at you as you grab a drink with a guy, not the attention you get as they throw bottles at your head, and certainly not the attention that you get from your relatives every Thanksgiving.

That being said, it’s not the rare family gatherings that hurt most. It’s really the day to day stuff. Every day comes with the same baggage, the same fears, the same questions:

  • Will this person leave me if they find out the truth?
  • Will this person stop dating me if they learn who I really am?
  • Will that guy eyeing us from across the bar yell something? Throw something? …do something? ……shoot something? Time to go home.

There is no such thing as a typical day when you’re LGBT. Every place is a war zone, every person is a potential combatant, and every minute of every day you walk around with a loaded gun pressed to your head. That gun is called homophobia.

Also, when you’re bi you have your own set of problems. As usual, stupid questions abound:

  • But if you like girls and guys then why don’t you just pick girls? It doesn’t work like that, it depends on the person.
  • So which one do you like more? Again, it depends on the person.
  • Do you like every guy you meet? No.

It’s easy to ignore them, it’s hard to teach them.

When you live in a world dominated by religion, and when most religions teach their followers to hate you, you live in a world of fear.

  • You wonder how so much hate could emerge from so many organizations purportedly built on the foundation of love.
  • You wonder why you can’t donate blood to dying children, even when you’ve been tested and declared HIV-negative.
  • You wonder if you should hold hands with someone of the same sex based on the neighborhood you’re in.

I guess the hardest part about being different, about being bi, about being LGBT, about being whatever, is the isolation. It’s lonely.

I remember a few months back there was some “straight pride movement” and someone said, “Well, why can’t straight people have pride too?”

You can, but it’s not the same. Straight pride faces little to no opposition.

You don’t have to worry about being kicked out of a store or a restaurant.

You don’t have to worry about being fired from your job for dating someone.

You don’t have to worry about being evicted from your apartment for the same reason.

You don’t have to worry about being teased.

About being attacked.

About being killed.

You have nothing to worry about when it comes to love.

Same-sex couples are different. Every time I date a guy these fears all come rushing back (that’s why it’s sometimes easier to date girls, but again it depends on the person and how much I love them).

LGBT pride is about being confident and comfortable in your own skin, even in the face of adversity, assumptions, and sometimes even violence.

With few role models and fewer signs of improvement, sometimes things can feel…bleak (for lack of a better word). Sometimes it can be depressing.

Still, at times there is hope. Like when you see great bi role models like the one in this book, or like the Senator Elizabeth Warren, or the artist Frank Ocean. These three role models give me hope.

But truth be told, it’s hard. It’s hard being different, but at the end of the day it’s worth it.

Truth be told, I don’t mind living with a gun pressed to my head, because I know I would be willing to take a bullet for the person I love (no matter what they look like or identify as).

Your friend,