PRIDE: My Lack Of

such is an uphill battle.

Gay.

The word itself still holds images and stereotypes of a man with jean shorts, holding any sort of object with the wrists facing the air, and walking short strides with legs incredibly close together. An image of a gay man has been embedded within me that I grew to hate it — grew to be something other than it. It is in the small conversations with people saying, “oh, he’s gay, huh” because of their higher pitched voice and the way they walk. It is in the conversations when Obergefell v. Hodges passed to allow same-sex marriage and hate crimes surged towards the LGBTQ community. It is when my own peers use the word faggot to tease me and call out others. With all of these shattering perceptions of a gay man, how is it expected of me to embrace all of my colors?

That is why —

I walk masculine. I make sure to separate my legs and walk with them aligned with my shoulders. Not too small of strides, but quite larger ones. Not too fast, but a lot slower. Hands either in my pocket and if I am holding something, I make sure to hold it all down and not grip it anywhere above my waist. Because if I do, it is too feminine, too gay.

That is why —

I speak in a lower octave. I make sure every time I speak, whether in a crowd or with one person, it is slow and low. The lower I speak, the more credibility I will receive as a straight male. Because if I speak with my natural voice, the higher-pitched one, the people I am speaking to will be distracted and spend their time wondering if I am gay.

That is why —

I wear darker clothing. Anything brighter than a maroon might be too flamboyant and will ostracize me. Wear black. Wear gray. Wear navy blue. Because if I wear anything other than the darker clothing, then I will be seen as “one of those gays” or “a gay with a great sense of fashion.” It is better for me to blend in than to stand out.

Of it all, it is an uphill battle for me. My own fragile masculinity is combating the LGBTQ community, my people. I consciously stray away from making gay friends because I don’t want to “be seen as one of them.” I avoid any conversations of sexuality for it has burrowed deep in my subconscious.

I fear who I am because it is my cis-gendered, straight friends who create this phantom fear. With all the puissant voice that straight people hold, it is used to ridicule and marginalize. And as PRIDE comes up, I give myself every excuse possible to avoid attending. For I hold no Pride yet, but little by little, I am letting loose and embracing all the colors I truly am.

— Marco-Landon 6/22/17