Pride celebrations fill my heart with joy. What I see today for an older queer like me at seventy-six sometimes moves me to tears. We’ve come a long way, baby, and learned to take better care and defend ourselves. And yet, despite our battles, daily scrimmages play out with kids and teens attempting to be themselves. I toast supportive parents, teachers, and friends who come to their aid. May you multiply tenfold.
If I could only stand in the back of every classroom in America guarding the trans kid, the stutterer, the chubby one, and the one with the thick bottle bottom glasses from violence. In place of this, I offer the blossoming queer life advice I wish someone had given me. Of course, I didn’t listen, but that’s another story.
I wish someone had told me…
…not to beat myself up because I wasn’t out. You come out when it feels right for you. Things have gotten better, yes. And my one selling point to you today is authenticity. The more time I spent in the closet pretending to be someone else, the longer it took me to discover my authentic self. I say, get going on this one by moving an inch closer each day.
Despite parental and societal pressure, I did not need to know who I was, where I was going, and who I wanted to be by the age of twenty-five, damn it. I spent years pretending to be someone else and, at times, almost being me but not entirely. How could I possibly know what the real me needed and wanted?
This one is huge: if you are out and proud, building your persona on being hot, young, and desirable, keep in mind this comes to a disastrous dead end as it fades away and leads to long-term disappointment. Have fun while honing traditional (yes) values like truth and loyalty, kindness, and self-reflection.
Your heart will likely be broken and not be like the TV series Heartstopper. But you will get over it. Here’s an idea: work on being comfortable single because it’s the foundation of your future great relationship.
Acting straight to seem more attractive to others will only prevent you from making authentic connections. Be who you feel like deep inside. Somebody out there will totally love you just the way you are.
Be nice, even to those you don’t want to date. That’s how you meet your lover.