Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better and more interesting place. – Capt. Raymond Holt (Brooklyn 99)
I went to a counsellor once with an issue troubling me. I happened to mention someone I was seeing at the time – a girl. He listened to me carefully while I make it very clear that I am comfortable with who I am and do not wish for him to keep harping on my sexuality. A while later, he looked me in the eye and in a serious tone said, “What you’re doing, its wrong, you know that?”. At first, I was unsure of what he was talking about so I asked him what he meant. To which he replied “that bi thing”, which only increased my concern. For a moment, I was taken aback and went cold. I did not know what to reply. In my mind, I kept thinking what did I ever do to deserve a homophobic counsellor. I think I was also taken aback because of how – after listening to my entire story with concern – he could say something like that.
After I recovered, I looked him in the eye and said, “There is nothing wrong with who I am. I am proud of the person I am and no one can change that”. He further continued, “No. I still think it is wrong”. Now annoyed, I told him the same thing once again. He then sat back in his chair and smiled. He then told me that this was just something he tried in order to see how comfortable I was with my sexuality. He told me that there is nothing wrong with me and apologized if he hurt me in any way.
I think back to it now and wonder how that could have gone downhill so quickly if I was someone who was not comfortable with voicing my opinion, or even if I was not completely okay with my sexuality and the person I was at the time.
When you – a straight person – visit a therapist, they won’t assume that all your problems stem from your sexuality. They are not going to confront you saying that “That bi thing you’re doing” is wrong and that you should stop being bi.
You don’t see what I do, through those rose-colored glasses. Take them off. But you still won’t. And quite honestly, I do not blame you for it. It is not possible for you to and that is okay. I am pretty sure you expect this to either be an over-the-top essay that breaths gay agenda or one that screams I am just as normal as you are and I experience life in the same way. But it is not that. It is not either of those things. While my life is just as normal as any other 19 year olds could be, quite frankly, I do not think it is just that simple.
No matter how much you try, you cannot see the look people give me in a Mumbai Local when I talk about an ex-girlfriend (like my blue hair wasn’t scandalous enough already) or when I talk about that friend of mine I made out with who isn’t the straightest noodle in the pack or even when I talk about my best friend who is bi. You cannot see the way people look at me for the proud rainbow brooch I wear that says QUEER on it. You just can’t. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to. And for the rare times that you do, you won’t ever be able to feel it in the way that I do. They aren’t going to judge you for it or look at you any differently for who you are – this is not even who you choose to be, you just are.
Honestly, it is just the fact that I am going against the heterosexual norm. I am pretty sure a lot of people also stare and eavesdrop because – while this may be an everyday conversation for me – it may not be the same for them. It may not be everyday that they see a blue-haired girl talk about the girl she likes. It is possible that the eavesdropping is a result of curiosity – which is not a bad thing at all.
I always tell myself – and the people I know- how I live in this little bubble. I think we all do (“we” being a majority of the people I know and interact with on a daily basis). Coming from the family that I do and the college that I go to, talking about the gay agenda is okay. My bubble ends when I step out of these safe spaces. It opens my eyes to how limited my vision is.
When I first came out to my friends, I honestly did not know how to do so, especially since all of the friends in my circle are straight. I could know possibly know how they would react. I just told them I liked someone. Naturally, they wanted a name and wanted to know who he was. Despite knowing how supportive they are, I was scared, but I showed them a picture. The first thing they said was, “she’s cute”. They did not freak out. They did not ask me until later if I was into girls. They did not ask me what I identified as. On the contrary, they continued to treat me like they did a year ago, when I hadn’t come out to them yet. We continued to have sleepovers, and we continued to go out partying. Nothing changed.
That’s all I needed. I needed for them to not make it a big thing. One of them later told me that I do not have to feel the need to come out. It is not something I have to do. When was the last time a straight person came out to people?
This takes me back to a scene in Love, Simon where, to show support to Simon, his friends came out to their parents as straight. The reactions are hilarious and you should definitely watch this scene – if not the entire movie. While Love, Simon is arguably problematic – considering how some people think of it to stereotype the nature of coming out of the closet – I am a fan and this scene is still something that stays with me.
You should not have to come out. You should not have to be the Wikipedia to all your straight friend’s questions about how lesbians have sex. You definitely should not be stared at in a Mumbai local by people. However, if someone is genuinely curious and they would get a better, more genuine, less stereotypical answer out of you than out of Google, you should definitely not feel weird to help them out.