a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
when I was young, when I was in high school, when I was thinking about– falling in love- I used to imagine lifting. I used to imagine strong arms lifting. I used to imagine picnic blankets and sunset and riding on tall shoulders. I never saw the notebook but you get the idea.
one day, suddenly, and gradually at the same time. I started to think about something different. I started imagining male embraces as brotherly and female embraces as erotic. even as I write this part of me thinks –isn’t that weird- and I think about the ways I pause to ender qsh. I would say –I have no problem with homosexuality- (ew what an awful scientific word) but clearly I do because I am afraid to come out. there is not a single person in my life that knows I’m queer. this typed message slipped under a door anonymously is the closest I’ve ever come to revealing my sexuality. it’s something I am much more willing to accept in my closest friends than in myself.
I need to be clear here. my family will/would support me. my friends would/will embrace me. my religious organization will/would support me. my community, here and at home, would/will support me. perhaps naively, I do not fear prejudice or hatred. I do not even really fear people looking at me differently. well I do fear that just a little bit.
many of my friends probably assume that I am queer. I don’t know if that helps. I resent it a little bit. it feels safer to be assumed to be straight. for some reason I want to shock them.
I don’t know what those words –I’m queer– will sound like coming from my lips. well I do but I don’t want to experience that conversation. and I don’t want to experience it over and over and over again. I conceptualized this as a righteous rage: that queer people have to -come out- but straight people never do. which is a real anger, a real issue. I will have to come out to my family and then again to my friends and then again to whomever wherever whenever. I have to come out in order to have the love life I want right now.
I am a feminist, I am not a classically beautiful person, I have never really had any sort of romantic encounter. I fulfill an unfortunate stereotype.
I might change again, or be interested in boys as well, and then people will be confused.
I have many excuses.
honestly I am a coward and I am ashamed of my cowardice. I consider never coming out. I consider searching everywhere until I can find a guy (I’m sure there’s one out there) that I can be attracted to. I consider never being in a relationship, never having kids, never –getting married-, always being single. if when if when if when whifen I think.
I don’t want my sexuality, my love life, to become another stomping ground for activism. it’s enough that I am a woman and a feminist, but one of the reasons I can be these things is I have never been paid less than a man for the same job; I have never been catcalled; I have never been sexually assaulted; I have never had an abortion and am not in need of birth control; I’ve never been slut-shamed; I am cis and conform pretty nicely to gender roles, and I’m at a school where it’s not weird to play sports. sometimes I’m patronized, but that is pretty much the whole extent of -microaggressions- I receive on a daily basis. I am white, upper-middle class, rollin in that privileged Midd life, ridin the panther, and I have never feared for my life or security in a real way. when I fight for women’s rights, I am fighting for a potential, future me (the part that is sure one day I’ll get assaulted, just statistically…) and my friends and other women. when I fight for social justice, economic justice, racial justice, etc., I am fighting for other people. i like that. the personal does not have to be political for me, unless I choose it. I don’t want to give that shit up.
-living a lie- is such a dramatic way to put it. and cliché. but it’s where I am right now, and I don’t know if /when when/if whifen it’ll change.
what’s the point? you ask. what should you do? well.
don’t assume that it’s ever easy to come out. don’t pat yourself on the shoulder for not saying– that’s so gay-. don’t think creating an environment where people are safe is enough. don’t pretend this is not your problem. fight heteronormativity and if you aren’t down that gender is socially constructed, sexuality is both a spectrum and fluid (as is gender!) and all that shit is way more complicated than girls chase boys chase boys chase girls chase girls chase boys, get down with it asap. don’t assume. be patient. don’t patronize. don’t try to get people to come out.
this is just me, right now, and I wish I wasn’t your business. I wish my experience wasn’t a lesson for you.
I wish I was brave enough to come out, like so many of my friends and heroes.
I wish I didn’t have to be brave to come out.