One of the unforeseeable downsides of homosexuality becoming more socially accepted is that people assume that coming to terms with a minority identity becomes easier. People think that because we come from families who are loving and supporting or a community where being gay has been normalized that it’s possible to automatically accept who we are. And what’s worse- people assume we’re being overdramatic or needy if we make an issue out of our sexuality if they see no reason for us to do so.
The reality of the situation is that being part of the sexual minority will always be something that takes time to adjust to. Being different is often times a hard thing, regardless of whether or not that difference is something accepted. And that’s because none of us really want to be different. We fear that by being different that we’re harder to relate to or more susceptible to ending up alone. We don’t want to have to sit down and trace how our differences will take us down an alternate life road from the rest of us. To an extent it’s a lot like being assigned to a different teacher than your friends in elementary school- sure the other teacher may be great or even better but you can’t help but feel cheated by being left out.
It took me several years to accept my sexual identity, despite how obvious it may have been to other people. It’s not an overstatement to say I was a feminine kid who had many characteristics that are seem as being “stereotypically gay”. I was clearly very different. And yet- I struggled with being different. I struggled with it because it meant that my future was uncertain. I couldn’t live my life with the whole “go to college, get married, have kids, grow old” mentality. And because such a small section of the population is gay I constantly questioned my own sexual urges. I thought to myself, “There’s a 90% chance that I’m straight. Those are high odds” despite the fact that I clearly wasn’t. I didn’t want to out myself or call myself something that would separate me from others…especially if I wasn’t even sure.
Sure, things are a lot easier for me than they were from someone growing up in a different time or place. I’m pretty much accepted by most people I meet, though I still get occasional side eye from random people. But I think there will always be something that feels slightly off. I’ll always feel a little out of place when I’m in a place with solely straight people and I’ll feel strange when I’m somewhere with only gays. It feels a lot like recess where you want to spend time with both your friends from your other class and those from your own.
I sometimes jokingly say that I need to audition for Real World before being gay is no longer considered trendy. It’s strange to imagine a world where being gay is something that neither hinders me or gives me some card to play to get ahead. But unless the number of gay people somehow grows tenfold, we will always be living in a straight world. Gays will always be different- which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But coming to terms with being different will never be the easiest thing- no matter what world you think we live in.