June is Pride Month, celebrating the LGBTel-em-el-oh-pee community past, present and future.
Writing on the subject is intimidating, because as someone who identifies with one of the letters in LGBT, the issues of equal rights feel raw, impassioned and profound. I am not an unbiased voice on the matter.
Growing up queer was almost indescribably difficult, and so much of who I am today was shaped by the negativity I experienced, not merely “often” – self-hate, fear and crippled self-esteem made it scary and gross for me every waking moment; thinking I needed to hide and obfuscate my unwanted inclinations meant that many of those I loved were kept from helping me, or even fully knowing me, which made for a special kind of awful loneliness.
In nearly every aspect of my life I see how I’m still "recovering" from being queer. For example: growing up, sports and physical fitness seemed like a test of manliness; I was so terrified of failing (which, I feared, would subsequently shine a light on my queerness) that exercise and playing outdoor games became something scary and intimidating, which in turn affected my fitness habits for life. It’s only in the last decade that I could drum up the courage to start exercising. This may sound ridiculous, but it really does cut that deep – that jogging around the block isn’t just something to get my heart-rate up, but something I’ve had to push myself to do in spite of a fear of being targeted for some form of ridicule. That’s just one example – there’s many more, equally pathetic and utterly unnecessary.