Being gay is really hard because how do you be gay? And by you I mean me. I don’t think it’s a well-kept secret that I am high-key intimidated by other gay guys because I feel like they’re so much better at being gay than me. But what does that even mean?
I never kissed a boy until I was 18. I never went on a date until college. I have never had a real, adult, full-fledged relationship.
I came out when I was fifteen to my parents, but didn’t tell my friends until sixteen, and the wider world until eighteen. When I was in high school, I was fighting against the Puritanical rigors of high school at a Catholic all boys institution. When I got to college, I was suddenly in this world where I wasn’t fighting for recognition. No one really cared. I was like, “I’M GAY WORLD,” and everyone was like, “Yeah okay, can you keep it down? It’s quiet hours,” and I was like, “Oh okay sorry, so sorry.”
So here’s how you be gay.
1). You stop caring. You stop trying to compare yourself to other gay guys, other straight guys; just other people. You stop counting the dates you’ve been on or haven’t been on. You stop worrying about the “gay voice.”
When someone told me that they didn’t clock me as gay because I didn’t sound gay, I was almost reverse offended. When I was younger, my voice was outrageous and explosive and expressive. It entered the room before I did. That “gay voice” that I hated so much as a kid, forced me to be who I am today.
2). Ask out whoever you goddamn want. This is really hard, because I am a serial psycho when it comes to asking people out. I wait and wonder and wilt until the last second before asking someone out. I almost get a perverse pleasure out of people saying no, because deep down it fulfills the dark feelings I have of not being good enough. It validates me and strangles me. So stop worrying about getting rejected. Stop thinking that you’re not cute enough or thin enough or muscular enough or clever enough or funny enough.
3). Educate yourself. Being gay is a gift because you are awakened to the struggles of other oppressed people. Being gay is also a gift because sometimes you’re able to “pass” as straight. It’s a privilege that other people of our community, trans men and women and gender non-conforming people, don’t always have. So recognize your privilege, and educate yourself to the struggle of others. Our eyes are opened to the wider world, but we need to do something about it.
4). Have fun. People always wonder why I don’t like scary movies. I like comedies because life is enough of a drag. Be light. Take joy in the small things. Take joy in the victories. Utilize self-care. Love yourself. Have a blast.
5). Don’t worry about fulfilling expectations. I oscillate a lot between feeling like I need to be super outgoing and be making out with boys and going on dates and trying to buck stereotypes and just be the opposite of what everyone thinks gay guys should be. I am gay, but sexuality should not be your first and foremost. Create your life as a fully fleshed out person, not with the expectations of other people in mind. I am a late-bloomer; I am emotionally unprepared sometimes for deep relationships. And that’s not a bad thing. I am exercising self-care and putting my needs before my desire to please others.
Being gay is hard because there’s no rulebook. There is no “norm.” Be gentle with yourself. Run your hands gently over your scars. We’re all scarred.
But you have a choice on how you deal with your scars and your past and your future. So don’t be afraid to fuck up and fall on your face and be goofy and be sexy and be confident. Because that’s the whole point of being twenty and young and vivacious.