Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I See Gay People

The Body Issue series, for those of you loving it, is not over. I have about 3 or 4 more to write, so we are halfway there. I thought it was a good time today to take a  small, hopefully fun, break.  Mostly because writing the body issues posts always causes a vulnerability hangover, and with my housing situation, my anxiety is currently sky high.

So with no more ado, I present to you:
  I See Gay People.
I have attached (since I'm writing this on my phone, I have no idea where it will show up) a shot from Instagram that someone shared on my women soccer supporters group this morning. It is a legit Instagram interaction between Megan Rapinoe and Sam Mewis, which I verified myself. Don't know when it happened, but it was buried in Sam Mewises photos, so we will say a while ago, as indicated by Ashlyn Harris's hair length and color, and the presence of Hope Solo.

Any way  It's a photo of the US women's soccer team with a caption from Mewis that says "squad is straight (fire emoji)" to which Pinoe replied "Squad is not fully straight Samuel. Not even close (smiley nerd emoji)"

Why do I share this? Half the fuel for this little tangent post has been people in the women's soccer community arguing all week about if these comments about the beloved pride US soccer Pride jersey' s outed her team mates "We have such a huge reach, and a huge portion of our fan base is LGBTQ , or at least very supportive of it. Obviously I'm the only out one, but everyone can probably guess there's more than one."

The annoying debate that followed got me thinking a lot. I don't think she outed anyone. Pinoes not even the first to mention the truth of the oft speculated rumors of many not straight female soccer players. Just read Hope Solo's memoir.  Any way, I don't want to spark this debate again, I think it's the wrong thing to be debating.

And now we come to the Title of this piece. Earlier this week I also read a fun, for pride post on reimmagined movies. Favorite movies queerified. My favorite was The Sixth Sense being about gaydar, and thus "I See Gay People"

Also due to anxiety I spent a good chunk of my evening watching the gay women's YouTube channel and laughing my head off at "Straight Girls Annonomous" a sketch about a support group for queer ladies that keep falling for straight girls.

And then we got into the games clips. One of my favorites, they make up a new game where you take a mix of your favorite celebrities, and you can choose to trade their stated sexualities, to make your ultimate team. Who wouldn't trade Amber Herd for Emma Watson?  Have to chose between Ruby Rose and Meryl Streep? Sorry we ain't trading Ruby.

It's all fun and games, just like all the crazy fan fic I talked about in Body Issue part 4.  Which, the crazy fan fic, and you tube compilation love videos are exactly why people blew up so much over Pinoes comments. "It fans the flames" a lot of people said.

Look. Here's the deal, and I've thought about this a lot. When you don't get to see many people like you represented in the world around you, fictional or real, when it's 2017 and gays in Chechnya are being murdered and tortured, and even in America attacks have been increasing and not decreasing, there is a real danger to being out. There are people of all ages with as much need as ever to see themselves reflected positively in culture.  And where that need is not being met, people will find a way to meet the need. They will create, they will look closely for any signs to give them hope.

And here is my conclusion for the day.  If you look at research, we should probably all default to believing most people are some degree of not straight, or just generally queer  (including variations in gender and gender identity)  But society has a unwritten "Straight and cis until proven otherwise" attitude. 

I've talked a lot with friends about gaydar. I think I have decent gaydar, but after this week I've decided that could be confirmation bias, plus the fact that most women have a degree of sexual fluidity.  As Weezer  once said "Everyone's a little queer"

Conclusion time: rather than worrying about my gaydar being on from now on, I have decided it's time to mentally challenge the social constructs I have grown up under, and I'm just gonna "See Gay people" honestly wishful thinking or not, if I'm honest I do any way. But I will now actively just assume everyone is not completely straight until we have a conversation that says completely otherwise. 

Identifying as anything on the LGBTQ+ sandwich is usually a hard fought battle to claim your authentic self in a world still trying to beat you out of existence.  As one of my friends pointed out, we have Pride month because we were told to be ashamed of who we are, and we are proud of the battle we fought against that shame. Every day I don't hide pieces of myself is a victory over that shame. Let's see gay people, and see seeing queer people as a positive thing in a positive light. It's not a horrible shameful thing to not be straight. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. I see you queer people, and I see your beauty and awesomeness. We are awesome.

Happy Pride month. Let's do our thing. Let's play our games, let's ship our ships, and let's see gay people, and Bi people,  trans people, asexuals I see you too!  We're here. We exist. We ain't going away.

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