There it was again. That silence I remembered so well. That silence every queer person knows inside and out.
It's difficult to describe what it feels like to walk into a room and immediately sense that you've just become the only gay person in a room full of people who don't really like gay people. There's an initial stare and silence, followed by a moment where everyone catches themselves, smiling awkwardly over the terror still reverberating from their eyes and shoulders. The entire process usually lasts less than 5 seconds, but it can feel much longer when you're knee deep in the receiving end of that shit.
I grew up gay and black in the 90's...in fucking Indiana. So yeah, I'm very familiar with that moment. I spent my whole life there closeted - dating girls, monitoring every word and movement, being thrown into lockers and called a fag, and listening to preachers tell me I was going to hell every Sunday. It was "character building" to say the least. I tried to bargain with God at age 10, promising to stop liking boys if he saved my dying Grandma, and I spent years praying every night for him to make me straight. In early high school, I even tried striking myself in the face whenever I had "impure thoughts" in an attempt to train myself to associate my attraction to men with pain. Religion had me fucked up, and it's taken many years and a lot of work to undue the self-hate ingrained in me.
But that was then, and this is Now. I'm a 33-year-old out and proud black gay man, living in Los Angeles, building a career I'm obsessed with, and married to a man who makes me better in every way. I'm seen and loved for who I am. I'm the muthafucking definition of "It Gets Better", and I refuse to go back.
So here are just a few things I'm done with in 2018...
I'm done giving my time to people who view my marriage as "sinful", invalid, or in any way unequal to heterosexual marriage.
I'm done sharing space with people who smile in my face and make polite conversation, but believe I'm going to hell for loving who I love.
I'm done making excuses for people who claim to care about me but continue to support the Trump administration.
I'm done spending time in rooms with people who need a moment to process me being there.
I'm done pretending I'm not angry when I have every right to be.
I'm done being anything other than proud of who I am.
with love always,