The Orlando attack was personal for me. I didn't know how personal something like that could be for me. But, all I could picture were the faces of all my LGBT friends. And it finally dawned on me- it was MY community. I generally present more "femme" though I go back and forth. I'm in a committed hetero relationship. But, I am bisexual. Perhaps, pansexual is the better term. I suck at keeping up with all these new terms. At any rate, there's no clear line for some of us, and we fall in this grey area of what the LGBTQIAS acronym stands for.
Beyond that, well, it gets complicated. Most people don't understand that one day I can feel one way and another day I can feel the opposite. I tried to Konmari my clothes and it was grueling. "I know I love these board shorts, but I don't feel the love like I'm supposed to... at least not today." Trying to explain that to anyone outside of the community is near impossible. I've been met with blank stares or just, "I accept you as you are." But, I've come to realize that "as you are" may mean only on femme days. Or in my masculine days.
I don't care about pronouns for myself. For others, I still fumble around like a child first learning their letters and constantly mixes up the letters d and b.
So, I've never really felt like I belonged in the community. I didn't feel a drive to fight for my rights because even on my gender non-conforming days, no one really gives me hell. I get the "Tomboy" label a lot, but that's usually the end of it. Today was different.
Today, however, I was faced with the reality that the ONE club in my area IS my safe zone to be that grey area and to not answer to anyone. Even though I may not feel like I have an answer to what I am, I know I can go there and just be me.
When the news struck, I felt fear. Fear that something so beloved, was now tainted. Fear that if I went there, I might end up a headline and my son without a mother. I was afraid to lose other friends to hate crimes.
Let me explain this grey area more. The grey area is where you aren't exactly one of the clearly defined labels. I'm not transgendered, though I've been told I am. I am not a lesbian, though someone would think that simply because I would date a female. I am not really any of those things, but a blend. Now, here is the grey within the grey, some days, I am NONE of those things, and I feel like a straight hetero white girl. This has been going on for so long, I can no longer accept it when people give me the "it's just a phase" look. No, it's not. I dress how I feel.
So, in general, I've stayed at arms length from the community, supporting from the sidelines as I've watched wonderful people transition and obtain their personal gender confirming freedoms. But, no more. I have a place in that community, it is mine and I belong there. The idea that I would fear going to a gay establishment for being who I am is not what I want. It took me a lot to go to the vigil tonight. But, for once, I went to not be support for others, but because I needed to be surrounded by support. I am different, and while I may look like an ally on the outside, I am not. I am on the inside of the group of people who struggle with being honest to gender identity and sexual identities. To accepting who they are. If you want a label, well, I don't have one. I am the grey within the grey. But, I know one thing, I refuse to let the fear control me. I wept for that today, as I wept for those lost. For the SANCTUARY someone tried to destroy. For the friends already taken. I wept for myself, knowing that I had been no different than anyone else in their struggles to find out who they really are. The LGBT community, well, they are my people and I don't think I ever really had that clarity until I felt someone's hatred try to take it away.
I can't be silent. I risk a lot, as we all do, when we start coming out of the closet. Please, realize there are those of us who don't even fit in the boxes of LGBTQIAS acronyms. We are the grey area within the grey area. And today, after so many years, I realized this. And it hit so hard, I felt dehabilitated. How could I have not known? It was when my sanctuary was attacked that I realized that a gay bar could even be a sanctuary. That it was my sanctuary. I am not a box, but I still belong.
Much love and light.