Not to sound gay, but…

Not to sound gay, but what’s the deal with straight people? This past week has been one heteronormative instance after another, grating micro aggressions on my poor queer soul. And what a week it’s been, with the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality across all 50 states; you’d think people would have queers on the mind enough to not go around assuming everyone and everything is ensnared in a hetero-love-affair.

Let’s backtrack: a few months ago, CPS gathered its Summer Fellows for regular training in preparation for culture shock, for what-not-to-do when you’re a well-intentioned college student set upon the world, for how to comport oneself when learning about community programs. For some of my fellows going to Kenya or Nicaragua and even Selma, Alabama, it seemed a little more pressing. Staying here in Gettysburg, my biggest worry was, as mentioned, language barriers between myself and the Spanish-speaking population. I forgot that, outside of my policy-protected, generally loving, college campus, I’m a straight girl until proven guilty.

A third of my day, I’m not who I am as I interact with various demographics of my community. At least five people this week alone asked if I had a boyfriend (only a boyfriend), interrogated any mention of a guy friend, and countless people have told me I’m a good girl.

If anyone dares to speak badly of my fellow queers, I will talk back. I have no problem doing that. But what about when they don’t speak of queers at all? When queerness has been erased altogether – do I clear my voice from the back and remind them that we exist? We can even get married so stop trying to set me up with your men folk, please and thanks. And this isn’t just about the ❤ aspect of queer life but the ‘who the hell am I’ part too. To what extent can I encourage gender exploration, start dismantling oppressive binary opposites? Is it worth it to explain myself and my community to a group of 70+ year olds? Or little kids?

A little boy didn’t want me to sit at a table cause he assumed I was a girl. I quipped, “but I’m not a girl” and took the only empty seat to eat my ice cream. Was that a missed opportunity to explain gender queer identities? Trans people? Should I stick to the “basics” and battle the simple childhood fear of cooties?

I don’t have time to further alienate myself from those around me by coming out again and again, a thing I shouldn’t have to do in the first place. My queerness hasn’t been a secret since I was 16. Most days I’m too tired to find out who thinks I’m a deviant. Mostly, it’s standing on guard.

Beauregard Charles ’17