I can’t remember the last time I wrote about being queer. My all-time most popular answer on Quora is about coming out — a heartwarming tale of my mother’s acceptance of me — and I have a few scattered posts about what bisexuality is and what it means to me.
When I first came out, this sort of writing, this public display of queer identity, was exhilarating. “I can finally be me! This is who I am! Take it all in!”
But a few years later, I’ve stopped talking about it. Not intentionally. I just… don’t. I don’t come out to people anymore. I don’t wear bi pride colors or talk about my queer identity. I’d say it’s because these things don’t come up but they do. I was a theatre major for the better part of college and theatre, like all arts, is queer as hell. Many of my peers were queer. The art we made and the stories we told were queer.
Even in a community that talked about these things and made room for open queer discussion, I treated my bisexuality as a fun fact and not a core identity.
Perhaps it never was a core identity.
I never struggled with queerness.
I never learned to defend that part of myself because there were no adversaries for my queerness to come up against. My family accepted me without question. I never risked losing my job. I was never bullied, never kicked out of the house, never mistreated. I never went to a church that forced me to internalize negative messages about myself. I never loathed the queer part of me — I was never taught to.
Much of queer art is rooted in struggle, in ostracization, in empowerment. Look at Rent. Look at Angels in America. Look at The Laramie Project.
I mean, fuck. The Laramie Project — about the murder of Matthew Shepard — takes place in my home state. I know people who are featured in that show. It’s all about queer struggle in the place I called home for nearly 20 years and I, an openly queer woman, still can’t connect with it.
I don’t have a queer voice because these stories emerge from the force of overcoming adversity and I overcame nothing to be here. I don’t have a queer struggle.
Do I have a place in queer communities? I’m not sure. I certainly don’t expect other queer folks to change how they relate to one another to include me, so if I don’t fit, I don’t fit. I’m okay with it.
But it leaves me in a weird place in regards to my own identity.
Should I keep talking about my queerness, even though I know I have as much in common with most queer folks as they do with allies? Do I keep it on the back burner and risk looking ashamed? Do I have a responsibility to use the privilege I have as a queer person to speak out for other queer people? Do I have the right to do that?
What does privilege even look like in a queer space?
For now, I’ll keep boosting the stories of queer people where I can, donating to queer-friendly organizations, and being supportive in the ways I know how. I’ll keep being queer but I won’t tell stories about it.
Because, really, the last thing we need is more stories from the privileged queer.