Over the past month, I’ve reflected upon many of the ways that being queer has enriched my life. In those moments, differentness of it was a catalyst for something greater.
But what if I don’t want to be different? What if I just want to be normal?
A conversation with a friend went like this,
“Why do people use ‘queer’ instead of ‘gay’ or ‘LGBT’ or whatever?”
“In some uses, it’s an easy one-word umbrella term. And some people identify as queer, as opposed to gay or bisexual or something else.”
“Well, I don’t like it. Queer means different. And I don’t want to be different.”
A whole host of thoughts went through my mind: dissecting the political and hegemonic implications of what he said. I thought of all the ways in which “normal” is used to divide and conquer. And of the immense privilege that comes along with being able to fit into a “normal” which leads to success and prosperity.
And yet, I cannot pretend that his statement is not also mine. At so many times throughout my journey to acceptance, I asked myself “Why can’t I just be normal??” I ask it still today.
I would be lying if I said that “normalcy” is a desire I’ve evolved past. I can quote platitudes all day long about the value of being different and about the need for resistance instead of assimilation.
Sometimes though, I want a family. I want block parties and vacations. I want what I think will be an easy life.
My practice today is to let go of the notion that there is “normal” and “different.” What if the person sitting next to me right now, who looks normal by outside appearances, actually feels very different on the inside. What if normal is an illusion?
I don’t know what that means for my desire to be normal—what it means when it comes down any specific decision that will mean sticking out or blending in—but it feels like a good place to start.
Photo by Koshy