Is this a faggot party? (or, Will I be uncomfortable, & Will I survive?)

This Dispatch is part of the Tough Questions series.

“What is this a faggot party? Y’all a bunch of faggots. I wish I had an oozie, man I wish I had an oozie. You mess with God, you mess with me. Man, I wish I had an oozie.”

A man yelled at a group of friends and me as he walked past our outdoor table at Yum Yum Too in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. I knew when I came out that people would think about me differently and treat me differently. Harassment and fear of violence because of my sexual orientation and gender presentations is a constant reality.

Can I handle it?

Michael Vacha Jr. said,

Being “out” doesn’t always mean someone has become self-affirming or unabashed about their intimate relationships: “I know we’re not in West Hollywood anymore, but will you hold my hand anyway?” :)

I expected there to be some definitive time in the future when everything fell into place and just felt “right.” That never happened. Not that I don’t feel good about myself, I do. It’s more that when I was a child, I expected being a “grown-up” to be some magical, static, completed thing. Real life is fluid and complex and beautiful. It’s a journey.

In the early stages of coming up, I worried what people would think, what they would say. Would it be uncomfortable? Would it be worse than uncomfortable, would it be hurtful? Would I be able to handle it all? Am I strong enough to survive?

I practice noticing my body and my reactions. When do I feel the urge to uncross my legs, scoot away from my male friend, or let go of my boyfriend’s hand?

Sometimes, I let the urge go and I continue carrying on my business. Other times, I recognize a need for safety and I go with my instincts.

The practice is paying attention to the moments when I feel uncomfortable and discerning when I need to act on that discomfort and when I need to let it go.

“Will I be uncomfortable? How will I survive” is a question I continue to ask myself.

Would you consider responding to this prompt? If you blog, write there (and link back here so I can read it too). Or respond on your social network of choice. Or write it in a journal for no one else to see but yourself. 

What does this Tough Question bring up in you? 

Want to get those each week (plus some occasional, more private thoughts on sex & relationships)? I’d love to keep in touch. Drop your email address below and I’ll keep you in the loop!

P.S. hit reply to any email from me to start a conversation!

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