Happy Pride Month!
Wanted to mention here that this is one of my first Prides out as a bisexual, but there's more to it than that. There's a whole story of knowing for years, and keeping it hidden. I know this is a blog about gaming, but as it's Pride, I wanted to share this, as creating queer inclusive gaming spaces is very important to me.
When I was a kid, I realized that I probably wasn't straight, and so I made a song. “I'm gay, and I know it. I'm queer, and I know it.” The other kids laughed at me, and the teachers and my conservative christian extended family told me to NEVER sing that song. So I didn't, and, in my head, I saw the closet door shut, after I had been pushed back inside at the age of 7.
When I was a teen, there was a friend who I started exploring with. It went from simple exploration to a full on relationship, at least in my head, but after a while he decided he wanted to be straight, and I followed suit. The door opened, then slammed shut.
In high school, I was bullied badly. All of the bullying were homophobic in nature, and I was punched, bloodied up, sexually assaulted, verbally abused, and dealt with stuff like coming into class and finding my chair missing, or someone carving on a table that I sucked dick. I wasn't out. I had a friend who was, who had a crush on me, but I could never accept it, so I friendzoned him. The door was firmly locked, as being gay was something that got you punched, cornered and touched by strangers, kicked in the crotch, and alienated. I had girls I liked as well, so I pursued them instead.
In college, I had a few secret trysts with men, but that's all they ever were. More often than not, I'd secretly admire them, knowing I could never have that. But it didn't matter, as I later found the woman who would become my fiance, and after 10 years together, we became married.
It's after all this that I finally began to talk about it. Began to realize that those feelings I felt about men so often were romantic in nature. I felt physical attraction to men as well. And, years away from the hell I went through in high school, I managed to unlock the door. I came out. At first to myself, untangling the mess inside my head, then to the world.
And that's where I am. I dealt with horrific bullying that pushed me back into the closet so hard it took me years to admit who I was, but I'm out now. I feel like I've wasted time, like I'm a hypocrite and coward, but the response from the queer community has been very welcoming.
So now I want to pay it forward, for all the kids like me. That's why I believe in creating queer inclusive tables, and model that with my social skills groups- several of my students have felt comfortable enough to come out, and I feel that's a success. But there's still more work to do. I know what it's like to not feel safe with who you are for years and years, and it's not a good feeling. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
I'm currently putting together a panel for PAX unplugged on creating queer friendly tables, and I've found some amazing panelists. I'll keep this blog updated on how things go on that front, but I'm very excited about the future.
Thank you for reading.
And to those of you who are still in the closet, I love you. You are welcome to come out when you are ready. The water's great.