“boxed in and labeled”

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

New Introduction

I made a conscious decision scheduling this post for the tail-end of Pride Month. For starters, today is Pride Day. It just seemed appropriate for the post. I chose today because it feels that everyone makes the bigger deal at the beginning of June. That’s when we see the most corporate marketing for Pride. That’s when we see influencers beating their chests about how much an ally they are. As the month winds down, people who aren’t a part of the community just stop caring. There’s no financial gain to it.

With that said, this is not the original intro to this post. The original intro consisted of a story of a friend coming out to me. While I kept that friend’s name secret, I nonetheless began to have second thoughts. I only have so many friends and it wouldn’t take too much a detective to figure out who I was talking about. While I know this friend’s family is fully aware, I don’t know where our mutual friends stand.

In short, while this story does contain me as a character, it is not my story to tell. Most of the post remains the same. The ending has been altered to because it tied back to the introduction.

“No, I’m not straight”

“What are your pronouns?” they ask me.

This the first time someone’s asked me this question. Not even on the internet does this question surface. And while the question comes up during a rather awkward time – there are patrons standing in front of us – I give them my best answer: “I’m pretty generic. My outer layer pretty much resembles the inner.”1

After we assisted the patrons, they bring up the conversation again. “So I know you’re an ally, but are you just an ally?”

Unlike my gender, my orientation has never been part of the public domain – at least not in adulthood. This isn’t because of shame or still being in the “closet.” It’s just difficult to talk about it without someone throwing a label at me.

Andrea Gibson explained it best their poem “Andrew“:

Like drumbeats forever changing their rhythm
I am living today as someone
I had not yet become yesterday,
and tonight I will borrow only pieces
of who I am right now
to carry with me tomorrow. 

No, I'm not gay.
No, I'm not straight.
And I'm sure as hell not bi-sexual, damnit.
I am whatever I am when I am it.2

To be simplistic (and generic), I identified as straight. There’s less questions asked when you’re boring. It’s also easier explaining why in the years of kissing boys as a teenager, I never had a relationship with man.

In high school, I called myself bisexual. I wore it like a shirt that didn’t quite fit, but wasn’t ready to get rid of it. Pansexual arrived in college, but never acknowledged it because of my predilection of living in a binary world – I saw gender, though never based my attraction on it.

Because the world loves orientation labels, I later discovered which mold fit me best.

But I know they won’t let the topic drop; this isn’t the first time the conversation has been brought up.

“It’s available on the internet,” I respond. “If you wanna know, the breadcrumbs are on my Instagram.”

They still got it wrong, ignoring the link to my blog.

Altered Epilogue

The funny thing about me altering the introduction to just to talk about the post is that this post was meant to discuss my ignorance on gender identity. That post is left in the drafts because it didn’t feel right, and this is still a subject I’m educating myself on.

I do discuss pronouns in this post, and I do acknowledge my friend’s preferred pronouns; although, I have been told that they also use the she/her pronouns interchangeably. I chose the singular they/them pronouns for good reason.

The university offered an Alley Safe Zone Training on June 3rd, which I attended. While I like to think of myself as an ally, my ignorance reflects poorly upon this idea. It’s even worse when a person falls within the community but doesn’t know what’s going on within it.

I am proud to say that I am a trained ally and my contact information is listed as such in a special directory. And while I will make mistakes, I will correct myself and learn from them.

1 Gender was the subject of my original post; however, I scrapped that post and will use it for a later time when I don’t make an ass out of myself.
2 Emphasis mine.

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