1. When you come out to people and they respond “I knew it!”
Uh, how exactly am I supposed to take that? On the one hand I think it’s offensive that you think gay people can picked out of a crowd based on stereotypes and preconceptions. On the other hand why am I offended by being compared with a stereotype? Any gender expression is personal and great. On the other hand I don’t want to be limited by what you’ve seen in the media. On the other hand I guess you were right? On the other hand I apparently have five hands. Let’s just call this a draw.
2. Being asked which same-sex friends you find attractive.
How about you wait till I wine and dine you and pass you love notes in class for that information? Seriously. “Who is hot” is one of those things that friends ostensibly discuss but when asked by a somebody after you’ve just come out it simply comes off as accusatory. We will discuss who’s bangin’ bod I think about during my alone time if and when I deem it necessary to tell you. And if you’re asking me this just to find out if I’m attracted to you then please know that if I was you’d probably know it by now, conceded.
3. Correcting people who use slurs.
No, you can’t say “that’s so gay” or “hot tranny mess” or “that looks queer.” Not around me and not at all. Words have consequences. It’s just basic manners. …Yes, I will accept your apology this once.
4. The underwear section was a buffet for the eyes.
The great thing about underwear packaging is the models it chooses to provocatively display the product. Whatever their design firm is doing they are doing it correctly because you always pick the brand with the sexiest model. Not only do you get new underwear, you also get to keep the packaging. This particular facet of gay youth has probably all but disappeared thanks to the Internet.
5. Googling “gay” a lot.
So you think you might be gay? Definitely Google “gay” in private a lot to confirm it. Probably even Google “gay quiz” so you can have a mindless, pseudo-scientific quiz confirm for you that you are in fact gay. Still not convinced? Search “gay sex,” click on a result, panic, close the window, clear the browser history, and repeat. Do this until you decide you’re ready to come out.
6. Listening very intently to people’s opinions about LGBT issues.
What’s that Uncle Ralph? You think gay people are choosing a lifestyle? Hm, let me just file that opinion away for later. Oh, cousin Karen has a few gay friends at college? Hm. Maybe I should spend more time hanging out with my cousin Karen.
7. Next level self-consciousness.
Well obviously everyone is going to figure out that I’m gay based on the way I talk/walk/do my hair/play sports/tie my shoes/sneeze so my plan of action is to overanalyze everything about myself and neutralize each individual tell until I’m ready to come out. This seems like a very good idea and not something I should bring up with my school’s therapist.
8. Learning to lie pretty well.
Yeah, I love how the opposite sex looks. They’re so, sexy… the way they look. With their opposite sex organs and how their body is. I especially love their hair and the way it smells. That’s not gross. Who do you think is hot in our class? I agree with all of those picks and also this random celebrity I have confirmation is technically attractive. I’m a very good liar.
9. PDA is basically like a gay Bar Mitzvah.
Somehow walking through the mall hand-in-hand with that special somebody can be more mortifying than walking through the mall completely nude. You desperately want this experience that everyone else seems to have but you’re terrified that everyone will be staring at you two. The day you finally do it is like ripping a band-aid off. You realize that most people don’t notice/care and if they do you’re out of fucks to give.
10. Letting gossip come out for you.
They say that gossip is the only thing that can break the speed of light. Which, for a gay person, can be a blessing and a curse. If you’ve made the decision to come out you can tell a couple chatty friends and let the grapevine do all the annoying coming-out-work for you. The flip side of this can be pretty painful though. If you’re not ready for the news to break but it starts to slip out anyway you should probably bite the bullet and talk to the important people in your life ASAP.
11. (Hopefully) learning to accept every part of yourself.
One of the main things growing up gay teaches you is how to accept a part of yourself that you were told was wrong/different/less than. It teaches you to see the world for yourself and to decide for yourself who is right and who is wrong. Does every gay person have this epiphany? Sadly, no. But many do! We’re all on a journey of self-acceptance. Just know that these struggles really are gifts in disguise.