So since I am hosting this LGBT Reading Challenge and all, I figured I probably ought to make the clarification that I am straight.
But something happened to me once that gave me a great deal of empathy for the LGBT experience.
When I was a freshman in college, I met and befriended this dude who felt a sense of entitlement regarding my affections. I supposed what happened is that he wanted to date me, and since I didn’t want to date him, he wanted to discover who I did want to date, and so he broke into various accounts of mine, including my livejournal.
Within it, he found a private entry that was a story in which a first person narrator, female, kissed another woman for the first time.
That this story might be fictitious did not occur to him, and he didn’t ask me about it. Instead, he told our entire social group.
I was unaware of this for a few months, until our social group grew to include a woman who is actually bisexual, and was thrilled to discover another member of her tribe, so to speak, amongst our number.
As an adult, I would have handled this differently, but when blindsided by this assumption of hers, not wanting to disappoint her when she was clearly so excited, and also perfectly aware that this meant the “Cecily is bi” narrative was firmly entrenched, I had this to say:
Now, of course I am not bothered if people think I am bisexual because I don’t think anything is wrong with being bisexual, nor have I ever.
However, in addition to the enormous discomfort of having my private space violated, I was also outed (even if I don’t really have anything to come out about), which does not come with awesome feelings – you know, having someone else seize control of your sexual identity like that? Not cool.
And worse, for me, was having to live in a lie.
Of course, LGBT people frequently must, or feel that they must, live in a lie all the time, whether the stakes are potential execution, like they are in some countries, or economic consequences, or not being able to work in careers that they love.
And that is some seriously tragic bullshit.
So after about a year of this, my actually bisexual friend turned to me and said, “You’re not really bi, are you?”
And then I told her the whole story, and made a friend for life.
So I’m glad it happened. The net gain of the friendship, and the eye-opening experience, make it worth it – since I’ve been made just a bit more aware of the soul-crushing agony that some LGBT people feel every fucking day of their lives.
Because being forced to live in a lie is one of the most not-fun things ever.