There’s a divide between how to present ourselves and how to get things done. This place where being outrageous and yet completely normal resides and yet, we don’t know what it is.
There is an axis before us all. Hide among the masses in a closet, embrace the stereotypes, be proud in the only way we as individuals can, or be seen as completely normal. We all come to this axis when we realize we’re some kind of queer. This four quadrant grid that decides how we act until we come across it again when we realize that perhaps the first point we chose was not the point for us.
There’s this beauty to being queer that everything is fluid. All of these rules set before us by society are inevitably meaningless. The more we dive into our queerness, the more we find this out and the more queer we can become. Alternatively, we can also want to ignore this queerness or at least not look directly at it, leading us to the opposite.
Oddly enough, non-queer people, people who both abide by these meaningless societal rules and not, have this same axis. They can look deeper into their own level of queerness and find nothing and be happy with that, having found understanding that others are not like them and that is something that no one can help. Or they can refuse to look, refuse to study the other points on the grid and recognize them as individuals but as a trend line.
Many of us, when we discovered our own queerness, didn’t exactly rejoice. Sure, there are some who do, but many do not. Many hold it deep down inside ourselves and hope it goes away, that it is just a phase. That we’ll eventually be normal. But that’s not how being human works.
To be human is to be a contradiction and as much as we didn’t want to be queer, we are and always will be. It is not something we chose, not something we can stop, no matter how hard we try. We can choose to face that reality.
We can choose to be outrageous or fly under the radar. We can choose to be in or out of the closet. We can choose many things. But it will not change who we are and the struggles being who we are will make us face.
I wish the world was simple, that there was an easy answer to everything. That these contradictions didn’t exist and we could go about our lives being who we are without consequence, but that isn’t the world we live in.
We can come out and be punished. We can come out and be celebrated. We can come out and nothing at all happens. Ideally, we would all be celebrated or, at the very least, treated exactly the same. Sometimes our loved ones have just been waiting for us to get the memo and feel brave enough to come out. Other times, we’ve blindsided our loved ones and shocked them, sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst.
Being queer never has and never will be easy, unless a lot of things suddenly change very quickly in the near future. We have to fight centuries of oppression and hatred in order to exist as normal, no matter how we decide to present ourselves.
This axis is fluid. Most people will never be a single point on the graph, their journey throughout life leading them to move from quadrant to quadrant depending on the time and situation we’re living through.
One moment we can be both in the closet and a walking stereotype. In another we can be still in the closet and think we’re a completely normal person. Alternatively, we can be normal and proud or stereotypical and proud. We can be smack dab in the middle, a little bit of each axis.
This is, probably, what makes being queer so hard for others, and even other queers, to understand. It's contradictory, confusing, and fluid. We can even be a straight line among the other points, out and proud with our friends but normal and closeted with our parents. Nothing is set in stone and anything can be possible.
Those outside of the community have a hard time pinning a single queer down as one thing because there’s such a spectrum of how and who to be. Even older queers struggle with this new fluidity that is so common in today’s world. For them, things were very static. You were either queer or you weren’t. There was no in between. You either knew or you didn’t. You were alone or in the club. Despite this axis being common for them as well, they were unaware of it.
We’re not investing ourselves into being quiet about our queerness as much anymore. There are forums and groups and activities and new laws, all making queerness alright, normally outrageous. We’re finding ourselves in a time where more and more people are accepting that being queer isn’t just going to go away no matter how hard we try. There are those still hanging on, of course, to these old ideals and erasures of history, but they are becoming farther and further in between.