I got a story to tell everybody about my life and I really implore you to read this whole essay.
For a while, I questioned my sexuality. It was something I’ve went through most of my adult life, maybe starting in my mid 20s. Now in 2019 as we go into 2020, gender identity was what I was really looking for and would help me explain so many questions I’ve had about myself, including my sexuality.
I would like to say that in both sexually and in gender identity, I’m queer. In regards to who I’m attracted to, I definitely prefer women, but I feel like that doesnt tell the whole story. I like the term queer because labels like homosexual, pansexual, or bisexual feel a bit limiting and queer feels more like a spectrum or a constantly moving wave.
To rework a tweet I recently saw to explain myself, I’m possibly attracted to like one very specific type of man that makes up 0.00000001% of the population while finding so many different types of women so attractive. I’m picky, I have my tastes. I’m not horny for all women haha.
Being genderqueer is the most important piece of the puzzle that really helped me understand who I am. I really do feel like my feminine and masculine traits are equally present at all times, so being genderqueer or non-binary or gender-fluid makes all the sense in the world. I feel like my gender identity is what I’ve long been searching for to understand myself more, but gender identity has only been a part of widespread discussion over the past few years.
And remember (and I’m putting this in all caps)…. GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUALITY ARE NOT THE SAME THING!!!
I say this because to many people out there still, if it ain’t straight, its gay. Coming out as queer isn’t about whether or not I suck dicks or wear dresses or anything like that. Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of people in our society point to when they hear about someone coming out or even experimenting with their sexuality (Just Google anything having to do with R&B artist Tank recently). Exploring your sexuality by sucking a dick is not exploring your sexuality, there’s more things to think about and question.
Now let’s talk about how I got here.
Growing up, I was so shy and sheltered that I just thought I was really bad at talking to girls and that would continue when I was an adolescent into adulthood. As I started coming out of my shell through the music scene, DJ culture, and drinking a lot, I was exposed to more people and ideas that questioned the binary way of thinking I grew up with.
As an 80s baby, you grow up with a lot of misogyny and homophobia as just a part of culture. Plus, everything was binary. Gay or straight. Black or white. Biggie or 2Pac. East coast or west coast. Jay-Z or Nas. The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Things that were on a spectrum were few and far between. So, if you were someone that didn’t feel completely straight but didn’t feel like they were gay, like I was eventually feel, were like what the fuck?!?!?!?!
And gender identity wasn’t even a thing people discuss. You had androgynous figures all over MTV in the 1980s but those people were larger than life. Many people were able to find themselves through those types of stars in our culture, but mostly you were considered a freak or weirdo if you looked like that. There was no information to really explore yourself back then without being made fun of.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve brought up my sexuality to a few people that I was really close to and more importantly felt comfortable talking to about it. Most people I was around, even though I didn’t know enough about sexuality and relationships, I could tell their views and advice were straight up bullshit and wrong. Just think about trying to figure out your sexuality when you’re around people that have real dumbass views about women and being queer.
I’d be like “I really like so and so. How do I get her to go out with me?”. This is where I get the solid advice of “You just got to fuck her bro!”. And I’m thinking in my head this doesn’t help me at all. There’s steps I’m not understanding what to do before all that man! This is the bullshit I had to deal with during the last 90s throughout the 2000s. When women complain about how stupid men are I totally get it because the amount of terrible advice I’ve been given in my life from dudes about meeting women is astounding!
And it’s through that sort of advice and dialogue that, until recently, I thought I just has a huge mistrust in men in general. I don’t know if it’s mistrust anymore, but more so when it comes to subject that are more intimate in nature, my feminine side takes the driver’s seat and I connect more with women. I think in general that just a good decision that everyone could learn. Listen to women more.
I really didn’t make any progress in my 20s on figuring out these parts of my life.
So as I get into my 30s, something would change. Women I would kick it with could get naked for me much more easily as they did in my 20s. The reason for that I understand more now and that could be its own essay. I only mention it was because I thought I was starting to figure shit out, but I wasn’t. This would lead me into the WORST relationship of any kind I have ever been in and almost ruined me in many ways. I was in an abusive relationship and I was the one abused (in verbal and emotional ways). I will say that I did learn some things about sexuality during this time, but it came from a toxic place and didn’t help me at all.
After I was dragged out of the pits of flames of that relationship by my loved ones, it took years for me to even start being cool with close relationships of any kind. I would meet some great people over the past five years that are still good friends of mine. My circle of friends in my life now is better than it ever was and it keeps getting stronger. These are the people that would definitely help find myself.
So how did I get to where I am now?
The first step was quitting drinking over three years ago. After about 5-6 months of sobriety and my body starting to revert back to what it was supposed to feel like, I started to get clarity about how I was and what I needed to do.
Over two years ago, I started going to therapy and that took the clarity I was getting from being sober to a whole other level. I started resolving so many issues in my life instantly, but there were some roadblocks I continued to deal with, mostly about dating and relationships. To put it simply, I had holes in my game.
Over a year ago, I started taking medication for my moderate anxiety/depression and ruminating thoughts, and that was quite life changing also. I was able to attack more of those roadblocks in my life, but dating and relationships were still an issue.
I mentioned dealing with my sexuality with my therapist, but I had issues with exist with dealing with relationships that existed regardless of preference (which I think I’m much better at now). There have been times in the past year that it felt like I wasn’t making any progress all of sudden in therapy and it was starting to be frustrating. I would eventually realize I was no longer asking the right questions to my therapist or to myself. I was hearing feedback from my therapist and just going along with it and going along with the goals that sounded right. I took a break from seeing her and went back for a session months later realizing that and we got back on track, and this finally got me back on track to find those final pieces of the puzzle I needed.
Through every step of my journey over the past few years, I’ve learned a lot about women, men, sexuality, gender identity, sex, and relationships through podcasts. Some were more helpful than others. Some served a purpose that would later help in listening to another podcast. For the most part, I was learning all this stuff that was never discussed about sexuality and gender identify 5-10-15 years ago when I would have really needed it through some very highly educated people, mostly women too.
The list of those podcasts is too long, but I do want to point out one show that helped me come to my decision about my gender identity.
On an episode of Alison Rosen’s podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend (LINK: Theresa Thorn Says Listen to Your Kid), her guest was Theresa Thorn, co-host of the parenting humor podcast One Bad Mother and the co-author of You’re Doing a Great Job! 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting. During that episode, she talked about the journey of her own transgender daughter and the way she talked about gender identity was so perfect and beautiful. It was then it just clicked with me that I was queer and that my non-binary gender identity was that final piece of the puzzle I needed in understanding myself and it serves itself in understanding my sexuality and so much more. All these years, I wasn’t necessarily questioning my sexuality, I was questioning my gender identity.
And again for those in the back…. GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUALITY ARE NOT THE SAME THING!!!…
Theresa Thorn’s journey with her transgender daughter inspired her to write a children’s book titled It Feels Good To Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity (Purchase Link) that I could quote the fuck out of in this essay, but I want everything to read it! Theresa will also be a guest on an upcoming episode of Fresh is the Word where we talk about the book, what she learned during her journey with her daughter, and about how her words were that final piece for me finding myself.
Outside from an informational standpoint, another group of people that really inspired this journey of mine is the comic book creator community I have become a part of over the past couple years. These are the people you see in Artist Alley at all the conventions, both big and small, who are very supportive of each other within the community on all levels, but I learned another level of personal acceptance through these creatives where they didn’t just talk the talk, they walked it, danced it, illustrated it, and put their middle fingers up against anyone trying to fuck with their people!
It was through this comic arts community that I saw so many people that identify as queer living their lives as their own version of being queer and they all collectively represent a spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. One of my recurring thoughts during this journey had to do with all the obvious stereotypes of queer people, how you are supposed to look and act. Thinking if I am queer in whatever way, there is a certain uniform for that lifestyle I had to adapt to. What I learned is that is all bullshit and I learned that from the comics community.
Another book that I found helpful was A Quick & Easy Guide To Queer & Trans Identities (Purchase Link) by Mady G. and J.R. Zuckerberg. As the title says, it’s an illustrated book geared towards learning more about identity and it goes deep, but it’s funny and very well-written. It’s good if you’re trying to find yourself or help something else with their identity.
So after being extremely verbose, what the hell does this all mean?
When it comes down to it, this doesn’t change much. I’ve always been this person and this is just adding to my life. Before writing this essay, I started telling people close to me that I was queer and pretty much everyone was extremely supportive and happy for me.
My parents had no problem when I told them. My mom already sense it. She even referenced Nico Tortorella, who is probably one of the top people that looked up towards recently when trying to figure would what being queer could be. My dad just joked by saying “Do you have titties now?” hahahaha! That’s my parents in a nutshell. Thanks for being supportive of this.
The more I told people, the more I wanted to tell more people. Its felt freeing like a weight is being lifted off of me that I never knew was there. I did feel like something was holding me back with certain things in life and this was probably it. I just got inspired by a lot of people because when it came to it, I knew what I felt about myself wasn’t cut and dry.
And everyone in my life that I would be disappointed in having a problem with me being queer is extremely supportive and happy for me. I say this because if anyone reading this has a problem with me from now on, I don’t care. I can do without you in my life. Stay away. I’m quick to cut someone out of my life with the force of a samurai sword and lick the blood off it after.
One more thing…
I know I’ve made you read a lot already, but I want to address one more thing. Everyone’s journey to find themselves is different and many people have had to go through some extremely traumatic things. Being queer or gay or transexual in this world can get you killed. In any instance, making any step into the LGTBQ+ spectrum can make your life more dangerous than it was before coming out.
When it comes down to it, I’m queer and I have my own version of being queer. I like the way I look and dress already. Will I experiment with my look in future? Perhaps. Maybe. I have thoughts about it. But for now, when I walk down the street, I still look like a straight, white man in America and I understand my privilege that comes with it.
During all this time over the past 15 years trying to figure shit out and thinking that I might be apart of this community that faces so much oppression, that I needed to be an ally in some way because this might be a community that eventually I’m a part of. I hope I’ve been a good ally to the LGBTQ community. I learned a lot about allyship and respecting a community of people from my time in the hip-hop scene in Detroit. I’m proud of my reputation I have in that community and it taught me how to explore a lot of these things I’ve addressed in this essay.
Does coming out as queer make me a part of the LGBTQ community? That’s not my choice to make. I just care about being an ally for those that need a voice. Even in this community, a white dude still has a certain amount of privilege than others do.