Maybe one day.
But I still recognize the utility of “LGBTQ” when pressing for human rights and legal protections. Sometimes a collective voice is greater than a lone flag bearer. When someone speaks or writes about LGBTQ, I perk up. Someone’s referring to me.
The problem, however, is that I often feel like a fake. After all, I’m a “G”, only one-fifth of what the tag says. And, really, I don’t know how much I can represent the typical gay man, if there even is such a thing. Truth is, I’m not always comfortable with behaviour and beliefs ascribed in one fell swoop to all gays. In many respects, I’m not a group-think sort of person.
But even putting aside the potential quasi-ness of my “G”, my place in the larger LBGTQ community is all the more tenuous.
If “LGBTQ” were some designer clothing label, mine would come from a t-shirt stand on the Venice Beach boardwalk, where you can also buy a fancy “Fendi” bag or a cool pair of “Ray-Bans” sunglasses. Knockoffs, every one.
I’m embarrassed to elaborate.
I can start with the “L”. There was a time when my best friend and roommate was a lesbian. Oh, she’s still a lesbian, but we’re not best friends. No rifts; it’s just that, for the past twenty-five years, she’s been in New Mexico while I’m 1,500 miles away in British Columbia. A long overdue visit still drifts in front of us, the word someday floating in wistful thought bubbles. I have other lesbian friends closer to home but we’ve only communicated through Twitter and Facebook the past few years. Alas, my lesbian ties are there in spirit, strength signal fading.
That’s more than I can say about the “B” contingent. I can’t name a friend, acquaintance or colleague who has ever identified as bisexual. It’s not that I go out of my way dodging bisexuals. They just haven’t identified themselves in my circles. Conceptually, I think being bisexual is ideal. Love who you love, gender be damned. How lovely! (Apparently, being pansexual is slightly broader, at least semantically, but my understanding of newer labels is always fuzzy.) There are some wonderful women I wish I could have loved in every way, but I wasn’t wired that way and a romantic relationship would have been dishonest and damaging. For those who are truly bisexual, all I can do is rah-rah from afar. Wish I knew you.
I’m sad to say the same goes for the “T”. Long ago, I met a few transgendered persons but this occurred at gay events—gay in the broadest meaning of the term. Introductions were made, hands were shaken and our paths never seemed to cross again. What I know about transgender struggles comes from the news, from documentaries and from the few celebrities who identify as transgender. (I’m so foggy on my awareness that I get confused over when to use transgender versus transgendererd. It’s that sad.)
I suppose my lack of connection is in some part related to how I’ve become more introverted in recent years. I don’t attend Pride or any other LGBTQ events. I don’t hang at gay bars. I don’t belong to any gay or LGBTQ groups. It’s hard to grow when I’ve got wall around me.
So, as much as I can embrace the LGBTQ label in theory and from a point of advocacy, it doesn’t fit in terms of day-wear. I believe, I support, I rally...but only from my couch at home. When I shed the LGBTQ label and let me be me, it’s more of a sad thing than a good thing. It’s about being isolated rather than evolved. In truth, I could stand to have the label be more meaningful in my life.
For starters, I’m thinking about a road trip to New Mexico...