I Am Proud Of Being LGBT+ And I Will Not Apologize
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I Am Proud Of Being LGBT+, And I Will Not Apologize

Pride is a journey, one I'm still taking...and I'm going to be vocal about my celebration of it.

I Am Proud Of Being LGBT+, And I Will Not Apologize

I am asexual and panromantic.

Now, to anyone who has been following any of my social media or following my articles for any length of time, this will not come as a surprise. On the Internet, for the most part, I'm not shy about who I am. To some it might come off as obnoxious. I've heard people from my hometown say "I don't mind if people are gay, but I hate it when they're so 'out there' about their sexuality. They don't have to shove it in your face," or something of the sort regarding people like me. Plenty of heterosexual, cisgender people might wonder why Pride Month is such a big deal, and I bet some of them are tired of seeing ace stuff constantly in their Twitter or Tumblr feeds, thanks to yours truly.

Well, to those people who are tired of it, I'm not sorry.

Pride, to me, represents a journey. It's not something you're born with or have right away. Few LGBT+ people are born proud of their sexuality or gender identity, especially not in the world we live in right now. I certainly wasn't, and sometimes I'm still not. There's almost always the experience of wishing you were born some other way, wishing you were heterosexual, heteroromantic, and cisgender, especially since the road of an LGBT+ person isn't an easy one.

Today, as I write this, it's the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, an event that rocked the LGBT+ community to its core. At the time of the shooting, I wasn't even really out to anyone besides my parents, and I remember bawling, knowing that if I went to places for people of my sexuality, in a hateful enough place, I could have been outed in death like some others were. I remember mourning members of our community that had to die for nothing but being who they were. I remember knowing that I would never know a day where I wasn't a little bit afraid, partially because I'm anxious about everything and partially because I live in areas that simply aren't as accepting.

Though there hasn't been another shooting like this one targeted to my community, it doesn't mean that things are easy. We still see hate daily. I see homophobia on my Facebook news feed, from members of my religious home community preaching love and acceptance in the same breath as they condemn me. I hear small comments of "that's so gay," drive by protesting Westboro Baptist Church members with signs saying I'll go to hell. It isn't easy. Realistically, for a person who's as stress-prone as I am, who worries about the opinions of others and my own safety even in safe places, it probably won't ever be.

In times of fear--i.e. most of my life--it's easy to remain silent, to lie through omission, to let people believe that I'm straight. It's easy to live a lie, to be disingenuous. It's easy to play along when people talk about how hot guys are and pretend like I'm allosexual. It's easy to act like I could never fall in love with a woman, talk about my dream guy as if the masculinity of my future partner is a given. But it feels like a lie. And it is.

My social media spam and my constant LGBT+ articles represent my attempt to finally start telling the truth.

They represent me finally saying, "Hey! This is who I am, and if you hate it, the door's over there!" These articles are my truth, my attempt to be a voice for my community and to find my own voice in a time of fear. Because we need more voices, we need more proud people to look at. Those brave souls who shared their voices when I was fully closeted were what got me to accept who I was, then start to make the journey toward self love. It's all thanks to them that I'm speaking now. And I am beyond thankful.

Because I have been silent for too long, I have been someone I'm not for too long.

So, if you're still asking "why pride," I don't know what to tell you. Being a member of the LGBT+ community isn't easy. It never has been. But it's not a choice. It's something we were born with, and it's easy to think it's a curse. It's easy to wish that you were "normal." It's easy to pretend that we're not who we are, especially when it can feel like the world's against you.

Yet we are here. Honest, genuine, and above all, proud.

Pride is a journey, and we celebrate every step of it. If you're out fully, be proud of it! If you've come out to your parents, be proud of it! If you're only out to a couple friends, you should still be proud! And if you're totally closeted, be proud! Living as an LGBT+ person requires courage, resilience, and persistence. It might feel like you aren't brave. But every day where you wake up and even confront the reality that you might not be straight in a world where you might not be accepted for it is amazing! Every step towards your journey of self-discovery and pride in yourself is a momentous one. And I'm sure as hell gonna celebrate my ongoing one. Sure, I can have moments of self-hatred for who I am. I'm still closeted in some areas. But I'm finding my voice, I'm growing, and I love myself for it.

In case you missed it the first time: I am asexual. I am panromantic. And I will not apologize for being proud of it and everything that comes with it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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