I consider myself very lucky to be living in the time I am now.
Unlike the queer folks before me, I have the privilege of not being afraid to live my life the way I want to. I can love who I want, wear what I want, do what I want, and live my life as authentically as I want.
I can walk the streets with my boyfriend and be unafraid of being harassed or attacked.
Please keep in mind that many queer folks aren't as lucky as I am. Some do get attacked, some do get harassed, and some are forced to shove themselves so deep in the closet that they are unable to be their true selves. As an openly gay femme man, this hurts and saddens me.
These folks are being torn apart from the inside because they live in perpetual fear of being exposed, of being beaten, and of being murdered by their own friends and family.
What hurts most of all, I suppose, is when well-meaning friends and family advise me to dumb myself down for those who may not "get" me.
And, this angers me.
It angers me because they are telling me to be myself, but not too much. To be my "most authentic self", but to be more subdued and "professional".
It angers me because they want me to be more of a heteronormative gay man who can be gay but look like he shops the discount racks at Banana Republic.
In their eyes, I suppose, they believe that this version of me is more "digestible" to the legions of straight people who will be interviewing me for possible employment.
In the eyes of my future employers, I'm just any other straight, white, male looking to advance his career and make some bank.
That is, apparently, what society wants: for me to be digestible.
In a world where the lines of gender conformity are being blurred (think Harry Styles) don't you think people should get with the program and discard their preconceived notions about gay people, gender, and expressing yourself?
In the minds of those closest to me, not very likely.
So I'm going to say this once: anybody who can't accept me for who I am is nobody that I want any association with.
I am going to continue to wear my hair long with fringe, I'm going to continue to wear Chanel nail enamel in a bright red color, I'm going to continue to wear scarves and high-waisted pants. And yes, I'll continue to carry a handbag and give them to my nieces and nephews when I die.
I am not going to give up parts of myself to make myself more agreeable to those around me.
To tell me to efface myself and give myself over to conformity is one of the greatest insults you can bestow upon me. I understand that your intentions may good, but you have NO RIGHT to tell me how to be.
I'm going to just be. Whether you like it or not.