We call it the LGBT community but, for the most part, it’s more of an optimistic ideal.
For outsiders, the LGBT community is hardly a community at times- instead, it’s more a rabid collection of people tenuously connected by a shared history of oppression and categorization. Hell, we can’t even agree on who belongs in the LGBT community in the first place or even what to call it.
Call me bitter but I can maybe count on one hand the number of times I’ve felt like I even really belong in the LGBT community.
When I first came out as transgender, I had no car and I lived in a town with a, shall I say, lacking LGBT community. We’ve got a community group- for teenagers (and this worked out swimmingly when I was, you know, an actual teenager, not so much as an adult) and a gay bar, neither of which worked out when I was in that awkward, post-high school but pre-21 age. This translated to having few off-line spaces to actually go and meet people in the community.
When I did manage to find groups with people I could relate to, I rarely felt like I 100% fit in. I was often the youngest person in the transgender support groups I came across and one of the only masculine-identifying people. Groups for gay and bi men weren’t always trans-friendly or, for that matter, actually bi-friendly. Even groups for trans men often featured mostly straight, uber-masculine guys, guys who would never be caught dead sipping on a cosmopolitan (I mean, hey, I’m a beer guy but I can get behind a good mixed drink).
Even in online spaces, I feel like an outlier. I don’t like to call myself “queer”. I don’t regularly go to brunch on Sundays nor am I a polyamorous kinkster. If that describes you- great! You do you!
In the meantime, I just wish there were more spaces for the people like me: people who aren’t straight, who maybe aren’t cis- who don’t get out as much as they’d like, who don’t have washboard abs, who only occasionally enjoy a drag show and don’t have the time to keep up with the latest Drag Race season?
I’ll be here, taking up a couple letters but not a lot of space in the gay bar.