A Queerness of Heart

Yesterday was National Coming Out Day here in the States, and this is not my coming out post. That's over here. But this is honor of the queerness in each of us. Enjoy. I have always clung to my identity as a queer girl. Like a safety net, or a blanket, it is often the first label I share with people, the first box I smash in our introductions. Most people presume I'm straight. I'm young, I'm femme, and I often find myself flirting {in a very gentle and non-sexual way} with many people of all genders. It's something I do without thinking. It might not be the best thing about me, but it is a truth.

I've dated boys. I've dated girls. I've dated trans folk. I've dated gender-queers. I've even dated people who don't identify with any gender. They just simply are.

It's my experience that, when we meet others, a first instinct is to identify them: gender often comes first. If a person isn't easily labeled, doesn't immediately fit into a box, we start to panic. Uncertainty sets in. We ask pointed, yet subtle, questions. Questions that require gendered pronouns. Or whether or not they wore a dress {which, to be honest, isn't always a gender-identifier}.

Lately, I've had the honor of being around a lot of people who don't fit into boxes. I've learned it's okay to ask someone their preferred pronouns, and in fact it shows a deep level of respect. I've learned that I don't really care what box someone fits into; what I care about is that they feel safe sharing their full expression with me. I've made a lot of mistakes around this, and I've hurt people I love. So I'm taking that learning and changing my expressions.

Gender boxes make things "easier." Or so we think. But what does that matter?

Until this year, I identified as a lesbian. I made my choices based on a gender box. I had sex, I formed relationships, with people who fit into one tiny space. People who chose a certain label as their own. I made choices about love based on a label. Looking back, most "real lesbians" would rebuff me for identifying with the same label they choose. I think I'm okay with that. I've found a new label.

I'm queer.

I've learned in the last year that who I choose to share my body and soul with should come from my heart, not from a label or a box. The decision should be made by feeling and attraction, not what's in their pants. I can't say that I have a criteria for attraction any more. More importantly, I can say that I'm not going to discount someone, or ignore my attraction to them, because of what's in their pants.

So, for National Coming Out Day, I'm coming out for love. I'm coming out for fluidity, for openness, for acceptance. I'm coming out for all those missed opportunities {I know we all have them}. I'm coming out for confusion, for uncertainty, for smashing the boxes that kept us trapped, not safe.

I'm coming out for the kids who smashed me into lockers all through my school years because I was "a dyke." I'm coming out for the kids who walked through the halls in fear every single day. I'm coming out for the guys who start bar fights because someone with a similar body flirts with them.

Today is anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death. I tried to write this post on National Coming Out Day, but the words weren't there. I realized this morning, when I said a prayer for Matthew's family, that today is the day for this post. It's for remembering who we are, for accepting those who are confused, and for supporting those who are clear.

Today I'm coming out for love. For the queerness in each of our hearts, the things that make us different, the boxes we smash to free our lives.

I'm here. I'm queer.

I'm the same person I was yesterday.

And I love you.