The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Reasons We’re Glad to Be Gay

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This week’s Huddle is very interactive. You see, we are sooooo glad to be gay. No matter how many times in life people tell us we are wrong or sick or some other kind of negative thing, there are so many reasons we are happy to be here and queer and, ultimately, ourselves. So with this week’s Huddle topic—why we’re glad we’re gay —we want you to tell us why YOU are happy to be who you are, in the comments below and on Twitter using #gladimgay. We’ll join you!

(BTW, we are using “gay” as an all-encompassing term but feel free to use lesbian, bisexual, queer, etc. if it feels more right to you.)

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Ali Davis: I’m certainly not going to mention the extended nonlinear sex and truckloads of orgasms, because right after I hit send (if I would ever even type such a thing) someone’s going to submit something right after that that’s so beautiful and full of meaning that everyone’s heart will glow pink with a lavender aura and then we’ll all go out and do LGBT service projects. So it’s definitely not those things. But those things might be the icing roses on my cake of reasons.

Dorothy Snarker: When I was in grade school, the coolest thing was to sit on the back of the bus on the ride home and make fun of the other kids. I wasn’t cool, but I wanted to be. One week, everyone in the back of the bus decided it was cool to call this one girl – who was awkward and scruffy and different in ways grade schoolers despise –names. The only one that stands out to me all these years later is “witch.” Don’t ask me why, I really can’t recall. But, remember, I wasn’t cool – I just wanted to be. So I called her witch with them one bus ride home. It was a mean and terrible thing to do. And I regret it to this day. But I wanted to be cool, and cruelty seemed the fastest way there.

Years later, when I began to realize my own difference, the urge to hide the “not one of us”-ness of my very existence grew to an unmanageable din. I won’t be cool, I won’t be liked. I’ll be the witch at the back of the bus.

But learning to accept and own and honor that very differentness that is inherent in every single gay person is the reason I am most glad to be gay. For those who fit effortlessly into the back-of-the-bus crowd, coming to the realization that coolness or sameness or whatever-ness you hold dear doesn’t really matter often comes more slowly – if at all.

Being gay has afforded me a front-row seat to what otherness means in America. (So has being a minority, being a woman, et al – as it does for anyone outside the descriptors of the pre-prescribed societal norms.) But what it really has done is make me a kinder, more open person. It has made me realize for all of our so-called differences we are actually all terribly the same. We are just tiny humans spinning around the sun on this crazy blue marble for a ridiculously short period of time. So, really, what’s the use of being cruel?

Being gay also means you get to kiss girls. Which is awesome. So there’s that, too.

Chloe: Because straight people are beyond basic and have no idea, which makes the banality of their romantic lives even funnier. Like oh, you’re having trouble understanding the opposite sex? A guy isn’t calling you? HOW ORIGINAL TELL ME MORE. Also, thanks to internet access, dudes seem to be getting creepy as fuck. Sometimes I just scroll through tinder fails or nice guys of OkCupid or even Reddit and just laugh softly to myself. Finally, DICK PICS. I am delighted to have escaped dick pics. I can’t even express my horror at dick pics. I am convinced that no straight woman has ever genuinely enjoyed getting a dick pic. From what I can tell, they’re all either a. similarly disgusted or b. LYING.

So yeah. That’s why I’m super glad to be gay. Immunity from the dick pic epidemic and an interesting love life.

Grace Chu: Boobs.

Dana Piccoli: There are many things that I love about being a lesbian, but one thing that I find thrilling is that we are always getting to discover new stories on television, books and film. For so very long, we weren’t represented, and that tide has turned tremendously in the last few years. Almost everyday, there is a new web series, play, character on a show that I inevitably fall in love with. I know that there is far less representation than we would like, but for now, it’s kind of amazing to watch the world change a little bit more each day for the better.

Elaine Atwell: When I first came out, one of the lines I used on incredulous family members who were convinced that my newfound orientation was nothing more than an attempt to rebel, was: “Do you really think I would choose to be this way? Don’t you think I’d be straight if I could?” It was a pretty effective rhetorical strategy, but it wasn’t long until I realized it wasn’t actually true.

I’m glad to be gay because, even before I realized it, it is how I am my truest self. There is no way I would make myself straight and erase my sense of community, with a lineage that goes back to the beginning of time. I wouldn’t want to love women less, even if I could, because the richness of that love is such an integral component of the richness of my character. I love the struggle, and I love the rewards, and I love that being gay allows you to pick out all the threads of our patriarchal society and start to make something new from scratch.

Also, and it really cannot be overstated: Boobs. Boobs are the fucking tops.

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Heather Hogan: If you’ve ever been in a relationship with an abusive crazy person—legitimately those things; like if, say, one of your parents was a substance-abuser with an untreated personality disorder or something—you know the feeling of starting to wonder if you’re the crazy person. Because when an actual crazy person is beating the shit out of you while being convinced as a stone about how right they are and how wrong you are, it really starts to do a number on your brain. It’s only when you step outside of that relationship and start talking to other people who have stepped outside of similar relationships that you really begin to understand the depth of fuckedupness you were mired in.

The moment I realized I was gay, I stepped out of the abusive, toxic, crazy relationship I had with society’s entrenched misogyny and patriarchal ideals. Being gay, to me, isn’t the opposite of being straight; it’s a leap out of what’s normal and a journey through a whole big, bright, nuanced world of people who aren’t blind to their abusers anymore. Like, I felt crazy for wanting to dress like a boy all my life, and for forming these impossibly intense relationships with other girls, and absolutely starving for female TV and movie and comic book and video game characters that were as good as the male ones, and on and on.

You don’t have to be gay to have that kind of revelation and fight your way outside of the abusive relationship with our culture, of course. But understanding I was gay was what helped me realize I could do that. And living out here with the other wildlings, well, that’s my favorite thing about being gay.

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