I am a twenty-nine-year-old, white, disabled, bisexual male. What the hell does that mean? On self-reflection, all it means is that I’m me. I’ve survived twenty-nine years’ worth of troubles, experiences, ups, downs, highlights, tragedies, obstacles, and even the odd miracle by my own definition. I’ve lived twenty-nine years white skinned, physically disabled, and visibly male to see all the prejudice and privilege it brings me. Twenty-nine years isn’t enough to truly know the world. What it does do is give a wide sampling of the countless things it has to offer. I’ve experienced enough to know what I like, what I don’t, things I can’t stand for, and who I love. I was maybe fifteen when I discovered that my attraction wasn’t solely to one gender.
When it really dawned on me, it was almost a fad to be anything other than straight. Those who truly were doubted the claims of anyone new who openly announced their preference and within a week, I had heard everything from, “You’re just saying that to be cool,” to, “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Without pause, I knew it was me and who I was becoming and I still came home to do what is still considered to be one of the hardest things for anyone who doesn’t fit a perceived norm to do. I returned home to confess to my mother. Without anger, confusion, or even a careful pause, she accepted me and verbally acknowledged my choice. Yet, I consider myself lucky as there are many out there who don’t have that support and there may be a portion of my own family who may not approve but I don’t know. I never told them. Then again, bisexual may not even be the final classification but only the product of limited experience.
But why does this all matter? Should it? Are we not able to simply be who we are and move on? I guess that depends on who you talk to. A lot has been on my mind for the past few months with little room to lend those thoughts the time they deserve due to the demands of school and the clumsy anxiety of a first semester back in years. While I had full intention to address them during the holiday break, the desire for rest and enjoyment of the holiday took over. So here I am after the first week of another semester and only days after the inauguration media has been buzzing about. And it is for that reason this is important.
It is almost common knowledge that things are changing at breakneck pace for those of us in the States. As is common with every election, primarily with a new president, people are terrified of what might happen. In some cases, we see the worst come out of other while fear or desperation claim the targets of hate. It’s all such a tragic mess and it’s hard to make sense of it all with the advent of “alternative facts.” It is this that gives me cause to speak.
In truth, to a degree, I am afraid. I’m living in a world where I have been declared an enemy. I’m one of the faceless monsters targeted by rhetoric that justifies the abhorrent attitudes and actions by a mass of intolerance. I don’t declare to be perfect or even completely good yet I do try and be kind to any I cross for my own benefit if nothing else. Yet, I’m still the enemy and on multiple fronts no less and I’m left to take defensive maneuvers against those who have openly declared that I’m sub-human, sinful, and unfit or unworthy of the few things I have to equip me to aid my community. I just started going back to school and the secretary of education seeks to rip that away from me. An education which I intend to use and prepare for a career I may be able to contribute the most to.
I am a twenty-nine-year-old, disabled, bisexual in a land where the only benefits I have are that I’m white and male. Yet, these two, minor aspects of what makes up the being I refer to as myself aren’t enough to outweigh the social stigma that labels me a stupid, defective, confused whore with commitment issues. And yet I overcome obstacles at every turn, my intelligence on display for you, the reader. If that isn’t good enough, I have the straight A’s of last semester to cement the worth of my grey matter. I’ve been happy with the same girl for ten years while still admiring the beauty and complexity of the same gender. Finally, I openly display a metal band on my finger to announce my commitment to the world that rarely comes off if ever. All I ask is that the world, or my country at the very least, recognize that I’m a capable individual. And yet I’m still the enemy of a thousand people I’ve never met.
I’m terrified and I’m angry. I’m more capable than many give me credit for and I’m tired of shrinking in fear that one small detail of my being could taint the rest of my vast complexity. I’m grateful to all that support me, I find you all to be friends whether you are near or far. Those who think they know what is or is not best for me might better apply their time in managing their hubris. Let it be known I’m not complacent or in agreement with the threatened and looming changes that Americans may face in the coming years for what is happening isn’t right or normal and damn anyone who enforces the imposed silence it brings. I will continue to learn, grow, love, satirize, and exist for I am me. Nothing more and nothing less.