I woke up queer this morning

I was queer when I woke up this morning. It wasn’t something I planned. I didn’t drink a queer-lixir before I went to sleep. It just… happened.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t unexpected. I was pretty sure I’d wake up queer today and I’m pretty certain I’ll wake up queer tomorrow. Mostly because I’m queer.

But it still hits me like a ton of bricks every single day.

Before I drink my coffee

I open Google News and navigate to the LGBTQ topic.

Politicians in Fulton County Pennsylvania recently denied a budget request from a small town library over its association with a “hate group.”

That “hate group” was a local LGBTQ support group. The politicians claimed that allowing “the LGBTQ” to host meetings was no different than allowing the Proud Boys or Black Lives Matter to host meetings.

Another politician gobsmackingly added “do we want Muslims moving into our county?” because, fuck it, in for a hate-filled-penny, in for a hate-filled-pound. Amirite?

Comparing “the LGBTQ” to the Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter is a masterstroke of ass-clownery. It’s like saying “if we let a bunny rabbit in the petting zoo, we may as well allow the shit golem from Kevin Smith’s “Dogma” and a group of heroic protesters in too!”

It’s actually pretty funny. Until you reword it.

Elected officials in the state of Pennsylvania declared anyone who identifies as “LGBTQ” to be members of a hate group. As such, any government programs providing services to members of this hate group will be suspect to oversight, review, and reprimand.

Someone needs to tell the GOP that a hate group is an organization that espouses hateful ideology, not a group that you hate.

But wait there’s more

I’ve finished my coffee. Want to know the best part about that story? Check out these headlines:

not winning

(highlighting mine)

I’m not trying to steal a win from anyone, but being forced to use private fund-raising to subsidize a public library because it’s being punished by elected officials for being in cahoots with the queers isn’t a win for anyone.

Except for the library. Seriously, I’m glad that library got some funding because the people running it are obviously awesome and we need more of that in the world.

But my concerns go beyond that library and to the fact that queer people and their allies were charged twice for local government services in Pennsylvania.

We shouldn’t have to pay a dollar in taxes and then donate another one to a GoFundMe to get what a group of straight people can get for four quarters. And the institutions that support our right to exist shouldn’t be punished by a government that chooses to represent some of the people some of the time.

Being queer affected my ability to do my job today

By day, I’m a mild-mannered technology reporter. And this particular day was a good one. I recently found out my great grandboss (that’s the boss of my boss’s boss) was coming to town, and my boss asked me to give a presentation.

I knocked it out of the park, it was awesome. And, I’ll level with you all, the secret to my success was framing the entire presentation around the concept of “zagging.”

No, that’s not a euphemism. It just means if everyone else is “zigging,” there might be some value in zagging.

You know… sometimes being “not exactly like everyone else” is a good thing? Hmm. What’s a word you can use that means “not exactly like everyone else?”

Yes, being queer and having a lived experience as a queer man basically worked as a performance-enhancing drug for me today at work, and it felt great.

Unfortunately, that queer experience was pretty queer in itself. My research tells me that about 3.5% of people in the US are queer. That’s also the approximate percentage of times I feel being out and queer works in my favor when it comes to my job.

My employers are great. It’s the world that sucks. I can’t properly research, keep my ear to the ground concerning the news cycle, and follow the zeitgeist on social media without exposing myself to large-scale anti-queer rhetoric.

Whether it’s the fact that I’ve published hundreds of articles about the queer struggle and they’ve never once failed to produce hate-filled comments on social media, or that it’s impossible to imagine a single day going by where the news cycle doesn’t produce something horrific, defeating, or demoralizing in the LGBTQ topic, it’s tough to exist as a member of the media when you’re queer.

If you check the LGBTQ section of any news aggregator it’s like someone collected news links for a report on how bad queer people have it. Only, that’s just what the news is everyday. ¯\_()_/¯

It’s depressing. It’s hard. Researchers recently conducted a study concerning the effects of hyper-vigilance on queer people – that’s when you’re so inundated with stress and anxiety that you exist in, effectually, a perpetual state of alarm.

Or, as queer people call it: Wednesday. Or just… everyday.

Per the researchers’ paper:

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals are at risk for poorer health outcomes in part because of stigma, discrimination, victimization, and resulting trauma and stress. Stigma-related stress can lead to hypervigilance, or a chronic and pervasive state of alertness and readiness to respond to potential threats in the environment.”

It’s not easy being different. Sometimes it’s fun. And it’s often meaningful and fulfilling. But it’s way easier to conform, hide, or mask most of the time.

It’s time for a drink

And we’re doing tequila shooters, so all booze is queer now. We’re taking that too.

My point is this: I didn’t actually do anything that was queer today. I woke up, went to work, ate some food, wrote this article, and then had a few drinks.

But I sure felt inescapably queer all day. Every time I incidentally scrolled past an article like the ones covering the ridiculousness in Pennsylvania, I felt painfully queer. And each time I happened across a nasty, hate-filled comment on social today I felt defiantly queer.

It’s amazing how much vitriol and disdain people who’ve never met me can cast at me. It’s hard not to think about it sometimes. That’s the other tax we have to pay.

First, Uncle Sam grabs a few bucks out of my paycheck. Then, if my local library loses its budget because it lets people like me inside, I’m compelled to donate a few bucks to help it out. Reading is fundamental, y’all.

And then, when I’m trying to get shit done, innovate, give my employer 100% all day and then run a business and raise a family in the evenings and on the weekends, I gotta fight off the urge to defend my existence in the public forum?

Count me out. I’m done. Calling it a day. Pour that shot honey, it’s quittin’ time.

But, of course, I’ll wake up queer tomorrow too. And I have no reason to expect it’ll be any different then.

You might also like I’m queer enough. So are you.


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