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Bee-ing Who I Am


Internalized homophobia is an interesting concept that I’m sure you’ve never considered.

Before I was out I felt it everyday, and even more every single day after coming out. It’s this notion that being anything other than the heterosexual ideals of society isn’t ok. You quite literally give yourself get the “ick”. Before I was honest about my sexuality I felt gross, toying with the idea of a life with anything other than what’s seen in the movie made me feel as if something wrong with me. Life must be spent with the opposite gender and convincing myself that I couldn’t be with a women (so I thought). I forced myself to wear clothes I didn’t like to be accepted by people who didn't matter, all for the sought after feeling of self acceptance. I actually felt the opposite. I’d sit in group settings and feel a pit of uncertainty in my stomach. I’d see women loving women and feel jealous. I’d see a man in jeans and high tops and I'd envy him. But I shamed myself for every thinking I could.

Then I said the words, I like girls. I thought I'd feel liberated. Until I didn’t know what it meant for my life and I retreated. I started to somewhat dress how I wanted with my high top converse, but supplemented it with a feminine hugging jean. I had one foot in my identity and one in societal norms. I still didn’t know how to be with a women and I was scared at the thought of ever touching one so I ran in the other direction. I went back to men, thinking maybe I can like both. I went through the motions of going on dates and tolerating that this would be my life, that this is what I deserved. So I found myself in a relationship with him. I avoided everyone I told I liked girls, out I shame for ever saying it. He was my beard*.

*(The lovely term as to say, one is too scared to be with the same sex so they hide behind the opposite).

During this time I found my way. I ripped every dress from my closet that I no longer felt comfortable in and drafted new picks. Jean jackets, looser pants, curating my look in the mens section. I build a new identity one piece at a time. And so I thought. Until the words crept through his mouth, “is that from your brothers closet.” As if to wear this meant I had to be a man. So I put back on my tight tops and leggings and pretended to be someone I wasn’t around people that didn’t understand why I wanted to be different.

I got the tattoos I always dreamt of and fantasized the suit I’d get married in. I'd wear dress pants to dinner and fashion my loafers on my feet. Then be told “wouldn’t you rather a dress.” No actually I wouldn’t. All the progress I had made has gone out the window and I'd become someone I no longer recognized.

For months I resenting myself and pushed myself back into the hetero-normaltive life I was expected to want. Until her. She walked into my life and fashioned the threads I would wear, giving me a space to feel and look how I wanted. A sense of confidence displayed on my body. For the first time in my life I felt seen, heard, comfortable. She let me express my identity in what I wore and never held me back. Wanted to wear a dress? Okay. Wanted to wear Levi’s and Nikes? Okay. It was never a debate of dressing the part or acting a certain way, it was being bee. Being who I am.

Now and again internalized homophobia will creep in when someone in your path marks you with an X. You'll wonder your self worth, question who you are, and almost always retreat a step or two in the life you've built. But this is the world we live in. Some people will never understand how you long for the opposite gender and some even cower as you pass them holding hands. But, never stop being you. Love who you are and how hard you worked to be who you longed to be.

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