What gay feels like today

I came out when I was 34.

Unlike so many of my fellow LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I was not thrown in a locker in high school for liking girls. I was not called a dyke or a faggot when I was 15. I wasn’t spit on, bullied, or worse.

But I know what it feels like to be gay.

I know how it feels to be afraid to kiss your fiancé in public when you’re outside your urban, accepting bubble. I know how it feels to be embarrassed to hold your wife’s hand because someone might stare. I know what it’s like to not correct a stranger when they ask “are you sisters?”

Coming out wasn’t easy, but I took for granted something I never thought I would have to.

Feeling safe.

I could pretend one night in Orlando couldn’t threaten an entire community, but I would be lying.

Because from this day forward, each time we set foot in a gay dance club or wave a rainbow flag for Pride, we will not forget.

But that’s all the reason I vow to hold my wife’s hand more often.

To dance like no one is watching, like every straight couple I know.

And to kiss my wife outside our home, as often as I do when we are safely inside. 

Because love always wins.

Chicago gay pride

2 thoughts on “What gay feels like today

  1. Susan,

    This post has particular resonance for me. As someone with a trans sibling, I cannot even begin to fathom the challenges that she faces on a daily basis, even living in SF. We cannot let hate win, and we cannot idly ignore homo/transphobia or let anti-gay slurs slide past us.

    Some commentators have to ignored or downplayed the hate crime aspect of the Orlando massacre, focusing instead on the killer’s jihadism. This exposes their profound discomfort with LGBTQ people as LGBTQ people.

    Stay strong,


    1. Lou, thank you for reading and sharing your story. I can’t begin to imagine what your sibling deals with every day. The march toward love for all and equality continues. “You do you” and don’t hurt anyone else shouldn’t be so hard!


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