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  • Writer's pictureShamari

When did I realize I was gay.....

You: When did you realize you were gay?

Me: I’m not sure I understand the question…..

 Unless you mean, when did I gain experiential knowledge about the dangers of homophobia? Or when I learned that folks would (and were legally able and socially expected to) hurt me physically, spiritually, and emotionally because of my sexual identity:: Or when I arrived at the sobering realization that heterosexist sticks and stones could break my bones; and words could too:: Or did you mean to ask, how much it cost my humanity to learn that when I brought up bullying and harassment to my teachers, they would respond by bullying and harassing me too:: When I learned that my identity was too inappropriate to be discussed in schools:: Or when I learned how expensive it was for me to not enjoy sports:: Or enjoy Beyoncé too much:: When I first felt the anxiety of having to go to the barbershop:: Or when I learned that God loved all of her children, except me:: Or when I learned how dangerous it was for me to even look at dolls, move my wrists with style, walk with grace:: When I had to consider the idea that I might never know what embracing my partner in public would feel like...Or feel it and never live to speak about how it felt. Hmm. Good question. When did I know that if I contracted HIV, so many people would say I deserve it:: When I learned that my Black LGBTQ+  ancestors had been....


When I learned that some folks thought that Black people were 3/5 human; And that some people thought that cuz I was gay, I was only 3/5 Black::

When I learned that no matter what I did, when given any platform, the world would only wanna know….when I knew I was gay.

Yet, I’m never allowed to ask when they knew they were heterosexual. Or, when they knew they were homophobic. 

When did I know I was gay? 

I don’t know, always, but I do remember when I learned that some people didn’t think I mattered

-- These were the lessons of my childhood that I think you’re asking about.

However, I’ve learned many more things as an adult. 

In recent years, I’ve learned that I belong to a community of beautiful Black trans and queer  people who know we are worth fighting for. And that we are worth loving. And that our Black LGBTQ+ lives are worth living.

As an adult, I have learned that in the spaces free from societal restraints and expectations where creative prowess and imagination are unleashed; where you are not expected to be anything,  you can be everything. I am everything. We are everything. 

What if I had learned these things as a child? What if I had my learned that my humanity mattered? What if, before I was born, society had learned that my humanity mattered ?


So, what exactly are you asking me?

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