At this point, I’ve come out so many times it’s entirely possible I’ve overstayed my welcome. Surely there’s only so much introspection allowed before you slide into self-indulgence. Might be that you’re sick of me. Might be that I should keep myself to myself. After all, it’s not like you need to know every little thing about me. But there remains a nagging feeling and I’m not good with nagging feelings. I’ve spent too much time keeping things to myself, and I didn’t mean to. I was shy. “Reserved” is a word teachers used to love scribbling on my reports.
The egg started showing cracks about six years ago.
Six years ago—or thereabouts—I told people I was asexual. I may have told you, yes, you, my friend, and if I did, I want to make something abundantly clear. I am not interested in “I told you so”. I am not interested in “I knew it.” I am especially not interested in “See? Everyone can feel attraction.”
Asexuality is real, and at the time, it made sense for me. You see, I’d done the math. There was nothing instinctual about it. Instinct was unnecessary when the math spoke for itself. The evidence was there, the conclusion undeniable. I tried picturing myself with men, then with women—and here I’d like to extend an apology to all my non-binary friends, I had very few clues and was quite unaware of your existence. Nothing fit. Nothing felt right. Ergo, I was obviously asexual.
Let me cut to the chase there. I’m not asexual. I’m gay.
Hi. I’m gay.
I am so 100% completely gay.
As it turns out, I was fed false information. I fed it to myself. You see, I thought I was a girl, how silly. It sounds so ridiculous now. I knew I wasn’t straight. But I couldn’t be gay either because that would make me attracted to women, right? On some level, I knew I was gay, but I also knew I wasn’t attracted to women, and that made no sense.
I’m not keen on talking about my transness here. This isn’t about that. Right now, no offence to anyone, no offence to myself, I’d love to forget I’m trans for a second or two. It is relevant, and it will always be relevant, of course, but it still comes with a sidecar full of legitimacy issues. It comes with self-worth issues that are not helped by gay cis men on social media taking it upon themselves to remind me of my own shortcomings, to remind me that I’m not a real guy and that my “one inch” is a complete turn-off. Don’t worry. I do know this is bullshit. It’s very obvious bullshit, and I am happily married to the most wonderful guy I’ve ever had the ridiculous good luck to meet, so what does it matter, really?
Well, it matters just enough to spring teeny tiny “you’re trans before you’re gay” thought traps all around me. Those traps hurt. They probably shouldn’t. Maybe some day they won’t. But right now, please, let’s forget the trans part. Let’s pretend I’m just a guy.
As I get more and more comfortable with myself, it becomes more and more of a relief. It turns out when figuring out your own sexuality, casting yourself in the correct role makes all the difference. The part I was missing before, that instinct part? It’s there now, and it’s screaming.
You’re gay, boy. You’re gay.
Thinking back on it now, the instinct was there all along, but it clashed so hard with the math that I had to lock it away and pretend it wasn’t there. I was always a bit too logically inclined. Not always. That’s a lie. This was something I developed in my teenage years. At some point, I stopped being able to gleefully flip my mind-self’s gender and let my imagination run wild. At some point, instinct began to feel base. Base began to feel shameful.
I vividly remember a teacher calling me out for daydreaming in class. “In love, are we?” Now, I wasn’t in love. I was probably thinking about food or a story. But the shame of the mere implication stuck to the wall like perfectly cooked spaghetti.
I was uncomfortable with myself. I hated my body, if I’m honest, and I hated the thought of my body with anyone. I hated the instinct. And I hated the thought of anyone thinking of me in relation to the instinct. I did not want anyone to think I was straight because I wasn’t. I didn’t want anyone to think I was gay because I wasn’t attracted to girls. I didn’t want any of it anywhere near me because there was no me.
I should never have been ashamed, and I’m not anymore. Today, I love the instinct. Today there’s no math. I can’t explain it, but the difference is I’ve stopped trying. There is no explaining it. There is no math. I’m just gay.
You’re just gay, boy. You’re gay.