Imagine reading the newspaper. The article details a government killing people like you, and even worse, the rest of the world seems relatively passive.
Imagine turning on the TV to see a man who scorns people like you. This man is a politician, well-respected, the president of the United States.
Imagine hearing all your friends using words such as “faggots” or “pansy” to insult and make fun of each other.
Imagine not being able to listen to hip-hop or rap without hearing slurs against who you are, or watching movies full of stereotypes that are so far away from the truth (what the fuck is “GBF” ?).
Those are, among plenty other ones, examples of problems I, and every LGBTQ+ person faces every single day. They are the consequences of a society where hyper-masculinity and hyper-feminity are the most accepted model. Where hate and mockery is trivialized against people who do not fit this mold.
There is still a lot of work to do.
I am eighteen and I am gay. It took me so long to admit it, so long to not be ashamed about it, and to stop crying every evening, thinking I was a monster.
I would write in my journal about how I felt wrong (everyone is straight, everyone is saying that being gay is a disease, I can’t be like this, no, I can ’t !) and tried to cope with this feeling by forcing myself to love girls and by numbing my emotions.
I tried to be someone I wasn’t and me, my family and my friends got hurt. The problem isn’t homosexuality, being trans, queer, or any other shade of different. It comes from society itself, and how people are expected to be a certain way.
Because of the rhetoric surrounding gay people, I thought that my parents would abandon me if they found out who I am, so I hid. I silenced myself.
I was 12. As plenty others did, I got bullied, I got kicked, I heard atrocious things about myself. They even made a Facebook page, telling me to kill myself.
It took me three years to accept myself, to be fully myself. To let myself love boys, to let myself be feminine, to let myself feel free. It was a really hard process.
When I accepted myself, I started to feel stronger, more determined. I started signing petitions for my rights, started looking for local events to use my voice for the LGBTQ+ movement.
While I am writing this, gay men are tortured and killed in Chechnya.The police instruct families to KILL their gay children. And I don’t see any western government doing anything about this.
There is so much to fight for. How many times have I been told to stop being so dramatic? — “You guys can marry, isn’t that already something?”
How many people out there still look at gay men as guys who will try to make out with every damn boy they encounter, and think of lesbians more of a porn category than totally normal humans?
I get anxious when I go to parties: are the people there homophobic? Will they mock me? Am I putting myself in physical danger? I still hold back from being myself when I’m around people I don’t know. How many insults and hashtags do I see on twitter per week telling how wrong we are, that we have to kill ourselves ? This is why every “you fag!” hurts, why there are still so many young girls and boys out there hiding from themselves.
We have to support each other. If you question your sexuality, if you are ashamed because you feel like you do not fit, if you are lost, just know that, as cheesy as it may sound, you are not alone.
You are a part of a community that is admittedly hurt and criticized, but stronger that you could ever imagine. What reunites each other is love. When we aren’t afraid to be our true selves, we understand that love has no rules, no limits.
We are going to fight with a power that surpasses any weapons, any insults.
Yesterday, I came out to my mother and my step-father.
We are going to fight by staying proud.
Hugo lives in a small village in France. He is moving to London next September to study liberal arts and become a journalist. He is really into arts, politics, and activism.