A LGBT State of Mind

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“When did you know? What did your parents say when you told them? Were you ever attracted to women? Have you ever had sex with a woman?” These are the common slew of questions I get bombarded with when meeting new people who feel abnormally comfortable asking these incredibly intrusive questions. Fortunately for them, my confidence and security with my sexual identity have always led me to answer their curiosities with pride rather than embarrassment. It’s true at first the possibility of someone asking me even one of these questions, whether it be a close friend or an acquaintance, struck the mightiest fear within me. I had no idea how to formulate a response, mostly because I didn’t know the answers myself.

I thought it strange that I couldn’t even muster up even the simplest reply to a question I had been trying to answer since I realized I was gay, which occurred earlier on in my life than most expect. I remember the terrifying conversation I had with myself at the age of 7 or 8, where I confronted the fact that I felt some sort of physical attraction toward other guys. The sudden realization of the obstacles I would face in the near future instilled an anxiety that followed me throughout my adolescent years. Revealing my true self in high school was not a possibility I considered, even though there were a promising number of students who publicly declared their sexual identities (because heterosexuality was assumed). Remaining under the radar seemed imperative to surviving high school.

College provided a different landscape for approaching my sexuality; one that meant being unashamed, almost overbearing, about my homosexuality. The years of suppression created some deep-rooted need to be explicit when it came to who I was sexually. I became familiar across my college campus for my blatant sexuality, often being called “Gay Tim”, a nickname that invoked a love from strangers I’m sure I had never met. Never had I imagined a world where my sexual preference would usher in love rather than disgust and prejudice. My sense of freedom led me to say, do, and wear what I wanted to.

I remember a close friend asking me if had the choice to choose my sexuality, would I have chosen to be gay? At first, I thought, of course, no, imagine how much simpler my world would’ve been. But then I considered all the liberties I had become so comfortable with, specifically dressing how I wanted to. Before I came out, fashion was a craving of mine that I only shared with my high school best friend, for I feared my obsession would give away my unrevealed sexuality.

Once I became comfortable with the fact that I was gay, I felt unrestricted in what I could wear. That meant mixing vivid patterns, vibrant colors, and uncommon textures all into one look, something I felt I couldn’t do before. Today, in the world we live in, men often feel subjugated to wear fashions that feel as old as time, as the idea of staying current in what they wear associates the fear of their sexuality being questioned amongst all. It seems tragic that men, primarily heterosexuals, don’t feel at liberty to express an interest in fashion.