Monday, June 11, 2018

Proud to Be Me

Very recently, I was having a conversation with my cousin about the reboot show, Queer Eye. As we both identify as gay males, I assumed that he would have watched the show and loved it like I did. While he had watched the show, he was not happy with it to my surprise. He saw the show as too “homo-normative” and seemed to only represent the stereotypical gay man. This saddened me as that was not the message I saw from the show.

It is true that the five guys on the show portrayed many of the stereotypical characteristics of gay men such as colorful clothing and flamboyant gestures. It is also true that as a gay man, I did not relate my personality to any of the guys as I am much more timid, quiet, and not at all a touchy feely type of person.

However, even though I am not like the guys on the show, I still loved the show for one huge reason.

The entire premise of the show is about being proud of who you are and not afraid to show who you are to others.

Each guy is different from each other as well. Despite being gay, none of them talked the same, acted the same, had the same abilities or passions. But they showed that it is okay to be proud of who you are and to create the best possible you, by taking care of your hygiene, your living space, your clothing, your food, and your attitudes in life.

They showed that it is okay to be who you are and to share who you are with others.

I feel too often, especially in LGBTQIA culture, we see some people and either implicitly or explicitly say that we love them for who they are yet tell them they need to tone down who they are in order to belong.

Or on the other extreme, we say a person is not “Gay or Queer” enough because of their personality differences and life circumstances.

Both of these extremes upsets me because it implies that there is a standard or a requirement of belonging into the LGBTQIA community. Our community should be all about inclusion and a space where people of all colors of the rainbow can come together and feel welcome and belonging, despite how different we might be from each other.

Sadly though, our community has not grasped this concept fully. Too many people in the community are racist toward our queer members of color. And then too many are transphobic or feed into Bi-Erasure or disregard persons who identify as asexual. The list goes on of the non-inclusion atmosphere that the LGBTQIA community is currently facing.

June is the month known as LGBTQIA Pride month, where we can remember to be Proud of who we are.

But there are no requirements of who gets to be proud and who doesn’t in our community.

We should all be proud of who we are, no matter our differences, no matter what color we shine or who we love or how we gender identify.

No matter your identity or how you decide to share your personality, I am so glad that the world has you in it!

So may we take this month as a reminder to be Proud of who we are, yet also be Proud of all Queer Persons and celebrate them for who they are in this world!

This is why Queer Eye is such a beautiful show because they celebrated the many complexities and personalities that make us human. When I watched the show, I didn’t think, “Oh, I guess I’m not gay enough because I don’t act like any of them”. I saw the show and realized, “Wow, I am a wonderful human being and I am proud to be gay and me”.

So may you be proud of who you are, no matter who you are, and may you love yourself fully and completely and celebrate the fearfully and wonderfully made person that you are!