An Instagram posting this week, on what LGBTQ people want straight people to understand about their lives, has prompted thousands of likes. It’s clearly struck a chord with many.
The posting was made by the Instagram account @thegaygood. On it, the author presents ‘7 things I wish straight people understood about silently growing up LGBTQIA+’.
• Pretending to be heterosexual is emotionally and physically draining.
• The fear of being “outed” is incredibly destabilizing.
• Somedays you wish you were born differently.
• Wondering if your friends will want to remain friends is painful.
• Coming out is not a one-time conversation.
• After coming out, it can be hard to tell whether you’re being yourself or still putting on an act. The mindfuck is real.
• Most of our lives are not a non-stop Pride parade.
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In a caption accompanying the post, the Gay Good’s creator, João Pedro Rojas, said, “Sometimes I just want to shake my heterosexual friends, not because they don’t love me, but because there’s so much to my existence they don’t understand.
“As much beauty as a queer life produces, let’s be real, a lot of it can be pretty traumatic. You don’t just ‘get over’ or ‘move on’ from your closeted years with a drop of a hat, it takes significant time to come into your own, to heal, to really get to know yourself and those around you. Sending love to all of the community on this journey and to the allies who strive to understand the ups and downs.”
He added, “I’d also like to emphasize that every person’s coming out journey is different and not everyone will agree with the slides above, but many will. Some people come out at 12 or earlier, some at 43 or older, but it’s not a competition.”
Many responded to say they identified with the statements.
“As someone who came out around 40, I wish people understood how much an adjustment it is to learn to relax and just “BE.” No acting, no explaining, no faking, no denying the right to be yourself,” said one. “So much energy has been wasted pretending to be something else for everyone else and it’s exhausting.”
“I would add that the amount of time covering your tracks is also exhausting. I remember clearing my internet browser simply for reading an article about Lance Bass or Rosie O’Donnell, I was so terrified,” said another.
Others added their own variations.
“Sometimes I wish my het friends understood that my troubles with dating as an adult is a result of simply not learning the same social rules at the same time they did. I’m still unpacking the fear and shame in situations they got to feel freedom and empowerment,” said one.
“I wish they could understand the fear that comes with presenting visibly queer,” offered another. “I want to be loudly myself, and yet I constantly pull myself back out of fear of being attacked.”
Rojas is based in the US. He created @thegaygood one year ago to share, “positive gay new, affirmation, polls, chat, and a healthy dose of education.”
He says this particular posting had been made in a hurry and he’d been taken aback by the reaction.
“I normally spend close to an hour creating a post series for the page, but since I just moved cross-country, I don’t have wifi and only had 20 minutes at a friend’s studio to make these slides, so I wasn’t expecting this type of reaction. It’s humbling to see something I just typed up quickly from the heart resonated with so many people; It’s clear that the never-ending journey of coming out and coming into your own is something the entire community can find solidarity in.
“There wasn’t a specific moment that inspired this post, but these feelings have been here for years and years now.
“I think many heterosexual people can understand being queer as a sexuality but don’t understand being queer as a life with its own unique challenges.”