You: “‘How do you even know how you feel? You’re still young.’”

I listened in silence as you reflected on the response your parents gave when you told them who you are. And because they were seemingly older and wiser, you said OK.

But you knew. Even then, you knew.

Me: “When did you know?”
You: “I feel like I knew for a while. But for a long time I kept telling me what they kept telling me.”


You: “I’m young. And that maybe the right person hadn’t come along yet.”
Me: “Damn.”
You: “Yeah. Damn is right.”

You stared straight ahead and sighed.

You: “A piece of me wishes my family was just fully opposed, you know? This quasi-openmindedness combined with this idea that I was ‘too young to know’ sucked.”
Me: *listening*
You: “Then again. . . I don’t know.”

You sighed again.
You: “But one day my friend and I each shared one arm in a goose down coat on a cold day walking home from the bus. I think I was in middle school. And that? That was when I knew-knew.”

You pressed your hand to your chest and shook your head.

Me: “Did you tell anyone?”
One side of your mouth curled up.

You: “Nah. Shit, it took about 5 more years for me to tell my damn self.”


You: “I never even told that friend.”
Me: “Do you think they knew?”
You: *thinking* “I think we both did.”

You: “Do you remember the first time your heart ever felt like that?”
Me: “Like what?”

Your question startled me. I realized in that moment the privilege of what you called my “het-ness.” And how I’d never had to think about the day I knew-knew.


So I admitted it.
Then I honored your question by thinking about it. And answering.

Me: “8th grade. A slow dance to ‘International Lover’ by Prince with this boy I’d had a crush on. But that dance? Yooooo. That was a moment.”
You: “Wait. International Lover? In the 8TH GRADE?”

You: “Whoever was over that playlist needs to be fired.”
Me: “Right?!”

*more laughter*

You: “Hold up—do they even play slow drags anymore at dances?”
Me: *thinking* “You know what? I don’t think so.”
You: “That’s a shame.”

We both shook our heads and smiled.
Me: “Did your folks eventually come around?”
You: “Yeah. For the most part. Thanks to my hella-queer auntie.”


You: “She moved here when I was like 17. One day she flat out said to my mama, ‘I hope y’all ain’t tripping ‘bout your child being gay.’”

You laughed.
You: “And that was kind of it. I mean, they were still weird but she helped a lot.”
Me: “Where is she now?”
You: “Shit, still living her best queer-ass life as a old lady.”


You: “But she saved my life.”
Me: “That’s what’s up.”
You: *smiling*
After that, we went back to talking about the things we were there to discuss. And that was it.

Today I’m reflecting on the power of being seen and heard. And the importance of being able to be when you know.


#humanismalways #pride

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26 May
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Uncles and aunties slapping down dominoes
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