Why Our Story Matters

Ok, so I obviously have this very public blog. I also share quite a lot on Facebook, where I certainly tag B almost every single time I talk about our kid. She and I also have a shared, very public, Instagram account…though, at this point it’s a “family” Instagram account because there is SO much L content on there. Look, if I’m going to be really honest, it could just be his page. Anyway, point is, we share a lot of our lives online. And as such, some people have outright asked us why. Why do you post so many pictures? Why are you always telling all these stories about you and B? Are ya’ll trying to be Instafamous? Other people have simply just implied we might be doing way too much when it comes to social media. But here’s the thing:

Queer stories need to be told.

All too often, LGBTQ narratives are erased from history and when we do hear about them, it’s often through a lens of tragedy and hardship. The contributions of LGBTQ folks are either ignored or enveloped into a heteronormative lens that either implies that they were straight or outright ignores the fact they were not. There have always been LGBTQ people, but since we don’t learn about them in history classes or in our everyday-lived experiences, we think this is all new. Sometimes, we learn about people and the impact they had, but the fact that they were queer is conveniently forgotten or left unmentioned. We don’t hear about the Bayard Rustins, the Harvey Milks, the James Baldwins, Janet Mocks, Silvia Riveras, Alan Turnings, Lorena Borjas, Ma Raineys, and the Marsha P Johnsons in our history classes. So, we’re left with this sense that this gay thing is new and that queer people haven’t done anything other than entertain us (though that’s arguably also very important) over the years.

It’s also the case that, because all they’re getting are stereotypical tropes in the media, people think LGBTQ folks are a relatively homogenous group. That is, people tend to think that all people in the LGBTQ community are the same. This isn’t new, it’s the same issue that impacts communities of color also. When the media casts all Black and Brown people as gangstas just waiting to steal the tires off of your car and Asian people as really good at math, it kind of tends to impact how others view these groups. However, it’s not that hard to realize that these particular stereotypes aren’t true. Some of the reason why we can move past them in these instances is because there has been increasingly more representation in the media of the diversity found in people of color, particularly as it is largely being produced by us as we take back control of the narrative. That same representation of all aspects of the queer community has not happened yet. We have these ideas, both outside and even within the LGBTQ community itself, about what it means to be queer. How one should behave, the expectations for their interests and future aspirations, all spelled out according to what it means to be gay. That’s why all representation matters, even if it’s our little, unknown family that one person can relate to and it keeps them from closing off possibilities for themselves.

Outside of the forgotten and “straightened,” are the stories of sadness and despair. We constantly hear stories of LGBTQ people who are suicidal, face discrimination, victimization, and even those who were murdered. We know all the intimate details of these terrible experiences, but we know very little about how they lived. What they liked. Who they loved. Who loved them. The experiences of LGBTQ people who are living their lives just like everyone else are missing from these conversations. I absolutely believe these heart-wrenching stories are important to tell because LGBTQ people are still stigmatized and victimized in this country, and around the world, and this is impacting our overall well-being and ability to achieve greatness. Just think of all the amazing potential we’re stomping out in our young people simply because they’re gay or transgender. What if the cure for cancer is sitting with a young person who is afraid to even leave the house because of fears of being harmed? However, stories of resiliency, positive development, support, love and acceptance also deserve just as much attention. We can talk about Dwayne Wade’s support of his daughter without giving a platform to the negative comments from unsupportive strangers who really don’t matter. We can share videos of queer high schoolers being supported by their peers without talking about how their parents don’t support them. LGBTQ people deserve to see themselves reflected in the same way that we tell hetero/cisgender stories: BORING AF. Hahaha. No, but in all seriousness, I want to share the experiences that we have as a family as a way of showing others that, despite the hardships we may endure, queer life isn’t one long ass tragedy.

I certainly don’t think my family is perfect; we’re perfectly imperfect actually, nor do I believe that we, alone, are the answer to all of this, but it is a big part of the reason we share. We share because we want other LGBTQ folks to know that they are not alone. That they have options. We want them to know that, if that’s what they want, children are an option for them. And to let them know that there are LGBTQ people who are doing okay. Maybe even Okay-Plus at times. I want younger queer Black and Brown youth to see examples of people like them just going about life. People, like me, showing them that it’s not all bleak and that it just might get better.

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