Personal Essay: ‘Am I gay enough?’

Queer shame in a binary world.

Celebrating pride when I’m in a “straight” relationship feels fraudulent. Like somehow I’m not gay enough to be here. I know I still get to celebrate pride as a queer person, but somehow I feel like I don’t really have anything to celebrate. 

I thought I was a lesbian for four years and for those four years I felt like I had all the pride in the world. I used to tell people “June is my favorite month even though my birthday and Christmas are in December.” I knew it was silly but it was true.

I can feel the joy in the air at Pride. I stand among the crowds and watch the people all around me with their big smiles and the love just radiates off of them.

Then I fell for a man and my queer-world turned upside down. Clearly, I can’t be a lesbian. So who am I? I’ve primarily avoided trying to find a new identity for myself so that I don’t have to be wrong and come out again.

So I tell people I’m queer. That works. It’s an all encompassing word, or at least I use it that way, and I’m taking back a word that was once fueled by hate. “Yes, queer. I’m just queer,” I would say to myself as if I need convinced. But now June has arrived and I don’t find myself wanting to shout to the word that I’m queer and I’m proud! What happened to my pride?

I let the binary view of the world take over. The binary world insists there is a right and a wrong way. A right sexual preference, a wrong way to be gay. I won’t let this binary view of the world steal my pride. I live in a queer world, I fight for a queer world, where there is no right or wrong way to love and to be proud.

I am reminding myself that I am not alone in this. I am not the first queer woman to feel ashamed for dating a man. I will not be the last. But I will not be ashamed of my love.

This is what we’ve all said, that no one chooses who they love and that ‘love is love,’ no matter who it is with. That still stands. I am queer, I am in love, and I am proud. I must be proud in order to fight for a queer world. That’s what I get to celebrate. My pride. Our vision of a queer world.