This blog post has nothing to do with my time in Sudbury last year, but I was looking for somewhere to put it and, well, I still have this blog so here it is.
When I was 13, I made a mistake. I took a week off from going to Girl Guide camp and went to a different camp that had come highly recommended. The camp itself was fine, but the defining moment for me came when a girl in my cabin, whose name I don’t even remember, lashed out at me in an argument and called me gay.
It sounded like an insult, it felt like an insult, it was intended as an insult and to my 13-year old self it must have been one because she was promptly moved to a different cabin and I never returned to that camp again.
At the time I didn’t think of myself that way and didn’t really know where the comment came from other than that it was supposed to be upsetting.
I know what it’s like to be a minority. I’m an Anglophone in Quebec, a Quebecer in the rest of Canada and I have a disability that has affected my personal life, my work life and my education. The former have made me feel like a part of a group, the visual impairment is, well, just unfortunate.
When I chose to come out as gay a little over a year ago, and yes, that part was a choice, I didn’t do it to feel part of a community. I didn’t expect to feel connected to people around the world, but with the event in Orlando this week and everything all over social media around it, I find myself surfing through Facebook in search of more and more messages of support, love and camaraderie.
Some of you may be reading about this and wondering why I didn’t tell you in person. Believe me when I say that every single time I do tell someone, no matter how convinced I am that I know how they will react, it’s not spontaneous. Sharing the truth takes trust, but it also takes the right moment and my being able to tell all the voices in my head to shut up over and over again.
Oh and sometimes I just enjoy watching people who don’t know put their foot in their mouth when they talk about “those gay people.” It’s amazing what people will say when they think they are talking about others.
I keep a notebook with the first thing everyone I have ever told said when they heard. Comments range from “Hugs!” to “I was going to ask…” to “…” and “thanks for sharing.” Ask me what you said if you’re curious.
My favourite story involves my grandfather. My Dad went to visit him at one point when I wasn’t around and although we had decided that telling him wasn’t really necessary, my Dad decided to share the news. The next time I visited, I was randomly wearing a pair of rainbow-striped ankle socks. My grandpa just looked at them and said: “I like your socks!” That’s it, that’s all. The conversation ended there. It’s entirely possible that he was really just commenting on my socks, but I don’t think I had ever heard him say anything else about a piece of clothing I had ever worn. I like to think that he just didn’t know how else to tell me that he was happy for me.
I debated for a while about posting this here. They do say that once something is on the Internet, it never really goes away. But I’m not really that worried about friends or future employers reading this. If it bothers you that much, I probably don’t want to know you anyways.
All this to say, you are part of the LGBTQ+ community or if you consider yourself an ally, keep posting about it. I may not comment, I may not mention it, but I do notice and appreciate it more than you know — and I’m sure I’m not alone.
PS. Thanks Girl Guides!