First, the disclaimer: YMMV. Not every lesbigay/queer person has the same coming out story.
However, Pete Buttigieg’s whiny public lament about his gay identity strips all the pride out of Gay Pride. He transforms that strength and glory into made-for-Bible Belt political pablum sure to draw a tear of pity from those who consider queer folk an aberration.
Pete Buttigieg and his insipid self-loathing make me cringe. He does not represent me.
“If you could have offered me a pill that could make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you could give me a swig of water.
If you had shown me exactly what it was that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.”
Like I said: everyone is different. My own extended coming out story took place over years – from high school through college. But never, not once did I ever hate “what it was that made me gay.” Never did I experience the dismal angst, the hate-filled desperation to be other than who I was. I recall one poignant memory from early in my recognition. I had a mad crush on a college friend named Ginger. I had many mad crushes but this was my first. I’d asked Ginger to go to the state fair with me. I was certain she would consent but when she said, “I have a date,” and that date was a male, I entered an evening of dark tears. Through that bleary-eyed night, I cried over a single recognition – I loved Ginger. It was a pure, devotional love of the first instance. And my next thought – how awful that society censured my love. Did I hate myself? No. Did I detest my inchoate longings? No. Did I damn myself as a corrupted being in conflict with my divinity? No.
I got over Ginger and smiled and cried and gloried through many more mad crushes. I dated men. I dated women. I had one night stands galore. Boyfriends. Girlfriends. Friends with benefits. Years would go by. Like many of my dyke friends, I chose to live and identify as a lesbian. It’s a little like the path of the vegan – it may start with a slow abstention from red meat with parlays into chicken and eggs before choosing the complete vegan diet. The point is that I MADE THE CHOICE.
I know this is all new for you, Pete; you just came out three years ago. I’ll give you a little leeway. But I suggest you study history – our history – starting with Stonewall. I recommend that you cast your tortured eyes outside your cloistered worldview and read about those queer folk who love their queer selves. Pick up a book by Dorothy Allison, Mary Daly, Judy Grahn, Karla Jay, Lillian Faderman, Jill Johnston, Susan Griffin, Jane Rule. Check out the anthologies – coming out stories written before your birth – and explainers on feminism, which is inextricably linked to gender parity, whatever your identity. This site is a great starting point.
You’ve got to talk the real talk, Pete if you hope to appeal to me. That means learning the basics. I do not want to hear your squishy, tear-driven, come-to-Jesus tale. If you plan to wave the rainbow flag, then you damn sure better claim it. Wave it with pride. Recognize the struggles of queerfolk. Stop conflating your uncomfortable coming out story with the decades-long fight we have waged to be ourselves.
But honestly Pete, I don’t think you are up to the task. The core of your argument is not that you are Out & Proud, not that your homosexuality is a distinct preference equal to all others. No, you received permission from your god, upon whose authority you consented to be gay. This is the worst of the worst, Pete. Because your god is patriarchy exemplified. And patriarchy hates and seeks to diminish all that is different from its straight, mostly white, male power structure. Do you understand how screwed up your premise is, Pete? Do you get that you asked permission from the very authority that wants to destroy you – and me – and every lesbian and gay male? Maybe you do. Perhaps you are just comfortably ignorant.
Man up, Pete! Own your gayness. Don’t attribute it to some mystical, divine ordinance that declared you to be an exceptional albeit flawed, non-heterosexual being. You are not doing anyone any favors – not yourself or your partner, not straight people, and least of all the proud lesbigay nation.
I hope you evolve, Pete.