Sam Torres, Research Associate
January 7th, 2015. I was curled up on her lap watching TV with friends. Her fingers fluttered through my hair like a butterfly floating through a fall breeze. Courage overcame me and I dared to look up at her. To my surprise, her eyes met mine. A feeling of warmth and safety flooded my body. That’s when I knew that I was gay.
It’s been over 7 years since I realized I was gay. Since then, I have come out countless times to family, friends, and coworkers. Not only have I learned about my sexuality, but I have also come to terms with being non-binary. Throughout this journey of self-love and acceptance, I also found ignorance and fear. Moving through the world as a queer person is exhausting.
Constantly wondering if you are safe to:
Mention your significant other, even in casual conversation
Wear your binder or other gender affirming clothes in public
Put rainbow pins or stickers on your personal belongings
Hold hands with your partner on a walk
Talk to your healthcare team about your sexuality and/or gender
The list goes on. While I have been out since the age of 16, this year was my first Pride. I didn’t know what to expect, but it surely wasn’t to be moved to tears. All the love and acceptance I was searching for was tangible. For once in a really long time, I felt light. It felt amazing to be able to move throughout the world without having to worry about my safety. Without this anxiety, I was able to focus on what really mattered: being authentically me.
Being at Pride reminded me of that feeling of warmth and safety that I felt on January 7th, 2015. Ultimately, I learned that Pride as a queer person means that I can rest. That I am home.