Hayley Van Allen '21
A year or two ago I was talking with a friend and made a well-timed, if slightly overused, gay joke; as one does. My friend, who it should be said has always been very supportive and accepting of my identity, responded by joking, “you always talk about being gay. Imagine if I talked about being straight as much as you did being gay.” To be fair, she also referenced being straight a lot - just without realizing it - but her comment did make me think about why I was so vocal about my identity.
I started questioning my sexuality at the end of my freshman year in high school. I like to say that from that point on I just got gayer each year. Sophomore year I identified as bisexual, junior year I started dating my first long-term girlfriend, and by senior year, I identified as gay. The process of questioning and reanalyzing my sexuality is an ongoing process that has shaped me to be the person I am today. If I didn’t identify as sapphic, I wouldn’t have had many of the interests and friends I did throughout high school and today. The music I listen to, the tv shows/movies I watch, and even the people I hang out with have been influenced by my identity.
At this point, being gay is basically my entire personality. When I meet a new person, they usually realize I’m gay within the first ten minutes of conversation, not necessarily because I “look gay” (although I definitely do), but because I’m literally an endless stream of gay jokes. It’s become so important to me to be proud of how I identify because it’s defined who I am and how I interact with the world. If I wasn’t able to love the fact that I’m gay, I would have a lot of trouble loving myself at all. It’s not that I’m proud of the fact that I’m gay, necessarily, but that I’m proud of the fact that I was able to question who I was and come out on top. I’m proud of the fact that the world has thrown all this shit at me and yet members of the LGBT* community including myself have continued to survive and thrive in spite of it.
Discovering and embracing the fact that I’m gay has been so pivotal to my growth as a person and has dictated the way my life has gone since I’ve come out. In no way would I be the same person if I were straight. I’ve lost and gained friends over my identity. I’ve been through some really bad times and some really good times, all because I’m gay. This seemingly small part of who I am has affected every aspect of my life. Of course being gay is part of my personality. It defines me at every level. I am a gay person. That’s why no matter where I am or who I’m with, I can’t stop talking about being gay.