Around 1:15 PM, I trudge from AP Biology to AP Calculus. Three AP classes down, one more to go, I think.
I hear someone call my name and turn. It’s a junior, a friend of mine who I had a class with two years ago but had not spoken to for quite some time. I wait for her to catch up, and when she does, we continue walking to our classes together.
“What do you think of AP Bio?” she asked.
“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” I reply, “everyone is so quiet though, and there are a lot of juniors. What do you think of the class?”
She repositions her dark brown hair with her hand, and says, “It’s alright. Do you mind if I ask you a question though? Like, I don’t mean it in an offensive way, but…”
As she leaves her sentence halfway done and hanging in the air, I already know what she’s going to ask. I can tell by the way her eyes don’t meet mine, the way she tries to conceal her curiosity, and the way she can’t bring herself to ask the question outright.
I briefly contemplate how awkward I could make the situation by refusing to answer. Maybe I wouldn’t have, two years ago. Or maybe one year ago. But I’ve changed now, and such silly things don’t bother me anymore.
“Go ahead,” I say.
After taking a deep breath, she says, “Are you gay?”
“Yes,” I say, without hesitation. I feel proud for some reason, like the fact that I’m unafraid to announce my attraction to men should earn me praise.
“What? Really? Well, that’s cool,” she says, and I can’t figure out if she’s glad that her suspicious have been confirmed, or if she’s genuinely shocked.
“But don’t go around telling just anyone,” I say, and I feel a twinge of guilt, like I’m not being completely honest – but I know that if a random stranger were to stumble upon my mom and confide in her, I could be in danger. My friend complies immediately.
We walk for a few more seconds down the crowded hallway before we part ways. We’re ensconced by a moving mass of bodies, a crowd of adolescents trying to find themselves in this crazy place called high school. And as I head down another path to my calculus class, I hope that everyone – straight, gay, black, or white – will feel as free as I do, their senior year.
And that is my insignificant yet somewhat meaningful anecdote I will share from my first day of school. I feel like in high school, there’s this weird haze that surrounds people when they ask others if they’re gay. I know, I know – why would anyone ask about something so trivial and unimportant anyway? I would assume it’s out of curiosity, or perhaps to find a potential date. Either way, as long as there’s no intent to harm or to shame, it’s perfectly harmless.
The reason its perfectly harmless is so simple – there’s nothing wrong with being gay. One of the most cliche and trite sayings in the world comes to save the day. It’s not like you’re asking the person if he or she killed someone, or if he or she is a sex addict, or if he or she secretly stashed weed in your locker to get back at you for stealing his or her prom date. People should stop assuming that being gay is something that someone would be embarrassed about, or that there’s something shameful about it. It is what it is.
Some people may lie to you. And that’s alright. Some people may not be secure with their sexuality yet, or they may have trouble at home and telling you could put them at risk, or they could just not want to tell you. Once again, it’s not a big deal – sexuality is such a small part of a person and does not affect anything other than who they’re attracted to. Heck, I used to lie, because I was scared of being beat up (not by my peers, though.)
Finally, boys and girls, if someone asks you if you’re gay, don’t let it bother you! All they want to know is if you are attracted to individuals of your own gender. If you’re a boy, don’t assume that they think you’re feminine, if you’re a girl, don’t assume they think you’re butch. It’s one of the most infuriating insecurities when people have to rapidly deny that they’re gay. If you’re straight, cool. If you’re gay, cool. Simple as that.
Thoughts? Now I must work on annihilating my AP homework. Was anyone else’s first day today? If not, how did your first days or weeks go? I still can’t bring myself to say I’m a senior… until next time!