What’s it like to be a gay person? What’s it like to be constantly evaluating, analyzing, checking yourself in social situations to determine if you will be accepted, tolerated, discriminated, snubbed or even attacked? College Student Andrew Gelwicks gives us a good overview in his Huffington Post blog contribution:
During one of our moves, a girl saw us and ran over, squealing with excitement. “OH. MY. GOD. You two look so cute! Let me get a picture!” She immediately grabbed a cell phone, pointing it at us. William automatically put his arm around me, pulling me closer to him. I could feel his supportive hand on the arch of my back.
Once the pictures were taken (of course with flash, because there wasn’t enough attention on us already), I quickly took a step back, separating myself from my attractive date. “Really,” the girl continued to gush, “you two look adorable.”
After she ran away, I thought back to our hotel room, just as we were about to come downstairs. I had fixed William’s bow tie and admired my date. I made very certain we weren’t too matchy-matchy. I didn’t want to be one of those couples who color-coordinate every detail.
“Well, do you want to dance?” William asked me after we had said hello to everyone. Reluctantly I agreed. Walking onto the dance floor was a major jolt. I fought panic. Yet minutes later I began feeling in-charge, even powerful. I was in control of my — our — night. (The Beyoncé song playing may have helped a bit while I’m being completely honest.)
As we danced, I made sure not to get too close to William. I also must say I secretly hoped no slow songs played. Baby steps.
One brother in particular caught my attention. We’ll call him John. He studied us carefully; he never took his eyes off us. I knew John was from a small town in Indiana. I’ve been to small towns before, seen the residents. I had always wondered about John; what he really thought about me. I knew it was wrong for me to think, but his cornfield childhood concerned me.
With my concentration stuck on John, and what he was thinking of William and me, I accidentally backed up into one of the older guys in the house who I didn’t know as well. He spun around, taken aback.
Before I could interpret his reaction — did he realize it was a total accident and was just startled? Did he think I was hitting on him? — I had grabbed William and made a hasty move to the back of the room. With roller coaster craziness, the extreme high I was on quickly disappeared, my confidence plummeting.
Everyone does some kind of analysis of themselves in social situations. We all want to be like and accepted in a group. For gay people, though, this apprehension in social situations has a group think aspect to it. We often feel unable to be our full, comfortable selves in social situations; particularly with our dates, partners, husbands/wives because of the stigma that still lingers in society over gay relationships. We, still, are unable to enjoy the full freedom of interacting as ourselves and with our partners that straight people take for granted daily. It’s something that I hope our straight allies will keep in mind and do what they can to help effect change.