Thank you for this piece James! I just started reading “The Best Little Boy in the World”, and it’s been stunning to me how much of the self-loathing I share with the narrator of the book, even though many decades separate when each of us realized we were LGBTQ. That book came out in 1973, but I’ll be damned if I don’t see a ton of myself and my own tactics of avoiding my gayness in there.
Straight cisgender people sometimes think we should be over the pain that was caused to us, because society has improved so much and so quickly… there really is no easy way to shake feeling like something about you was wrong or shameful for the first few decades of your life.
Among young LGBTQ people, I sometimes see a lot of talk about how “gross” and “sexual” and “sinful” we all are — it’s often intended to be tongue in cheek, a way of thumbing one’s nose at Christian anti-gay programming — but I also think it’s not entirely ironic. A lot of us identify with villains and comedic side characters because that was the only representation we had, growing up. A lot of us have learned to romanticize or make light of the self-loathing society imposed on us, and God Bless gallows humor… but it is very sad that we still hold those messages in our hearts.