A while back I was out with my parents and we ran into a family friend. Even though he’s only about five years older than I am, he’s really more my parents’ friend. I tolerate him when I’m with my parents, but honestly I’m endlessly uncomfortable around him. Anyway I was with my parents and we ran into this guy and as he was leaving he told me he wanted to talk to me specifically because he knew I was queer. (He did not use that word, he probably said something more like “since you’re…you know [awkward chuckle]…because you also love the honeys.”) Through a long, drawn out, politically incorrect conversation, he admitted to me that he might be bisexual. He asked me not to say anything to my family, and he also told me to get his number from my mom. I did not do either of these things. Until now I guess, but I’m omitting his name and I doubt anyone reading this will figure out his identity so hopefully it doesn’t count as breaking my promise.
The point is, while I’m glad in a way that he felt comfortable coming to me, I do not want to always be that person other people go to for advice. I hate how sometimes being queer forces me to be an ambassador for questioning people. I have enough shit going on as it is, I don’t want to be the bearer of someone’s deep dark secret as well. As much as I’d like for everyone who’s questioning to be taken by the hand and ushered under the queer umbrella, it is not the responsibility of queer people to be the hand holders. That’s part of the reason I started this blog, to be a role model and give advice in a way that didn’t creep into my private life. That night I really just wanted to spend time with my family. Instead I spent a good ten minutes smiling and laughing and reassuring someone who already makes me uncomfortable that this really intimate part of himself that he chose to share with me was normal, awesome, something to be celebrated. All I really wanted to do was run away because I don’t particularly want to picture him having sex with anyone – animal, vegetable, or mineral – and he is certainly the last person with whom I want to discuss my own sex life.
It may sound like I’m being insensitive; surely I had people that I dumped all of this onto when I came out. But just because I’ve been there myself, does not mean I need to pay it forward, at least not for everybody. I have a right to be selfish and I should not be backed into a corner all in the name of queer solidarity. In the end, I did my best to be open and genuine in my advice and my encouragement of this person, but I must admit my skin was crawling the whole time.