Your Discomfort

photo credit: “Hunger Games” by Rev. Alex da Silva Souto,  Parque Nacional da Gorongosa , Moçambique.

photo credit: “Hunger Games” by Rev. Alex da Silva Souto, Parque Nacional da Gorongosa, Moçambique.

Some of you straight folk get uncomfortable hearing words like "straight" and "queer," and then don't care for acronyms like "LGBT." Some of you would rather I stopped talking about queerness and sexuality. If that's you, buckle up and keep reading.

I can't be quiet to preserve your comfort anymore.

Here's why:

My lack of safety is more important than your discomfort.

Again,

My lack of safety is more important than your discomfort.

In my world, I can get physically attacked for:

-Kissing somebody

-Not kissing somebody

-Seeming gay

-Not seeming gay (and then being perceived as a liar)

-Seeming feminine

-Not seeming feminine (and then being perceived as a liar)

-Being loud

-Not being loud (and then being perceived as secretive)

-Existing

I can’t be quiet to preserve your comfort anymore.

-Just existing.

However, talking makes me safer. Being able to talk about it makes me safer from the mental toll of being insulted and threatened in public. More specifically, being able to talk about the dangers of being queer with all of you helps me to know who I can count on for support when things go wrong. (and trust me, things go wrong.)

On the other hand, silence is dangerous. My silence means that I am unsupported and isolated. Your silence means that I don't know if I can count on you for support. The world is more dangerous for me when either of us are silent, and it's safest when we both speak up.

If you tell me to be quiet about queerness or sexuality, because the topic makes you uncomfortable, you are telling me that your comfort outweighs my safety. If you tell me to be quiet about these things, you are telling me that I should live in danger so that you can scroll Facebook in comfort.

And respectfully, I disagree. I believe that my ability to live with safety and support is more important than your ability to comfortably consume my social media content.

So from now on, I'm going to be more direct about sexuality and queerness, because it is necessary for my safety, and for the safety of queer persons around the world.

If that makes you uncomfortable, I invite you to sit with those feelings for a little while, and then decide if you can work on your discomfort for the sake of my real, physical safety. If you can support me, please do so. Please meet me more than half way, because all of this explaining is tiring work (and being quiet is even more tiring).

I don't know what more to ask right now, except that you keep on speaking and learning. However, if you realize that you cannot support me, please "unfollow" me. Seriously, I don't need you seeing all of the jokes and pop culture references if you're not willing to support my need to safely live as a queer person in this world.

This post doesn't have an inspiring ending.

This isn't the end of the story.

I need your support, and I need you to do some work.

Trust Hilton

Editorial note: Trust wrote this reflection piece after reading the gruesome news about a hate crime against a lesbian couple in London.

Trust Hilton