When I came out as gay to my small group leader at church (I no longer go, but I used to), she was accepting. She was kind. She was loving. She also made me feel like shit.
“So have you just always known?”
“No. I haven’t,” I thought.
I lied to her. I said I had known since puberty. I thought that if I told her the truth, she would see my identity as false and think I was just looking for attention.
I hid in the closet of lesbianism for a while, but it was even less comfortable than the closet of heterosexuality. Multisexual, agender, aromantic, autistic folks don’t fit in spaces that weren’t made for them in mind. I didn’t know who I was, I just knew that the closet was too small. I still don’t have my identity completely figured out.
But I’m supposed to know. I was supposed to know from the moment I was born, because that’s what all the inspiration porn tells us.
We see it again and again: “I always knew that I was gay.” Or “not like the other girls” or “different.” A heartwarming story detailing how the queer individual fits neatly into gay or trans narratives and then comes out to their wonderfully accepting family usually follows.
It’s supposed to make you feel warm and fuzzy. Except it doesn’t when you’re queer but haven’t figured out your identity. Except it doesn’t when your experiences aren’t in any way comparable the cliche. Except it doesn’t when people use the best-case-scenario of finding your identity and try to apply it to every queer person ever, leaving people who don’t fit the narrative to feel like a faker.
Some of us have always known. However, most of us haven’t.
Don’t use the cliche of “always knowing” because it fits in nicely of what you think being queer should be like, because it’s nice and neat with no loose ends, because it makes you feel warm and fuzzy because you get to feel like a good ally while overlooking the hardships we go through.