I’m not your “queen”

By Anonymous

Hey, sis! Can I go off and spill the tea for a quick sec? I’m a gay senior, and since looking back at my time at Whitman, I’ve picked up on several patterns relating to my gayhood that I think it’s high time we address.

I came out early junior year, an event which effectively split my high school social experience in half. The closeted portion was a particularly anxious time: a span of years littered with awkward laughs and red-faced denials when asked the age-old question.

Then, I came out.

I expected the world to shake to its foundations. Strangely enough, life ebbed to comforting normalcy within weeks. As someone fully aware of the negative experiences I could’ve endured, I’m incredibly grateful for all of the distinctly positive aspects of my coming out. Of course, there was the initial shift in perceptions. During the first couple days back at school, I winced at every group of upperclassmen boys walking by as I anticipated a cacophony of unsavory f-words that never came. I felt like everyone knew, despite the fact that I’d only spread the news through my friends. This turned out to be only paranoid thinking.

As time passed, however, I noticed a new, different classmate reaction: the expectation that I was to be a “gay best friend.”

When my sexuality became more common knowledge, my social media posts started receiving comments like “slay me,” “sis” and “queen.” Those whom I didn’t consider close friends of mine suddenly had a lot to say about my occasionally “fierce” outfits and my “sassiness.” In a particular conversation about shopping for prom dresses, one friend slapped me on the shoulder and exclaimed that they “had to bring me along”—not that I’d given any indication in the least of wanting to be a part of the debate between strapped and strapless.

Were these statements complimentary? Maybe, and, dear reader, I don’t want you thinking that I’m unhappy with receiving well-meant attention. I’d take a “go off, queen” over an f-bomb any day of the week. But, whether they’re meant to be complimentary or not, every comment like that is born from a place of stereotype. Coming out made me discover that my gayness came with a pre-written asterisk and a footnote: “Newly christened Gay Best Friend looking for girls to unconditionally praise.”

My intention is not to come off as an “I’m not like other gays” person. I fall into plenty of stereotypes, as does every person on this planet. Instead, I want to address our tendency to stereotype people in the LGBT+ community on sight. If you’re gay and love prom dressing shopping, that’s perfectly okay. If you’d sooner gouge your eyes out, that’s just as swell. Whatever the case may be, your gayhood should not come with any givens.

As big of a Game of Thrones fan as I am, I have no desire to be anyone’s “queen,” especially when the only apparent reason for that term’s use is my sexuality. There are many types of gay people that you, the reader, may meet in your life. Some will openly embrace “queen” and will view it as a powerful claim to the majesty of their being. Others might prefer a different role in the royal palace: maybe a lord, a guardsman or even a jester. I know I’d look great in a pair of puffy pantaloons and a jingly hat. All I ask is that you grant me that option.