You can be you, just make sure not to come off too threatening. You can be you, just make sure not to come off too soft as you could do damage to your societal image of masculinity. You can be you, just do it peacefully and quietly. You can be you, just do so as to not agitate the neighbors, family members or churchgoers. You can be you, but tone it down when in public not to raise judgemental eyebrows or woeful suspicions. Years of hearing this causes damage to not only ones ability to decide who they should be but prompts a situation where they no longer care to “be” at all, because if they know who they are isn’t accepted by society, their family, their friends and coworkers alike, they aren’t enough as is.
Too long did I struggle in that space. Too long did I stay oppressed, chained to people’s expectations and opinions on what I SHOULD be or how I WILL be perceived or if God loves me. As soon as I stopped caring, so many doors opened and life became what it needed to be for me. Pride is more than just a time of year to celebrate a community; It’s about celebrating the fact that we CAN be who we are and love every minute of it doing so because of those who fought hard for us to.
I’m black, gay, soft, masculine, quiet, opinionated, cute, macho, feminine, collected, emotional, scared, fearless, fierce but most importantly, FREE. I am ME and if that offends or stirs up feelings of discomfort with you who are reading this, I hope you can purge that distaste out of your heart and figure out how to love who you are too.