Good morning, dear one.
If growing up queer gave me one thing, it was the ability to act like something I wasn’t. It’s how queer kids survive, by faking it until many of us had grown so accustomed to living those lies that we started believing them. While I am a cisgender man, I have devoted myself to combating toxic masculinity by my very existence. Even to the point of exclusion from certain gay circles over the years for not being masculine enough because I dared to be a dominant guy and do something as gasp-worthy as wearing nail polish.
I need you to understand that being queer means we don’t have to choose between our masculine and feminine aspects. Being queer means that we get to celebrate them, love them, nurture them, and integrate them, because if we want to be a whole person, we must embrace all of our parts.
Do not tell me to man up. I am not defined by your toxic dictionary. Do not call me a pussy for crying or showing vulnerability or putting myself into drag if that’s what I want to do. Pussies are strong enough to bear children, and those manly-man balls of yours can bring you to your knees with one kick.
The fact that I am an out queer man is all I need to do to combat toxic masculinity because my life is about marrying the masculine and feminine aspects that were so stunted and damaged when I was a child. When young queer and questioning kids see me, I hope they see someone who celebrates and loves every part of being a queer person. I hope in some small way, it encourages them and lets them know that its ok to be different, and it’s healthy to not feel normal.
This is me, 15 or so years back when I was asked to do drag for an AIDS benefit. Some people see “a man in a dress”, but I see a proud, beautiful, elegant, poised, empowered, strong man in full makeup and a custom-made gown. Putting on makeup and a dress and lip syncing did not make me any less of a man. I don’t need to man up because I’m not acting masculine enough. I’m not straight-acting, because my life is not a performance; I’m no longer faking it to survive, and I’m not here for your entertainment.
Recent decisions by SCOTUS have put into question the future of my rights as a man married to a man in this country. I will not be silent as my rights are threatened, and I most certainly will not be hiding. I am here to live my life, not to make you comfortable.
My hope for you today is that you can live your life with authenticity and audacity. And never forget that I love you.