Where I come from, everything has been queered. Gender is highly variable, and is on display in a myriad of ways. That is my normal. I forget that this is not the case in other places.
And now I'm here, in the real world. There are no queers here. There are gay men and there are lesbians, but there are no queers. No butches, no androgynes, no high femmes, no fairies, no dykes, no sissies, no gender fucking.
It is suffocating in a way I don't think I could have imagined. There is no one here like me, no one who chafes at the boxes the way that I do. I am queerer than I look. Being here makes me want to try to look the way I feel.
"If I looked on the outside the way I feel on the inside, it would explode people's minds," he said to me. Exactly. This a million times over. At home it didn't matter as much, here it does.
It feels restrictive in a way that I haven't felt in years. Not since I was a child fighting to wear pants instead of skirts, begging to be able to cut my hair. I only won one of those battles, the other became an area of unquestioned discomfort, until now.
For some reason, when I was commonplace I needed it less. If I could see myself reflected in the people around me I didn't yearn so desperately to display it myself. And it is easy to be complacent when there is nothing at stake. That is at least half the truth.
The other half is that it matters more to me here and now. No one understood before and, even in my queer paradise, I was afraid. I wanted just one way that I could be normal and uncomplicated. I knew for a long time that it wouldn't work, but I tried. It's different now. I have someone I can talk to, someone who sees me. We look so different, and yet we are so alike. Except that he is far braver. He gives me courage.
I feel more and more like I am hiding. I don't look like who I am, I probably never will. I can, however, stop taking the easy way out. I can stop hiding in plain sight, disguised as a cisgendered, straightish girl (or as a lesbian, depending on who you ask).
At home it would have been unremarkable, here it will be a political act. More importantly, it will make me feel whole.