By Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor
Follow her at @Roxlobster
It’s 2011, I’m in my room and music is roaring through worn-out laptop speakers, the clunky hand-me-down computer heats my lap enough to burn as I close in on my sixth hour on the internet that day. Scrolling through Tumblr, half-naked girls and gifs from pop music videos plaster the screen, some of my favorite things.
It’s probably the 100th time I have heard ‘No matter gay straight or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive’ from Lady Gaga’s 2008 gay anthem ‘Born This Way,’ but it still sends a shock through me that elicits a big smile and causes me to clench my fists in happiness. Gaga has become a pioneer in the gay community, all stemming from ‘Just Dance,’ released 10 years ago this month.
As a closeted 16-year-old lesbian at the time, I grew up with Gaga because I didn’t have anyone else to rely on for any support on my sexuality. Her freeing lyrics shook my system with a reality that no one around me knew about. I felt whole for once in a world where my friends would talk about making out with boys, when I wanted to reach over and kiss them instead.
Being gay is not always rainbows and pop songs, but most of the time that is all we have. LGBTQIA+ people across the world have these stories of isolation and insecurity. They are walking a road alone without anyone to counsel them along the way.
With an influx of celebrities coming out in the past decade, it would seem that gay role models would be aplenty. In reality, my baby-dyke self didn’t have anyone who I could talk to with any experience being a gay teen, no one to tell me it does get better besides inaccessible celebrities like Ellen.
Out adults in the LGBTQIA+ community are few and far between, especially when they grew up in a less than gay-friendly time. However, they are out there, with stories that could inspire and ignite hope in those who are struggling to grow up with any realistic idea of what being a gay adult is like.
It was not until after being out of the closet for seven years that I met a gay person of influence in my community. This year I had the opportunity to take a course with an adjunct professor and rabbi at the local synagogue and we bonded in a way I had never felt with anyone in my life. I finally found someone who I could look up to for guidance that understood where I was coming from.
I had to wait seven years to meet someone who could give me advice that would make sense to me, the rest of my life relied on a heterosexual perspective I never understood. It was like a bell going off in my head like the first girl kiss I had - it felt right and completely genuine. Unfortunately, so many queer youth will not have this experience in their colleges, high schools, or neighborhoods.
This is not an attack on anyone, especially the wonderful allies that I have met along the way. I applaud all the allies out there, their voices on this campus have made it easier to be an out individual. With that being said, I know there are people who could be great resources if they are willing to make the courageous step to be out and provide a real life example of “it getting better.”
This is not a call to wave a rainbow flag and shout it from the rooftops (unless you want to), but the world needs more average joe homos around.