At the dawn of this Pride Month, I regret to confess I am transphobic. I am ashamed to admit this is not my only infraction. I am also homophobic. Another inexcusable transgression I must disclose in the spirit of candor.
To any queer person who reads this, please know my twin phobias are my cross to bear, not yours. My frailty is my defect and not attributed to you and your existence. If you are trans or gay, I want you to know there is nothing wrong with you; the problem resides with me.
By my own self-imposed standards, I would not categorize myself as a virulent bigot who bellows slurs at people who are members of the LGBTQIA community. I have never instigated a physical altercation with someone because of their gender expression or because of how they choose to love. Yet, my standards are my standards and not yours. I also acknowledge the subtle violence of silence—the harm caused by isolation and ostracization.
Never have I advocated for queer folk to be denied jobs, housing, or the ability to adopt children. I forcefully push back against any attempt to remove science-based comprehensive sexual education from schools' curricula. I lash out when politicians and more zealous transphobes and homophobes try to ban or remove books from schools because they might allow children to develop empathy for queer people and allow students to be seen and valued.
My phobias were not generated by a trans person saying something rude to me or a lesbian rejecting my advances and humiliating me in front of a crowd. A gay man has never made unwanted vulgar sexual overtures to me. The community has minded its own business when it comes to me. There is no justifiable origin story for my irrational behavior.
I respect you too much to fib to you and tell you I don't see gay people, trans people, and/or queer people. I see you. I recognize your right to exist. I read your words, listen to your conversations, and eat your food. I have felt the warmth of your smiles, been in your homes, and found comfort in your embrace. Despite all of this, I am a…