A Rainbow Appears

A Rainbow appears. When I started 6th grade, I thought I was gay because I liked to cross one leg over the other when I sat, and I liked talking about my feelings. Then I started finding girls pretty again and learned how to sit leaning back with my backpack on and my legs splayed out. Gay was something that described my grandma’s and some of my mom’s strange, effeminate friends. Strange because all of Grandma’s friends were strange. In the latter part of 6th grade, once I had a round table in the front-back end of the lunchroom and a regular group that took the B61 together past 4th ave, gay meant lame or stupid. Gay was the tiny cookie in the cafeteria that day or the friendly comment made when a vicious comeback was expected. Gay was something they called each other on South Park and Family Guy.

In 7th grade, gay was the wierd, emo kid with dyed pink and blue hair. In 8th grade, gay was cool in girls but scary in guys. In 8th grade, boys played football with their shirts off while girls sat in the grass. Trans was the strange porn you accused your friends of watching while you called them gay. In 9th grade, gay was what you thought would be a good wingman and the strange kid you talked to sometimes and maybe hung out with in a group once or twice. In 10th grade, gender-queer was my music teacher of five years, a camp counselor who was all-around badass, and one of my favorites, David Bowie, and the Australian person from Orange is the New Black.

Gay was a 5th Avenue pride parade and Cherry Grove in the summer. In 11th grade, queer was me and three, four, two, three of my close friends, and kind of a little bit of everyone. Eleventh grade was the year “the group got gayer.” Queer was feeling guilty, and paranoid, and the urgent need to end every sentence with bro instead of habibi. Gay was why, as my dad said, we had no leftist unity. Gay was rich, white men taking advantage of the efforts of women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Gay was the two dads of my one friend who lived in a certified mansion. Two dollars beat $1.70, and both certainly beat my $0.70+ odd child support payment I got. There is no gold pot at the end of the rainbow.


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