“Mom: I think I might be gay.”

My mother turns

            stares

Sixth grade homework sits on the table

Dad in bed

            snoring

            chainsaws hitting the wall

Mother here

            awake

            staring

Hands clench, eyes burn

I wait for my mother to laugh

            frown

            scream

I wait for the scream I’ve heard

            pounding in my head

            television parents rejecting their children

                        (I know 3 gay people)

                        (They all come from television)

                        (Their parents hate them)

I wait for what I know

            fear pulls at my heart

            terror squeezes my lungs

I wait for my mother to laugh.

My mother laughs.

            “You’re not gay.”

            “You’ve always had crushes on boys.”

 

Five years pass—my mother was right

            (I’m not gay)

 

Five years pass—my mother was wrong

            (I’m not straight)

 

Quoiromantic

            Quoi

                        Noun. French. “what”.

            Romantic

                        A word I don’t understand

Quoiromantic

            A person who cannot tell the difference between loving someone

                        like a friend

                        like a sibling

                        like someone you never want to release from a hug

            To loving someone

                        like a partner

                        like a spouse

                        like someone you never want to release from a kiss

Quoiromantic

            Me

Asexual

            A-

                        Prefix. Greek. “without.”

            Sexual

                        Something I am not

Asexual

            A person who does not experience sexual attraction

Asexual

            Me

Quoiromantic, asexual

            Me

Asexual, Quoiromantic

            Me

 

“Dad: I’m bi.”

My father freezes and looks at me

            knife down

            stares

Ham sandwich getting cold

I sit and look back.

            stare

            swallow

            (Did I ruin his lunch?)

I wait for him to laugh

            frown

            scream

He stares

I stare back

 

“I don’t think you’re bi,” says my mother, “you’ve always had crushes on boys.”

I told her once I was gay

            (Did she not remember?)

I would have to like girls to think I was gay

            (Right?)

My father says nothing

            always nothing

            never anything

He never says anything about my queerness.

 

Two years pass—I’m still not gay

 

Two years pass—I’m still not straight

 

“I think you’re gay.”

I roll my eyes at my mother

            (Did she forget about all the boys I liked?)

My mother speaks

            Gay

            Gay

            (What happened to straight?)

I ignore her

            Bi

            Bi

            Bye

I shouldn’t care

            (But I still do)

“Bi” is only the shortened version

            the summary

            the SparkNotes to the novel of my queer identity

I shouldn’t care.

 

“I remember when gay just meant being happy.”

I eat my dinner and ignore my father

            (It’s meant queerness since the 1950s)

            (Why is he stuck in the 40s with Roosevelt and Truman?)

I say nothing

He looks at me

“I thought queer was a bad word. What’s it supposed to mean now?”

I say nothing

My mother smiles

            chews

            swallows

speaks

“It means odd.”

I say nothing

            heart pounding

            stomach twisting

            food stabbed to mush on my fork

I am queer

            (You are odd)

I am bi

            (You are gay)

            (You are straight)

I am quoi

            (You are bi)

I am ace

            (You’re just confused)

I stare at my food

            silent

            avoid eye contact

            say nothing

“So does that mean you’re odd?”

I ignore my father

I take another bite of my dinner.

 

“What is it? That L-G-BLT?”

My father laughs

            so clever

            so funny

            so utterly unoffensive

“If the queer community is so inclusive, why isn’t there an ‘H’ for ‘hetero’ in LGBT?”

My father stares

My mother smiles

I say nothing

I say nothing

I think

I think

Maybe for the same reason it’s the NAACP

            National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

            “National Association for the Advancement of Colored (and White) People”

            No.

Maybe because exclusion is meant for safety

            The oppressed don’t include their oppressors

            “Equality is sharing, and sharing is caring”

            No.

Maybe because it was the

            straight people

            cis people

those who attempted to push us out

            strangle us

            kill us

            murder us

when all we wanted to do was

            love

            be ourselves

            survive

Maybe because the H would stand for

            homo

                        if it hadn’t already been made into a slur by the

            heteros

Maybe because we’re trying to keep the H out because H can be twisted into

            hate

Maybe because we already have L for

            love whoever makes you happiest

Maybe because we already have B for

            be careful not to let anyone tell you that you’re wrong

Maybe because we already have G for

            grow and nurture and be the best you can be

Maybe because we already have T for

            take care of yourself and all those you love

Maybe because you still have not earned the right

            into the library that houses our stories

            leaving you with

            the SparkNotes and acronyms that say nothing about who we are as people

Maybe because you never bothered to care about us

            before you knew that the person you created was one of them

Maybe because you are still the problem.

but you refuse to realize that you’re part of it.

 

Maybe we other you

            because you othered us first.

L-G-BLT

 

Kathryn Donovan

Kathryn Donovan is a queer student at Northern Arizona University, currently studying English and Visual Communication. Often found drawing or writing, Donovan is commonly associated with hermits, or possibly vampires that back away from any source of natural light, providing the pale complexion that blinds everyone in the halls. This is Donovan's first professional publication, still providing amazement and dizzying confusion, but hopes to continue writing for literary magazines.
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