People are not hesitant to express their opinions about queer people and topics. Unless you personally identify as LGBTQIA+ or love someone who does, there is a good chance you become oversaturated by what you think are too many stories about gay rights, transgender kids, and pronoun use. You are sick of the labels, the terms to keep track of, and the need to always be so damn politically correct. You are fatigued from all of the “gay stuff” constantly being shoved in your face; you are fine with the “lifestyle” but why can’t we just live and let live? You’re just so tired of the “LGB um whatever it is ZLMNOP ABC crap” making every headline. Ugh, it’s exhausting.
Well, get in line, friend. I am tired too.
I am queer and nonbinary. I am raising a transgender daughter. I teach and write about LGBTQIA+ topics. Because of this, I am immersed in queer culture; I am a public set of eyes, ears, and a very vocal mouth for my community. I read news articles, listen to stories, overhear snide comments, and am asked to absorb unintentionally hurtful questions and ignorant comments.
I wake up queer, look at the world through queer eyes, and fight to be seen as more than queer so that I and other LGBTQIA+ folks can live a safe and opportunistic life. I use every ounce of my queerness to have the world view me through a lens that doesn’t exhaust them but energizes them to make my exhaustion less. Your fatigue doesn’t hold a candle to what my community feels on a daily basis. We are fucking tired.
We are tired of the microaggressions that are spoken about our gender presentation, about our assumed pronouns, and about our assumed family structures.
We are tired of the constant erosion of our self-esteem when faced with society’s bias toward the heteronormative. Books, movies, advertisements, forms, clothing, and bathrooms are all designed with the idea that people are straight, cisgender, and gender conforming.
We are tired of navigating a world that wasn’t built for nonbinary and gender-fluid folks.
Where do we fit in? Where are we welcome? Where do we fucking pee?
We are tired of the unspoken aggressions, too. The stares, pursed lips, and nudges you give to the people next to you to be sure both of you get a look at the queer folks holding hands, the family with two dads, and the person in the bathroom who you can’t adequately define.
We are tired from constantly surveying our environment and wondering if we are safe or not.
We are tried from absorbing your energy and trying to determine if it is kindness, curiosity, disgust, or malice.
We are tired of walking through life afraid that our employer will find reasons to withhold promotions or fire us because of our gender identity and sexuality.
We are tired of our kids being denied access to schools, clubs, and sports teams.
We are tired of being denied access to services, housing, and places of worship.
We are tired of our kids being denied medical care.
We are tired of being denied medical care.
We are tired of being denied.
We are tired of being harassed for who we love.
We are tired of being beaten for what we wear.
We are tired of being killed for living a life of authenticity.
But, please, go on. Tell me again how tired you are of seeing another story about trans kids and gay people. I will listen. My voice can use the rest.
But first let me offer a suggestion: If the LGBTQIA+ community was actually heard, accepted, and allowed to “live and let live,” there wouldn’t need to be so many stories about us splashed all over the news. The moments of our joy and pain would not be celebrated and mourned because of our queerness, but because we are human.
We are motivated to showcase heartwarming coming out stories and legal victories because they seem few and far between. Perhaps you will realize adding our joy to the world doesn’t take away yours.
We are motivated to illuminate the horrific discrimination and violence against queer people because perhaps there will be a tipping point. Perhaps someone else will get sad and angry on our behalf. Perhaps sadness and anger will lead to protection.
We are motivated to explain over and over and over again why our lives, our pronouns, and our transgender and queer kids are just as valid and deserving of safety and health care as the cisgender heterosexual kids because maybe, just maybe, you or your friends will become educated enough to be better, more outspoken allies.
Perhaps you will find yourself in a situation where suddenly someone you love—a friend, relative, or your own child—is not the straight, cisgender person you assumed them to be. Those stories you thought you were so sick of will suddenly become more intimate to you. They will exhaust you in new, more pressing ways. I will do my best to support you and not say I told you so. I am too tired for that.
Your opinion of LGBTQIA+ stories may change through time or circumstance. But if it doesn’t, please know I am sick of me too.
Your choices are simple: Help out the queer community by being an ally, or be quiet. Because I, and so many other activists, are not going to be silenced just because you are tired of hearing about us. Your sense of saturation is a drop in the bucket compared to the weight we carry every day.