Hapa queer, 31, genderqueer, South Island

I remember the first time I ever prayed. I was a kid, and had just learned that
my body was about to get busy growing two lumps of fatty tissue on my chest.
The horror! How will I run and play with those things flopping around?! And…
breasts?? On me?? How awkward! But, if I had breasts, maybe women wouldn’t
scream and yell at me when I went to the toilets to pee?

Dear guy in the sky. If you do exist, I’m really sorry that I don’t believe in you. But
I’m a good person, I carry spiders outside even though they scare me, and blow
mosquitos off instead of squishing them, and um, sorry for that one time I was
playing with the ant and accidentally crushed it. But look – PLEASE – will you
stop The Breasts from growing on me? Please don’t make me be a woman. I am a boy.

Much to my quiet delight, I didn’t get much in the chest department. This, of
course, made high school difficult – I was called a plank before planking was a
thing. Over several memorable years, I was also punched, shoved into lockers,
kicked when the teacher wasn’t looking, and called many things, including
a “fucking dyke.” This last one was especially ironic because I had convinced
myself I was straight.

My reaction to being bullied for being gay was, essentially, to get grumpy about
rainbows: “did the gays really have to steal them and ruin them for the rest of us?
I just want to cover myself in rainbows, but people might think I was gay!”

I am glad I am not a hateful person; the worst I ever did to another was to avoid
eye contact with potential lesbians – what if they understood more about what
I was hiding from, than I did? What if they addressed these dusty, dark, places I
was very busy pretending didn’t exist? Looking back, I laugh – clearly my gaydar
has always been sharp.

I laugh, but these early, constant messages of hatred and not belonging are
damaging. I mean, I live in a culture where it is as acceptable to covertly hate
Asians as it is to overtly enjoy bland food. In my mid-20s, after struggling alone
with suicidal thoughts and attempts for nearly a decade, I was diagnosed with
severe clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I now live a good life
and am healing. I am lucky to be here. We don’t all make it.

As it turns out years later, those places I feared The Lesbians could see, are
not all that dusty. Closets get cleaned every spring and I’ve even given mine a
new paint job. It’s a nice place – it’s gentle, loving, tender, and kind. The shiny
surfaces reflect the light my fellow QTPOCs shine in, which energize me and
give me that sense of belonging so taken for granted by those who weren’t born
outside the very narrow definition of normal.

My job now, is to shine that light with others, while we remind each other
that it’s not dust in our souls, but merely lingering sediment that fell when the
construction of ignorance began.

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