Let’s Not Talk About My Pink Underwear

Let’s not talk about my pink underwear. I get it. I know. You know me as what I present on a daily basis. I am strong, and solid, and masculine. So, when you see the minute stash of panties I keep hidden like a bad secret in the back of my dresser, you joke, and you whistle, and you laugh.

But can we not talk about my pink underwear? That they feel as out of place against my hips as his hands always did. The way they speak to a box I no longer fit in. I am not comfortable in them, but still, they sit there behind boxer briefs and black tshirts. I am not me in those underwear. I am not the strong person you know, and it’s odd that some fabric that no one else will see can do that.

Let’s not talk about how they threaten my masculinity. And how they make me feel like less of whatever I am. Those pink underwear that wear me like a stranger. Like someone I don’t know who’s grabbed me on the bus. Like the men who shout homophobic slurs at me at four in the morning when I’m just trying to get home.

I wear my masculinity like a badge. I am proud to fall into whatever category you want to define my presentation as. I am not here to make you feel comfortable about my gender. I find so much solace in my androgyny, so much strength.

No one fucks with the girl with a crew cut, and damn, does it accentuate my eyes. There is no reason for me to lace my keys between my fingers on the walk back to my apartment, not on the days I’ve donned scuffed jeans and dark leather boots. Not when my shape has been covered by three layers of shirts. But I’ll tell you, on the days I wear the pink underwear, I carry extra keys. I carry extra bullets. I carry an extra hardness in my eyes, and my heart. I ask a boy to walk me home. I hunch my shoulders, and dip my head.

There is too much vulnerability that come along with those underwear, too much room for error. And that’s not a risk I’m willing to take. So let’s just ignore my damn underwear.


Coming Out

I am gay.

I have, by far, the most saccharine sweet coming out story. I come from a very accepting (and relatively knowing) family. I grew up in a small town that values standing by your people over traditional ideals. It wasn’t hard for me to be out and at home after I left for college.

I went away to school, came home maybe a month later, looked at my parents over dinner one weekend and said “Guys, I have to tell you something.” They gave me their full attention, and when I told them I was gay, my poppa told me he was proud of me, and my mama told me she knew. They said they loved me, and that was that. They’ve always supported me, and they raised me understanding that they’d love me no matter what.

I started to come out to the people around me after that, some friends from home, members of my high school groups, my grandfather, and my pastor among them. I was met with the same response from all parties. “We love you. We support you. We’ve known.”

My sexuality came as a shock to no one. Maybe I should have been a little indignant about that, but in all honesty, I was just relieved. I was relieved that nothing was going to change because I was gay.

As much as I hear the horror stories about coming out, as much as we hear how awful it is for some members of the community, know that it isn’t like that for everyone. Some small towns are coming around. Some people find love everywhere they turn. I hope this becomes the story for most, as time goes by. I hope that no one has to come out, eventually. But for now, take some solace in the fact that a small town in Ohio is learning, and loving its children all the same.