Everything’s coming up rainbows. It’s the middle of June, the month when the world’s LGBTQ+ communities celebrate progress and the freedom to be ourselves. June is also when corporations superimpose tacky rainbows over everything to pander to those proud queer dollars. Consequently, if you’re a straight man, by now you may feel a bit inundated with messages about pride month. It may seem a little in your face.
And you’re not alone.
Pride month used to seem ‘a little in my face’ too. But it was my own feelings of shame that I was inundated with. I was still hiding a big part of myself from the people I was closest to – specifically my brothers and my father.
Our dad is a conservative Baptist preacher in Texas, and we were taught that being gay is wrong. Though I was born gay, I was born into an environment that was not gay-friendly. My rapport with the straight men in my life became about me code-switching and trying to ‘man up’ to keep everyone else happy, and to keep myself ‘out of Hell’ (I’m joking, a little). So, Pride month made me feel anything but proud.
As I matured, my constant code-switching became exhausting, but instead of having those tough but necessary conversations, I alienated my brothers and my father. I communicated with them less, censored which parts of my life I shared, and I let our relationships get more and more distant. I was convinced they would not accept the true me, though I had not given them the chance to prove me wrong. I became estranged from people I care about simply because they are straight and I am not.