I am fully aware of the challenges of revisiting your past and trying to teach some lessons to the teenager you’ve once been. Quite often, I look back and wish I knew more, I was more courageous and had more experiences that could make my journey easier. I resent that I didn’t have a better sense of self back then. The funny thing, though, is that the struggles I had growing up are the reason behind who I am today.
To introduce myself as the new content writer for Spectrum, I thought it would be a good idea to share some things I wish I knew before, some insights that now allow me to live my Best Gay Life.
Personally, I have always been confident that I should be true to myself, that no part of me was wrong or inappropriate – which already puts me in a huge position of privilege. I also had a loving family and the constant belief that they would certainly have my back, regardless of the infinite arguments or the intense heteronormativity that surrounded me.
I struggled, nonetheless, to fully embrace my homosexuality. My teenage years and early adulthood progressed from being in the closet to being discrete; and even when I started to be more open and vocal, I was always mindful that I should not be too much, too loud, too camp …
What I would like to tell my 16 year old self, in this sense, is that every aspect of my being was beautiful and that the more open I could be, the better: for me and for those who surround(ed) me. I would like to tell my past self to be more confident, to find comfort in my skin independently of how I looked and of my achievements.
Growing up is transformation, and the different lives I lived helped me to re-signify my existence and to shape my identity as of today. I transitioned to my adulthood testing and learning, opening up and holding back, being not too gay, but definitely not too straight. Today, I am happy to express myself through my fashion choices, I am proud to call myself an activist and I am confident that being vocal about my queerness is something that gives me contentment. I feel that I can currently be a representation that there is a world and a community where my identity is celebrated, and I hope this image reaches other teenagers in the process of becoming who they are and who they want to be.
From Gus with Love
My journey to accepting myself was maybe not as quick as I hoped, but looking back with the clarity of the present, I also understand that taking my time was important. I am aware of those who fought before me, for more acceptance, inclusion, and for my right to go clubbing and hold my partner’s hands in the streets. Furthermore, it is clear to me that whilst I inherited these rights, it is also my duty to keep fighting for those who do not share the privileges I have.
I write this as an invitation to you to know me better, to understand my experiences in the gay community and to read my future pieces about our fight for equality. As I now shared what I wanted to know as a teenager, I set the tone for our next interactions where we celebrate who we are and remember that being proud is the ultimate experience of identity.