Unfortunately, the people who are supposed to love us aren’t always able to give us the kind of love we need. Whether they are our mothers or our fathers, our grandparents or our siblings, some family, no matter how good their intentions, leave us feeling empty, invalidated, uncared for, and alone. And on the days when that pain becomes too much to bear, our work is to recognize that those people whose love we so desperately pine for are never going to be able to meet our needs. Not because they don’t care, but because they can’t change who they are.
Their scant affection isn’t a reflection on our worth. It isn’t even about us. It’s about them and their own limitations and struggles. It’s about their unique way of expressing love and the fact that it doesn’t match up with our own. And we don’t have to internalize that. What we need is to start reaching out to the right people. We need to create a family of people outside of our family. People who can meet our needs and reciprocate our love.
We need to appreciate our families for the ways in which they are able to show they care, and be accepting of the ways they can’t. We need to make peace with who they are and if necessary, we need to give ourselves permission to let go. We need to know that our worth isn’t something another person’s love can give or take away. We need to trust that with or without their affection, we are enough.
You are allowed to be alive. You are allowed to be somebody different. You are allowed to not say goodbye to anybody or explain a single thing to anyone, ever.
If you’re queer and want kids, a career and a house and to serve in the military, have at it. But don’t forget those who helped you achieve all of that, and don’t think for a moment that we’re living in some kind of post-queer Shangri-La where your queerness is no longer important, or that you’re really equal. Whether you like it or not (or acknowledge it or not), there are too many people around the world — from Russia to Uganda to Mississippi — who will testify otherwise (if they’re not too afraid to open their mouths for fear of being attacked or killed, that is).
What’s more, our queerness is what makes us special. You, by your very existence as a queer person, exist in opposition to what governments and religions and cultures have told us is necessary and desirable and true. Even if you choose not to believe it or behold it, being queer is a calling to lead each other and everyone else toward a better future — not one where our sexualities and our gender presentations and our sex lives evaporate or are erased or don’t matter, but one where all of it matters, all of it is celebrated exactly as we discover it or dream it or make it so.