‘God Help You if You Are Gay and Have the Audacity to Enjoy Yourself Too Much’

You pull up the news story and look at the bruised and bloody eye of the anonymous victim. You wonder if you know him. You feel a little guilty about just how glad you are that it isn’t you.

You’re disheartened that it happened so close to you. You’re disheartened that it can happen anywhere. You’re disheartened, but you’re ultimately not surprised.

People around you say they can’t believe this kind of thing can happen in 2014. None of the people who say this are gay. You think about how many times you’ve seen people stare at you on a date just a little too long. You remember all the times you’ve heard someone mutter faggot as you pass by. You remember walking home at night when you lived in the Gayborhood and seeing cars drive by filled with people who made the journey just to gawk at you. You are other, and people will always find ways to remind you, even if it’s subtle.

God help you if you are gay and have the audacity to enjoy yourself too much. Double that if you’re a gay man of color.

Zachary Wilcha, in a short essay on Untied.

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Photo: kurtbudiarto, Flickr