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Queerly Not Straight: It’s Not a Shame When Someone Comes Out as Gay

Queerly Not Straight: It’s Not a Shame When Someone Comes Out as Gay

SARAH DUNN/CONTOUR

In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.


On this edition of heterosexual people say stupid shit, you have a random stranger that approached me and asked me if Daniel Radcliffe was gay. Contrary to this person’s belief I A) don’t know Daniel Radcliffe and B) can not smell the gay in the air, making it so we’re all easily identifiable to each other. The conversation with said random stranger only gets worse from here on out.

Apparently she thought that there was something “fruity” and just “off” about Daniel Radcliffe. And the only thing that she could attribute that weirdness to is if he were gay. (I know, the conversation starts on a stupid track and keeps going as this random stranger puts their foot so far down their throat that I’m not sure if they were able to breath.)

So, my instant reaction and about three decades of learning how you need to approach people with different views so they don’t knock you down with a right hook, I smiled and said, “Well, maybe he is. And if so, I hope he has a big, gay, beautiful time of his life.”

THAT apparently wasn’t the reaction this stranger wanted from me. I could tell by the furrowed brow and the confused eyes that she wanted me to agree with her and calm her homophobic nerves that maybe there was something truly wrong with a gay or queer Daniel Radcliffe. Newsflash, their isn’t and there will be nothing wrong with Daniel Radcliffe IF he is gay. Which again, none of my business because I really don’t know him.

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This random stranger wouldn’t give up though. They were determined to change my mind and spoke the following words that inspired this piece in the first place, “It’s such a shame if he were gay.” Hold. Pause. Read those words again. A “shame” if Daniel Radcliffe were LGBT. Insert eye roll here and let’s keep moving forward with this nonsense train.

Apparently this random stranger thought that it was a shame that all the possible women that could be with Daniel Radcliffe would miss out on the DR goodness if he were gay. She said this as if she knew these mysterious women or had experienced the loss of the D because a man in her life turned out to be gay.

This is the reality that we live in. Where being gay is a “shame” because it’s seen as a loss by the heterosexual community. And I call bullshit. It is not a loss to this world if Daniel Radcliffe comes out as gay or if any other man on this planet does. It’s a gain. It’s liberation and joy when someone declares that they are LGBTQ+ and we’d do well with celebrating it as something magical and special.

Never should we think of coming out as “a shame” for the heterosexual community because the heterosexual community isn’t the standard. It’s not the be all and original setting to who humans are. And ignorant comments like the one made by this random stranger, clearly think that being gay is a negative option that would be a loss if chosen. Again, it’s not a loss. Never will be.

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Somewhere out there, a person is probably reading this and rolling their eyes so far back in their head because they think I’m being ridiculous and too “feminist” as if that’s an insult. These people who claim this woman’s words were a joke or a passing comment, do not understand the hurt that her words can cause a young woman or man who thinks they might be queer.

Imagine not knowing why you feel different. Imagine trying to work through the motions in your life and finally coming to the conclusion that you are queer. Now imagine if that person heard time in and time again that it was a shame that someone like Ricky Martin turned out to be gay. That person was me.

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I was told time and time again that Ricky Martin being gay was “a shame” because of all the girls that would be miss out on the Ricky Martin goodness. And she thought her words weren’t hurting anyone. She was wrong. They were hurting me. They were showing me that being gay, queer, or LGBTQ+ would be seen as a shame instead of something to be celebrated.

Now, I’ve grown past this feeling. I’ve surrounded myself with understanding, open, and brilliant women and men who have helped shape me into the woman I am today. But somewhere out there is a kid hearing this same ignorant comment about how it’s a shame that someone like Daniel Radcliffe could be gay. And it’s fucked, wrong, and will hurt this young person like my mothers words hurt me.

So, hetero community. Listen, learn, and grow from comments like this. Because we aren’t a shame. We are brilliant. We are fantastic. We are worthwhile. All of us.

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Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)

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