Check all that apply…

Race? MixedSexuality? Mixed

Physical stature? 😒😒😒😒
I hate boxes. I hate labels and stickers and names and one word answers that people use to sum each other up. 
When people ask my race, I say that I’m mixed, but really I’m not quite black enough and, as it turns out, I’m not quite white enough. 
And when it comes to sexuality, I’m not quite gay enough, but also not quite straight enough. 
I’m not quite masculine enough, I’m not quite feminine enough. 
I’m not skinny enough, I’m not muscular enough. 
I know I’ve beaten this topic to death, but it seems that every few weeks something inspires me to talk about my own identity. 
Being mixed race and bisexual is awkward in today’s America. I say that because it’s true. Everyone wants to you too support their cause, be on their side, fight for their rights. 
How come no one asks me what I think? How come no one stops to ask what I feel? 
They only answer I can come up with is because it’s “not as valid”. I don’t have the “black people struggle”, but I struggled just as hard. I don’t have the “white people privilege”, but I had a lot of opportunity presented to me. 
I can’t say I was disturbingly discriminated against for being gay, because I grew up in a city where it was the social norm. But I also can’t say that I wasn’t ever discriminated against for my sexuality.
I wish I could say I was never discriminated against for my sexual identity. 
In middle school I was bullied a lot. When all my male friends were starting to fill out, smell gross, and grow hair, I still hadn’t even begun my transition. I don’t think they understood what the idea of GAY was in middle school. All they knew was that I wasn’t caught up to them which made me the weaker subject. 
And I let them make me weak. I let them push me around. I let them get the best of me. I let them scare me enough to not return to that school. But I WOULDNT let them control my future. I didn’t let them control my future. I went back to a different school the following year. Still not having achieved “masculinity”, but this time having confidence in my stance, standing strong to any “bully’s” advance. 
After middle school, I was discriminated against even more though…this time by people I thought were supposed to love me and accept me. This time by members of my own community. 
The LGBTQ community is suppsed to be one about inclusion. Instead, it feels like one of the most separated communities I’ve been in. In that community, being bisexual and black, I was an outcast. I was looked at like a unicorn. I had many people that I was interested in specifically tell me they don’t date black guys. 
Even though I swore I wasn’t black.
I wasn’t ghetto, which means I was white. It took me a while to really accept and love the fact I’m of mixed race. Now I love myself and I no longer seek validation from others for my beauty. 
On the other hand people also would say to me the most inappropriate questions/comments about being bisexual. Things like…
“Are you sure it’s not a phase?”

“Have you slept with both genders?”

“Do you like girls or guys more?” 

“Do you like open relationships?”

“Gosh, you must be so lucky”

“Damn, you’re greedy”
And I’m over here like “UHHHH…yes, I’m sure. No, I’m not greedy, and fuck off.” These situations weren’t from my straight, cis gender friends. These situations were from a community that’s supposed to be about acceptance and non conformity. 
Looking back at my time as a youth in the LGBTQ community, I feel bad. I hated it. I never once felt included. Really, it all comes back to the same little confining one-word answer boxes people try to cram me intro… The boxes that I need to answer with at least a paragraph.
No easy label that I can lick and stick on your forehead so that we can be twinsies? Then no group for you. No sense of belonging. Not even in here this community rooted in accepting each other.
All of those feelings shifted when I became HIV positive, though. People no longer assumed my sexual identity, and no longer cared what the color of my skin was. They only seemed to reach out their hand to help me up. 
It took a life threatening virus to finally have the LGBTQ community on my side. I’m not saying this is true for everyone’s story. I’m simply speaking from my own standpoint, but to me that’s a damn shame. 
One day we will finally live in a world where no one is offended, no one gets shot for no reason, no one impolitely asks you about your sexual orientation, and all people will come together for a common cause. It can only happen though once each minority group stops fighting amongst themselves…
When the LGBTQ community truly accepts all that comprise it.

When the black community truly accepts all shades of color and backgrounds. 

When the white community accepts everyone for what they are regardless of beliefs. 
PLUR Regards,

Tyler Hurt


Edited by: Heather LaBarge, Exalted Peacock


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