Openly Opinionated


Joshua Gomez

I recently got back to reading Bill Konigsberg’s amusingly straightforward novel Openly Straight, resulting in the topic of my sexuality once again being put under the spotlight. It’s not something that crosses my mind too often, so when I read about Rafe, an openly gay boy who came out in eighth grade and has only been known as “the gay kid” ever since, it really had me thinking of my own situation regarding my sexuality.
Now, I myself began dealing with my sexuality around 8th grade, came into terms with it halfway through freshman year of high school, and here I am now. Not exactly openly gay, but not closeted either. I’m just… gay. I didn’t feel the need to come out because I didn’t really find it necessary, except to my mom, who still doesn’t know to this day and I’m still waiting for her to catch onto the hints I’ve been dropping in the past few years. I felt like if I came out, it would make it seem as if I want people to see me as someone who’s gay, and just that. I’m not much to look at — just your average high schooler who likes playing video games, drawing, and eating too much junk food. Those who I’ve acquainted myself with know me as this person, and to add being gay to the pile would just overshadow the rest of my traits. Though to my surprise, some people would actually prefer this. I personally find it strange how people would want to have their sexuality define their personality when it’s just their sexual orientation. Your personality is what makes who you are as a person and does not regard others. It’s what makes you unique. Are you a night owl or a morning person? Are you outgoing and energetic or a little more reserved and “chill”? What are your values and pet peeves?
I’m aware that I may have come off as condescending or arrogant, but it isn’t my intention. Just because I don’t value the representation of my sexuality as much as others do, doesn’t necessarily put me at a higher level of existence. If you’re gay and want it to be your defining feature, shoot, you do you. I try to be open minded about most things, but that doesn’t stop me from having my own opinions. And in my opinion, it would suck to be in Openly Straight’s protagonist, Rafe’s position. It would be pretty lame to only be seen as just “the gay guy,” rather than as Josh. Why? Because I’m not the only gay guy. There are a lot of other gay guys, and girls, out there. I want to be seen as Josh— the quiet kid who procrastinates too much for his own good, is mediocre at best when it comes to drawing, and actually likes pineapple pizza because it’s a good combination of flavors. This is what gives me my individuality. It’s what makes me, me.