There it is, written on a big, rainbow sign in block letters: “Movie Night Tonight, Hosted by the LGBT Group“.
And I think: I can watch a movie.
The only problem is that I’ve never attended a group specifically for LGBT people before, which, when you really think about it, is kind of funny. I’ve known that I’m bisexual since I was ten years old. I’ve been out of the closet for well over a year now as well, and even before then, I’ve had a lot of friends who identify as queer of some sort. You’d think I would have gone to some sort of event before.
But I haven’t. Every time I’ve had the opportunity in the past, I was always stopped by either shyness, anxiety, disinterest, or some combination of the three. Or maybe that’s just an excuse. Maybe the real reason that I’ve been nervous to go is that big, scary if that hangs over the whole scenario: what if I meet someone there? What if I’m standing in that room, and suddenly I notice some cute girl with big, brown eyes and a sweet smile? What if we start talking, and she actually likes me? What if she falls in love with me? What if we get married, and I screw it all up somehow, and then the things that she used to find endearing about me suddenly become annoying, and she files for divorce, leaving me broke and alone? I’m not emotionally prepared for any of that – best to just avoid the event altogether, really.
But that isn’t going to happen tonight, I tell myself: it’s just a movie. I’m probably just going to sit in some dark room, eat some popcorn, and watch Rocky Horror Picture Show or something. The most that’s going to happen is I might talk to someone and make a new friend, that’s it.
And that’s when a new concern occurs to me: anyone there is most likely going to be looking for like-minded friends, so what if I’m not like-minded enough?
What if I’m not gay enough?
It’s a ridiculous question, I know. Bisexual people have played an important role in the history of the LGBT movement. I have as much a right to be there as anyone, but still, my nerves plague me.
I don’t belong there, I tell myself. Not so long as my eye is still caught by that attractive guy I pass on the street.
I like girls and I like movies, I insist instead: of course I belong there.
But what if they judge me? What if they think that I shouldn’t be here because I’m still able to ‘pass’ as straight?
Having your sexuality completely ignored isn’t ‘passing for straight’, you know that. Now, come on: we’re going.
I manage to drag myself to the room where the movie night is being held, and I linger by the door for a bit. I can see people in there, but not nearly enough to make me feel comfortable.
I should just turn back, I think. I don’t belong here. I’m not nearly gay enough.
Just at that moment, however, someone else walks by me and enters the room, granting me the courage to slip in with him.
It’s a small room, and there are few people in it. Still, the first thing I am greeted by is a smile, and one very simple, very familiar comment: “Hey, I know you! We’re in the same Gothic literature class!”
And with that, I choose a seat, pleased to know at long last how silly I’ve been.