Today I am so excited to welcome Lay, a Queer bookstagrammer & book blogger!! In this post Lay talks about ‘Quiet Pride’
But, before I share with you what Lay has written for us today, I want to take a moment to highlight the incredible work that Lay has done as a bookstagrammer and book blogger. If you haven’t met Lay before today, then I am excited for you to see the wonderful work they have done!!
Lay’s Bookstagram, Blog and Twitter 🌈
Lay’s bookstagram is soo amazing!! I love her entire feed, it’s so pretty 💞 SO make sure to give them a follow!!
Also, make sure to follow Lay’s twitter too!!
Lay Discusses ‘Quiet Pride’
“I’m one of the quiet gays!”
That’s what I said, out loud, to my laptop screen while watching Hannah Gadsby’s stand-up special “Nanette”. In it, she mentions seeing a pride parade on TV and wondering where all the quiet gays were. At that moment, something clicked for me.
In 2018, when the special came out, I already knew I was queer. I just didn’t quite know what to do with that knowledge. I wasn’t sure where in the LGBTQIA+ community I fit in. Sure, I figured I was probably somewhere on the asexuality spectrum. And yes, I liked girls, even though the whole asexuality thing made that a little harder to figure out and my opinion on men remained undecided. But I didn’t feel like I truly belonged. Pride seemed like something that required me to be loud and confident, claiming space with joy and declaring exactly how I felt. At the time, I felt like my “eh, I’m kinda gay and kinda ace” label wasn’t enough to claim that pride.
My queerness and my pride unfolded in quiet moments, most of them in front of screens.
I remember going to see Ocean’s 8 with a queer friend of mine. I remember sitting in the soft cinema seats, a bag of popcorn between us. When Cate Blanchett’s character Lou was introduced, both of us did what I can only describe as a gay panic inhale. We looked at each other and wordlessly, the moment was clear. “Yup, that’s Cate Blanchett and we are very gay.” This moment opened me up to sitting in my quiet queerness with comfort.
I went to see Captain Marvel by myself, on a whim. I didn’t know much about the movie but as a lover of the MCU and badass women, I wanted to see what it was about. Carol is snarky and an absolute badass and I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to be like her. Sitting there in the dark theatre, with maybe five other people around me, I felt free. Free to just enjoy myself, enjoy the very gay “do I want to be her or be with her” thoughts Carol sparked in me. Free to let myself exist in that moment without thinking about what more precise label fit my experience other than the broader categories of “gay” and “queer” I had been using for myself. It was just me, my queerness, and a superpowered space lesbian fighting aliens.
By the time I went to see Charlie’s Angels, I had a previously unimaginable confidence in my queerness but I still worried about labels and about not being loud and proud enough. And the movie was wonderful! But what fundamentally changed my relationship with my queerness and pride wasn’t the movie. It was an interview with Kristen Stewart I watched afterward.
She was asked about her own queerness and whether or not her character in the movie was gay. I don’t remember her precise words, but it was the sentiment that stuck with me. She said that asking people about their sexuality was an incredibly invasive question and that nobody owes it to the public to label and narrativise their experience for public consumption.
In that moment, another piece of the puzzle fell into place. For years, I knew I was queer somehow…but the thought of having to find a specific label was terrifying. What if I realised it didn’t fit? What if I never found a label at all? What if I didn’t meet some invisible criteria and was kicked out of the community?
Suddenly, it was like I had been given permission to stop worrying. I didn’t have to use any label if I didn’t want to. I didn’t have to talk about my sexuality publicly at all. I could simply exist as a queer person.
To some of you, this might seem like an obvious fact. And in many ways, it should be obvious. But to me, there had been so much pressure and uncertainty attached to my queerness. So hearing from someone famous, who I admired, that my existence was enough and didn’t need anything else attached to it? That was powerful.
And then, something magical happened. I was able to be proud of my queerness. Suddenly, I could own my identity in a way I never could before. I found joy and pride in calling myself “kinda gay and kinda ace” when I wanted and in the spaces I felt safe in. Suddenly, even the thought of trying on different labels wasn’t as scary anymore because I no longer felt like I owed the world anything.
Queer existence and pride can be loud and colourful and all-encompassing. But it can also be a quiet thing. Happening nowhere but in your own heart. It doesn’t make you any less queer and your pride any less worthy. You don’t owe anyone a particular kind of expression. You can just exist in all your queer glory and that’s enough.
My journey with my queerness is ongoing. It’s both something I always knew and something I only allowed myself to own in recent years. A big part of that process was having a community of queer friends, having representation in media, and having the language to express my feelings. So here’s to all my quiet queers. Pride is for us, too.
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Thank you so much Lay, for visiting Misty Realms and having this discussion with us!! We appreciate you so much 💗 HAPPY PRIDE 🏳️🌈