I recently got a new comment from my parents on my sexuality. They said something like, “You’re complicating your life. You think you’re too hipster to be straight.” Well, they didn’t exactly use the word “hipster“, but they meant something in that sense. I’ve been different all my life. I was never someone to go outside and play rough with other boys. I had girl friends at school and Burmese schools, especially in my town, have a very strong segregation between boys and girls. I had a lot of female cousins and got along with every single one of them. I got along better with elder and younger folks than with my peers. When pursuing a medical career was the thing to do for anybody with scholastic ambitions in Burma, my ambitions were: an astronaut, an engineer/architect, an artist, a singer, a musician. (They changed over time.) In the Burmese cultural context, it’d be accurate to call me a hipster – disregarding the thick-framed glasses, canvas shoes, vintage clothing and indie music. And I had apparently never talked about girls with my family or barely with anyone. So, that’s how the comment came about.
And I got to thinking – stemming from my new-found interest in hipster-ish multi-coloured clothing (because I’m getting tired of colour blocking) – maybe all individuals from the LGBT/Queer Community should be hipsters. Ok, let’s be clear what I’m up to: I’m talking about the counter-cultural context of the hipster lifestyle here, not the looks. I don’t know how long it has been but the hipster culture seems to be widely visible across my college campus, and it doesn’t seem to be just our campus but all over the US (or maybe even beyond US borders). I finally found what I wanna do for the Queer Community and I’m already on it – visibility! Anderson Cooper’s coming out email was truly an inspiration for me. My people need their fair share of representation, and accurate representation, in the world – because they exist. Unless their true images are out there, ignorance would beget discrimination. Here comes the hipster part in relation to accurate representation: we are a different people, and thus, must not blend in, we must not conform, but instead we must be be hipsters!
So what do we do?
We defy heteronormality, heterosexism and cissexism. This is a world obsessed with duality/binaries and when most people are obsessed with either black or white and others are debating over the grey and we are lost in between! We need to remind people that there is our rainbow between their binary extremes of sunshine and rain. Wait, nevermind, that was overly poetic and didn’t make much sense. The thing is … Provided it’s safe, safe as in not gonna get ostracized by the most important people in our lives (you decide who), brutally beaten up or killed on sight/without questioning –
- if you are trans, you gotta behave and express yourself as the gender that we are, not the one biologically assigned at birth;
- if you are gay/lesbian or bi, you gotta be out;
- if you see someone you like, approach them openly, but cautiously;
- if you have a same-sex partner (or a partner of any gender, in the case of trans individuals), go out together in public, hold hands and kiss, don’t hold back your PDA;
- dress up so that your looks represent a part of your identity – I’m talking sexual orientation and gender identity here, but it can be literally any important part of you that you want others to see (BEEP ~ genitals excluded for public settings!);
- if you feel the need to hide a part of yourself, your identity, hold that thought, and go with presenting yourself genuinely at all times.
That was just to mention a few general things. They sound overly generalized though. You can add anything on the list that you can think of. Yes, I’m telling you fellow queers to flaunt. A lot of people may have different ideas on flaunting and some may strongly disapprove. Yes, dating life is not a thing to show off to people. But we have been silenced far too much for far too long. We have to sound off in whatever way possible. That’s why I’m trying to pour down all the shit that is gay and goes on in my head on this blog, duh!
Also, hipsters flaunt. They do it, yes, but either unconsciously or non-deliberately. They’re just very recognizable. And they get serious criticism for their lifestyle also. But the thing I love about hipsters is that they don’t care what others say, they’re just who they are. I mean, seriously, have you ever met a hipster who overreacts because you comment negatively on their clothing or their lifestyle? Nopes! But they will educate you of their lifestyle – how it is special and how it is the way to be. In the case of us Queer people, we don’t need to explain how our lives are the way to be. But we need to flaunt – more than hipsters do – and, more importantly, we need to educate people of our lives, should they have questions or comments, and tell our stories to those who would be willing to listen. How’s that?
Personally, I acknowledge that – although being gay is just one of the many parts of me – it makes me different. I consider being different something special, and it affects other parts of me also. I try to express that experience in whatever way possible. I have my permed and dyed quiff hair. I got piercings in both ears. I wear bright colour clothes and skin-tight stuff. I love jewelry and wear different stuff each day. I wear heels that make me look fly. I put nail polish on my nails. I use makeup. And to simply sum it up, I try to look fabulous at all times – which is a visual indicator that I am gay. And I tell gay tales – on this blog, to close friends and among people who are still ignorant but won’t beat me up. I’m as visible to the public’s eye as a hipster and all of us queer folks need to be that visible also.