Today I started thinking about what it means to be different again. For some being different is a good thing – it becomes a sign of strength of taking your own path in life. People with a clear queer identity seem to make something good about consciously being different. However, others may not only think they are different but also odd or strange. I think there is something in these words: unusual – different – strange – odd. It is easier to handle being unusual and different but far more difficult being seen as strange or odd. Different does not necessarily mean something negative – strange usually does.
So I guess the challenge is to feel proud of being different but somehow manage when people think you are strange. I guess it is important because being strange almost implies that you start on minus. Instead of meeting people where the relation is more or less on even ground you immediately have to fight prejudice and almost prove that you are worth an equal treatment. Still, this is of course not always the case here in Sweden, it is hopefully the exception rather than the rule. It does take energy though because I often find myself thinking about whether or not I start on minus in this particular situation. In the restaurant, in the shoe shop, at the car dealers, at the meeting at work. Am I being seen as strange? With that a stress to figure out a strategy what I can do to get that feeling to disappear.
My point is that the mere fact that I spend so much time wondering if I am seen as strange and it takes a lot of energy. As most LGBT-people it is often connected with this constant decision whether or not to come out and being a bit tired of having to do it all the time. The reason for doing it is of course a desire to be able to not be force to hide important parts of your life. Lesbians who get the question if they have a boyfriend is of course the obvious one. The answer requires a decision whether or not to come out.
For me the question it is whether or not I am passing as woman or if they are familiar with my story anyway. It is important because it usually affects to what degree I feel different or even strange. Interestingly my sexual identity often seem to be of no interest at all. I have almost never got any questions about if I have either boy- or girlfriend. I hope they don’t assume it is unlikely for someone like me. For me it is always the gender identity that is in the focus and not my sexuality. Still, whenever I meeting new people I need to decide what to do since I do not control how people react on me. Finding strength and courage to handle this hopefully comes from an inner feeling of knowing who I am and realizing that they are ones having a problem not me. But it takes some inner strength to either not care or be proud of who I am. Somehow I need to find a way to be able to rest in a feeling that since I am unusual it also make me unique and that just has to be positive.