There are many things about my personality that are different from the norm, as I think every person on Earth has enough deviations from the perceived majorities to be truly individual. I’m too relaxed for my liking, but people seem to appreciate that. I’m sometimes too direct, and that doesn’t always end in appreciation, but it is the way it is. I have strong personal believes about religion, ethics, and involvement in other people’s business. I don’t do enough work, but I do way more work than I think I do. And I am undeniably queer.
The thing about all of these qualities is that I have many, many, many examples in media and the living world to show me what my behaviors look like from the outside. I’m able to identify these things about myself because I can see them in quite a few others. There’re always people around that handle situations with grace that I admire, only to find out I had done the same many times. There are direct professors that I appreciate, while many others do not. I can find people talking about religion, or the lack-of, in hallways, at work, on the street, in the train. What I don’t see often enough is that last one.
My family went on vacation to D.C. about a year back. It was a nice trip, relaxing. We visited museums and walked around the parks, the National Mall. My then eight-year-old brother got to ride a merry-go-round. We sat on the benches surrounding the spinning ride, watching him disappear around the curve only to see him come back into view with a grin so wide, my cheeks started hurting in sympathy. The ride stopped, and he asked to go again, and so we let him and it started to fill back up, children running towards the plastic horses, and the toddlers waddling to whatever they could reach, settling mostly into the more tame carriages with their parents.
Except I wasn’t looking at the children, or the toddlers, or even my brother anymore. My eyes found a lanky woman, in a white v-neck and loose jeans. She wasn’t butch per-se, but she walked like she wanted other women to find her attractive, you know, the walk. She was holding her very young son’s hand as he sat on a horse. She looked bored like many of the other parents. She looked like she got sucked into taking him to the park. She looked like a queer person with a family. A ring on her hand kept catching the light, and I was staring and I couldn’t stop, and I wished and hoped that my brother would ask to go on again, so that I had just a few more seconds to see what it looked like to exist like that.
It’s strange how such a little thing can do so very much, and how rare it is that I’ve encountered queer families in public spaces. Yes I’ve seen plenty during queer events and pride months and such, but this was out in the wild. There was another time that I saw two women with a stroller walking down the street, and while that isn’t necessarily queer, I could just tell that they were. The people with me couldn’t, but I was convinced. Sometimes we just know, you know? I saw two married women on the train, seemingly going to a concert months ago. That’s it. These are the only three times I’ve seen queer families without the barrier of a screen between us. I remember what these people were wearing, and where I saw them and how unsettled I was after each one. It left me with a hope, and it left me with despair, because I am twenty-five and I’ve seen queer families out in public spaces only three times. Three incidental, monumental times.