Growing up I knew there was something different about me, but at the time I was sheltered being a minor and a dependent of a career military man. What I mean is I did not know what being gay was really until high school, I had a best friend who was 1 year ahead of me who came out to me because he liked me, but was not sure if I was gay or not. I was, but was shocked to know, one, that I was not the only one and, two, that he was. This may sound weird to you, but I was living in Delta Jct., Alaska at the time with a population of about 1000 people. If you included the army base, Fort Greely, there were about another 1000. My senior class was 28 students, that included students from smaller towns up to 50 miles away. That is why it was a shock.
We never did anything, but stayed friends for another 7 years when we moved to San Fransico together, as friends, to explore what it was like to be gay.
I was in San Francisco for two years before coming out to my parents. We used to talk 2 or 3 times a week, but it went for almost a month before they talked to me again. They needed time to talk, research and talk to the minister of the LDS Church (that did not go well). They asked if I was happy and I said yes, so they said they were happy for me and still loved me. We stayed close, maybe closer after that, and with their help and support I came out to the rest of my family.
I was very lucky to have family on both sides who accepted me. I have been very lucky in life with my travels to have never run into the haters, outside of PRIDE events. I have always been honest with my employers and have never had problems with them.
Back to What Queer Means to Me. I do not see myself as being different, I see those who are not accepting of others as different. Basically I look at haters, bigots, the intolerant as being “different.” My partner of 25 years and I may not be able to make a life when we make love, but we love each other. So if we are different because of that and some choose to hate us and that makes me Queer than I will wear that badge with honor!