Not queer as in gay, queer as in alive

Between the Coats: A Sensitivity Read Changed my Life - an Essay by Sarah Gailey
I’m queer, which is why I always thought I’d be dead by now. I grew up standing just inside the open door of the closet, like a cat looking out the window at a bird and thinking she’s outside. The door was open — my queerness wasn’t a secret, that’s what I told myself. The door was open, but I was t…
Of course it was tragic. That was the kind of story that people like me got. It didn’t occur to me to write the story another way. I was a new writer, alien to the writing community, completely unaware of the conversations about queer representation that had been developing for years before I’d thought to write a single word of my story. It didn’t occur to me that queer tragedies like that are part of an agenda, and that the agenda had been working on me for a long time. That agenda had succeeded at keeping me quiet and scared and lonely in ways that I thought were fine, just fine, thanks, how are you? That agenda had succeeded at making me hold my breath. Because of that agenda, I spent my days hoping that no one ever noticed me.

I can relate to a lot of the feeling expressed in here. All I got to see growing up when I got to see myself at all was tragedy, so it was inevitable that my first forays into fiction writing were tragic. Though I was deeply repressed and wrote the tragedies straight, and somehow still reality leaked out of my head into a side character's off-screen fun at every tavern. That character and the main got rolled into the first fursona I used to explore identity, and that exploration informed who I am now. A person who has known tragedy, but still gets to write people like themselves in happy stories, adventures in time and space. Who isn't defined by the bad stuff.

Sarah, they asked with excruciating kindness, do you know that queer people are allowed to have happy stories?