Twink, bear, queer, fag, homo, dyke, butch, femme, circuit queen, fairy, otter, wolf, “straight acting”, lipstick, leather daddy, submissive, master….

How many words does it take to say one thing….GAY! I will admit I have read countless articles on the “Gay Condition”, each of which pointing out how fractured the gay community really is. Each article detailing what it is to be gay detailing how the twinks don’t socialize with the bears, they both hate the circuit queens, most of the lesbians I know think otters are nothing BUT semi-aquatic fish-eating mammals. That being said, as well written as they have been, the problem I have found with nearly every article I have read is it was written from the perspective of an author who has only belonged to one of these groups. While I am not transgendered so I cannot speak on behalf of a post operative male to female lesbian, I have been a part of each and every one of the rest of these groups.

Little Me (not in the dress but the fashionable matching vest)A very brief history includes me coming out at 17 years old, fresh out of high school, with a string of boyfriends until this month where I am now happily Domestic Partnered to an amazing man whom I love with my entire being.

I was a slender child and a slender young adult but various life events led to an expanding waistline which inevitably led to making new and different friends and trying out different social situations.

It is clearly not news to anyone that the friends we make in life are mostly those we share common interests and perhaps attributes with, either emotionally or physically in some cases. At this particular part of my life I found myself far more comfortable hanging out with the bear/cub community. Not because I had any issue with the smaller and more fit parts of the community but simply because I felt I had more in common with the bears, cubs, wolves, etc etc. What I discovered quickly was a good portion of my new friends had a distaste for the twinky or jock community which was attributed to feeling ostracized. None of my existing more gym prone friends had the reverse issue and were just as content socializing with the bear community. Although there were the fair amount that made the fat jokes etc but would that was  due to their own insecurities thus lashing out so they felt better about their own shortcomings.

I remained a solid 270lbs for several years before deciding I was done with being tired all the time, done with a lack of clothing choices, just simply done. With that thought I started up at a gym and within about 8 months I slimmed down to around 155lbs.

It was at this point where life begun to change in ways I had never foreseen.  I found I was no longer as welcome with the group of friends I had been regularly hanging out with. I was even told at one point I no longer belonged…..Simply because they felt I had betrayed them by choosing to lose weight. This led me to begin making new friends and even start a bartending job because the customer base liked a smooth, slender, tattooed young guy who didn’t mind mixing cocktails with his shirt off. My bartending experience led to making even more new friends and experience different situations. I had learned at this point I was happy hanging out at the bear bars, the leather bars, preppy sports bars and even the straight bars. I’d gone from one extreme to the other so I developed an understanding of what it was to belong and not belong all at once. The unfortunate side affect to this transformation would have to be that it caused me to close myself off somewhat as well. It was very disheartening to be told I didn’t belong in one way or another while I felt like the same person all along.

Then here we are today, I am surrounded by so many different types of people and my partner and I travel from one group to the next and back again simply because we simply look for people who are secure enough in themselves to not care…large, small, old, young, hairy, smooth, tattooed, pierced, male, female and any combination of the above. I find myself looking at the gay community as one large puzzle, so many different varying pieces yet all essential to form that one beautiful whole.

I hope the piece of advice you can take away from my post is step outside yourself if you never do you’ll never know how much you’re missing!

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