I used to worry about making my sexuality my identity. I wanted to be normal and not make it a big deal.
But I realise now that this was a form of conformity as well. I was afraid of being judged for my sexuality (which is a real and valid fear).
More importantly, I realised as I grew more confident about my sexuality and identity that I have a right to express how hard life has been because of homophobia.
I have a right to articulate the hardships, since it is literally about who I am. It is just a fact of my identity and existence as a person.
I also feel like I have an obligation to speak up for others. I want to create an environment where younger people who still struggle with this issue can feel safe.
I remember that just witnessing someone who is out is comforting. I believe I can provide that, just a bit, by openly talking about my sexuality - like when it comes up in casual conversation.
Speaking up will hopefully normalise this too. It shifts the needle of normalisation in wider mainstream society by just a bit.
I told myself I wasn't making myself a two dimensional caricature but I was really just feeling the threat of social ostracisation. When I became more confident, I realised I have a right to express the fears and experiences wrought by my sexuality.
I have a right to speak up and express myself. And so do you.
PS There's something going on with my advantage to be 'straight-passing' (I don't like this term). But I know I am not ever really suspected of being gay and I comfortably (and genuinely) 'bro' it up with people I hang out with.