I was lucky, as a kid, that my sexuality came to me pretty easily. I can’t remember a moment when I first “realized” I was bisexual. As I grew up, I was always equally interested in girls and boys in the movies. When a friend in middle school nervously texted me to tell me he was bisexual, I was surprised that he was nervous at all and said, “Of course, that’s fine, you’re still my friend.” It didn’t matter to me one bit.
My family was progressive; when news would come up about another state allowing same-sex marriage, my mom would always huff, “About time!” and that was that. My father, too, was also bisexual, though I did not find out until I “came out.” Speaking of coming out, I had so little fanfare about it that my mom only asked if I was trying to tell her something when I mentioned joining my college’s Pride Alliance, and my answer was another aloof, “Oh, yeah, I’m bisexual. Anyway, so this discrete math class….”
I recognize that I am incredibly lucky to have this backstory. Though things are getting progressively better as time marches on, that doesn’t stop plenty of people from being misinformed, bigoted or hateful still. Some in the LGBTQ+ community are not so lucky. So, when I heard about Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters and its LGBTQ+ program, I was interested. It was the summer of quarantine, and the idea of reaching out to someone who needed it was more enticing than ever. I sent an email asking for information and the rest is history.
My match is like many others. We play with her pets, listen to “Hamilton,” gush over what recipes to try next and how good that sandwich was. Big picture, I am still a “Big” helping a “Little” like anyone else.
But beyond that, we have our more “serious” talks too. She fervently talks about injustice in the world and wanting to join a Pride march once they’re happening again. We chat about what it means to be LGBTQ+ and her response is, “Love who you love.” Even mentioning that JBBBS recently launched an LGBTQ+ task force I decided to join, she immediately asked if Littles could join too and started flooding me with suggestions for how we could help other Littles and make them feel more welcome and more seen.
I have to say, the reason I decided to join JBBBS was to help a Little and to maybe give them advice and direction. But I am surprised at how fast the tables have turned. I realize now that I’m getting lessons, too.
The aloofness and apathy from my youth has been quickly replaced with the new generation’s thirst for justice and equality. Not caring about what your sexuality is has progressed to loving uniqueness and defending others’ rights to love who they love. They are constantly fighting for equality, for equity, for the safety of who they love. And it is so inspiring to see.
I may not have grown up with the fire in my belly to fight for who I am, but it blazes hot in these Littles, in this coming generation, and it is worth so much more than “not caring” about sexuality. It’s the next step for the LGBTQ+ movement, and I am so lucky and thankful to be part of it. Had it not been for my Little, joining JBBBS or this quarantine, it might’ve been a lesson I missed. So, at least I can thank this past year for that, if nothing else.
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