As a queer person, I’ve faced my fair share of adversity over the years. But I never imagined that after society has changed so much for my community, that I would face the worst indignity of my life thus far.
That’s right: A teenager on Tiktok called me a “queer elder” yesterday. I’m 35.
I always thought it was possible that someday, a hate crime would be committed against me, but I never thought it would be this. And from my own community? This kind of violence has no place online or in my life. Anyway, I only have like, a small smattering of gray hair and you can’t really even see it and even if you could that wouldn’t make me old.
Since hearing this, it’s been hard for me to see myself in a positive light. Now all I can think of is that I’m just an old lesbian in ill-fitting jeans and a flannel who rambles on to kids about when we used to have actual lesbian bars. Clearly, all of this may be true, but more importantly, how fucking dare you.
Don’t get me wrong – I love being a role model for queer youth and showing them that things can get better when you’re older. But as an extremely cool, relevant adult who is afraid of teens, I’m worried that our youth are taking things way too far. For example, we all know that “elder” is a term for someone very old and that term is only reserved for people older than me, specifically.
Teens need to educate themselves and check their privilege before they use such hateful terms against someone who is objectively not old.
Now that my sense of self has been shaken to its core, I’m practicing a lot of self-care and positive mantras, like, “People say I look 26 all the time,” and “I am still too young to be part of the older cast of The L Word.” It doesn’t undo all the damage, but it helps me remember who I am and what I’m worth. And no plucky little baby gay can take that away from me.