Hi there! Welcome to the second annual IT’S GREAT TO BE GAY DAY, a holiday we here at Autostraddle invented three years ago, just because… well, because we can. And also because EVERY SINGLE EFFING DAY!! is A GREAT DAY TO BE GAY!
So a few things about this very silly and made-up holiday that we delight in with the utmost seriousness! A lot of LGBT holidays are about raising awareness regarding the various struggles we face and overcome, but this one (!!!) is quite simply about making ourselves feel good. Today we celebrate all the reasons it legitimately kicks ass to be gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, non-binary, trans, any part of out LGBTQ+ family. That’s it! Happiness! Those are the rules!
The first annual It’s Great To Be Gay Day was actually held in November, and now we are holding it in August because dates are fake and straight, but we are very real and very queer. Also we are celebrating today specifically because… drumroll please!!!… YOU HELPED US MAKE OUR $118K FUNDRAISER GOAL!! AND YOU HELPED US MAKE IT A FULL FIVE DAYS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE!!!!
We are still not over it!! We may never be over it!!! We love you all so much, and on behalf of our entire team, thank you for loving on us in return. It’s such a special gift.
Speaking of gifts, we’re gonna kick off today’s celebration by telling you why we think it’s GREAT to be whatever we are. Lesbian! Bisexual! Queer! Trans! Non-binary! The gang’s all here. And we are so glad to have you with us. ❤️
Take over the comment thread and tell us why you think it is GREAT TO BE GAY (tell us about however you identify, of course, we just liked the rhyming! Thanks again, we love you!)
Ro White, Sex & Dating Editor
I’m an Olde Gaye — I started coming out when I was 13, and I’ve been some flavor of queer ever since.
In my sublime queer life, I get to date people who smell nice. I get to sidestep the heteronormative pressures of marriage, family and property ownership. I get to wear comfortable shoes for every occasion and grow gloriously long armpit hair without consequence. I get to blame every single one of my quirks on being queer, and straight people have to respect them or else they’ll look homophobic. I get to say things like, “Jessica has such Taurus top energy” and the people around me know exactly what I mean. I get tits on tits and Bound and weird haircuts. I couldn’t live any other way.
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Writer
I love being a lesbian and a dyke, and I love the way both words feel in my mouth, and I love my girlfriend’s mouth on my mouth and her spit in my mouth. I LOVE GAY SEX. I love gay books and gay art and gay food (oysters). I think I say “I’m gay” at minimum once a day now, and fuck it, because for so long I never dared speak those words, so now I can say them on a loop for however long I want because those are the rules! I also love being constantly surrounded by queer friends, mentors, chosen family. I have a close group of friends who I’ve known for nearly a decade, and we all met on tumblr dot com before any of us knew we were queer and then one by one all came out like a gay ass set of dominoes toppling each other. We somehow magically found each other before we even knew ourselves. QUEER MAGIC.
Dani Janae, Writer
I love being a lesbian so much, its all I ever want to talk about and think about. Being a dyke is such a huge part of my life. Having come out when I was a scared little twelve year old, I’ve learned so much about family and what it means to build one from the ground up, one that is accepting and loving and sees my full self. I love that there is so much that lesbians are open to that the straights would find taboo or gross. I think about how often cis men complain about periods and body hair and I’m so happy I don’t have to listen to that bullshit ever. I love being in the company of women, but especially other lesbians and queer women. I love talking about sex and thinking about it and HAVING GAY SEX and getting to kiss a woman everywhere omg. I love love love lesbian poets and poetry and getting to experience the way women write about loving each other, its so liberating and breathtaking. I could go on and on but I’ll end with this: being a woman that loves other women has helped me deepen and strengthen my relationships with women, romantic or platonic, in ways I don’t think I could if I were… straight. I prioritize my love for women above others and it feels so fucking good.
Abeni Jones, Contributor
One of my favorite comic people, Carta Monir, often says “being trans is a gift.” I can’t really articulate how much my understanding of the world has been opened by discovering that I’m trans.
Existing as a trans woman of color in America, in the world, actually almost killed me, but surviving that has also added another, just, beautifully nuanced and complex and difficult and dynamic layer to existence that I can’t imagine living without. I have a rare and significant understanding of gender, of sexuality, of politics, of relationship — it’s all colored by my experience of being queer, of being trans.
I feel like transitioning is one of the most radical things that anyone can do and it really opens up our ideas of the boundaries of human existence, like — if I can do this, I can do anything, you know? Human beings are such boundless creatures, just so adaptable, changeable, transformational. It really makes me feel like anything is possible, and that’s a pretty powerful feeling.
Shelli Nicole, Culture Editor
It’s so dope that I get to kiss all up on people’s daughters. There are deeper things that I could say but that’s my favorite part. Also — HeteroVille is the most ghetto place on Earth, I only spent a short time there but I want my money back.
KaeLyn Rich, Writer
I’m so glad to be a big ol’ queer. Being queer means never being stuck in someone else’s boring narrative. I’ve gone into chrysalis and emerged some shiny new form of myself many times and I know I have many more metamorphosis to look forward to. From chaotic bi teen to militantly queer college dyke to hard femme mommi to actual queer mama to realizing I can hold all of those forms of myself in my heart simultaneously, every version of me has been deeply queer. Every decision I make is made with intentionality because being queer means being written out of the dominant narrative. And that means getting the write your own story, evolving your own way, setting your own ideas about success and beauty, and that’s a beautiful fucking thing.
I never saw myself falling into the house-plus-spouse with a child-on-the-way story. In first grade, I consistently volunteered to play the family dog when we played house. I didn’t dream about weddings or husbands. I convinced my college boyfriend that marriage was a tool of the patriarchy. Up until the moment I decided I wanted to, I was firm in my conviction that I wouldn’t be a parent. But making a queer life with my queer spouse in our queer house with this incredible kid who I carried inside my queer body… nothing about that is boring. I am constantly wonderstruck by the beauty and resiliency of my queerness and the way that being queer invites happiness and perpetual evolution into my life.
Drew Gregory, Writer
I love being gay. I love being trans. I love waking up each morning and deciding whether I want to be a dyke or a faggot and usually choosing both. I love meeting other queer and trans people. I love the immediate connection that’s formed even if I decide that specific person sucks. I love all the times they don’t suck. I love my queer and trans friends. I love my queer and trans friends who met me when they didn’t know they were queer or trans and I love my queer and trans friends who knew exactly who they were. I love my queer and trans friends who thought they knew who they were but now are realizing maybe there’s more, or less, or other. I love how we get to do that — constantly reexamine and reconfigure and redeclare our selves to ourselves and to each other.
I love making straight people uncomfortable by just existing. I love that even when they hurt me I always know that my relationship to myself and my community has expanded my experience of the world in ways they’ll never even begin to understand. I love mocking them and knowing it’s not really about them, but simply the glee I feel in spending so many years trying to be them and thinking I was broken and realizing I’m not. I love knowing I’m actually this other thing with all these other people and my brain isn’t damaged, I’m just gay. I love not being normal.
I love gay movies. I love gay movies about old lesbians and I love gay movies about confused teens. I love seeing our stories on screen and knowing it’s an extension of the internal questioning that makes us queer. I love how many stories there are to tell on screen and off. I love how different we all are from each other. I love those of us who center that difference and embrace it. I love knowing that who you are doesn’t have to be who I am and who I am doesn’t have to be who you are but if we’re both queer what a fucking gift. What a fucking gift that we get to be queer. God I fucking love that.
Heather Hogan, Senior Writer + Editor
I can’t believe I spent so much of my life being scared to say “I’m gay” out loud, to utter the word “lesbian,” or even think about the word “dyke.” I love the word “dyke” now; I just absolutely love it. When I say it or hear another dyke say it, it’s that satisfying feeling of swinging down a hammer and hitting a nail just right. The ringing thud that just drives the point deeper. I love queer women. I love the intimate friendships we have with each other, I love the connections we have based on shared experiences that we unearth when we stay up talking all night on the day we meet, I love that we always skip the small talk, I love our pop culture and literary frames of reference, I love our hard conversations about the things that make us better people, and I love our Dungeons & Dragons games. (My D&D game is not all women, and I love my queer, nonbinary friends with such fervor too.) I love my wife. I love that I get to spend every day and every night with my best friend, forever! That was the whole entire dream of my youth; I just didn’t understand why! I love that my sex and my politics excludes the pleasure or needs of men completely. Being a lesbian is my favorite thing about myself and every day when I wake up, I’m grateful that’s who I am. It is such a lucky thing to be gay.
Meg Jones Wall, Writer
I feel like I spent so much of my life fighting against my bisexual and queer identity, believing that it wasn’t something that I was allowed to own, let alone celebrate — so having it now be such a powerful part of who I am, letting it shape my communities and friendships and work and play, feels like an actual miracle. I love being around my queer family, love the ways that we support and uplift each other, the ways that we call each other out and push each other to grow. I breathe easier with my people around; get to be the fullest, most powerful, most magical version of myself without restraint or shame or apology. Being queer is such a gift, and it’s one I’m grateful for every single day.
Adrian , Contributor
I love being queer and bisexual and genderqueer and non-binary and trans. I ache with care and nostalgia and tenderness when I think about the journeys I have taken to each word. These identities evolve and flex with me, and who knows where they will take me in the future. Our elders forged these words, these understandings, these communities, and these ways out of suffocating heteronormativity and into embodiment and liberation. Friends, partners, and storytellers gave me permission to become a whole person, even when it felt like a lexical disaster. I am grateful every day to all of them.
The last It’s Great To Be Gay day in 2017, I had a different name and hadn’t yet embraced my transness. I had boobs, if you can fucking believe that! I used to worry that I wasn’t valid because of, idk, some TERF shit I saw on Twitter. I used to compartmentalize myself in search of legibility, acceptance and safety. I thought it was too many words. I internalized the fear that I was too much. Being in queer community helped me trust that my too-muchness is radical and good. I love you <3
Rachel , Interm Literature Editor
Sometimes I lose sight of how much of my life and personality are shaped by queerness, because I’m blessed enough to be surrounded by queer and trans folks in my personal life, my work life, my home, even my family. There are still plenty of reminders, though, of how deeply and inextricably my relationship to the world around me is linked to being gay, and every time they happen I’m so fucking relieved to be here. I’m so glad I don’t view other women as competition or threats and am excited to learn from and be in community with them; I’m so happy I get to view my relationships with friends, chosen family, exes, people who move between those statuses, and more as at least as important as my romantic relationships or bio family; I’m so happy I get to think of having a longterm partnership or marriage or kids as one of many potential options and not the only worthwhile thing I can do with my life! I feel so lucky that however I feel hottest or most powerful or most myself, it’s always brought me closer to queer community and made my relationships stronger. It’s fucking great how whenever I forget a hair tie during sex, my date usually has one! I love how even when our community doesn’t 110% love or even really like each other, we still try to show up for each other, because we’re what we’ve got. To be honest we’re queer and trans folks are always the smartest, funniest, realest people in the room, and even (especially!) the difficult and challenging parts of being in this community have given me so much more than I could ever put into words, and more important, have turned me into someone who wants to try to keep giving that back always.
Carolyn Yates, Writer
Being queer and hard femme and non-binary has given me a language to love myself and others that I never would have found otherwise. I love queer people. I love queer sex. I love queer relationships, and the ways that we are constantly creating new ways to relate to each other and new ideas of what “family” means. I love that I can approach everything in my life in a way that is distinctly queer and embodied and full of boundless possibility.
Kamala Puligandla, Former Editor-in-Chief
Being gay is the best, it just is. As I get older I have more appreciation for the parts of queer community that are sometimes considered cliche — that we can name exactly how we want to be loved and have sex, and our people will do it; that there is room for our identites to change and grow into infinity; that we really only know how to be SOOOOO ourselves for every occasion, and that makes us so fucking hot.
I also love being an angry dyke. I love rolling my eyes during bad readings by self-important white writers. I love making amab men uncomfortable by staring into their faces and not laughing at their bad jokes. I love being exasperated by the line at the grocery store and having another exasperated angry dyke open a check-stand for me. I love walking hard down the street with my hair looking sharp, and when someone with a clipboard wants to know if I have time to stop and talk about buying a cow for a family, I can just look at them, and they stop talking and we don’t even have to exchange words.
Valerie Anne, Writer
Gosh, being queer is just the best. My timeline of coming out as gay and coming into my own queerness is so intrinsically aligned with coming out as a nerd and saying goodbye to the term “guilty pleasure” and loving the things I love with my whole heart. Maybe it WAS linked. Maybe I was hiding the nerdiest parts of me because I was afraid if people saw that part of me they’d see the gay parts too, but either way, as I shed those insecurities about being passionate, about being ME, I finally got out of my own way and was able to learn who I really was and embrace the things that bring me joy. And then I finally, finally, found friends that love the same things I do, the same way I do. I also like to see it as like a built-in people filter. Assholes and fake allies reveal themselves real quick when you’re talking about being queer all the time, which I am, or talk about your favorite shows/D&D non-stop, which I do. Not all my closest friends are queer, but all my closest friends are in my life because I am. Because I’m living my loudest, proudest, gayest, nerdiest life and refusing to apologize for it.
Carly Usdin, To L and Back Co-Host
I love being queer. I love being non-binary, to be everything and nothing at the same time. I love that some days I feel like a dyke and others I feel like a fag and then there are days that I feel like a little robot. I love how expansive the word “queer” feels. I love that I’ve been surprised by my own identity over the years and how it’s changed and evolved. I love that I’m in my late 30s and I’m still learning new things about myself and I hope that process of discovery never ends. I love queer people and queer community and all the intersections therein. I love how complicated and confusing and messy it can all be. We are magic and infinite and I would honestly be really bummed to be anyone other than exactly who I am.
Laneia , Executive Editor
It’s the sex for me.
Sarah Sarwar, Design & Marketing Director
Being a lesbian means never having to truly be a part of hetero culture. I am always going to be surrounded by the most interesting, vibrant and amazing people throughout my whole life, and there’s something so comforting about knowing that. Also Laneia’s right — it’s the sex.
Riese Bernard, CEO
Gay people are just very much the most empathetic, community-minded, generous weirdos I have ever had the pleasure of sharing large crowded spaces and virtual hubs with. It’s unsurprising that it’s queer women and trans folks at the forefront of so many of our most important civil rights movements, demanding accountability, pushing for change, putting in your time and adding your voice. You make personal sacrifices for the greater good like it’s NBD, like straight people are in line at Mendocino Farms for a Sophisticated Chicken and Prosciutto Salad and you’re selling kd lang and en vogue cassettes from the ’90s for 33 cents each on your lawn to make a $10 donation to your local mutual aid fund. We are also very self-deprecating. Another nice thing about being gay is that you’re legally allowed to continue wearing sneakers with formal pants, hoodies as coats and/or dressing like a teenage boy well into your twilight years. Also a lot of us (not me) are very handy around the house.
Carmen Phillips, Editor-in-Chief
The thing about being queer, which no one told me before, is that it is absolutely magic. It’s the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. It’s Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and we all have the golden ticket. I remember once being so scared to come out — I never knew that it would allow me to come into myself. I’m more comfortable in my skin now as a queer woman than I ever did when I was pretending to be straight. And thank goodness! It turned out that everything that I thought was wrong with me was actually so right. Usually when people ask me, I say I love being queer because “queerness is freedom” but more than that — it’s a RELIEF. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s going home. Because it is being at home in yourself.
Nicole Hall, A+ & Fundraising Director
I’ve always said that I’ve been grateful to be queer — and this is predicated on me realizing my gayness when I was eleven or twelve — because the environment around me at the time was all very fire and brimstone when it came to being in any way not straight. And knowing, without a doubt, that I was queer in that world where it was not acceptable to be the way I was (before I was even old enough to even consider dating anyone meaningfully) was important to my development as a critical human. By questioning one thing, “Am I really going to Hell for all these witchcraft and homosexuality things?” — I was suddenly invited to question EVERYTHING. And that questioning has led me on such an incredible journey. When I think about queerness and how I am also queer, I’m overwhelmed that I can be a part of a community that isn’t afraid to ask questions, to dismantle structures that are harming us, to dream of better and fundamentally different futures — and then who go out and FUCKING make it happen. Also I get to love astrology with abandon and look at that paragraph and be like: all this makes sense as an aqua/sag/sag. There is really very little water in my chart.
I love queer sex and I love gay love and gay not-love because-fuck-you-it’s-not-all “love is love.” I love queer friendship and the way gay people lift each other up and more often genuinely want the best for each other. I love my weird, queer home with my partner where we’re at once infinitely young and ridiculous — and at the same time “two old biddies” according to my mom. When I open my eyes in the morning and Sadie’s there and then I go water the vegetables and herbs and watch our sweet aged dog get up to mischief and I brew coffee and make toast and bring her breakfast on a tray because that’s our routine every morning — breakfast in bed together before I start work — it’s really great to be gay.
Christina Tucker, Writer
Here is the thing about being gay: it slaps. I didn’t come out until I was twenty six, and while it wasn’t like my life before was particularly bad, it was kind of dull. Now? Well, look, sometimes I am still a cranky bitch, but baby, that’s just the kind of gay I am! Queerness is big enough to hold every facet of my personality: cynical and loyal and funny, often kind of faggy and always blasting a Broadway Cast Recording. You know what also slaps? The sex. Sometimes literally!!!! [crowd boos] I am right and I am brave to say it!
Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor
Here are just a few things I love about being gay, in no particular order: I love sweaty gay dance parties, I love making out with my gay friends, I love being a dyke writer and reading other dyke writers, I love knowing there are a million and seven ways to live a big gay life and all of them rule, I love queer community, I love our gay history, I love our gay elders, I love the gay youth, I love being a fat dyke with body hair, I love gay astrology, I love gay memes, I love gay art, I love gay competence, I love gay brilliance, I love gay sex.
Being gay — being queer — being a dyke — is the best thing that ever happened to me. What more is there to say?