Garrett Schlichte

Being Gay Is The Best Thing That’s Ever Happened To Me

Garrett Schlichte
Being Gay Is The Best Thing That’s Ever Happened To Me

Originally published by on January 19, 2015

Being gay is my favorite thing about myself.

Sorry, was that too much too soon? I kind of went in dry there I guess. Kind of ripped the Band-Aid off without warning.

Ok, I’ll back track.

Hi, my name is Garrett. I’m 24 years old, my favorite food is coffee, I’m a Virgo on the cusp of Libra, and being gay is my favorite thing about myself.

Now, you might be reading this thinking, “Oh, congratulations Kurt, big deal. We’ve seen this storyline on Glee, you’re gay and you’re happy. It’s 2015, who isn’t?” But I don’t want you to misunderstand me, I don’t like that I’m gay. I’m telling you, without question, that being gay is the best thing about me. There is truly nothing better.

I make a phenomenal dirty martini, I can quote Hocus Pocus in its entirety with the volume muted, one time I met John Stamos on a plane and he told me I was pretty. Okay, that last one isn’t true, but Kathy Griffin did call me a screaming queen in front of my family and 9,000 other people once, so that’s kind of the same thing. Still, being gay is the most worthwhile thing about me.

It’s important for me to say this is because as you’ve read these words there’s likely a little Jiminy Cricket of best intentions that has popped up in the back of you head to tell you it can’t be true. It might not necessarily be saying I can’t like that I’m gay, but it’s telling you, that in the grand scheme of things, there is definitely something better about me. Even though I’ve told you there isn’t. Jiminy is telling you, as so many have told me, that there must be more to me.

The microaggressor’s (i.e. the well-intentioned but still subsequently offensive acquaintance) most benign insult is the idea that being gay can’t be enough to make you whole. It comes from the same place as someone who loves and cares for you telling you to be “less out there” about gay things. Gay things may include, but are not limited to the following: 1. Going to Disney World with six of your friends wearing matching tank tops that read “To infinity and Beyonce.” 2. Being overly vocal at family gatherings about equality and or how attractive Nick Jonas is during his Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performance. 3. Teaching your 10 and 12 year old siblings the phrase “slaying the house down” after binge-watching Superfruit with them. 4. Posting the following Facebook status on National Coming Out Day:


I would only reconsider #4 because of the glaring grammatical error. The people who tell you this don’t mean to insinuate that you should hide who you are, they aren’t trying to say that they take issue with your inherent queerness. They’re simply trying to protect you. What they fail to recognize though, is that loving yourself, celebrating yourself, can become the greatest form of protection there is. Much like wrapping myself in an extra-large extra-cheese pizza would make me feel like an indestructible burrito of hope, owning my gayness as the pinnacle of my being makes me feel more powerful than a getting stuffed crust free of charge.

People imploring you not to be too gay usually disguise their message by reminding you that there are a plethora of traits you’re discrediting. One such comment might sound something like, “Remember how you always stay up on Christmas Eve to eat the cookies and the reindeer food and write a letter to your sister from Santa?” (no one let my sister read this, she’s 10, the magic is still alive people) “Surely that is more important to who you are as a person than kissing boys.”

To that I would say, my desire to keep wonder and love alive in the heart of my little sister is a direct result of being a raging queer. In fact, most qualities I possess, all desirable attributes I have as a person, are in direct correlation to my experiences being a living, breathing, ultra-caffeinated ‘mo. The fierceness with which I love, the fervor I have for social justice, the hilarity I (attempt to) employ when Tweeting, are all derived from the mystical power of homosexuality embedded in me upon conception.

Let me take a moment here to say that this revelation in no way discredits my upbringing. I was raised by such a stone cold pack of weirdos that the women of Bridesmaids wouldn’t even know what to do if they rolled into our Christmas Eve gift-exchange. I have absolutely been shaped by my family, especially by my father; a man I hope to one day be a fraction as phenomenal as. Still, my experiences with my family have ultimately been shaped by living-while-gay. First, by wanting to hide it from them, attempting to keep them distracted with a constant string of fake girl-crushes (Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald , Mini Driver; clearly a solid list of hetero-heart throbs). Not wanting them to be ashamed of me, I decided to become funnier, smarter, more involved, and more selflessly loving. More, as it happened to be, like all of them. After coming out, to a resounding “duh” from basically everyone who knew me, something wonderful happened between my family and I, something I that I can only really describe as divine intervention. Nothing changed. This Divinity, either from God, or Miss M. herself, is at the apex of why I am able to celebrate my queerness as strength.

I know that my experience isn’t equal across the entire spectrum of LGBTQ+++ humanity. I know that my experience is one of privilege. I also know that there are plenty of queers around the world who don’t celebrate this part of their identity as the highest part of their being, either because they are afraid to, or quite possibly because they believe there is something about them that is more significant. To the latter group I say, awesome. Not, sarcastically awesome, as my perpetual bitchy-resting-voice might lead you to believe. Genuinely, wholeheartedly awesome.

People, all people, should be able to celebrate whatever identity is most salient for them, as long as they can articulate why. If you’re gay and your favorite thing about yourself is your ability to armpit-fart the ABCs, I salute you, and to be honest, I’m a little jealous. Not every gay person needs to wake up everyday psyched about their gayness, some days it’s hard for me to. All I’m hoping, is that the next time someone asks me what I like about myself, and I tell them I like that I’m gay, they don’t ask me for more. Because to be frank, the only place I’m comfortable with people asking me for more is in the bedroom, for more covers. And let’s be honest, they probably won’t be getting it there either.