I was a little shit when I was younger. And since, at the time of writing this, I am only 22, I really only mean about 7 or 8 years ago. Just imagine the perfect white, male, young republican you can. A teenager that studied Ayn Rand’s entire bibliography, watched Fox News every weeknight at 5 P.M., and regularly went to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. So, yes, a little shit, growing up in an idyllic, white, suburban town filled with Catholics and Mormons.
At that moment in my life, I thought I knew everything. All the world’s problems could be solved if everyone just worked a little bit harder, and if everyone just read Bill O’Reilly’s books they would understand why I identified as a conservative and that they should, too. I was happier then than I am now. It’s a lot easier to be happy when you don’t question the world.
Of course, it wasn’t really me. I was being spoon-fed information from my family. I read Ayn Rand’s books as a recommendation from my father. I watched Fox News at 5 P.M. because it was the only thing my family watched at night. I went to the Ronald Reagan President Library because my grandmother bought tickets to see O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich there. When you are young, dependent, and content, you have no reason to question the status quo. That person wasn’t me, but the Stepford image of what my family wanted me to be. It was comfortable to be ignorant to the world.
However, that year I came out to my mom, and the shitty Stepford robot gained sentience. Well, more like sentience was thrust upon the robot. My mom was disappointed, I officially became “the gay kid” of my 2600-person high school, and I learned for the first time what it is like to be hated for who you are. For the first time in my life, the status quo was disrupted. Once that happened, I started to question everything. I explored new political avenues, played devil’s advocate with myself, and gained a thirst for the unknown. The floodgates were officially open and the blood was rushing to my head like the hallway scene in The Shining.
Thankfully, I was born queer. No day goes by that I don’t repeat those words in my head. I have no doubt in my mind that if I wasn’t queer, I would have remained blissfully ignorant. It was a long, arduous process to unlearn all the things I was brainwashed into thinking. Sometimes I think my life would have been much easier if I remained ignorant. Even though my path became more complicated, escaping Stepford, much like Eve biting the apple, was the best thing to happen to me.