I anonymously wrote a piece for The Hoya my freshman spring, so to put my name on another article just days from graduation feels like the completion of a circle.

The article, written for The Guide’s 2015 “Sex Issue,” was about my experience with hookup culture in the gay community. I wrote “LGBTQ” repeatedly, as if I knew anything about the greater community or had any right to speak for it from my cushion of cis, white privilege.

In the original piece, I blamed societal norms for my own inability to handle anything more serious than a hookup, despite my own ignorance of these norms’ foundations. I stripped away the agency I had because of my own timidity and uncertainty. Don’t get me wrong, sex has long been seen as liberating in the gay community — just look at the sexual revolution of the 1960s — and there are certainly strong trends of eschewing serious relationships to remain casual and unattached. But to ignore my then-poor dating skills and instead blame the history of the gay community was inaccurate and a bit whiny.

If I’m going to blame anything, I should blame growing up in a small town in North Carolina and choosing to stay in the closet until my senior year of high school. My extended self-sentencing to the closet affected me more than any norms. I say “self-sentencing” because my family was exceedingly open and accepting — a reaction still too uncommon, particularly in North Carolina — and only my own trepidation, not fear of negative backlash, kept me in the closet.

I built up coming out to be a huge deal. I psyched myself out over the impending event for years; I even wrote a script of what I would say, only to abandon it in the moment. Then, everything was fine. My family was fine. My friends were fine. Any limiting or holding back that took place in my case, I had done to myself.

My intention isn’t to be unnecessarily self-deprecating, and I definitely don’t feel self-important enough to think that a piece that I wrote in 2015 — which slipped by without even making a ripple — is worthy of comprehensive critique, but if there is anything I’ve learned as a culture and politics major, it’s how to be critical. It seems only right as a senior to criticize and poke fun at freshman-year Keith. His eagerness and naivete were almost endearing in their foolishness. Cultural influences were there, but I made my own decisions readily and without caution.

I was already 19 years old and two months into freshman year when I went on my first real date. I picked the movie, and he picked the restaurant. I can’t remember if the explicit intention was to be as cliche as possible, but we really nailed it during the awkward “goodnight kiss” outside of Darnall Hall. There wasn’t a second date.

Eventually, I sort of figured it out, and I have no real qualms with how my romantic life at Georgetown has turned out. Fleeing to Washington, D.C., a thriving metropolis compared to where I grew up, offered the room necessary to grow up a bit — but, evidently, that growth took longer than the six months I had before I wrote my freshman spring reflection. Flings, relationships, an overly curious mom and intermittent stints back in the closet when I studied abroad in Jordan or when I visited extended family to whom I’ve yet to come out add some clarity in what I wanted and what I’m ready for. For example, I’m still not ready to explain to my mom what a “twink” is, nor do I want to.

There is something satisfying about confronting my freshman self just before graduating. A few years ago, I wouldn’t put my name on the piece I wrote; I needed the comfort of anonymity. To call that “progress” seems self-aggrandizing, but it is indicative of my growth. Since then, I’ve gone out dressed in near-full drag and have no intention of getting rid of my Effie Trinket wig. Figuring my life out took four years of trial and error, pushing boundaries and settling into myself; it required an incredible group of friends who have tolerated, supported and encouraged the ridiculousness along the way.

As an aside, if anyone knows the graduate student that my mom keeps telling me I’m dating, please send me his name and number. He seems great.

Keith McKay is a senior in the School of Foreign Service.

One Comment

  1. Killer Marmot says:

    I wrote “LGBTQ” repeatedly, as if I knew anything about the greater community or had any right to speak for it from my cushion of cis, white privilege.

    Quit groveling. Act like man. You had and have and will have as much right to speak as anyone else on this planet, on any topic you care to address.

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