Tuesday, November 21, 2017

This Thanksgiving, I'm Thankful for Being Born Gay

Art by Shideh Ghandeharizadeh | Daily Trojan
From the Daily Trojan by Arya Roshanian

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I feel obligated to reflect on my life and what I’m most thankful for. I really only do this out of necessity — if I’m being honest, I find Thanksgiving to be a useless holiday. Apart from the lies and bullsh-t we’re fed as schoolchildren about how the first Thanksgiving brought two adversaries together, the holiday just encourages gluttony and excessive drinking — I don’t need a designated day to do that. And isn’t Thanksgiving just pre-Christmas anyway? The only real difference between the two is the color palette.

Regardless of my personal feelings toward the futile holiday, I still partake in all the Turkey Day shenanigans. There are some advantages, like having time-off from work and class. I always end up watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning with my parents. At dinner, I witness the breaking of the wishbone between two extended cousins. And during dessert, I spew rehearsed platitudes when it’s my turn to say what I’m thankful for. But this year, instead of giving a half-assed response to the timeworn question, I plan to make a splash that will drench every attendee with every color of the rainbow.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful to be gay.

The reasons that I’m most thankful to be an ardent homosexual go beyond politics. Sure, it’s important to fight against the norm, especially in a political climate that once again aims to revoke all the progress LGBT citizens have made. But I’m even more thankful to be gay because I, for one, would not like to be a straight man in 2017. Or straight in general. Straight culture has ruined my life. The “straights” were responsible for Donald Trump’s presidential victory at the end of last year. They’re also responsible for the increase in homophobia I’ve experienced in the last 12 months since his victory. So what better way to spread the gay agenda than with a turkey baster?

All jokes aside, this is also the first year that I feel completely comfortable with myself. It’s been a struggle to finally get to this point. Though my family has made great strides in accepting my sexuality, it’s been a challenge to shake off shame I’ve internalized for so long. When I came out 10 years ago (damn, has it really been that long?), I was immediately rejected by my family. I was fortunate to not have been put on the street as a result, but the prejudice I endured from them, from microaggressions to blatant discrimination, made me miserable. It took years of therapy for my parents to finally come around and accept who I am, but a lot of these ill feelings still weigh heavily on me today.

Arya Roshanian is a “senior” majoring in music. His column, “From The Top,” runs Tuesdays.

See full column here.

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