Painful is when you are scared to hold the hand of your boyfriend.
What are things that make you uneasy? Would it make you uncomfortable if people said to your face that you belong in hell and must suffer forever? Or does discomfort creep up on you when you are excluded, humiliated and condemned for something you can't do anything about. I become uncomfortable with the statement: “In the Netherlands we are so tolerant and here everyone is accepted.”. I know from experience as a homosexual that this is something that is said so we can all feel good as a nation, but the reality is painful and uncomfortable.
Painful is when you are scared to hold the hand of your boyfriend because you know that if you do, you could be beaten up just like that. Uncomfortable is to be called a dirty faggot, when wallking on a pedestrian crossing. Or to be humiliated every week for not meeting society's set male standard.
Being accepted for who you are is something everyone wants at the end of the day. I craved acceptance the most in high school. Not only from others but also from myself. I was resisting the realisation that I was different from everyone else. This was largely because at school the word “gay” was frequently used as a swear word. But this was also because I had ''friends'' who put me outside the group and sometimes didn't talk to me for days.
The discomfort and shame was definitely strong during this period. How akward is it when you spend your break in the library because your friends pretend you no longer exist and you also don't even know what to do with yourself.
Fortunately, things can't go on forever, over time I became comfortable with myself. As a result, I became less dependent on these ''friends'' and thus formed real friendships with people who didn't hurt me on a daily basis. I came out of the closet, overcame discomfort with myself and thus finally gained the acceptance of both myself and others that I had been so desperately seeking for, for years. It brought the prospect of new opportunities and possibilities I barely dared to dream of in my adolescence.