Coffee is everywhere. A common joke here in Boston is you can't go two blocks without running into a Dunkin' Donuts. The same is heard in New York, except it's a Starbucks on every corner. A five minute walk in any direction from my home involves passing two Dunkin's, one Starbucks, one neighborhood cafe, a tiny doughnut shop, and a local coffee roaster.
Just like coffee, most people run into someone queer every day, except they may not even know it. Unfortunately, the common "jokes" about the queer community are harmful. I've learned to hide in plain sight, a regular with cream and sugar, so I can blend in easily with everyone else. I am told "Be true to yourself!" by friends and family, but they forget being "myself" isn't necessarily celebrated without resistance. "You do you" can be dangerous depending on where you live or who you work with.
My queerness can look like a lot of things. It can be feminine, masculine, something outside of gender, and there's a lot more to being queer than appearance or who I may or may not find attractive. So many things are possible from a human being. Most of the time, it's boring. It's commuting to work in the same traffic as everyone else. It's buying groceries and making sure to get the milk from the back. It's waiting in a line to buy coffee. Coffee with different roasts, caffeine content, flavors, and forms - black, cream and sugar, lattes, shots, iced. So many things are possible from a humble bean.
Coffee is everywhere, and so are we. The perpetuation of harmful stereotypes and "jokes" still used today for cheap laughs or sensationalism needs to stop, and portrayals of day-to-day queerness could help. This is not to say there is zero visibility of this type - there are some beautiful attempts by major advertisers addressing this, but I want to see something not tied into trying to get me to buy a product. I want to read about us in boring articles in the news. I want to see queer characters portrayed in sitcoms without the use of tired tropes for laughs. I want every top ten list to include someone who happens to be queer, so young heterosexual cisgender people can see it and think, 'Hey, they are like me!', and young queer people can feel accepted and think 'Hey, this person is like me and is included with everyone else!' More unremarkable visibility could help the queer community seem less "other" and more "neighbor" or "friend". Until then, I will be here, queer, and sharing the boring parts of my life with you all.
Peace & love,