Growing up queer is pretty difficult. Growing up queer in a family where pretty much anything can be a sin is even more difficult. My friends and I laughed about the triviality of it all. It hurt knowing that I’d never get to bring a girl home for Christmas to meet the ‘rents, but I could either choose to dwell on that or I could laugh at my mother’s rants on homosexuality and X-Men. So I created a list of the things I’d do once I was an adult, each of them deemed “sinful” for rather ridiculous reasons.

Thus, “The Sin List” was born:

Thou shalt not watch X-Men, for it is bringing the youth to gayness.

Thou shalt not go on dates with girls because that’s pretty gay.

Thou shalt not do anything that would make people think you’re gay because then you will instantly attract The Lesbians and may be tempted.

Thou shalt not engage with the feminists. They are supposedly all very gay.

Thou shalt not attend Pride or Pride events. It is full of the tempting lesbians that my mom fears so greatly.

Thou shalt not read Harry Potter.

To clarify, I don’t believe any of the above are sins. But for the sake of proving something to myself and most certainly as a result of the “I’m an adult now” mentality, I decided to commit (almost) every single one of them in the span of a week.

It started when I called up one of my best friends from back home and marathoned X-Men. It was cathartic getting to excitedly shout “Look at my wife go!” whenever Ellen Page’s character did literally anything. Looking back on it, it was my first time being extremely, unapologetically queer around anyone.

This next one is possibly the most obvious. If you’re going on a date with a girl and you are also a girl, that’s officially pretty gay. To me, it was a milestone, the final factor in whether or not I was “a real gay.” In the end, I didn’t end up learning anything new about myself, although I did finish off the week with more facts on socialism (date one) and France (date two) than I ever thought I needed.

I was on the first date when I committed sin #3. I’m ordering my coffee when the girl I’m out with goes, “Wow you really rock that soft butch aesthetic.” As someone who never had lesbian friends, I had no idea what “soft butch” meant. I took it in stride, though. Lesbianism is apparently something I now radiate.

Then came sin #4. Engaging with feminists is pretty easy to do in a university this big, especially if you’re a feminist yourself. Most of the girls I know on campus are feminists. Although, if feminist circles were a magical source of queer girls, it would be a hell of a lot easier to get a date. Instead I’m stuck here flipping through Tinder and the countless “I’m looking for a third for me and my boyfriend!” accounts.

So about sin #5—Pride was in July, but it still counts if I attended, right? I left the event with a ton of stickers and an unnecessary crush on a girl who I’d shared classes with for two years and was moving away for university, but for now had rolled around Pride in her full roller derby getup. In case you haven’t noticed, the better part of my interactions with women involve me realizing how wonderful they are and how I am woefully inadequate. I should work on that.

It wasn’t until the fourth day when I realized that I hadn’t yet engaged in the longest running subject of disgust in my house: reading Harry Potter. Yes, unlike more directly queer-related things, I’d been barred from Harry Potter-related media since I was a kid. Apparently, witchcraft is a primary concern when raising a primary school-aged child.

Not to be cheesy, but reading them was magical. Needless to say, despite its spellbinding characters and plotline, I haven’t converted to witchcraft. Frankly, who has the time when you have the entire Harry Potter universe to catch up on?

There are plenty of other things I could have added to this list, from playing Pokémon to going to LGBTQ+-positive churches. These were just the ones that mattered most to me. It’s still pretty surreal to me to know that I’m out there doing whatever I want now without my parents looking over my shoulder. I mean, this is my rebellion; not drug use, not binge drinking, not rioting, but reading Harry Potter and going on dates. It’s far from over though. I still haven’t finished Harry Potter, and for as long as there is Tinder, there will be cute girls to go out with.

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