Six Colors on a ChainWhen I was eight, I loved The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, so when I woke up one morning and stumbled upon a necklace with six colored rings that looked just like the medallions Link collects during his adventures in Hyrule, I knew I had to wear it. I put on the necklace and went into the Toy Room to play Nintendo.
by MJ Halberstadt
by MJ Halberstadt
When my father looked into the room, he was shocked to see his son wearing a rainbow choker necklace. He immediately burst into my sister Melissa’s room.
“You need to get your necklace off your little brother’s neck.”
“Hey Mike… can I talk to you for a second?”
I did not want to pause my game.
“You know that’s not your necklace, right?”
I wanted to make the guilt lecture go by as quickly as possible so I could get back to my video game, so I went to take it off. Melissa was not the type to get angry, but I was the type to feel guilty.
“There’s a reason why you shouldn’t wear it—that type of necklace is for people who are gay. Do you know what gay means?”
I only knew that ‘gay’ meant something awful. I’d heard it on the playground, and knew that it was something that I didn’t want to be, like ‘retarded’ or a ‘pansy’. My sister proceeded to explain just what gay meant, and confessed to me that she was, herself, gay. I remember thinking, ‘Okay, whatever, can I get back to my game!?’
“Are you okay with that?”
Yes! Who cares?
I told her, “I’m gay too.”
This begged explanation.
“Well… a gay boy is one who loves other boys, and I love Daddy and he’s a boy, so that makes me gay too.”
“No,” she laughed, “what I mean is when a boy loves a boy the way Daddy loves Mommy. And I’m a girl who loves other girls. You’re a boy who loves girls, so you’re not gay.”
I brushed this off, still confused, and asked if I could get back to my video game. Melissa kissed me and left.
- = -
Melissa was wrong about three things:
1) Our parents weren’t the best example of romantic feelings—they got divorced two years later.
2) She is not a ‘girl who loves other girls’—she is a FTM transgender man who I have since began to refer to as ‘he’, ‘my brother’ and ‘Levi’.
3) I am gay, as a matter of fact.
- = -
For Christmas some years ago, Levi handed me a small box and said, “Happy Solstice,” a sort of inside joke. I found the necklace inside and laughed.
“Sorry for telling you you weren’t gay—that probably confused you even more,”
Six colors on a standard chain. It’s not flashy, it’s not intrusive, it’s just a suggestion of the multi-faceted nature of my life and one of the many things that defines me.