In and Out

I was out of town and missed posting for National Coming Out Day yesterday, but I wanted to post something anyway, whether it was late or not. I thought that this would be a good time to address a question that ASM asked me at the Calendar Party. She said, “You often mention that you identify as queer, but you always write about relationships with men, and most of your sexual encounters involve men, as well.”

And, as you all know, that’s true. However, it doesn’t make me any less queer (not that ASM was implying that it did). In fact, I tend to think that I fall more on the homo side of the spectrum than the hetero side of the spectrum. However, I tend to default to heterosexual relationships because they’re easier. And I don’t just mean in terms of being out or in a same-sex relationship in society. I honestly have no problem ignoring the hollering and stares and occasional discrimination that I face when I’m out with a female partner.

When I say that it’s “easier,” I mean that I can walk into almost any straight bar and go home with someone. I don’t have trouble getting men. And I *do* like men, so it’s not like I’m pretending I’m something that I’m not. But when I walk into a lesbian bar, I’m always accused of being “the straight girl.” No one ever talks to me. I don’t look “gay enough,” so I must be straight. And if they find out I date men as well as women, then I’ve lost even more of a chance with them, as so many lesbians have been burned by bisexual women that most won’t give us a chance.

There is nothing more frustrating than feeling shunned by your community. I’ve never really identified with the straight community. And while I do like men, I don’t necessarily feel like the heterosexual community is a place that I belong. The queer community is home to me, as being queer is a huge part of my identity, yet I’ve never really felt accepted there. I’m not queer *enough,* even though there really is no such thing. Not only does the community itself speak to me, I like women. A lot. More than men, actually. In fact, if I had to choose to stop sleeping with one gender for the rest of my life, I’d give up cismen without batting an eye.

And yet, because of how difficult it is for me to find acceptance in the queer community, I default to the heterosexual one because I can pass as straight. I default to heterosexual relationships because I do like men, and they seem to like me way more than women do. It’s a weird place to be. Passing for heterosexual is so often seen as a privilege, and 9 times out of 10, it is. But for me, it’s both a privilege and a curse, as my femme-ness alienates me from the community I feel so tied to.

And that’s the long answer to a short question. I’m queer, I’m femme, and I’m loudly and proudly out. But I wish that I was able to be IN, as well as out.

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  1. Sophie DelanceyNo Gravatar
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    THIS. I am in the exact same situation. I love women, I have been with women and loved it, but most of my relationships have been with dudes because I look like a little straight girl and that tends to ward off the awesome queer ladies. I just tend to feel like I don’t belong, or I’m seen as an ally because I’m femme and I look slightly straight-laced… But I’m queer and proud…

  2. VanillaKinksNo Gravatar
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Well said as always Brit.

    I think this being seen as “not gay enough” is the reason I’ve had so few experiences with women. I pass as straight just fine. I like men, and I like sleeping with men, but when I try to approach a woman, they question my “gayness” and because I hate having to justify my sexuality to anyone, I just gave up on being with women all together.

  3. twgNo Gravatar
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Amen, amen, amen. Well said.

  4. SaNo Gravatar
    Posted October 13, 2010 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    This is really interesting. Great post.

  5. Another Suburban MomNo Gravatar
    Posted October 13, 2010 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this Britni. I do want your readers to know that I asked that question out of genuine curiosity and was not being confrontational or rude.

    I never thought of not being “gay” enough. I had always assumed that there was a huge spectrum of gay from the butchiest butch to a very femme, its just a matter of finding your peeps.

  6. EveNo Gravatar
    Posted October 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Exactly this. I too consider myself more on the gay side of the spectrum than the straight side, but I mostly date men because they’re easier to find. And pretty much everything you said here fits my situation. It’s weird, like you can see inside my head. Nice to know someone else knows what it’s like. I normally get a lot of blank stares when I talk about this kind of thing.

  7. AprilNo Gravatar
    Posted October 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Wow. It seems so hypocritical. I mean, the LGBTQ community fights for rights and societal acceptance (as they should), yet they shun some of their own for not being gay enough? I’m not being mean, but this just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Dangerous LillyNo Gravatar
      Posted October 13, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      I wonder exactly the same thing. Is this attitude not obviously hypocritical to them??

  8. rNo Gravatar
    Posted October 13, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Aw. You’re queer enough for me, pumpkin. My current gf is actually the first woman I have ever seriously dated who ISN’T bi. There are plenty of queer women willing to date bi girls. And, if that’s what you want, I hope you find one to date soon. ;)

  9. Dangerous LillyNo Gravatar
    Posted October 13, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Pretty much the only women I’d ever dare to pursue are ones I already know *for certain* are bisexual. Because of this attitude I’ve never tried to pursue lesbians, for the laughter I’d feel I’d surely be met with.

  10. SQWEAKNo Gravatar
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Same here, I wish I had more experience with women then but it’s difficult to say the least. It’s easier just to date men and I feel the exact same way you do. I don’t know how you can possible be Queer enough but I’m obviously not there. It’s surprising how many of us feel that way.

  11. Polly VincereNo Gravatar
    Posted October 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always been WAY more physically attracted to women than men. I’ve dated several different genders, openly and proudly. Yet when I go into the local gay/lesbian bars I am immediately shunned by women as too straight. When I go into straight bars and identify as queer I’m met with uncomfortable requests to sleep with other women for the viewing pleasure of men.
    Currently I am in love with a heterosexual cismale. He knows I’m queer, and he accepts that part of me.
    You know what? Even though the “community” doesn’t always accept me, the fact that he loves my queer parts too is enough for me.

  12. preachNo Gravatar
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    PREACH, sister. Even more confusing is when you are fully settled with a man. I’ve always id’d as bi, but now I’m married to a dude and have a kid – I’m made to feel like I can’t include myself in the community. It BLOWS.

  13. preachNo Gravatar
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    ….like being bi means you have to be AVAILABLE to fuck both men and women at any give moment. Marriage being forever and all, and our situation not being an open one, the plan is to never get to have sex with a woman again (sniff!) – but that doesn’t change my desires/fantasies/identities one bit. It’s nice to hear so many of you all having this same problem.

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