On being gay, looking straight, and a new generation of queer

marzipan's picture

Originally appeared on www.medicinalmarzipan.com:

Lately this has been happening to me with stunning regularity: an older gay person around town looks at me, kind of cocks her head to the side, and says (please note condescension), “Thats so sweet that you are in love, is this your first serious relationship with a girl?” Or something of the like.

 And maybe its August, and maybe I have six jobs, and maybe that person is just JUMPING on my last nerve, but something about this scenario makes me want to claw my eyes out. 

Flashback to four or so years ago when I was studying in Amsterdam, when my host mother looks across the dinner table at me and says, “Well I just don’t understand how you get any girlfriends, looking the way you do. You know, we have a saying about people like you here, which roughly translates to eating on both sides of the fence.”  To which I responded, “Um. Well. This is just how I look…” 

photo/cupcakes by the amazing hello naomi, click for flicker page

photo/cupcakes by the amazing hello naomi

So as a recap: I am queer. I started dating girls when I was fourteen. I have had seven relationships with girls to date, ranging from two months to a year in length, and I have casually dated quite a few more. I have dated ONE boy in my life – well two, if you count the one in high school, but that really was quite minimal. This is not to say I have only slept with one boy, but again, minimally. 

However, I am relatively attractive. I have long(ish) curly hair. I wear mascara. I love few things more than the perfect summer dress. I wear feminine jewelry on a consistent basis. I have (unfortunately) huge boobs. I am girly. 

So, fast forward to my current happenings, to the point where I off handedly respond, “Actually, I’ve been dating girls since I was fourteen.” And watch the jaw opposing me hit the floor. I mean REPEATEDLY. I have never denied the fact that perhaps I do not fit the stereotypical “lesbian” mold. I also am not all together surprised that this is continuously happening – but I do find it interesting.

As a part of a new queer generation, I grew up in a conspicuously gay place, amidst many gay people, with homosexuality being the predominant norm in the relationships that I was directly impacted by. I was taught, unfailingly, that sometimes (often) you fall in love with the person and not the gender. I was shown, again and again, that people had fluid sexuality and what was true one day, was not necessarily going to be true the next. 

This is not to say that I didn’t have a WICKED hard time coming out, because despite all of the gay bliss that was surrounding me, I was very surprised when I developed feelings for my first girlfriend. But it is to say that I have not encountered very many obstacles in the way of my sexuality, and tend to live in a happy little bubble where my reality is that everyone is loved and accepted just the way they are. 

But then, things like this happen to me, and I have to find it almost laughable. BECAUSE OF MY HAIR? Seriously, you think I’m not gay, because of my HAIR. Is it 2009? 

Anyway, not that I think any of you need it, but apparently I am living in a time warp over here: not all queer people look the same.  I like my hair. I like wearing dresses. I like my girlfriend. And I find all of these elements perfectly suited for one another



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a terrific post!

arvan's picture

Thanks for bringing it here, marzipan.  Really, you have a great perspective and you articulate it in a personal and frank manner.  Welcome to the site and bring as much as you like.  You're a great addition to this crowd.


Love this post.

Miss Mixed's picture

I love this post. I think the way people box you in is primative and naive. All through out history we have wanted certain subsections of society to look a certain way. Criminals, Jewish people and of course gay people. It is some odd way of trying to make out that you can "tell" if someone is gay. You can't.

I hope to read more of your posts.


Thorna Kate.

I know the feeling

cleofaye's picture

I've been in mulitple relationships with women, yet I very very rarely get read as gay or bi. For a while I tried to change this. I cut my hair (which had been down to my butt) to about a half inch long. I wore m rubgy sweatshirt and sports bras everywhere. I tried deperately to look more queer. Nothing worked. As my mom once said to me.... hun, with those boobs and that face, you'll never look anything but girly.

It took me a long time to cone to terms with it. Now I have hair half way down my back, change it up between sports bras and ones that show off my boobs, depending on my mood, and figure people can think what they want, it doesn't change who I am.

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