One of the reasons I’m so out and proud and boisterous about being a big ol’ queerbo is that people always assume I’m straight. Even gay people.
Once, while working Long Beach Pride for Curve Magazine, I got asked by a patron “why is a straight girl like you selling a lesbian magazine.” I was holding my girlfriend’s hand at the time. I think we even kissed in front of her. I was also wearing an adorable cherry print vintage-style dress and rockabilly inspired make-up, which, to me at least, screams lesbian.
But that’s the thing, while I know how to spot a femme-dyke from miles away, a lot of people assume that if you don’t “look gay” you aren’t. As a femme, I feel like I have to prove my gayness more than if I was super butch or androgynous.
Still, the gayer I get, the femmier I get as well. I used to be such an awkward little dyke as a kid. Yes, so much of that was because I was fat and my mom put me in boy clothes because that’s all that fit, but a lot of it stemmed from simply being different.
Not only could I not dress like the other girls because their clothes didn’t fit me, but I didn’t want to be like the other girls because I found them to be obnoxiously obsessed about boys. So I tried dressing like the boys, because we both wanted the same thing (BOOBS!). That was a failure as well.
If I wasn’t like the boys and I wasn’t like the girls, then what was I?
The answer: really fucking gay.
Eventually, I found plus-size femme fashion and became comfortable with who I am and how I present my gender, but it took a long time to get there and not all of that was because of straight society. A large portion of my hesitation to dress femme and my desire to look more like a boy was the rejection I got early on from the lesbians I encountered.
It’s important to note the privilege that comes with passing for straight in the outside world before I go too far into my rant about how much it sucks looking straight in the queer world. I’m far more accepted and approachable by societal standards because I conform to gender stereotypes and people know where to place me in their safe little world of binary coding. I do not take the privilege I have for granted.
That said, it sucks being at gay events and having people question your gayness. It sucks being at a queer dance party and have no one hit on you because they don’t think they have a chance. I once was with a group of femme friends in SF and we were asked to leave a gay bar. They thought we were a bachelorette party.
It really sucks sitting writing your lesbian blog in a coffee shop full of dykes, all of which are hitting on each other, none of which are giving me a single glance.
My best friend once asked me (in not an all together kind way) why I feel the need to tell everyone I’m gay right off the bat. My response: “Because I’m sick of people assuming I’m straight.”
I’ve gotten past caring if straight cis-gendered guys think they have a chance with me (especially if they’re buying drinks) but I care a lot that queer people think they don’t have a chance with me.
What I really want more than anything in the world right now, even more than chocolate frozen custard, and I love chocolate frozen custard, is a giant tattoo on my forehead that says “I’m Queer, I Swear!”
Ok, maybe not on my forehead. I’d settle for my cheek. Or my arm.
At the very least, I’d like one on my wrist.
Maybe I should make fake tattoos so I wouldn’t be so committed to a single part of my body but could instead put “I’m Queer, I Swear!” on any part – or every part – of my body that I desired.
I don’t really care where I put it or what it says, as long as I can find some kind of gay sign big enough for the hot dyke across from me in the coffee shop right now to come over and say hi.
What about other femmes out there? Or LHBs (long-haired butches)? Any of you have this problem? If so, I may have to start selling those temporary tattoos after all.