In my last year of college, I wrote a short story for a class that was then critiqued by my peers. A girl told me that the love scene I’d written between two girls was unrealistic and totally off base, but not because the writing was bad—because I clearly wasn’t gay.
“If you’re looking for someone to educate you a little on the queer community, please let me know,” she wrote on my critique. “Because as a lesbian, I know this is a situation that would never really happen to someone who was gay.”
What she didn’t know was at this point, I’d already been dating my current girlfriend for a year and a half. Thanks for the advice, though, sweetie. Very helpful. I’d been with guys before, but now I was with my girlfriend, which felt perfectly normal to me. However, I was a tiny, blonde sorority girl who was also a cheerleader and wore way too much pink, and this person had clearly jumped to her own conclusion about my life. It was nothing I wasn’t used to. But the story I’d written had been based off a night that had actually happened to me. She’d just been so quick to “educate” me on what I didn’t know that she hadn’t even bothered to consider the idea that I just might have a different, equally valid perspective than hers.
I don’t tell people I like girls. And here’s why.
I don’t tell people I like girls because I’ve never been gay enough for the queer community or straight enough for the straight community. I don’t know what the correct label is to describe myself, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I also don’t feel the need to explain my romantic life to people when I meet them, because that would never be expected if I were straight.
I kiss my girlfriend in public. We hold hands. We aren’t overly demonstrative because that’s the way we are, but we aren’t always separated by three feet of space either. When I meet people who don’t already know about us, there always comes a time either when I introduce them to my girlfriend, or they see us dancing at the club, or drunkenly making out (not sorry).
“I didn’t know you were gay,” they say. Or, “Wow, that’s so brave of you guys.”
I’ve been lucky enough in my life to be surrounded by people who perfectly understand and support me, and I’m thankful for that. But for those who need to hear it: being in my relationship does not make me brave. I’m not dating my girlfriend to serve some agenda or make a statement. I’m dating her because I couldn’t imagine loving anyone in this world as much as I love her. What I’m tired of is people either assuming that they know more about my life than I do, or that my life is entirely defined by my sexuality, which of course has to have clear parameters that I follow, like traffic signs navigating me through life.
Here’s my answer: it’s not that simple. I don’t know why I am the way that I am, but the way I love is quite simply none of your business, and you have no right to tell me that it isn’t real, or right. I’ve been stuck between two communities my whole life, not quite fitting in on either side.
I don’t tell people I like girls because I don’t need you telling me I don’t fit the “gay” stereotype, or that I don’t fit the straight one. I’m not here to be your educator, or describe to you how my girlfriend and I have sex, or explain to you how I can love sparkly headbands so much and not be straight. I’m going to do me, and you can keep your labels to yourself, thanks. I’m not interested. I’m a little too busy living my life exactly the way I want to. And if it doesn’t make sense to you, guess what? I don’t give a fuck..