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Q: I’m Not Gay Enough
For years I hide my sexuality, but now I’m out, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. I’m struggling here. Whenever I go out people assume I’m straight. Then when I tell them I’m not, they look at me skeptically, like I’m lying.
Some women find my ‘straight’ girl appearance a turn on, others a turn off. But no seems to want to enter in to a relationship with me. It’s like there is some sort of fear there. That I’ll head back to the straight side. I’m a fake, a fraud.
I enjoy having long hair, wearing dresses, and I want to stay true to my ‘femme-side-of-the-spectrum’ self. But this isn’t working for me. I just want other ladies to believe I’m ‘gay’ (not prove over and over again), so that they’ll give me a chance. Help!
It’s a tale as old as lesbian-dom itself: The invisible femme. I don’t even personally consider myself a femme, but I happen to fall victim to this, too. Apparently I have a “straight face” or something? I don’t know.
(Even one of the quizzes here on KitschMix told me I was actually straight! I can’t win.)
Even when I’m wearing flannel and Chuck Taylors.
And all my rainbow jewelry.
At the gay bar.
With my girlfriend.
Like, literally sitting on her lap.
I just don’t look gay – and it’s actually taken me a long time to feel comfortable with that.
It might actually have something to do with how long we stay in the closet (but don’t quote me on that). I was a relatively late bloomer among my gay friends, and I even briefly went “back in the closet” for a while to try and prove to myself I was wrong about liking girls… But all I proved was that I am so, so gay. It sucks feeling like you have to prove yourself, especially if you actually fail miserably at it.
I wish I had some easy advice to tell you how to look gayer, but unfortunately for some of us it’s just not possible. In some ways, that can be a benefit.
My current girlfriend is usually attracted to super girly girls – which I am not – but there’s a sexiness she sees in me; something about how “girly” I still look in my ribbed tanks and basketball shorts. (Okay, so they’re actually hers, but still.)
I’ve had jobs where I was afraid to be “out” around my coworkers, and… Well, no matter how gay I try to look, it doesn’t happen – which works out pretty well if I’m trying to be “straight-acting”.
This isn’t the case when you’re trying to find a lady, though. I get completely looked over unless I’m looking online. The only reason my current lady ended up approaching me? I was friends with her cousin – and she found me on Facebook posting a bunch of memes about vaginas. (Hint: That helps, but it can be difficult if you have family or super conservative friends on your Facebook.)
I have never been checked out by a female in public, nor have I ever been approached in a bar. (Well… Not by a female. I really did have some guy who got creepy-obsessive who I met at the gay bar, who was apparently there to pick up girls, and he assumed that since I was the “straightest-looking” lady in the bar, I was fair game. Not great.) Most of my past girlfriends have been jealous over my friendships with guys because they assume that “the gay thing” is just a phase. Hello, it’s almost 2016, we shouldn’t ever assume that someone’s sexuality is just a phase. Even if it is, that’s nobody else’s business but theirs.
I actually met someone through friends once, and after several hours of my shy flirting with her (apparently I’m not very good at that either), she tells me “So I have yet to see any proof that you’re actually gay.” At this point I was feeling like she was ignoring all my advances, so of course I responded with, “Well I haven’t seen any proof you are, either.” I was actually tempted to provide her with a list of references. That’s how bad it is!
Why do we need to prove ourselves to anyone? It’s demeaning, and only reinforces the idea that we have to prove ourselves. It’s a catch-22. The harder you try, the less gay you’ll actually look.
That’s not to say that I don’t still “try” to look gay sometimes, though. I’ve still got my rainbow jewelry, and if I’m going out without my girlfriend I make a point to dress more studly – not that it works very well. Beanies can help, but with “lesbian fashion” being pretty much the same as “hipster fashion”, it doesn’t make much of a difference anymore.
Rather than trying to prove your gayness, focus on being more confident in yourself. Your confidence will attract a better caliber of partner… Someone who cares less about how gay you look and more about how awesome of a person you are. Most of the time, the best relationships come when you’re not actually looking – and the less focus you put on it, the better your chances will be.
(Not to mention, a “DGAF” attitude is super liberating. I can’t even explain how freeing it can be when you’re more worried about making yourself happy than fitting in someone else’s label.)
If you want to have a little fun with the idea while still being true to your femme self (which you totally should; femmes are great!) consider this “Nobody Knows I’m Gay” shirt. It’s totally cute, still girly, and it might help to drive the point home.
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