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22 July 2012 @ 02:15 am
 
Oh! That last post reminded me of how curious I am about all your coming out stories--which is not just for queer or gender-non-normative people!

My story is short, really. I didn't notice people as anything romantic (being too interested in fantastical unicorns, daydreams, trees, and butterflies) until I was 13. I fell for a girl three years older than I was (online) and thought I'd fallen for a boy the same age. I started wearing rainbow shoe-laces to school (I always wore the same Chucks) and when people would ask me, "Why do you wear rainbow shoe-laces?" (which happened pretty frequently, being in junior high) I would respond, "Because I like girls too!" I was the only one out in junior high. I came out to my mother by coming downstairs one day and saying, "Mom? What would you say if I said I was bisexual?" She stopped and said, "I'd say...welcome to life." "Okay," said I, and off I went back to the Internet. Now at some point, I couldn't say when, I stopped using 'bisexual' and flipped straight into 'gay'--there didn't seem to be a specific point, but by the end of junior high I knew I was only into women. 2004 was my first Summer of Gayness, but I count my 'coming out' as the time I came out as queer in general since there was no flip-point, and that was Autumn 2003 (basically when I got the nickname Kiwi). A year later, in the car on the way to a Halloween party, my father asked, "You know how you're a lesbian?" "Yeah?" "Well I think that's alright." "Thanks, Da." (I don't remember when/how I came out to him, or if it was Mum, or even if he was having a Big Difficult Time through that year--it wasn't something I thought about. I was a young, self-absorbed, newly-handicapped teenager. :P) I'm not sure when I came out to my brother, either, but I know he found some of my smut when he was 13/I was 15 (and he said, "Hey, this isn't actually bad"); I also recall him saying something along the lines of, "Okay, but you're still an idiot." Ah, siblings.

Anyway, I came jumping out the closet door and didn't look back. I've been out at every job and school, to teachers and friends, to family and campers/students. But I also live in Massachusetts, which was the first state for gay marriage (2004 yee-haw, at a congregation of my religion), and I grew up in a very liberal family/environment; it's not something I've had to worry about. As one of my mother's best friends once said, "Kiwi, being a lesbian is the most normal thing about you, isn't it?" "Yup, pretty much."

My gender stuff is more complicated. I tend to swing around a lot, and when I get to describe my gender I tend to go with "girl-bendy". I like gender-neutral pronouns like "ze/zir" and "thon/thons" but don't push people to use them with me. I do get really happy when I'm wearing something non-feminine and people don't call me variations of "miss" (which I get a lot) or go so far as to use masculine pronouns (on rare occasion).

I don't know if you'd consider it too personal to answer (sexuality and the topic of 'coming out' can be for many people), but if you'd like to or would be willing to answer some questions/talk about this, I'd personally love it.

So when did you realise your sexuality (orientation) and/or gender identity (totally can be a multi-part answer)? How did you realise it? Did you feel any need, desire, or inclination to come 'out of the closet' with it? Have you? If so, how? (Also a multi-part question, since we're always coming out through life.) When? How did some of the events go?

(I would love these for anyone who considers zirself straight or mostly-straight, too!)

I would just...really love to know/talk about it. One of the things I'm always interested in. I guess possibly because, in my ideal world, everyone would have to come out--or not 'have', but it would be part of how life went. It wouldn't be assumed that everyone was Straight Until Proven Otherwise, but one would just live and grow and age until the days these realisations would occur and the person could decide what to do with them--with the knowledge that, quite possibly, there would be new realisations later in life because these things aren't always fixed for everyone.
 
 
 
Seek: mliacoldthermistor on July 22nd, 2012 09:07 am (UTC)
Generally pretty confused about everything. I'm told that's a pre-requisite/unfortunate consequence of being a philo student ;) For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure I'm straight. I definitely had crushes on a few guys, but...I don't know if that really counts as attracted. It's sort of what went down with my last and only relationship. Simply put, I figured I wasn't really looking for a romantic sort of relationship but a best mate, so that didn't really go down well. So...yeah, apparently attachment issues otherwise, I guess that throws a bit of a spanner into the whole 'sexually attracted' bit which might or might not mean I'm making a strange judgement call here. Sort of. Over here, it's definitely Straight Until Proven Otherwise, so I guess I'll leave that bit out.

I guess the real chestnut would be gender. I...really, really, really hate being female. Which, I will grant, is not the same as not identifying as female. I don't mean I'd rather be male or anything. I mean, I guess you could see it as either/or, but the thing is, if I'd a choice about the matter, I'd never have chosen to be born a girl. S'far as I'm concerned, it's brought me nothing but pain. Which is...another point of uncertainty. It's been a source of huge clashes with my mum because apparently not behaving the way a girl's supposed to makes be abnormal, weird, etc...I mean, I think it's a fair question if I would hate this shit if I hadn't been running up against it, being made to be so bitter about how what I want to do isn't okay. So...I guess the short of this is that I'm nowhere near realisation if there is a realisation. As far as I understand, my factory default has come with female and straight, and I don't know shit about the latter. End of long ramble. Not sure if I'm answering.

Edited at 2012-07-23 05:52 pm (UTC)
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Delicate crocus.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
Straight Until Proven Otherwise is totally fine on a personal level--like, if that's what someone is experiencing (and also trying to figure out romantic/sexual interest and if there is any) is totally legitimate. I just don't like it as a society-wide thing, and hope it'll start changing (it already is in some sections of youth and young adult). Like, my friend used to respond to the question with, "I'm straightish, I think"; I loved that answer.

Ahhh yeah, I can't imagine growing up in a household in which my tomboyishness and gender expression wasn't okay. (My mother is also a huge tomboy and hardly ever presents as hyper-female.) Like, it was okay when at 15 I went by a boy's version of my name and wore men's clothes--I don't even know if I was bordering on or even actually trans then, since it wasn't something I thought about. I was just being who I wanted to be at the time. I really hate the idea of "conventional femininity" and that's what I grapple with--it's something I totally don't want to be, and by choosing not to be it in my life tends to make my life more difficult. I hate that. It's something I really resent.

Totally fine to be nowhere near a realisation if there is one to be made! You definitely sound like a philo student. :P

I like that: "factory default" haha.

You're definitely answering! One of the things that it's important for more people to realise is that this stuff isn't set in stone, it isn't just figured out one time, and in many cases it's not easy to figure out or no--and so it should be fine to exist in that "yeah I don't really know, honestly" phase.
Seekcoldthermistor on July 25th, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
Oh of course--I was just referring to the fact this is the prevailing attitude in the social environment here too. TBH, I had no idea anything else existed as possibilities until I hit fanfiction and kink memes. (Ok, kink memes that didn't behave like kink memes.) I do hope that'll change too :/

I know what you mean about detesting the idea of "conventional femininity" though--I definitely do, and it might have played a rather large role in how I fell in with Pierce's books at such a young age.

Naah, what I'm just afraid of is even as an old granny, I'm gonna be all 'Yeah man, come to think of it...I really don't know' ;)
Kiwi Crocuscranky__crocus on August 1st, 2012 03:10 am (UTC)
I know what you mean about detesting the idea of "conventional femininity" though--I definitely do, and it might have played a rather large role in how I fell in with Pierce's books at such a young age.
Oh, that was definitely a big draw-in for me, haha. :D

Well, if you're an old granny and you still don't really know, I'll still just smile and nod, saying, "Yeah, I gotchya. It's confusing stuff."
CINEASTE--. A film or movie enthusiast.: Orlandocinematixyz on July 22nd, 2012 01:17 pm (UTC)
You know, I was sort of wondering what our readers were, cuz I'm the curious one.
For me, at 12...13, my best friend became my girlfriend. I was so in love with her and she with me. So I announced to my Catholic, psycho-therapist mum "Guess what, I am Gay!!"

A year or so later, I got a boyfriend and at first my girlfriend was ok with me 'exploring' but I fell in love with him and that's when she went PSYCHO. We (she and I broke up ) and I was with the guy 3 years. I finally left him when I found out that he had cheated on me a dozen times, but what hurt the most was that he slept with her. When I asked why her, he showed me this diary she left there that talked about sleeping with him to prove to me that he was scum so she and I could get back together then she later realize how hurt I would be because of my feelings for her, so she didn't tell me....just let him cheat on me for another year or two.....like I said Psycho.

I have had girlfriends since, but it's been hard for me to fall in love with a woman after that. But I am not the kinda bisexual that wants both worlds or 'can't choose', or is poly. I just fall in love with personalities, the gender doesn't matter to me.

Funny side note at 15, my best friend was a drag queen and we walked in on my mother playing bridge and I said "Oh, btw, I'm not gay, just bisexual."

She threw her cards down and yelled "But I JUST got used to you being gay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

LOL


Zu


Edited at 2012-07-22 01:21 pm (UTC)
Kiwi Crocus: Text || Family.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
Re: You know, I was sort of wondering what our readers were, cuz I'm the curious one.
Wow, that is all pretty intense! I can't imagine living through that at such a young age, either.

Ahahaha love your mother's reaction; that's hilarious. My mother didn't even get to have a reaction to my being a full-blown lesbian since I never had a real "coming out" moment with that. :P

And I loved your post! I still have to pick out my favourite queer films.
CINEASTE--. A film or movie enthusiast.: Brokeback Mountaincinematixyz on July 22nd, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
I had to make a WHOLE post after reading this (locked for now) because you got me thinking. Cheers!
Delphiatdelphi on July 22nd, 2012 04:33 pm (UTC)
Long Reply Is Long
If anyone in my immediate family was surprised that I'm bisexual, it's probably the liking men part that threw them. Of course, tomboy != lesbian, but given that I begged my parents for a tuxedo at age six, cropped my hair short at ten, and eventually opted for a military-surplus-and-shaved-head look at fifteen, they must have been braced for it.

I was always that girl who offered to be the daddy when my friends and I were playing house, and I intensely wished I was a boy for many years, but it was at age eight--when I hit puberty--that I first had the "Maybe I like girls" thought. It took me the next five years to start sorting that out. I was a reader, and all those puberty books at the library were quick to assure me that most same-sex crushes were only a phase. There was no mention of bisexuality, so I saw my intermittent interest in both boys and girls as some sort of yo-yo-ing progression that would eventually sort itself out as straight. Then the internet and big box bookstores were invented and I figured a lot of stuff out.

I think the only time I really came out to anyone was when I was seventeen. I was out at school, but that had been accomplished by reading issues of Curve in between classes. I didn't consider myself closeted when it came to my parents, but because of boundary issues, I firmly did not tell my mother anything about my private life, and I only saw my dad a couple of times a month. On the day that it happened, my dad and I were waiting to pick up some food at a roadhouse, and pretty horrifyingly, the conversation had turned to a point where he was explaining that children shouldn't be exposed to picture books about gay families because it would put them at higher risk of being molested.

At which point, I said, "Um...you know I date girls, right?"

And then we never talked about it again.

I do consider myself a little closeted in my current offline life. It's not that I want to come out, but I do feel like the precariousness of things makes me have to live in an inauthentic manner, especially when it comes to gender presentation. I have reason to suspect my landlords might be homophobic, so I don't mention my sexuality to my roommates in case it gets back to them. I know that my boss is homophobic and transphobic, and that my workplace is a human resources nightmare, so I just don't talk at all about my personal life there. And, because I've been job-hunting for three years now, I'm the femme-iest I've been in my life because things are already hard out there and there's no reason to further decrease my chances.

But if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would immediately cut my hair, get a new wardrobe, and generally not give a fuck.
Kiwi Crocus: Women || Waterclad.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Long Reply Is Long
On the day that it happened, my dad and I were waiting to pick up some food at a roadhouse, and pretty horrifyingly, the conversation had turned to a point where he was explaining that children shouldn't be exposed to picture books about gay families because it would put them at higher risk of being molested.
The, uhm, the 'logic' there... And yes, that is quite a coming out moment.

(I love the rest of your story, with the Curve magazine and all. Glad you sorted it out beyond a 'yo-yo-ing progression that would eventually sort itself out as straight'--and that's a great way of describing that, too.)

Ack, yes, that does sound like a difficult situation to be in and still be able to live in an authentic manner; I can totally understand why you would have slipped into the closet for dealing with all that. (And I hope you do win the lottery tomorrow, that you would be able to not give a fuck!)
Delphiatdelphi on July 24th, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Long Reply Is Long
My dad is full of...logic.

I count myself really lucky that the first high school I attended was the kind of place where wandering around with a copy of The Advocate was a conversation starter. Being comfortably non-self-censoring in high school, university, and grad school (seriously, library school is pretty useless for getting a job, but where it's at for ladies who like ladies) makes being more circumspect now feel less like being closeted and more just like being in a hopefully temporary phase where I'm surrounded by idiocy.
Kiwi Crocus: Rainbow || Mug.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Long Reply Is Long
Those do sound like wonderful places! (Also makes me wish I had been more involved with my local library and volunteering, and perhaps gone down the library road a bit. And makes my 'thing' for librarian women worse.)

I hope it is just a temporary phase of being surrounded by idiocy, and that it ends soon! (In a good way, like a finding-the-perfect-job-and-environment way.)
Trialiatrialia on July 22nd, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
Well... when I came out as bisexual aged 16 (in my case it was a phase, but I was still with a boyfriend at that time and had been for a couple of years and wasn't entirely sure about anything further), my dad kicked me out, I got molested by the family 'friend' my mother arranged for me to stay with while she was in the hospital (she couldn't do much about Dad taking me back home while she was there), and he literally didn't say a word to me for a month after Mum managed to convince him to let me come home after the 'friend' did what he did. That's enough detail for me.

About the rest: I consider myself androgyne/mostly cis-female, lesbian, asexual (grey-A)/homoromantic and polyamorous. Yes, they can all go together. I'm fully out, except as poly to my parent & step-parent - they can see I say that on Facebook if they know/care to look, but they've never mentioned it to me so I would guess that they didn't.

Edited at 2012-07-22 09:38 pm (UTC)
Kiwi Crocus: Boots || Boots and skirt.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
Oh gods, I'm sorry to hear all that; what a painful story.

I definitely know they can all go together. (: Thank you for sharing your story and identities.

I'm pretty out with everything. I don't think I've ever specifically come out as poly to my parents, but I talk about it all the time and they know my platonic life partner is poly. I don't currently date, though, so I haven't felt the need to actually come out as anything like that; if I end up with multiple partners or a partner with other partners I will come out in a more personal way.
Feather Quillfeatherxquill on July 23rd, 2012 10:47 am (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, my sexuality isn't anyone's business but mine. It's not that I'm closeted, so much, as, like, I don't feel like announcing to people that I'm bi, so I tend to figure I'll just say it if it comes up, and it often doesn't? Like someone will be all 'that guy is hot' and I'll be like 'yeah', so maybe they presume I'm straight, but I'm not going to be like 'yeah, but I like girls too', and I'm also not likely to say 'wow that woman is hot' to someone I know is straight, because my taste generally runs to older women (wow, what a surprise!), so they're unlikely to share my appreciation on a purely aesthetic level? IDK. I've told my mother and a few friends that I'm bi, but I often feel like they forget, or they don't believe me, probably because I'm not making out with both men and women in front of them? IDK. I'm comfortable with how I feel inside, with the fluidness and the 'mostly hypothetical'-ness of it, and that's all I feel I really need. Soooo yeah. I really only tell people if/when I want to, but I don't feel like I'm hiding myself from anyone, really. I might not have ever told my father, but I figure it's something I'll try and get him to understand if and when I need to (ie if I am in a relationship with a woman that I'd like my family to meet).
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Turquoise peacock feathers.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
Gotchya.

I don't feel that I'm announcing it when I talk about it; it's just one of the main topics in my life and tends to come into everything, so when it comes up I don't avoid it.

(But then I also feel like I'm lying-by-omission or living without authenticity if I'm not out to some degree, because if people think I'm interested in boys in any way or to any degree, it's straight-up wrong; and I like people to know me. Plus, by being out, I then feel freer to say “oh yeah I can see how he’s cute” without feeling that I’m sending the wrong impression or identity. But I think part of that is my strict-lesbianism, which is stricter than many of the people I come across?)

Although I can't say I'm good at hiding my 'wow that woman is hot' statements about older women, either. :P But it made me smile the other day when I made a comment about Meryl Streep and the (queer) teenager next to me completely agreed; it was a bonding moment. And if she hadn't liked it, well, *shrug* not my deal.

Then, I think the world will always need some "out and prouds" too (not that people who aren't so "out" aren't proud, or confident, or all up with the loving of themselves). That's been my place since I was 14, and I know it has helped people. I've been called a "rainbow beacon of light" and people have come out to me even when they haven't come out to others, or used me as a first come-out (and had me help with others), or just come out to me because they don't come out to many people but knew I wouldn't judge them because I live my life to be obvious in my I-won't-judge-you vibes and by being open about the things that make me a bit different from the conventional expectations.

I think there is definitely value to both sorts of people--the ones who are out and loud about it, and the ones who quietly just live it. People need to see both to know that it's normal and totally okay, at least in my opinion. (:

So go us!
CaroRulescarorules on July 23rd, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
I was a late bloomer. I had b/f in high school but nothing ever serious. Then I got in touch with some lesbians online and I think it got me thinking about what exactly it was I wanted.

I made plenty of online friends with whom I felt comfortable being out with, online. I slowly came out to my friends and I had great reactions form everybody. I waited till I met someone to tell my parents and even though they were surprised, they were super cool with it and they accepted my g/f as their own daughter.

I am out to everybody I care about. Some people at work don't know, but I don't hide it, I just don't find it necessary to broadcast it to people I barely have interaction with.
Kiwi Crocus: Lips || Golden.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
I love your story!

I also love the "not out to everyone at work but don't hide it" - I think that's a great way to live.

(I tend to start out that way in most new situations, but soon enough I find myself out everywhere and sometimes I don't even know how it happened!)
CaroRulescarorules on July 24th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
Well sometimes I wish I was out all around, but again I am a very private person so I guess it is what it is.

I work with a lot of macho delivery guys, and I guess this sort of made me wonder about the way some of them would take it if they knew. If I ever work somewhere else, I'll be more forward about it, less a hassle, but I still don't regret the way things are now.
Kiwi Crocus: Hair || Green braid.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
I completely get that. (: And I'm glad you don't have any regrets about it!
Nicki: proudperoxidepirate on July 24th, 2012 04:40 am (UTC)
I have a lot of coming out stories, actually. I grew up kind of surrounded by homophobia, but I never doubted that gayness is perfectly fine.

I came out to myself as bisexual when I was 14 (I'd previously had crushes only on boys), and came out to most of my friends over the next couple of years. Coming out to my parents was absolutely terrifying. I waited until senior year of high school, when I had a job and I had some friends who were queer and out to their parents. And in the end, my parents were fine. I mean, I think they just ignored my sexual orientation for about ten years, but they didn't kick me out or anything.

I was totally out when I was in college the first time; I had a rainbow-stripe button that said "Equal Opportunity Girlfriend," and I was really into bi visibility. I'm still adamant that there are more than X number of options and the world had better accept that.

When I started my first grown-up job, I had a boyfriend; after we broke up, I fell hard for another guy. I was in over my head with the whole Adulthood thing, and totally out of my comfort zone, and I didn't trust the people around me... and I suppose I was tired of announcing my sexual orientation to the world. So I ended up in a situation where I was mostly presumed straight for about five years. I mean, my close friends knew I wasn't, but my coworkers didn't, and as I mentioned, my parents basically ignored my bisexuality. The ironic thing is that no one would have cared if they knew I was bi, but I was still pretty much in the closet. I regret it now; it turns out the closet thing really did a number on my self-esteem, so I hope it never happens again.

Well, for about four of those five years, I was also avidly aromantic. If asked about my sexual orientation (which I rarely was, since people assumed I was straight), I'd say, "I like guys and girls, but it doesn't matter, because I'm not looking to date anyway." This was all interspersed with, "No, Miriam is NOT my girlfriend, she's my best friend. Weren't you listening?"

Somewhere in there, I started watching Buffy and rediscovered fandom and read a lot of smut and wrote a lot of fanfic and lurked on kink memes, all of which helped me determine that I have a definite preference for female bodies over male. Then I met a woman who made me sit up and say, "OH. That's what all the fuss is about. That other thing that I previously thought was lust? Hhahahaha, that was nothing." She was a coworker when I was fairly new at my current job and our flirting was pretty obvious, so I never really had to come out there.

So now I'm "out," basically everywhere. I tend to assume people know I'm queer, and if they don't, I figure they'll be the ones embarrassed by making a wrong assumption. I'm certainly not claiming to be straight.

Oh yeah, my actual orientation: the identity I like best right now is demi-romantic pansexual lesbian. I have the capacity to be attracted to people of all genders, but I'm most often/most strongly interested in women. I also have no patience for unexamined male/straight/cis privilege, so I'm inclined to avoid intimate relationships with cis men (not that they're all privileged assholes, but many are, and I don't wish to expend energy figuring out which ones aren't). And I say demi-romantic because I'm no longer opposed to Relationships like when I was aromantic, but I'm still not sure I understand the whole romance thing. I just want to spend time with the people I like, and if I'm attracted to them too, I want some of that time to be used for sexual activities. (This, ahem, is probably why I have crushes on my friends so often.) I don't know if that adds up to romantic feeling or not.

I'm also a very private person IRL, so most of the time I don't go into these details. I'm content to let people think I'm either gay or bi.

Gender-wise, I'm a not-very-feminine woman. I think of myself as androgynous. But my body type is such that I'd have to work to come across as other than female, and of course I've learned female body language/voice cues/etc whether I like it or not. At the end of the day I don't care about my gender enough to actively work against any of those things, which means I'm cis by default.
Kiwi Crocus: Dar Williams || Magic's in the Learning.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
I love the beginning of your story especially, and I can understand that five-year closeted time. I know that part of my firm policy of outness is how icky it feels to be closeted for even a short time--to feel afraid or ashamed to come out, and have it get worse over time. I hate that; I avoid it.

Hahahaha I'm glad we had a similar experience with meeting a woman and having that "oh" moment. Reading yours made me giggle.

I tend to assume people know I'm queer, and if they don't, I figure they'll be the ones embarrassed by making a wrong assumption.
I can get that. I wish I could get it to work like that for myself. Well, I guess I do a bit since I don't go running around screaming I'm a lesbian, but somehow I almost always end up out before there could be wrong assumptions; I'm more comfortable that way. (Especially since otherwise the "wrong assumptions" that aren't checked end up with boys ogling my goodies and wanting to do something about it. At least if they know I'm gay there's no expectation that anything will happen.)

Demi-romantic pansexual lesbian makes sense to me. (And totally got you on the privilege thing.) I'm not sure I completely understand the romance thing either, but I think some of that is more the monogamy thing.

I just want to spend time with the people I like, and if I'm attracted to them too, I want some of that time to be used for sexual activities.
Ahaha that sounds nice--although it also sounds like most relationships I've known (from friends' lives, I mean :B).

That last paragraph about gender sounds like me, too. Although since I have The Hair people tend to think I'm way more toward feminine than I am (until they see any Other Hair, and then assume all sorts of other things about gender).
kellychambliss: FFkellychambliss on July 25th, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
A student once said to me, "the lesbian ship has SO sailed."

Which is a pity, because I didn't know it was leaving, so I'm a lesbian standing here on shore when apparently the current gender/sexuality fashion has left me behind.

Yes, I'm a product of the binary days, someone who came of age at a time when there weren't many public options besides "gay/lesbian" or "straight." I suppose technically I'm bi, since I've had relationships with both men and women. But I still identify as "lesbian" because my main emotional connection is with women.

That's not to say that I didn't love the man with whom I had the longest m/f relationship; I did. But ever since I was five years old, it's been women who have thrilled and excited me, have stirred my passions, my crushes, my obsessions. I've never had a crush on a male; as a teen, I never went through a period of being interested in "boys": I've never felt my heart pound and my palms sweat with excitement/anxiety at the thought of seeing any particular male -- though this happens endlessly with women, both real and fictional.

My longish m/f relationship was quite a while ago. I've been out as a lesbian for a long time, both personally and professionally, and I am incredibly lucky that my sexuality has caused me no real problems. Yes, there are a few relatives (as I was reminded during my recent trip to Germany) who have more or less written me off as lost and immoral, but since I rarely see them, it's not a problem.

I'm not one of those people who says, "gender doesn't matter; it's the person you love" or "I'm not into labels." To me, gender does matter; it's women who excite me. And I like labels when I get to choose them for myself. They're quite useful, even comforting, and they don't have to be a limitation at all.
Kiwi Crocus: Women || Two in a field.cranky__crocus on August 1st, 2012 03:38 am (UTC)
Well, if the 'lesbian ship' has sailed, it's a good thing I prefer land most of the time (where the live trees are, you understand). I think there is definitely room in the current gender/sexuality fashion for 'old-fashion' lesbianism; if not, I'm a bit doomed.

But I still identify as "lesbian" because my main emotional connection is with women.
That I completely understand. Then, I don't believe 'lesbian' has to mean 'only looks at, thinks about, touches, and commits to women ever ever ever' even if for the most part that's how I am. I have friends who are 'lesbian purists', but they don't tend to see the grey areas between or within any identities. (The ‘boxes vs. spectrum/map’ idea, I suppose.)

But ever since I was five years old, it's been women who have thrilled and excited me, have stirred my passions, my crushes, my obsessions.
I love the way you talk about women, and the way you talk about those feelings of heightened awareness:
I've never felt my heart pound and my palms sweat with excitement/anxiety at the thought of seeing any particular male -- though this happens endlessly with women, both real and fictional.

Well-stated, and so true for me too! I did have a period of thinking I was 'madly in love' with an older boy and I went about writing "I ♥ Evan" on everything, but I think much of that was peer pressure; as soon as I was even more madly in love with the idea of "I ♥ Sonia", another friend, that went away. I was 14; I plead temporary insanity--and youth. Years later I realised that, if they had been crushes at all, they had barely brushed the surface; and at 21, a week after seeing you in person, my brain went "POW!" with the lot of it at Rowe Camp.

I'm so glad your sexuality (or, your being out about it) has caused you no real problems, what with the horror stories I have heard and witnessed in my friends' lives. Mine has been similar--though of course I shared back one of my few problems with relatives. I lucked out with my grandmother (step-grandmother technically, but she's been my grandmother all my life) since she was once a nun, but left the convent partially out of her belief that the Church was wrong about homosexuality. I never came out to her particularly but it got back to her somehow, and since then I've had plenty of rainbow things from her (she knows how I love rainbow) including a "CELEBRATE DIVERSITY!" pin. I'm so glad to know a woman like her taught at a high school for so long; high school students need people like her around, as non-relative adult figures.

Mmm. I know people for whom gender doesn't matter/isn't a factoring issue (or so they say, and so I shall believe them) but I know for me that isn't true. And while they may prefer to give an explanation of sorts as to their sexuality, which I again respect, I have found that the term 'lesbian' (or 'gay woman' or whatever other variants) fits me and so I will use it.

And I like labels when I get to choose them for myself.
That's it precisely! Yes on them being useful, comforting, and not necessarily a limitation at all!

I'll admit that I get a bit peevish when some of my friends/acquaintances get on high horses about how everything should be unlabelled in the future. "I'm not into labels" is essentially the choice to be "unlabelled" which is, essentially, a label--just one that comes with whatever explanation ze wishes to offer. If I am forced to lose the label of my choice, I am essentially being forced into a new label that is not of my choosing and that I don't find fits me as well--isn't that what they're trying to eliminate, what they’re fighting against? So why force it?

On the social action front, I can be just as much of an ally to the whole community under the banner 'lesbian' as under any other. On the personal front, it's my choice: gender does matter to me romantically/sexually, my interest is in women, and I feel completely comfortable with the label 'lesbian'. So it's mine.

Thank you for answering! I loved reading your comment.
kellychamblisskellychambliss on August 2nd, 2012 05:34 am (UTC)
"I'm not into labels" is essentially the choice to be "unlabelled" which is, essentially, a label--just one that comes with whatever explanation ze wishes to offer. If I am forced to lose the label of my choice, I am essentially being forced into a new label that is not of my choosing

Excellent point.