Ask A Lesbian, Vol. 7
Do you think it’s important for a person who’s gay to be open about it? I’m one of those people who only have a few friends who know I’m attracted to girls; otherwise every flippin’ human being assumes I’m straight. The thing is, I prefer it that way. I don’t feel that I’m hiding who I am in any way, My personality in my opinion is in no correlation to my sexual orientation.
Well, sister. I have one response to this, completely stolen from Autostraddle but used by me on the regular:
You do you.
Don’t wanna be an out, flamboyant, here’s-my-rainbow-flag-PS-check-out-my-equality-sticker-hey-my-nails-are-short-know-what-that-means type of girl? Don’t be! If you’re more comfortable with acting the way you do, and that way is not showing your sexual orientation, then let it be.
Some people, gay or straight, just don’t get into the whole showing-off-their-sexuality thing, and that’s totally fine. People assume I’m straight on the reg. That’s just my luck, because for me, that’s not what I want…but anyway. Not about me. Just this once.
If you’re someone who’s asked if they’re gay and isn’t open about it, that may be a different story. The way I see it, unless you’re afraid of the safety of yourself and those around you, there’s no real serious reason to hide. I feel a teeny bit heartbroken for those who are ashamed of or uncomfortable with their sexuality, because we’re all unique snowflakes and I don’t think it’s very fair for anyone to shame you into feeling anything else.
A question for you is – do you enjoy being hit on? I know that sounds odd, but here’s why I ask: if you’re not putting out there that you’re a gal’s gal, therefore, how will that work out for you in finding yourself a gal? I understand some people are flustered and uncomfortable with the notion of being hit on. Do you prefer to be the one in control of that situation? That’s totally cool, if so. More power to ya. But don’t be surprised if you hit on a girl who has trouble believing you’re a lesbian (if that’s how you identify), because if you’re not putting it out there, she’s not catching those vibes.
At the end of the day, you’re you. Do what makes you comfortable and more importantly, what makes you happy, because you’ve got to be you forever and that’s not my job to tell you how to do it (or nobody else’s, for that matter)!
Up until recently, I’ve only been an ally for the LGBTQ community and had a boyfriend. But, as luck would have it, I’ve developed my first girl crush on a more “masculine” woman. My queer pals tell me the stereotype that butch girls are actually submissive and want to be approached. Do you agree with them, and how should I approach her?
Hey girl. Let me tell ya, I was also once just an “ally,” thinking that everyone felt as strongly as I did for wanting equal rights for my queer brothers and sisters. About two weeks into hooking up with my girlfriend, she joked I was the best ally she knew. ….
Let’s get started on this topic! First off, holy stereotyping! What a person decides to wear and how they decide to act has nothing to do with how they want to be approached (see above question). Therefore, don’t listen to that. Next, please.
How do you approach her? Well, from the longer explanation that you sent me, you run in the same crowd. She’s probably aware that up until now, you’ve identified as straight. That may intimidate you – I know it intimidated the hell out of me!! – but don’t sweat it. If you’re into her, chances are she’ll see it’s genuine.
I do know that some girls don’t want to date girls who used to date men exclusively. I’ve mentioned this before in past articles – it makes some people uneasy knowing there’s another “option” out there. Upon telling people that we were first seeing each other, my girlfriend said “I turned another straight girl” to her friends. She found this hilarious while I was pretty offended. I told her that I was struggling with who I was and that joking that way wasn’t funny, and she then explained to me that she had a history of doing this, and the girls would swear up and down that they were into her, but boom…every one of those girls is now with a man. Fear of commitment? Maybe. Fright of what society tells us is different? Possibly. My girlfriend sucks as a lover? Not even remotely an option.
So. When you’re approaching her, be straight(hehe)forward. Say “I like you. I think you’re cute. Can we get coffee/tea/whiskey sometime and get to know more about each other?” If she says yes, then you kick ass. If she says no, then you kick even more ass. You just did something you might not have seen yourself ever doing, and you did it confidently knowing that you acted upon something that gave you a happy feeling. If she says no, don’t read into it. Move on. I know you also stated you’re not sure if you’d even be interested in other women and it’s just her that’s caught your eye, but you might not know that until you keep your doors open. Congratulations – you’ve moved into queer territory. Welcome, sister!
I told a girl that has been flirting with me for months that I had feelings for her, but she told me she didn’t share them. Why all the hand holding, cheek-kissing, and affection, then?
Oh, love. I want to give you a big hug. From the very long back story that this question actually has, my heart hurts for you.
I hate to say this, but it seems like this girl was pretty interested in attention. You stated she had a boyfriend at one point in this friendship, but they broke up and nothing between you two changed. That’s probably because you were giving her the time and affection she sought after. It sounds to me like you are young and smitten, and it’s so good to be that. It’s so good to have those feelings! And if you’re as young as I think you are, you’re going through a lot of life changes. I know you hear the stories of “I knew I was queer from the moment I could have thought,” but not everyone is that way. You may be just coming into this, and so might this girl that you like. Maybe she really does have feelings for you, but the thought of coming out is too much for her. More than likely, though, from what you described, this girl was smart. She saw your open, loving heart and she took advantage of that.
I’m sorry that you told her you had feelings and she said she didn’t share them, and I’m sorry that things are hard between you two now. But I can promise you this – you now know what your heart is capable of and the feelings that it can feel. Harness those. Even if it hurts more than anything you’ve ever felt, you’re going to be able to get through it if you’re ready to accept and move past it. Reading your post brought me back to this boy that I thought for sure, without a doubt, I would be with for the rest of my life. I legitimately had to think about the last time I saw him, and it is so fleeting because he slowly just faded out of my life. I get to smile because he taught me what my heart could do, even at the youngest of ages.
Smile. Put your chin up. You are beautiful and deserving, and one day you’ll find someone who thinks that you’re the moon and stars.
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I would rather jump around and sweat my body to a Lady Gaga song. Yoga is so overrated.
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4. When I mentioned my idea of applying for a competitive writing fellowship in addition to graduate programs, and you told me I shouldn’t.
Women want to see you in social situations, outdoors doing manly activities, on a boat holding a fish, ANYTHING that indicates you’ve got a life.