Monday, June 23, 2008

Still not queer enough

This weekend was Pride. I work for the state's largest and oldest GLBT publication, which also happens to be a key sponsor of the festival. It's an unpaid internship, but I definitely work my tail off for this job. I'm out to come of my coworkers, but for the most part, I just let people assume I'm a lesbian. (Which, actually, is a nice change from being automatically considered straight.) I was in the parade on Sunday, and on Saturday, went down to festival decked out in rainbow from head to toe. (Literally, nails were painted rainbow and everything.) I met up with a friend on Saturday, and we wandered around, revelling in the queerness. I generally love Pride. I love the atmosphere, and that myself, and everyone around me, doesn't have to feel self-conscious or nervous about being outed. Everyone's already out, and everyone's OK with it. Also, this was my first Pride being out.

But oddly enough, I found myself still so terribly aware of the belief that I'm not queer enough. I've written about it before. It's no secret that a lot of people (I'd argue a majority) don't believe that bisexuality really exists - that it's just a phase, that we're greedy, or unfaithful, or just don't belong in the community. Personally, I think that's all a load of shit. But I can't change how people think... It's starting to get to me, though. As I was walking around the festival with my friend, I was mentioning that it seemed ironic that I was bringing a guy I'm sleeping with to the official Pride afterparty. She laughed and told me that I shouldn't be ashamed - it was Pride, and I'm allowed to be proud of my bisexuality. The argument made sense. Why was I so nervous on this of all weekends when everyone else is so focused on being out and proud? My fears were satiated for the rest of the day. (Although it didn't hurt that I ended the night with a really hot girl's phone number.)

My date didn't end up being able to come to the Party with me. Which was fine, since I had a blast anyways. I do so enjoy being in queer spaces. And everyone was happy, looking hot... it was a good night. As part of the paper's staff, I had VIP access, meaning a separate area with seating, and bottle service. The whole vibe was relatively casual, and it was really hot out, so I was in a denim skirt with a cute (pink!) top that had a keyhole opening to show off the cleavage. I was chatting with some of the people in our booth - who I didn't know beforehand - and this one woman asked me if I was gay. I smiled and said, "Well, I'm bi. So kinda." And she looks at me and goes "yeah, I didn't think you were gay. You have a perfect nose though."

OK. Compliment aside (I do have a cute nose), her tone was very... exclusionary? Like she was discounting me because I didn't fit her definition of gay. And yes, I know I'm not gay because I also sleep with men, but her reaction to me being open about who I am (and we're at PRIDE, where that's EXACTLY what you're supposed to do), was so negative that I clammed up for almost the rest of the night. Just, her dismissing me like that "yeah, well, OBVIOUSLY you're not gay..." What the hell?

So much for embracing queer spaces.

(in other news, I'm officially moving on. I'm done dealing with this crap and I'm working on cutting out parts of my life that don't make me happy. It's LONG overdue.)


Essin' Em said...

I totally feel you.

Spending two years trying to explain "pansexual" and then being snubbed by both the queers and the straights?


Now I identify as "queer." It *should* cover all the bases, but as long as there are "gold star/5 star" lesbians, and such, we'll still have that "oh, bisexuality is a less level than LESBIAN!"

I'm really excited to be writing for this new advice column at, because as a non-lesbian (queer, dyke, whatever), I feel I can infiltrate, and hopefully get people thinking more about fluid identities and sexuality.

Anonymous said...

I think that woman asked you a really rude question. If she was asking bc she was interested, she really should have used the word queer, not gay. I don't date guys at all, and I don't really identify as gay.

When you honestly responded to her question, her weird reaction of disappointment or thinking you weren't queer enough or whatever was really inappropriate.

I've been in the same situation for as long as I can remember. Especially back when I first started going to dyke bars, (in the mid 90s), feminine queer girls were few an far between so everyone assumed I was straight. It sucked.