How did you know you were gay?

Even though I’ve been out for a few years now, I’ve never really had anyone ask me “How did you know you were gay?” until a few weeks ago. One of my lab partners (who’s also gay) asked me this kind of out of the blue while we were working on our lab report after class. Honestly, I didn’t have a great answer prepared.

I told her about an experience I had sophomore year of high school, where I randomly had a huge crush on this girl I didn’t really know in my Chemistry class. I wrote about that crush a long time ago, but I’ve since come to some other realizations. I think she could have been replaced with a thousand different people and it wouldn’t have made a difference. It’s not that I don’t have standards, or that I’m attracted to every girl I come in contact with – that’s far from the truth. It was just a period of time where I was questioning and figuring everything out, and she just so happened to be in the same class as me.

Now, my lab partner wasn’t exactly satisfied with this story. “But how do you know it wasn’t just her?” That question threw me for a loop a little bit. There’s no good answer, I just do. It’s a feeling that, I don’t feel the need to question anymore. For me, sexuality isn’t a complicated part of my life. I know how I feel, and who I like. It’s just that simple. It wasn’t that easy in the beginning, but over time the doubts left and I feel perfectly content with the conclusion. I don’t have some great story about being swept off my feet by the love of my life, and I don’t think having that kind of story is necessary. I wanted the experience to be casual and simple, and it was.

Her questions came from a place of curiosity, but they definitely made me think about a few things. Why are people so obsessed with knowing every thought that goes through queer people’s minds when questioning their sexuality or gender? Also, why do they feel the need to question it’s authenticity? One of my favorite qutoes from Denice Frohman’s poem “Dear Straight People” is:

” Dear Straight People, I’m tired of proving my love is authentic, so I’m calling the reparations on your ass. When did you realize you were straight? Who taught you?Did it happen because your parents are divorced? Did it happen because your parents are not divorced? Did it happen because you sniffed too much glue in fifth grade? Dear Straight People, why do I have to prove my love is authentic? Why do I have to prove my love is authentic? Why do I have to prove my love is authentic?”

I get a whole lot of “I would have never known” and “Really???” This has to do with the fact that I don’t look queer enough in straight people’s eyes. I wear makeup, have shoulder length hair, and generally act feminine enough to be shoved (forcefully) into the straight box. I can look in the mirror and think, “wow I look really gay today” (in a proud way) and still no one suspects a damn thing. The authenticity of my gayness is questioned because I don’t look the part or fit perfectly into the tiny box created for the stereotypical lesbian.

I don’t mind answering these questions, or most questions for that matter. However, I am tired of both people in my day to day life as well as society as a whole questioning who I am because I don’t fit the mold. So, how did I know I was gay? I trusted myself, and through lots of introspection discovered the answer to this aspect of my life. Maybe it’s not the best answer, or the answer people want to hear, but it’s the most honest one.

Advertisements

Fried Gay Tomatoes?

Over the Holidays I watched Fried Green Tomatoes with my sister. I had heard of the movie before, but I had never seen it, and I’ve got to say it is so queer!

Idgie the main character obviously is a lesbian and has a thing for her friend Ruth. It may be cannon, but i’ts there. The whole time we were watching the movie, I kept saying “this movie is so gay!” My sister who had seen the movie before didn’t realize it, but once I pointed it out, she couldn’t stop seeing it either. The sexual tension between the two of them is crazy.

friedgreentomatoes4.jpg

Maybe I’m just looking too far into it, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this movie having gay characters and that’s crazy to me. The movie was made in 1991, but is set in the 1920’s. From the way they dress Idgie, to her mannerisms and they way she talks, they made her a pretty stereotypical lesbian. She wears button down shirts, slacks and suspenders, while all the other female characters dress overtly feminine.

01137dd1918dff1597f3be7d296d10f9

Idgie also was friends with black people during a time where it wasn’t considered socially acceptable for white people and black people to be friends. There is a strong prevalence of the KKK in this movie, and Idgie is always fighting them. While this isn’t a direct sign that she’s gay, minorities do tend to stick together, because we can understand some of each others struggles. Maybe I am looking too far into this?

FriedGreenTomatoes-6309050a.jpeg

I think the ultimate deciding fact is the way Idgie looks at Ruth. When Ruth marries Frank Bennett, Idgie is devastated. Also when she figures out Frank is abusing Ruth, she doesn’t hesitate to get Ruth out of there, and take care of her. Idgie takes care of Ruth up until the day she dies, and continues to love her when she’s in her old age and Ruth is gone. This movie really delves into the true meaning of love, and what that looks like.

Their romantic relationship may be played down a bit, but the love they had for each other is undeniable. I did some research to see if I was the only one who thought this, and I’m definitely not alone. So what do you think? Are Idgie and Ruth a couple? Let me know!

-Alyssa

No, I’m Not Pregnant

The irony of being queer and chronically ill is that I’ve been asked by doctors if I could possibly be pregnant… a lot.

Now this is part of their job, and I know they have to do it, but the medical field often seems very unaware of any sexuality other than straight. I don’t believe you should make any assumptions about other people – especially when it comes to gender and sexuality. I’ve been asked straight up, “how do you know you’re not pregnant?” Almost like they’re testing me.

Most of the time doctors or nurses ask if you could possibly be pregnant, because they are going to administer a test or medication that could be harmful to a fetus. It makes sense why they ask and make you take a pregnancy test, but it gets a little redundant. I did infusions every day for a week at an infusion center, and every morning I had to pee in a cup for a pregnancy test. If you saw me yesterday afternoon and saw how sick I was, how in the world could you possibly believe I got pregnant in the short time I was gone?

If I can barely walk down the stairs some days, how in the world do you think I’m having sex? Also I rarely leave my house, so where am I supposed to find someone who wants to have sex with me? At this point it’s pretty comical, but still annoying. I don’t mind peeing in the cup, but paying at times $150 for a pregnancy test that it is literally impossible for to be positive is ridiculous.

One visit to the ER, I had already been there for hours and received medication, and now it was time for me to be discharged. They wouldn’t let me leave until I had a pregnancy test, although if I was pregnant any damage done to the fetus was irreversible at this point. This situation was particularly frustrating because I went to the ER for excruciating period cramps. They were taking a long time to do the test, and when the doctor came in I said,” I think it’s pretty obvious I’m not pregnant. I’m on my period.” And yes I know there are abnormalities where sometimes you are pregnant, but will still get one last period, or something could be wrong and you could be bleeding, but that obviously wasn’t the case. Apparently this made the doctor mad (even though I said it in a joking manner and wasn’t trying to be rude, but whatever) and she said, “you could be having a miscarriage,” and gave me the evil eye. I had an ultra sound of my ovaries and uterus while I was there, so I think it would have been clear if I was pregnant.

For someone who’s never been pregnant I’ve taken a lot of pregnancy tests. But hey, just mark it down as a funny story, I guess.

Lots of Love,

(and an empty womb)

Alyssa