An online space for queer, questioning, lesbian, bi, trans and everything else in between women at Yale

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Where did I put the set of directions for my sexuality?

From the moment that I saw Whenever Wherever for the first time at age ten, I knew I liked girls. I didn’t know to what extent and, given a rather sheltered/evangelical background, I didn’t even properly understand what it meant to be queer, or to be some variation thereof.

From my pubescent fantasy of Shakira gyrating in the mud to a recurring dream of Billie Piper as a naughty teacher, I have definitely always had a Sapphic-shaped space in my heart. Even so, it never occurred to me until recently that “coming out” might be something that I should do.

From middle school to the present, I’ve toyed with the labels bicurious, bisexual, and—currently—queer. I’ve come to terms with this, however, in the context of an opposite-sex relationship. My boyfriend of four years has been there for every label change, for every tearful late-night phone call where I thought I was going to go to hell for liking girls, and he’s always had the same sweet reply: I still love you.

And I still love him.

He’s wonderful and sexy and sweet and even though I now identify as queer, I don’t see myself with another woman any time soon. Which raises the question: should I come out of the proverbial closet to my family and friends?

A handful of people know how I identify, but beyond a tight circle of family and friends, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to tell.

I hear about people throwing parties, giving announcements, celebrating their sexualities to the fullest extent in regards to coming out. But when I think of doing this sort of thing, I’m terrified: if the majority of my family ever found out about my sexuality, I’m pretty sure they’d hit the floor in prayer so hard and fast that they’d leave bruises on their knees.

Should I even come out, given the background of my family combined with my relationship status? I am happily in love with my boyfriend and don’t see my relationship with him ending any time soon.

I don’t know if I should tell my family or my wider circle of friends that I’m queer. I also don’t know how much longer I can keep my sexuality (mostly) to myself.

I realize this is a common issue. But, even so, there should be a handbook for this.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Femme Happiness

Femme, for me, is more a performance than anything else. I have just as much fun "doing" high femme for a party as I have "doing" drag--both, for me, are gendered costumes rather than representations of whatever inner self I have on that given day. In my everyday life, I tend towards what I might call "soft femme"--varying day to day with my level of femininity, but always leaning towards femme rather than butch (not that these are the only two options. They're just common ones).

In any case, I've recently gotten back to my femme roots. I've picked up certain rituals of American femininity which I'd dropped in the past three years, but with a newfound confidence learned in the queer community. I'm now confident that I can be read as strong, queer, AND feminine. Specifically, I've learned that performing femininity need not say anything about the ways in which I fit (and don't fit) into modern gender schema.

I'm overwhelmed with femme happiness. I've gotten off on this tangent about performance, but what I basically want to do is just list a few of the really femme-y things that make me happy, and that I've missed.

Painting my toenails while watching TV.
Wearing black eyeliner that turns up at the side.
Skirts that "Marilyn Monroe" when you twirl around.
This is pretty much what I look like.
Sequins. Lots and lots of sequins.
Dangly, funky earrings.
Lacy, matching underwear.

Sure, there's a lot I don't miss about being completely femme. Five-inch stiletto heels, for example. Lip gloss. Uncomfortably short skirts. And there's no way I'm going back to using ladies' shampoo/conditioner. Not when men's two-in-one is so much easier.

But these are just some of the many femme things that make me happy. And I just wanted to share the happiness with all of you! What are some of your favorite rituals of gender performance?

...and could that last sentence have been any geekier?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Work: An Eternal Cock Block

Ok, maybe not an eternal cock block (or the feminine equivalent... taco block-o?), but sitting here at 9:30pm on a Tuesday whilst there is a queer girls meet and greet certainly makes it feel as such. Granted, my student job is far from difficult, but with the combination of classes, homework and workwork, I'm beginning to feel socializing with fellow queer people has fallen by the wayside.

This little forced anti-social factoid is becoming increasingly worrisome to me. As an official upperclassman this year (egads!), I am realizing that my window of opportunity is shutting on me while I'm still only half way through it. All things considered, Yale has a pretty fantastic gay culture. Back home, not so much, and when I try to imagine my awkward self trying to meet a woman in the big wide world after graduation, I shudder with future embarrassment.
Ah, the awkward hug...

At the very least, I would like to leave Yale with enough experience to carry through into my adult life. So, next gay event, I am clearing my calendar. It's time to get out more.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Is she or isn't she?

So recently I've come up against something I think most of us have experienced: the dreaded uncertainty in determining the sexual orientation of a new crush. She's witty, sarcastic, liberal, confident, but ultra femme. The context of our interactions, being the classroom, doesn't help much either. I've tried to observe who her friends are, overhear any plans for the upcoming weekend, and pick up on any "vibes" that may be forthcoming. But alas, I am still left with an ambiguous reading.

This has always been a HUGE problem for me. Not because I'm completely lacking in gaydar skills, but due to the fact that I've always been attracted to very feminine women. Seeing as I'm fairly feminine myself, I don't help matters either. I usually have to let these ones go, mainly to avoid the possibility of making a move and dealing with the resulting awkwardness (if she's not) for the rest of the semester. I mean the class itself, Women, Food, and Culture, could offer a nice platform for making assumptions, but I've learned that's not a good place to start from (at all). And she's very outspoken on feminist issues, but again, that's another easily misinterpreted territory.

So, what to do? No, really, I need some advice here. How do you all proceed in these murky lesbian waters? Any and all stories are welcome!!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Celebrate Bisexuality!

Hey everyone! I don’t have any deep insights or thoughtful musings, but I do have something fun to share.  September 23 is Celebrate Bisexuality Day!

It’s been nine years since I first had “thoughts” about a girl, eight years since my first girl crush, and seven years since I told my mom about the “feelings” I was having. It’s been four years since I suffered from depression and hated myself every day because of my budding sexuality. It’s been three years since I first used the word “bisexual” in my head, two years since I first said it out loud, and a beautiful year and a half since I came out to my best friends and my parents. Now it’s been a year since I came to Yale, "out and proud," and had my first glorious girl kiss.

Bisexuality is not a stable identity for me. Depending on my current feelings, I use the term bisexual interchangeably with pansexual, queer, and a variety of other terms my friends and I have invented. But even when I’m not using “bisexual” to describe myself, the word means a lot to me.

Speaking the word—to myself and later to others—has allowed me to come to terms with a part of my identity that I promised myself, four years ago, I would never acknowledge. So I’m using today to celebrate bisexuality, and everything that it has allowed me to be. And I think everyone else should join the festivities. J

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

John Donne: He Had It Wrong

Happy Tuesday everyone!

As I was contemplating what to write about tonight, my brain went on an interesting tangent. I thought of Sappho, our blog's namesake, her writings, and the numerous writings about her (say hello to the English major), and I recalled a poem I had read freshman year entitled Sappho to Philaenis” by John Donne.
Sappho! (or possibly just some ancient Greek chick)

This poem stayed with me for numerous reasons, one of which being the fact that Donne seemed to have a very particular view of homosexuality; he believed that homosexuality was entirely based on narcissism. See as follows:

And, oh, no more; the likeness being such,
Why should they not alike in all parts touch?
Hand to strange hand, lip to lip none denies;
Why should they breast to breast, or thighs to thighs?
Likeness begets such strange self flattery,
That touching myself, all seems done to thee.
Myself I embrace, and mine own hands I kiss,
And amorously thank myself for this.
Me, in my glass, I call thee; but alas,
When I would kiss, tears dim mine eyes, and glass.
(full poem at http://www.angelfire.com/moon/sweetbitter/poetry.htm)

For Donne, men and women attracted to members of their same sex were infatuated with themselves. Needless to say, he was incredibly wrong. I am not attracted to girls because they look like me. Quite frankly, that's creepy (as is Donne's poem. The more you read it, the creepier it gets).

All that being said, I am glad I live in the age that I do. An age in which, yes, LGBT people still face horrible harassment and prejudice, but at least a time in which people are fighting for equal rights and recognizing that being gay is not "self flattery." An age in which Don't Ask, Don't Tell no longer exists. An age in which there is hope for great and positive change.

Monday, September 19, 2011

To Pee, Or Not To Pee?

It is the never-ending question in the queer community: to use the restroom, or to not use the restroom? For some of us, restrooms are a part of our daily lives. We go to the mall, drink 5 quarts of coffee, and pee every 10 minutes. For many of us queers, we mold our day around restroom use, dancing around with our legs crossed looking for the nearest family/handicapped restroom in the vicinity.

Restrooms are no place for a queer, or a perceived queer. Apparently, a heteronormative female is uncomfortable with a lesbian or transgender person entering the facilities. This is the place where she defecates and urinates into a porcelain bowl, washes her hands, and applies make-up. Rumors say that a grunting woman on a toilet tickles our fancy. I don’t know where they get this information. I don’t find myself standing on my tippy-toes to see every Martha Stewart fan pulling down their granny panties and letting one rip. I do find myself, however, being screamed at and threatened when I’m just trying to take a piss.

Unfortunately, there is also a lack of compassion for the environment. Toilets in public may be found clogged with used toilet paper and tampons. Sinks are full of hair and dirt. Spots of pee and puddles of water cover the tile. I would rather take a squat behind a dumpster and pee there. That would be much more sanitary.

Everybody poops, but not everyone has a place to poop. Awww.

On the flip side of the toilet paper, we can find relief in what public restrooms have to offer. Relief. Just walk in, ignore the wide-eyed women and screaming mothers, enter a stall, and pee. Curl your toes at that idea! If they call the manager, who cares? If you’ve got an I.D. to prove that you have a vagina, they have nothing on you. Behold, if you are further harassed, you can do the American thing and sue the queer-phobia out of those ignoramuses. It might make national news; therefore you’d be a martyr for the queer community and receive a lump sum of cash. Everybody poops, everybody wins!

I have never experienced this myself, but a public restroom is a popular place for hookups. Just dial that number on the side of the stall and Pat McButch will meet you there in no time, strapped up and ready to go. There’s an app for this, too. Type in your location and you will have people lining up at the door to get it on at the poop chair. If you use this app, comment below.

The choice is yours: to pee or not to pee. I choose not to pee. What about you? Let us know if you pee and why!