Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coming Out - Stereotypes (Part One)

Hello crowd, it's Amber again. I've had a bit of trouble being able to write due to family drama and partially a lack of ideas. Here's a long, two-part post to making up for missing out on my chance to write last week!

Other writers here have mentioned self-acceptance, self-expression, their parents, their families, and a lot of self-searching. I intend to go along the same veins and ideas. Our generation (those of us in our twenties) have been served the most expressive and connected technology that mankind has known up to this point. It has caused more drama and more chances for self-expression than what we could ever imagine. It's also caused the need for careful wording and even more subtle nuances. Today, I wanted to write about when I lost a job and separately, nearly being homeless due to my bisexuality. However, I have friends and family who read this blog. I will not speak of those situations here until the causes behind the latter event are settled. Despite all of my attempts for careful wording, I couldn't write out what happened without harming someone else in the process of my writing. Even seven years later, that issue has not been resolved, and I apologize to the readers here for addressing the topic so vaguely.

I realized one trend that ran between both of those events. If you are LGBTQA-etc, you will always have the option of coming out of the closet in every situation that you are in. You will have the option of letting any new acquaintances know about your identity for whatever reasons you choose. Who of you feels the need to express your identity? (a rhetorical question--we all do to some extent!) If you are part of the non-heterosexual communities, you are very likely to get bored of people asking the same, mundane, hum-drum, ignorant and awkward questions that are going to make you want to stab everyone's eyes out.

Depending on how you present yourself visually and in your words, you'll have a different range of responses for your sexuality. Sticking to the stereotypes decreases the amount of questions you'll get. I realized this about a year ago and thought: "Ah! That's why so many people try so hard to fit in with the conventions and the stereotypes of whatever sexual type they are!" It gets you less questions, it defines you more easily, and it gets you laid more easily, to put it bluntly. For people coming out of the closet, there is the rumored period of second adolescence, where the world is a candy store again and you pursue this new wonderland of attractive people that were in front of your eyes the whole time--but you never could get yourself to think that you could date them or love them like you wanted to.

Being the individualist that I am, I have a pretty big problem with the idea that I need to conform to a social stereotype in order to get laid or get intimacy or find a partner that I would spend the rest of my life with. It drives me insane to think that I would have to change myself so drastically just to explore. When I first tried looking around in dating girls, I got a lot of almost uppity comments that merely reflected the insecurity of their creators. I've heard these exact two sentences from more than eight different lesbians on these topics:
"You can't be a real lesbian if you don't--" / "Don't even talk to me if you don't--"
  1. Watch Skins.
  2. Watch The L Word.
  3. Listen to Tegan and Sara.
  4. Love hummus.
  5. Love cats!
  6. Hang onto a label (such as butch, lipstick, diesel, stud, femme, blue jean femme, etc) seemingly FOR DEAR LIFE. 
  7. Eat a vegan/gluten-free diet.
While I stop there in my list of what seemingly may be my own version of the lesbian ten commandments, I want to add that I see nothing wrong with these things. I love hummus and vegetarian food. Cats can be adorable, but I'm allergic to them and I prefer dogs. What gets me is when I'm dropped off at my apartment and I'm told, "Call me when you've listened to all of Tegan and Sara."

"Because Tegan and Sara help me so much in loving you as a person?" I wondered inwardly.

As she drove off, I realized, "Well...it is something she cares about and enjoys. It would be nice to share that with her." However, this comic strip puts it into perfect words and points for me. Nearly all I could see in that girl for the five hours that I was with her was that she didn't care much for anything that didn't scream LESBIAN, and that she didn't like that I wasn't the same way.

When you know that you're looking for love, and not just sex, don't fall into the trap that who you are is who you want to have sex with. I say it harshly and with all of the points above (sarcasm included) because I have seen so many people fall into it. Sex won't fill all the parts of yourself that you want comforted if you're scared and alone. It sure will help--but it won't fulfill you as a person, not in my experience. I have no problem with people being really flamboyant or following the stereotypes if that's who they are. I would encourage people to go through their own process in finding their sexuality, finding out who they are, and what they love. Please find what you love, what you stand for, and who you are and what you want to be. People will love you for all those things as long as you're honest with yourself. If you have fallen into that trap (which I have,) I'd say just to keep on evaluating who you are, what you feel, and what you want to be. Keep trying to be you and more because (pardon the overworked phrase) you love yourself.

To finish this part of my points on having to constantly come out, this video tells it all. I'm a big fan of Tyler Perry/Madea, so you'll probably see more clips of him/her again.


1 comment:

  1. Awesome post.
    I love the comic strip and totally agree with the stereotype stuff--it's ridiculous.

    That Madea video is FANTASTIC! thanks for sharing.

    Great point about sex--love means so much more than sex.

    I'm sorry that you had such a hard time with things. That really sucks, but I'm glad you're sharing your perspective because it needs to be known.

    And just for the record, I LOVE Tegan and Sara. But that was before I knew they were lesbian and even before I fully came out and learned that it's one of those stereotypical things...They're just good artists. :)