You Don’t Look Gay
“Are you sure?” “You don’t look gay.” Man, if I had a dollar for every time I have heard something like this, I’d be living in L.A., best friends with Kim Kardashian. Now, I know I’m not the poster child for all things girly, but apparently, I’m not “butch-looking” enough to be seen as gay. I was surprised considering the number of flannels and jean jackets I own!
Now? I am proud of who I am, but when you are 13, you just want to be “normal.” So, I decided I wasn’t gay; I liked boys and I had boyfriends. When this didn’t work, I told everyone I was bisexual —still “somewhat normal” in other people’s eyes — a good compromise. Sadly, I knew I was hiding my true self, trying to shove the gay 13-year-old me into the closet where I thought she belonged. When I had finally hated myself long enough, I decided I would not care what anyone else thought and I dropped the straight act. I told my mom, who may still think I’m kidding, and honoured my coming out by getting the requisite shaved haircut and dating almost every other lesbian I could find.
Yet here I am, not gay enough! When someone first suggested that I just didn’t “seem” or look gay, I was frustrated! Did I shave my head for nothing? I come out to everyone in my life, and still don’t get the stamp of approval?! I was shocked to discover that even other lesbians used stereotypes, created by straight people in the media against other lesbians.
I was forced into a box of unrealistic expectations, plans for the future, and gender norms on the day I was born. When I “came out” I thought I was breaking out of that box; turns out I was just placed into another one filled with ideas on how I should look to be accepted.
When you hear the word “lesbian” you probably picture the stereotype created by the media, and we all know how pervasive media stereotypes can be. Even I have fallen into the trap. When a beauty and lifestyle blogger I really liked, Ingrid Nilsen, uploaded a video coming out as a lesbian, I was shocked! Far too pretty and girly to be a lesbian, I thought! I assumed she was straight.
Surprise! Lesbians come in all shapes and colours, just like all other human beings. Nilsen talks about how hard it was to hide her true self, and I understand that. There is freedom in being who you truly are and showing that face to the world, no matter what it looks like!