I do not feel ‘gay enough’

I do not feel gay enough.

This may sound like complete nonsense to some, but I know that there are plenty of LGBTQ inidividuals who have had this experience. Feeling as if they cannot fit into a section of the spectrum; that they are not gay enough, not masc or femme enough… just not enough. Today, I wish to share my experience to perhaps be the voice to someone else who is experiencing or has experienced what I have, to show that you are not alone.

When I first discovered my sexuality, I labelled myself as Bisexual, with this came the baggage of ‘you’re greedy’, ‘why not choose one?’ and being erased by not only the straight community but the LGBTQ community too. I felt as if I didn’t fit the criteria of being bisexual which started when I began to flirt and hit on girls but they always misread my courtship, thinking I was being just another friendly girl rather than trying to secure a date. I felt as if I didn’t give off a gay vibe, I felt too straight. I didn’t fit into the stereotypes of lesbian (masc or femme) – during this point in my life I had also cut my hair off due to alopecia and was styling a pixie cut. This added more frustration to the mix, I felt as if my hair identified as a sexuality- it was a bright blue pixie cut for heaven’s sake- but I still had no luck with girls. This sounds crazy now when I look back on it, but being an 18 year old girl trying to figure out her sxuality whilst also struggling with identitiy issues caused by her appearance, I felt that I had to conform to a stereotype to be seen as part of the LGBTQ community.

I used to also think- what defines gay? Is it a clothing style or a lifestyle? Do I have to be a certain type of person to be gay? Do I have to be vegetarian and a man-hater? I think the issue is that stereotypes are what people gravitate to when they have little knowledge about an individual. For myself, I gravitated to these stereotypes as I had no one close to me that was openly gay. However, even now, is there a stereotype for the bisexual girl? Does she always have brightly coloured hair, wear vans and skater skirts or is a vegan wearing thrifted leather? These are still questions I ask myself and to this day I still do not feel gay enough! Girls still think I’m straight and never even ask my sexuality, but I’ve learnt to just accept the person that I am without the need to validate it through others. Yes, that is extremely hard when you are trying to pick a girl up BUT I have learnt to love myself enough to not worry if I look gay enough or if I fit into the spectrum.

One thing that I think also made this erasure from the LGBTQ community was the fact that my coming out felt extremely emotional to me. I was terrified to tell my family, to this day I know they would never have been mad at me for loving whoever I love, however something made the coming out experience so daunting. I have never felt that anxious yet so light and free at the same time, which then made being seen as a straight girl hard for me. As if I had worked on coming out to the people I hold dearest, yet when I tried to join the community that I had fought hard to get into, I was pushed aside and therefore wasn’t accepted by my own kind. I felt abandoned by the very people I wished to love. Yes, I am not saying every single person I encounter sees me as a straight girl but 9 times out of ten I receive the ‘oh really’ face whenever I mention my sexuality, followed by a ‘well you’re a literature student so it makes sense!’ As if that justifies my sexuality more than the words coming out of my mouth and that where the real issue lies, that people do not believe it when I tell them or they play it off.

When I was younger, I would google quizzes titled ‘how gay am i?’ or read articles on how to tell if a girl is gay just so I knew what people were looking for in me. I looked over some articles for this very one and it is shocking to see the things they suggest you say or do to figure out if a girl is gay;

  1. Question her previous relationships- ask for her partners names specifically
  2. You come out and see how they react
  3. Observe how they talk about their exes
  4. Do they look back at you when they walk away
  5. Nail length
  6. Does she wear menswear
  7. Hairstyle and colour
  8. Body modifications- stereotypically eyebrow piercings

…These made me giggle because some are outright hilarious whilst others are things I generally tried to do when I was trying to showcase my sexuality like a peacock, trying to find my mate through my colourful dyed hair, my body piercings and tattoos and my masc clothing choices. Now, I wear what feels comfortable and I have a much simpler look- which I love!

All I can really end this article on is that it will take time for you to find yourself, you will go through phrases and styles but never lose touch of the true self. You are gay enough and do not need to wear a rainbow everywhere, holding a sign saying, ‘I AM GAY’. You can be you without needing to be justified by anyone else, only by yourself and acceptance from your family, friends and lovers.

 

You are not alone:

helpline@lgbt.foundation

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