Protected: I’m Not Rejecting My Femininity, I’m Embracing My Masculinity.

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“Why do you need more queer friends?”

The fact that you have to ask why answers your own question, but allow me to explain…

I need more queer friends because I’m finding it increasingly difficult to relate to all the straight, cis-gender people in my life.

I need more queer friends because I want to discuss gender and sexuality in ways that my straight, cis friends don’t and cannot understand.

I need more queer friends because I was stunned into silence when my straight cis female friend said, “When I see a man in a dress, I refer to him as ‘she,'” because clothing clearly is always a perfect indicator of gender.

I need more queer friends because I just get so damn frustrated when I’m talking to my best male friend, who has no experience of being queer in any way, and questions my experience so thoroughly that I feel like I’m being interrogated.

I need more queer friends because questioning your gender and sexuality is something queer people can understand.

I need more queer friends because I want some sense of community and belonging.

I need more queer friends because I am queer.

Coming Out Without “Coming Out”

My first crush was when I was in kindergarten, on a floppy-haired boy a little older than me with bright blue eyes. My crush after that lasted even longer, on another blue-eyed, blonde-haired boy I proceeded to go to school with until high school graduation.

My first crush on a girl was Liv Tyler. Being the Lord of the Rings fanatic I am, and growing up with a father who was the same, I saw all the movies in theaters and then watched them over and over again at home. I continued to, and still do, swoon over the dark-haired, blue-eyed women of the world.

When I was in elementary school I hoarded my mother’s JC Penney catalogues and ogled the women in the lingerie pictures with their plain white and beige bras. I can remember looking at girls in middle school as their bodies began to develop and breasts and hips grew in.

I had little crushes on girls in high school and knew that I liked girls more than most other females around me. Labels suddenly became a thing, and “bisexual” seemed fitting. I battled with these attractions and the label for years, going back and forth between straight and bisexual, denying my attractions, and never feeling comfortable with anything, really.

It wasn’t until college that I finally grew enough to begin accepting myself. All of my friends knew I liked girls as well as boys. This just happened. I never sat down with anyone and gave them a dribbling speech, I just was myself.

These days I use labels more so for the benefit of other people than myself. I am who I am. I like all genders. Labels like “bisexual” and “pansexual” and “queer” are umbrella terms that make it easier for people on the shitty dating websites I’m a part of to figure out what I’m about and if I like their gender, which I do. I identify as a person who likes people.

Again, I’ve never come out to anyone. My brother is the only family member I’ve talked to about it in length. I’ve tried with my parents, and they know, deep down, that I like women (and when on dates with a trans woman–scandalous!) but they seem like they’d rather not talk about it, so I don’t. I’m lucky enough to have a family that, while not entirely supportive, is indifferent. And this indifference allows me to be who I am.

In my day-to-day life there are moments in which I’ll subtly “come out” to someone I’m talking to, whether it be a coworker or a classmate. I’m unashamed at this point, and I am so happy about that. I struggled for a long time with the labels and the hiding of a segment of who I am, but no longer. I am also lucky to have such supportive and open-minded friends, and those friends don’t take those labels super seriously.

People who don’t fit into “gay” or “straight” have a lot of stigma to face. You’re not gay enough, you’re not straight enough. You don’t fit into a box society has set up for you because you’re all over the place. But for me, it’s always made more sense to like everyone, not just half the population.

I don’t think I’ll ever come out, at least not officially. Sometimes I’d like to, but my life is my own. The fact that I am attracted to all genders isn’t who I am. It’s not a solitary identifying factor. It’s just…a thing.

–Zara