Reloading the Label Gun

Guest post by Conar.

Coming out of the closet. Almost universally part of the LGBTQ+ experience. Whether it’s your entire collection of Facebook friends, your immediate family, or just one trusted confidant, most of us have had that experience of finally opening up to someone about an important part of our identity. And it’s usually a rather harrowing experience, at that. Even if those you are confiding in react well, building up the nerve to reveal something about yourself that is still often looked down on, even hated, and for many of us, not even considered to be a “real” orientation or identity, can be a nigh-on Herculean task. Continue reading “Reloading the Label Gun”

For The Love of Straight Women

(Originally posted on November 29, 2012 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I am a Scorpio.

Aside from being darkly charismatic and smoldering with sexual magnetism (ha!), we Scorpios are known for being secretive. I’ve been secretive for as long as I can remember, even when it came to small, inconsequential details. I always felt like my thoughts and feelings were things I needed to protect from the world. I preferred to keep them safe in my head and heart, where I knew they would be understood instead of questioned or judged.

I am also a lesbian, and no stranger to the closet. As of this writing, I’m still not out to the majority of my coworkers. It’s not that I wouldn’t admit the truth if asked. It’s just that I have always felt more at ease when my innermost thoughts were under wraps. Continue reading “For The Love of Straight Women”

The Same-Sex Choice

“Many lesbians and gay men believe that bisexuals have less commitment to “the community”, and that whatever a lesbian or gay man might have to offer to their bisexual partner will not be enough to outweigh the external benefits offered to those who are in heterosexual relationships. […] What gets lost in the fear is the fact that same-sex relationships also offer benefits not available in heterosexual relationships: the absence of scripted gender roles, freedom from unwanted pregnancy, the ease of being with someone with more similar social conditioning, and so on.”

Robyn Ochs, “Biphobia”

From Getting Bi, Second Edition.

I’m sure part of me will always be suspicious of my queerness. Since my wife has been the only woman I’ve been in a relationship with, when I think of dating women vs. men, something makes me pause and wonder if it’s women, or just Mo. But then I remind myself that gender is a huge part of someone’s identity, so it’s impossible to look at it as women or Mo.

Either way, the selection above from Robyn Ochs’ piece really hit me.

While not really an activist in my feminism, I am nonetheless staunchly feminist with regards to my life. In all my dealings with men – family, friends, lovers – I have always felt the need to prove myself as equal. I had to be just as tough, just as strong, just as handy. My father frequently told me as I grew up that he wanted me to be able to get through life not needing a man for anything; not to house me, not to pay my bills, not to fix my car. This became my mantra for life: not needing a man. Anything a man could do, I could do just as well, if not better. My older brother fueled my competitive drive. Dressing more and more masculine as I entered high school, I veered towards sports like Taekwon-do, archery, and cycling. I refused anything pink, wore mostly men’s clothing, and started an almost annual tradition of chopping my long hair off. Continue reading “The Same-Sex Choice”

Flaming the (Buffy) Fan

Before the days of Facebook and MySpace, back when the Internet was a shiny new novelty, we had something called mailing lists. This was where fans of a particular television show, or more specifically, a particular character, could come together to nerd out. You would address the group with an email, and other members could answer you directly or also address the group.

I was a huge Buffy fan back in the day. I was the same age as the main characters; we graduated high school together. They helped me feel less alone at a pretty lonely, confusing time in my life. So when the Internet became a thing, I was drawn to like-minded people that I could talk and joke and bond over the show with.

The first group I joined was based around the character of Spike, a cocky British vampire with cheekbones that could cut glass. He was the typical bad boy villain; brash and sarcastic, long leather duster hugging his athletic body. He was definitely a favourite of mine. I joined the group (strictly female members if I remember correctly) in celebrating his sexiness and gushing over how hot and doable he was. At the time, I thought I meant it. Continue reading “Flaming the (Buffy) Fan”

#MLU – The Town That I Come From

I come from the land of Duck Dynasty.

Not the same city, exactly, but the same idea – the same roots. I grew up in South Louisiana, but my mother’s roots were planted in the same ground as Miss Kay Robertson, the matriarch of the bearded boys who rake in dollars for A&E. Miss Kay’s family ran a store in the tiny town where my grandparents’ parents ran farms and (*sigh*) plantations. My mother went to college in Monroe, LA and my grandparents taught in the North Louisiana school system their entire lives.

I have the stamp of the Deep White Shameful South all over me, is what I’m saying. And while I have never shaken the hand of a Robertson, I might as well be a family member. My mom’s cousins (whom I call my aunts, because it’s the South and everyone’s your aunt) are all big breasted laughing crying praying women who love their children and rule their kitchens. My cousins fish the lakes, grow out their scraggly beards, and run just short of trouble most of the time. They hunt with Robertson duck calls. They have babies and take those babies to church. They tease me for being the egghead with the academic father who moved us to the city and forgot how to fish. They pray faithfully to the pastel Jesus in the paintings, the one from Sunday school, the one who expects you to show up to service two days a week with your shoes shined and the dirt washed off your mouth.

The one who would turn me out of his heart and his house for being gay. That pastel Jesus. Continue reading “#MLU – The Town That I Come From”

Quietly Queer

About a week ago, my grandma called me. We barely got through the pleasantries before she started to cry, and thanked me for the card that I had sent her. When she told me that she wasn’t sure that she “deserved all that,” I immediately started to choke up, too. I had sent her a Mother’s Day card on a whim, just to tell her that I loved her and was inspired by her. I’d barely even thought about it. But to grandma, it meant the world. This is the kind of relationship my grandmother and I have. It really is something special, something that I struggle to put into words.

When I lived in Edmonton for a couple of years, I had a lot of trouble with housing arrangements, and ended up living with my maternal grandparents for most of my time there. It was hard, in the beginning, but as I matured and we got used to each other, it became intensely positive. We would all go on little dinner and ice cream dates, sit out on the deck and chat, eat slices of apple before bed. She would hold me when I was crying, help me when I was in crisis, and make me laugh every day. We became dear, dear friends. The entire time, I was keeping a secret. Continue reading “Quietly Queer”

Flowers at Work

I used to work at a sign shop. I spent nearly five years there before deciding to walk away. For the bulk of that time, I worked with a woman named Barb.

I was single during my first two years with the company. I wasn’t closeted in my personal life, but my gayness hadn’t really come up at work, because why would it? I had told a person or two, but most of my coworkers weren’t aware of my orientation – not for certain, anyway. Barb was no exception.

Kate and I started dating in late 2013. Because she’s the wooing sort, she used to send little treats to me at work now and then. She was sly about it, too. The very first time she brought me something, she slipped out before I even knew she’d been there. Our new receptionist brought a cup of Tim Horton’s hot chocolate to my desk. With it, she delivered one of Kate’s business cards, with the command “Enjoy!” neatly printed on it. Continue reading “Flowers at Work”

A Wife By Any Other Name

It seems to me, especially given my own experience, that women can get away with homoerotic behaviours far more than men can. Before – and since – coming out, I’ve made comments about my attraction to women and have had it accepted without the batting of a single eye. Many women talk about their female friends as girlfriends in a completely platonic fashion. Even confessed crushes have been brushed aside with nonchalant waves; intense feelings of attraction towards women apparently being a common occurrence amongst even the straightest of women. Continue reading “A Wife By Any Other Name”

Butch? Please.

(Originally posted on October 25, 2012 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I’ve lived in Edmonton on and off for the past nine years. I’ve been a lesbian the entire time. But it’s only been six months since I officially joined Edmonton’s queer community. One random day in April, I decided enough was enough and I (cautiously) marched into the Pride Centre for a Women’s Social Circle dessert potluck. It was an intimidating but worthwhile experience. I met a lot of gay women that night, and I have met many more since then.

I consider my gaydar to be decent. Had I met these women under different circumstances, my rainbow alarm would have gone off for at least half. I am sure most people would agree with me when I say that the butchy lesbian is the most visible. She fits the stereotype we’ve all been taught to watch for… short hair, boy clothes, no makeup, no airs. She is easy to spot. Continue reading “Butch? Please.”

Complex Queerness and Imposter Syndrome

Guest post by Kristi.

When I was eleven, my best friend, Jane*, and I—both assigned female and sticking with it—spent our summers acting out the adventures of two characters we’d created. We rode our bikes around our neighborhood, shouting to each other what our characters were saying and doing. We fought and killed all the bad guys we stole shamelessly from our favorite TV shows. Our characters were elves who fought wizards and used magic; it was more or less cute, childish LARPing. The whole thing was the best send-up of the fantasy genre two children could improvise, and the stories always followed an unambitious pattern: travel together, see cool places, fight monsters, retire to a lake (Jane’s pool).

At some point, though, the story changed. I’d started experiencing non-platonic attraction to my female friend, and it bled into our shared fiction.  My feelings were confusing, but I was young and hormonal; I not-so-subtly manipulated the story in favor of our characters sharing a kiss. Continue reading “Complex Queerness and Imposter Syndrome”