A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the LGBTQ+ acronym, and the reasons why I think expanding the acronym serves to blur differences amongst identities that are actually quite vital and important. Since then, I’ve been thinking about a story I wish I’d told when I wrote that piece.
You may have noticed, if you read me regularly, that I talk an awful lot about dating men. I have written about at least a couple of ex-boyfriends, and I possess quite a few more than that. And yet, when I identify myself in these pages (and out in the world), I always call myself a “lesbian.” I rarely say “queer,” I occasionally say “gay.” I have never identified as bisexual. Even in the days when I’d begun tentatively dating women, I never once uttered the word “bi”. And the reasons were conscious and important. So I’ve realized that when I talked about identities and acronyms, I failed to address a crucial point – that identities are vital precisely because of what they say about our lives and our histories – and I’m living proof of that.
My early dating years were spent dating men exclusively – because that’s what you did as a girl in my home town. It’s what was available. It’s what the model was. Our lives and stories and televisions were filled with young women dating young men. Our houses were filled with mothers and grandmothers and cousins and aunts who had married men. Our churches and sex ed classes both spoke in exclusively straight terms. I called myself “straight” if I called myself anything at all, because “straight” was literally all I knew. Continue reading “What The Hell Am I?”