In this edition of 1-234-755-CHAT, a caller has expressed concern with being forced into a specific gender and sexual categorization by a friend. What’s a kid to do?
“I told my best friend that I’m a lesbian and she’s been very supportive of me. It’s great considering I was so scared she would stop being my friend. But I saw her recently with a group of friends and she kept joking that I ‘better be a hot dyke’ and to not ‘look like a lesbian’ since I am ‘so pretty.’ It annoyed the shit out of me since everyone kept laughing at what she was saying. Why is she doing this? Is it worth my time to confront her or should I just stop talking to her?”
When I was young, I got a lot of shit from everyone around me about my gender and sexuality. “Stop shaking your ass when you walk,” my mother would tell me and I would correct my rear enticing gait to something more subdued, something more manly. “Why don’t you have any boy friends?” my father would ask, pointing out that every friend of mine was of the opposite sex. The obvious subtext was that it is wrong to associate so closely with not-your-gender.
I was always annoyed as a child by this but tried my best to please them, always failing and succeeding to a certain extent. In college, a few friends gave me the same shit. Some would make fun of me for being so prissy and another repeatedly told me I needed to look more “manly” or else I was going to get made fun of. It was a constant barrage of attitude adjustment; yet, I was an adult.
The difference between my parents telling me to modify my behavior as a child and my friends telling me to modify my behavior as not-a-child is that I learned to make fun of myself, which backhandedly made fun of them in the process. “Girly?” I’d remark. “You think I’m girly? Well why don’t you finger my pussy.” I’d then try to grab a hand and put it to my dick, inevitably grossing them out. A less extreme example of this is playing up my girly walk or even wearing makeup: I made myself the butt of a joke in order to detract their dislikes. Mind you, I was straight at this time of my life yet I didn’t conform to what “straight” should be.
You’re experiencing something similar to what I experienced: gender discomfort and sexuality casting projected onto you by an other, by a “normal.” (Or at least someone who projects themselves as “normal.”) It sucks that they suck in this aspect of their thinking—but it isn’t the end of the world. As many have famously said, the thoughts of other people have little to do with you. “What other people think about me is none of my business,” RuPaul famously proclaimed years ago—and that absolutely is applicable here.
Your friend sees you as she has always seen you, I assume: a “straight girl” who is a bit alternative—but not a lesbian. Now that you are a lesbian, she is having trouble classifying you. “Are you a butch lesbian? Are you a feminine lesbian? Are you aggressive with your sexuality? Are you aggressive with your gender?”: this is what she is getting at. She accepts you for you, supporting you and your cause, but she now wants to know how she fits into your same sex attraction—and how others will perceive a “butch” girl in association with her “girly” self (I assume she’s “girly”).
Meet her pleas for answers with stoicism, with an “I am who I am.” mentality. Be you, accept their question, but don’t change yourself. Embrace whoever you are and kill so called gender conformists with kindness. Literally tell them this is you and, while you hear critiques, you are you. It is very difficult to keep your nose above naysaying but you must: reflect their insecurities back to them, bouncing it off of your self to them. They’ll eventually enjoy you as you are or fade away. Either way, it’s a win-win.
No one in your life should ever dictate how you conduct your gender or sexually: that is up to you.