ON SOCIAL: DATING WHILE QUEER
MOB, everyday on Twitter we see what you have to say on politics and the latest Kanye fuckery... and because of that, we want to give your opinions a platform! In honor of your voice, we'll be doing a monthly piece where we'll ask you to send us your opinions/experiences pertaining to a specific subject.
Since it's PRIDE month, we asked you to tell us what it's like to date as a Queer person.
Lets see what you had to say in the first "ON SOCIAL" post:
As we sit in LGBTQ+ Pride month, my mind has me going back in time to when I stopped ignoring my feelings for women because of the religious household I grew up in and began to stretch my exploration of self and sexuality even more. I was in my early 20s, dealing with school, family drama, maintaining friendships, meeting new people, and not only knowing, but accepting myself and professing it to the world, especially to my family. I was already the artsy and weird, outlandish young woman, who left her father’s church at 18 years old, and chose “the world over Christ” as my mother made me choose because I “couldn’t have my feet in both worlds”. I always felt like I never fitted into any group, or idea I’ve learnt and been a part of. I didn’t even feel like I fitted into my family, always labeling myself “The 7th Child, The Odd Man Out”. I was an “Other” even before it became a fad. When it came to romantic relationships in my early 20s, I was expressing and experiencing non-traditional relationships. I knew since high school I wasn’t into monogamy, but didn't know what to call it until after I graduated. I am Polyamorous. With Polyamory and sexual freedom, I began to explore my love for women and gender benders out there. I also began to feel in my skin! But I knew there was something left to do in order to completely embrace myself and to solidify these feelings. I needed to be in a actual serious relationship with a woman to make sure this wasn’t me rebelling, or experimenting, or in a “phase” like some people love to call it. I told myself, “Don’t come out until you have been in something beyond friendship and casual sex with women. Come out when you’ve experienced something substantial and serious.” Something within me gave me the permission I needed, and I went for it!
I had friends in Philadelphia who were queer, but none in New York City at the time. I went out to Philly to hang out with them and hit their Gayborhood almost bi-monthly to the point where I knew the party hosts, DJs, and made more friends out there. I also had some hookups out there. I mean, why not? But going back and forth to Philadelphia as a full-time student and freelance artist got expensive, a bit stagnant, and more importantly it made it hard to really maintain a long distance relationship. So I wanted and needed to build a community like that in my city! My best friend at the time was as experimental as I was, so she followed me to some queer events I wanted to go to. I not only met some folks out through those events, but the internet helped as well! From dating sites, to event postings, and the likes, I began to make queer friends in my own city, even bringing my Philly friends out to events when they visited. I was happy to build the community I originally had in Philadelphia here in NYC. During this time, when I found my queer footing in NYC, I ended the open relationship I was in with a man, which gave me much freedom, but had become a bit toxic. After that break up, I took a break from socializing and made time to focus on myself... but eventually I made my way out of the mourning of the relationship and through the love of my friendships found my way to someone special.
One night during Pride, I went to one of the oldest standing lesbian venues in Green Village (a.k.a, The Village), with a friend of mine. As soon as I walked into the venue, rushing to go to the restroom, I locked eyes with her. First I said to myself, “what is she looking at?” with a bit of a side-eye (natural reaction when I’m being stared down), but I couldn’t pay too much mind, I needed to use the restroom immediately! When I got back out onto the dance floor where I found my friend, at almost every turn I made in that very small space I saw the same girl staring at me, but she said nothing. When I was near the cage area (the cage doesn’t exist anymore--bummer!), standing to take a break from dancing, there she was, standing directly in front of me with her back towards me. I ignored it and told myself, “I’m not saying anything, she can make the first move since she wants to stare me down all night!”. Seconds later, she reached from behind her with her hand. She thought my friend was my girlfriend! Which was why she was hesitant to approach me, and after we cleared that information up, we exchanged numbers. I found her subtle, but creep-like approach cute (ha!). I thought of her as being shy and low-key, and I was open to getting to know her and keeping it casual.
After weeks of talking and spending some time together at all the queer events I knew and wanted to check out, our bond really blossomed. There was a lot of laughter, being silly, sexual tension, flirtation and a natural vibes within our dynamic. I felt as if I could be full myself without judgement from her. Which made me like her even more! I wanted to make her my girlfriend, or at the time, my Primary since I was practicing Polyamory. She was more of a slow burner, she wanted to take her time with things, and didn’t want to rush into a commitment yet. But for me I wanted to draw some boundaries, and use labels, even if they were labels we created ourselves, to know where we stood. I wanted not only to practice Polyamory, but to officialize my first lesbian relationship. And after weeks of talking things through, we did. We were together for maybe 6 months or so before things to got too shaky, when communication began to get clogged up and patchy or completely silent, and actions began to change... I couldn’t stand for it, the way I function is that if there’s no mutuality to want to fix what’s breaking, a breakup needs to happen. So we broke up.
We broke up and didn’t speak for about a year. I saw her once and reached out to talk about what had happened that had led us to breaking up, and surprisingly, after that conversation provided us closure, we were able to be friends! My experience with her was about 9 to 10 years ago. Looking past lust with her opened many doors to a lot of other experiences. A lot of self-learning, and self-accepting, a lot of self-reflection and self-expression that allowed me to grow. It was what brought me to come out fully to everyone who was curious, especially my family. It was the push I needed to stand in my sexuality and stop burying it just to fit into the ideas and world I had at home that never quite suited me.
Today I stand a decade in as Queer and Proud! And I hope my story gives you confidence you might need to go on your own.
There was a time in my life where identity meant everything to me, and I don’t mean how I saw myself. The way the public described me was the only thing I thought about, the label that I wore meant something. I knew when I was about 15 that I liked girls, it was something that just was. It wasn’t some massive life changing event for me, my heart just knew that I liked the same sex. I didn’t overthink it or question myself about it, because it came so naturally to me. I hadn’t publicly been with women, nor had I come out to the people around me. I didn’t know whether or not to call myself bisexual or lesbian, because truthfully I didn’t find common ground with either label. I was so scared of people not accepting my love that I settled for lesbian, and became an entire new identity. I was this rainbow wearing, proud, The L-Word obsessed lesbian, and no one could call me anything different. Even though I was/am very much attracted to men. When I decided on that label, I was at the time in love with a woman. Someone who I honestly thought I was going to be with forever, but that’s what young love is right? Hopeful, dramatic, full of growing moments in our lives and for me, I chose the label lesbian because that meant I was forever going to love this woman. Which in hindsight wasn’t the most logical thought process but I was young, so whatever! When that relationship ended, I found my life hitting a rough patch because without her, who was I?
Figuring out my place underneath the LGBTQ+ umbrella became a life project for me. How can I still identify as a lesbian, but not connect with the term. In my early twenties, thanks to Tumblr and endless amounts of research. I discovered the term Pansexual and it seemed to fit me a lot better than lesbian did. I was someone who chose to date freely regardless of the sexual orientation of my partner(s). Eventually though, Pansexual didn’t settle with my spirit anymore. As I evolved in life so did my sexual identity. It hit me when I took a 9-month long sabbatical in the PNW, that sexual identity changes because it can. I discovered that I no longer wanted to even have a sexual identity. Why? So I could constantly panic every time someone asked me what I am? The pressure to describe my love was a huge pivotal moment in my life. When I realized that I didn’t have to label myself for societies standards, I felt a weight lift off of me. How I love and who I love is my business, it’s whatever I choose to go by at that time in my life. I find comfort in the multiple labels that I have, but I also understand my fluidity.
The thing when it comes to love is this; love who YOU want to. Own your label(s) or lack thereof and be happy! Pride month is about celebrating truth, and yours! Take it from me, the sexually fluid, pansexual lesbian witch! If the attraction is mutual (and CONSENSUAL) fall in love as many times as you need to. Life is entirely too short to be afraid of what your heart calls for. Love yourself and each other.
illustration post by isabelle feliu