Personal: Visibility Among Lesbians

Written by the butchelor

Topics: Personal

So, I hung out a couple of nights this week at a popular lesbian(ish) bar here in town, and wow… it really made me FEEL like a lesbian —err, rather, it’s reminded me that I LOOK like a lesbian (duh, right? I know… I mean, up until fairly recently** I’d been living my life as a lesbian, soooo… yeah, big shocker that I look like one.)

But **at some point over the course of the last three years I stopped thinking of myself as a being gay. A gay woman (ugh). Lesbian. Whatever…. much like being called “girl” – writing that just kinda feels oogy now.

Anyway, while hanging out there, I was obviously seen as female (I got she’d and her’d and yes, even the dreaded “girl”) a LOT, or maybe I was just hyper-aware of it being in that distinctly female space. And again, why wouldn’t I? Obviously when I hang out with lesbians, particularly other butch lesbians; I blend in, and it’s assumed that I’m just another butch lesbian. They have no reason to assume that I’m anything other than what (I’m assuming) they are…

I *think* that’s why it’s been so much easier for me (lately) to hang out in straight spaces and with straight people***… I’m not saying that I’m not still perceived as being a lesbian in straight bars. Clearly, in some ways it’s MORE obvious, but I ALSO think it increases odds (in a small, weird, way– maybe?) that I’ll be perceived –even just at a glance– as being male… or NOT female. Or, at least, I’m not constantly reminded that I look like a lesbian because the closest people I’m blending with are guys.

Does that even make sense?

I also find myself correcting (and outing myself as being genderqueer or even sometimes as being trans…!!!) moreso with straight people –even with strangers– than with lesbians. I don’t know why that is? But if I’d been at a straight bar last night and someone referred to me using female pronouns, I PROBABLY would’ve corrected them. “Uh, I’m not exactly a girl” – that’s been my go to line, lately – makes me feel better even if they don’t inquire about it… Last night I didn’t do that. I didn’t do it either night that I was there. It’s almost as though I feel more judged… more… insecure (?) about my transition within the lesbian community. Maybe because part of me feels like I’m abandoning them? Or maybe it’s my own internalized judgment? Internalized judgment from that part of me that lived over a decade as a butch lesbian? Or maybe I just don’t like to be reminded of that part right now…

Heh. Clearly that might be something I need to address in therapy 🙂

I’m not sure what ANY of this means, exactly, but I wanted to throw it all out there – just as a random thought.

I’m challenging myself to start posting *something* everyday or at the very least, a few times a week— and to try to stop worrying about my thoughts being complete and organized… ’cause honestly, hell, not much about me is EVER organized, period. Why should I worry about these “Personal:” category blog posts being organized? I think I need to do a little more stream of consciousness writing and see what happens… I hesitate to make all of those (rambling, nonsensical) posts public – so you might see some password protected stuff going up. If you’re really interested in reading all of my randomness – I’d be happy to send the password, just shoot me an email when/if that time comes.

I’ll also probably start a new category for those – just to keep it separate from the “Personal:” category = posts that I put some forethought into.

Ok, that’s enough rambling. I’d really intended this just to be a snippet… Ohhh well.

*** When I refer to groups of lesbians in the post I’m not talking about my group of close friends. While most of my BFFs would be labeled as “lesbians” by society’s standards — it just doesn’t fit for me. They have a category of their own. Even “gay” is better than “lesbian” for defining them… at any rate, they’re most certainly not the “groups of lesbians” that I talk about… they defy those labels in my mind and are definitely not included when I think about the “lesbian community” in that way. Not to mention the fact that I feel like I’m already seen the way I want to be seen (right now) by them – because, well, they’re my bffs. 🙂

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