Thought I'd start some conversation here around the differences and the need for community.
A lot of the time, it can feel like what you need to have to have some queer community is a sexual and/or romantic partner, even though that isn't often all we need, and also often won't cover all we need as queer people. It can also be easy to think that if we have a partner, we won't feel a need for queer friends or community anymore, even though that's also rarely so.
Have any of you dealt with that at all? Found it harder or easier to find friends and queer family, as it were, versus romantic and/or sexual partners? Made the rookie mistake so many of us do in seeking out partners when what you really needed and wanted was community?
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 67076 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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I think that when you have a partner, the need for queer community and friends is almost greater than when you're single. When I dated a girl while neither of us were very out or had many/any queer friends, it was pretty stressful..like, who are you supposed to talk to when it's going wrong? What if your straight friends don't quite understand? It makes you more vulnerable.
I think finding partners and finding friends/family are both hard. For me, it often involves really getting out of my comfort zone, going to events by myself, introducing myself to (very nice) strangers. Once you meet a few people, it's definitely easier to meet others through them though. I feel that once I have more of a community, I'll make a calmer,happier, more secure partner for someone. Well, that's what I hope, anyway.
Hmm, don't know if this is exactly addressing the question, but I've had trouble finding/having that community thing. As someone who gets read as female, and who currently has a male partner, I have felt very unwelcome in LGBT spaces (though I am primarily attracted to female- or genderqueer-identifying people). I have experienced biphobia in those spaces anyway, even when I had no partner, but I feel that I simply can't have that community when I have a male partner, which makes me pretty sad, because it's something I'd love to have.
Just to be clear, I don't mean that I go to LGBT spaces/events with my partner, just that if I do go I don't feel I can mention having a male partner, or that it's easier just to stay away from LGBT things altogether so I don't have to justify myself or prove that I'm queer enough to be there.
Because I live so much inside my own head, I find that internet message boards like this one answer my need for a queer community very well; better, indeed, than real-life people, because I am so intensely shy and find expressing myself on the Internet far easier than doing so in person. Then again, I could hardly be in a queer community when I have never come remotely close to so much as holding hands, let alone having a partner. Anyway, pretty much all the people I have loved and wanted to be around have been straight, except for a gay friend in high school. Perhaps I just fit in better with open-minded straight people in real life. But I realise I must be atypical in this.
Posts: 170 | From: UK | Registered: Mar 2011
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quote: I think that when you have a partner, the need for queer community and friends is almost greater than when you're single.
I agree. I have alot of straight friends who accept me but I don't feel as comfortable talking to them about my relationship because most of them dont understand so i feel as if i need a community or more queer friends. When your single you still have a need for queer friends but not as strong as when you are with a partner.
Posts: 4 | From: USA | Registered: Apr 2011
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Yeah I would have to agree with eryn_smiles. It seems that whenever I'm romantically or sexually interested in someone, I find myself needing someone to talk to--which can be a problem in high school, esp. when all your friends are straight . The few opportunities I have had to talk to GLBT individuals about my desires have been awesome. It's like, because they share a similar background, they can give opinions and advice 1000 times faster than I can get my straight friends to; its like I have to put the gist of what I'm feeling through iron mesh so that they can relate. I'd almost liken it to talking to someone who has taken a course from the same teacher as you: you can immediately share impressions of the teacher without explaining the mental processes that go into forming an opinion of the teacher, and you feel free to celebrate your common understanding and experiences. I'd almost argue that one might need community at time independently of relationship status, but who you are and in what stage of life you are at (some are worse than others).
Posts: 25 | From: Kansas, USA | Registered: Jun 2010
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