T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 69659
posted 06-26-2011 06:38 PM
Hi! I'm new (although I'm a long time fan of the site)and I've only read a couple posts, so if I'm doing something wrong feel free to yell at me.
Now to the problem: I know that sexuality can be fluid and mine definitely is, but if I take a step back and look at the history of my sexuality it seems to be flowing in one direction. Ever since I realized that I wasn't exactly straight (and probably even before that) it seems my same-sex attraction has been steadily increasing while my opposite-sex attraction has been decreasing, AND THIS SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME. It took me a long time to recognize my same-sex attraction for what it was and I did go through a period of denial, but eventually I accepted it. At first it was new and exciting, and I even had fun with it, but back then I was more attracted to guys and only slightly attracted to girls. Now, I'm pretty much indifferent to guys and very strongly attracted to girls, and its not fun anymore. It scares me even. Kinsey scale-wise I think I started at 0 now I'm about a 4 or 5. I think in time I'll be completely 100% lesbian and that's what scares me. And I feel like a huge hypocrite because I have been active in the gay rights movement, and I go to pride with my best friend every year, and I'm the girl my family and friends know they have to watch what they say around because they will get a lecture. I've given advice to people I know struggling with their own sexuality and I think I know a lot about the subject, and yet I'm doing things I would never tell someone in my situation to do. Most of my family and friends are kind of homophobic (not in a hating gay ppl way, but in actually afraid of gay ppl way), but I could deal with them before because I thought if I educated them they would get over it, but I'm not sure if it has worked. I really can't see myself ever telling them about this, just thinking about it is terrifying. My mom thinks it's disgusting (the things she said about my best friend when she found out about him) and I really don't want her to think of me like that. My girl friends think that all lesbians want to have sex with them (despite how many times I tell them this is ridiculous), so telling them is out of the question. I feel like the biggest hypocrite and just all around a-hole, because now I'm saying "It's ok for you to be gay, but not ok for me." And I wish I hadn't come out to the few people I did come out to, because now they won't let me go back in to the closet, and things get really awkward and uncomfortable around these people so I've been avoiding them a little bit lately. I know this is not healthy or fair to them. I wish I could go back to that time when I was blissfully unaware of my same-sex attraction or at least back to the time when I was attracted to men and women equally, because I could still handle the situation. Now my younger sister has a super obvious, totally adorable crush on female rapper, Nicki Minaj, and at first I wanted to say something to her about it; tell her that it was ok and all that good stuff. But now I don't feel like I have the right to. Also, I don't want to say anything to her because she is one of the few people I came out to a long time ago and I'm pretty sure the conversation would end up back there and I really don't want to deal with that. I don't even think there was a question in all this, but any comments or advice would be nice.
Member # 3
posted 06-26-2011 06:58 PM
I don't think you're being a hypocrite, and I think you're being much too hard on yourself.
Being accepting of others can be easier than being accepting of ourselves, whether it's about sexuality or something else. And being accepting doesn't mean not feeling scared. Can you see that those things aren't about being hypocritcal or about being a jerk? I can certainly understand why, with some of the things you've mentioned here, you might be feeling the way that you are. Mind, you can't control other people's bias. For sure, I get not wanting to be impacted by it or to have to deal with it, and you get to choose who you're out to in terms of where you're at right now, even if that is no one at all. However, it sounds like you could also use some people who don't think the kinds of things your Mom and girlfriends do. Do you have other people you can talk to, honestly, to seek out support from? I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time with this, NightWalker. Want to talk some more about the things you're scared of and about what you think you might need right now to feel more okay about yourself and your orientation?
Member # 69659
posted 06-26-2011 08:12 PM
Well that's good to hear, because I really think that I'm being hypocritical and I hate hypocrites. I think I see your point, though.
I know that not everyone thinks the way they do, and I know the things they believe are completely ridiculous, but I can't help being affected by the things they say. The only person I could talk to would be my best friend and I have talked to him about this, but he's all out and proud and he wants me to be too. He's one of the people that I came out to before who won't let me go back into the closet. I get really uncomfortable around him. We haven't really been talking much lately because of this. I'm most afraid of losing my family and friends over this. I know my best friend will always be there and one of my sisters I'm sure wouldn't care, but the rest of my family and friends I'm not sure of. I'm afraid that even if I don't lose them things will be different between us, and I don't want that. I don't like the idea of strangers judging me if they knew. I never used to worry about this stuff because I just figured when it was time for me to settle down, it'd be with a guy. Now, this seems highly unlikely. I really don't know what it would take for me to be okay with this. Thanks for listening, Heather.
Member # 3
posted 06-26-2011 08:23 PM
I don't think it's ever fair to expect any of us to be unaffected by bias, bigotry or ignorance that is about us. In fact, if and when people aren't at all impacted, at all, then it's sound to worry about if they've internalized things like that so much that they have been worn down to...well, kind of nothing, you know?
Do you want some help in talking to your best friend about this so you can get the kind of support you need? It's possible he just doesn't realize that the way he's reacting makes you feel worse instead of better. You know, I'll tell you, as someone now in my forties who has dealt with queer bias for over 20 years, it's so, so frustrating to still have so much of it around. It's gotten better bit by bit, sure, but I so wish that for all of us, especially young people, it was just plain gone. But knowing that racism and sexism are still very pervasive, and those battles have been being fought more largely for even longer, I know that's a lot to wish for. One thing I think might help is to know there's no way any of us can be to avoid people's judgment. In other words, if we aren't judged for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or otherwise queer, we'd be judged around heterosexuality in plenty of ways. or, if we weren't being judged around orientation, we would be around gender or our age or how we look or how we speak or what our income is or... you get the picture. The point is that there is no way to be to escape that judgment, even if in some groups, with some people, some ways of being will involve less judgment. So, that's something you might want to think about. Something else to remember, I think, is that the only way we know people truly unlearn bias is by personal relationships with others around whom they have bias. All the PSAs and laws and miniseries in the world don't have the impact that has. So, while you certainly don't have to be out to educate others -- after all, it's not like it's your job, just one common side effect of being out that can be positive -- whenever the time comes for others to know, you being exactly who you are (even when you don't feel strong in it) and putting it on THEM to step up can be a really positive thing for everyone, including you. If nothing else, it's an important reminder that the problem isn't your orientation, it's bias about it. One last thing, perhaps, to think about right now is that we get to choose who is in our life. For sure, when you're a legal minor, your family isn't an option. But that really is temporary, and if ever it turns out your family will not be accepting, you get to make a family of people who are if you want to. Loads of us have done that, or have at least put the people in our lives who won't accept us on hold until they come around, get a clue, and love us for exactly who we are. Oops, one MORE last thing! I want to make sure you know it really is okay to feel like this. heck, for all you know, you might have similar feelings if your sexuality were different: our sexualities and sexual identities can often feel scary as we grow into them, no matter what they are. All of this stuff is a process, and I sure hope that this is one of the ways in which you can be consistent with your own values. In other words, I'm sure you'd make room for someone else who was queer and struggling with it, so I hope you can give yourself that same space and patience.
Member # 69659
posted 06-26-2011 08:51 PM
Thank you so much, Heather! What you just said really made me feel less like I'm crazy and alone, so thank you. I didn't even think about the fact that everybody faces some kind of bias. I don't let the other biases I face affect me this much and I really do hope that one day I can get to the point where I don't let this bother me so much. I really like what you said about creating your own family, that actually sounds really attractive right now.
If you have any advice on how to talk to my friend about this that would be great. I'm really afraid of offending him or something with all this.
Member # 3
posted 06-26-2011 09:25 PM
Of course, happy to support you however I can.
I'm heading out for the day right now, but I'll pop back in in the morning to see if I can't help you communicate some of how you're feeling with your best friend so you can maybe get some more support there. You must be feeling pretty isolated right now without your central friendship on top of all of this, so here's hoping we can make a dent there. Can you fill me in on any conversations you've already tried to have about him with this so far and how they've gone? That would help me figure out what direction might be best.
Member # 69659
posted 06-27-2011 12:42 AM
Well I've really only tried to talk to him about flat out with no beating around the bush once and it went something like this:
Me: I don't think I like boys anymore... Him: Really? Yay! Me: No, not yay. Him: What do you mean 'not yay'? Me: Well I don't want to be gay. Him: Don't be silly, being gay is awesome. Me: Yeah I know, but I don't think it would be awesome for me. Him: Well you don't get a choice so suck it up! And then he kept talking about it until I just lied and said I was kidding just so he would shut up about it.
Member # 3
posted 06-27-2011 07:26 AM
So, what I hear you saying is that you're afraid it won't be awesome for you. That you feel most of the people currently around you will be unsupportive, or you will lose people you care about. That you felt a certain safety around that when you thought it was still likely you'd wind up mostly dating/being with men, and now you don't feel that. And that your fears around all of this have you feeling like an a-hole because when it comes to other people, you can be all rah-rah about being queer, but your own fears are making it very hard for you to feel that way yourself, and that's a disappointment on several levels. And I hear you saying that you very much need some support and understanding around that, as well as some space from him to have time to get more comfortable without feeling pressure to be in that place right away, since you're not. If that all sounds about right to you, then that's what I'd express to him. I'd also voice that because you haven't felt like he was willing or able to give you that, it's made you feel uncomfortable around him, which is not something you want. One thing the two of you might also talk about is if what you each need is in conflict. For instance, it could be that your fears and discomfort make it tough for HIM not to go to that same space. I think there are ways of working that out together, but it would help to know if that's the deal.
Member # 69659
posted 06-27-2011 01:57 PM
That's exactly what I feel. I'm not good with speeches like this, but I will definitely just lay it all out to him like this. Maybe then he'll understand.
I'm not sure if it's that or if he just doesn't understand what I'm trying to tell him. I will definitely bring this up, though, because it could be what you are describing.
Member # 34415
posted 06-29-2011 03:58 PM
quote: Originally posted by Heather: So, what I hear you saying is that you're afraid it won't be awesome for you. That you feel omost of the people currently around you will be unsupportive, or you will lose people you care about. That you felt a certain safety around that when you thought it was still likely you'd wind up mostly dating/being with men, and now you don't feel that. And that your fears around all of this have you feeling like an a-hole because when it comes to other people, you can be all rah-rah about being queer, but your own fears are making it very hard for you to feel that way yourself, and that's a disappointment on several levels. Hi NightWalker,
I just wanted to say that you are definitely not alone in this. This is something that I've been struggling with too lately and that quote from Heather above is pretty much exactly what I'm feeling. The realisation that I'm queer has also gone from thinking I was never attracted to woman to gradually thinking that I'm exclusively or almost exclusively attracted to woman. I often think things about myself in relation to being queer that I would never, ever think about or apply to anyone else, because they are both hurtful and untrue. For example, that I am strange and unnatural, or that because I'm not particularly butch or femme I can't be attracted to women so hence I'm just pretending to get attention (which is obviously untrue because I'm out to a grand total of two people, which isn't exactly attention seeking behaviour). But I'm seriously vocal when I hear people partaking in homophobic or heteronormative behaviour. Myself and some friends are involved in a fairly lengthy process to get our school to acknowledge that LGBTQ people exist and to stop with some homophobic policies they have. So I'm really disappointed with myself because I preach but I'm not practicing, because if I was really as 150% supportive of people's varying sexualities as I say I am then I would stop being so closeted about mine. I've got no idea why I think these things about myself, but I really fear that if I accept myself and stop hiding my sexuality that I'll stop being 'Caitlin, who likes animals, reading and music, who is kind of clumsy and very disorganised, whose favourite colour is green' etc and just become 'Caitlin, the lesbian.' I'm scared that if I come out to more people, an awful lot of the people around me will start to define me by just this one aspect of my personality, and how they think queer people should be rather than who I really am. So I don't have any suggestions, but I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in this, it's something that I've had trouble with for a while and I'm sure that there are many more people out there who are also finding it difficult. Best wishes and hoping that you feel better about this soon!
Member # 35643
posted 06-30-2011 07:25 AM
I thought I'd share some of my experiences as well in case they make you feel less alone. I'm someone who is very supportive of gay rights and I'm particularly interested in activism towards equal health and healthcare rights for queer people. I've had a few people of my cultural background come to me for support when they're struggling with coming out to parents. And I do the best I can to support them. But sometimes I feel like a hypocrite. Because there are still days when I feel very ashamed and hate my sexual orientation (though there are other days when I feel happy!). And I wonder how I can talk with people and reassure them about how 'it gets better', when really I sometimes believe that it's only gotten worse. When I was first coming out, I used to go along to a queer drop-in centre. I felt so much shame to be going there that I'd keep looking behind me to make sure no-one I knew was around. At that time, I was ashamed of my sexuality and I was more ashamed of all the internalized homophobia inside me. That was a horrible feeling and I wish I had given myself a break and understood that I was struggling to accept myself at that time, but that it would get easier. Anyway, I do hope it gets easier for you too