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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Questioning

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Author Topic: Questioning
TonicTwelve
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Well to be honest I'm not really sure where to start. I'm not even sure what I'm asking. I think mostly I'm just getting it down so I can have some kind of logical thought on the whole thing. On another thread patrickvienna asked me if I wanted to talk about it so here I am taking up the offer. I know that was a while ago, but I've been putting it off until I had unrestricted, unobserved access to the computer to get my thoughts down.. Or if I'm honest with myself, it probably also has a lot to do with the fact that talking about this is new and a bit overwhelming.

I've come to the conclusion that my orientation is based on personality and it so happens that I tend to be drawn to girls rather than guys. I've never had any kind of romantic relationship and I guess that means that I can't really be certain seeing as I've never had any practical experience. I've hardly been inundated with potential dates, male, female or otherwise. I don't have a strong conviction that I don't want to go out with a guy, I just can't picture myself actually doing it, unlike with a girl. I never had crushes until a few months ago, and even now I don't tend to be physically attracted to them first, I get to know them, find that they seem to be really awesome, and then have physical attraction develop secondary to this. Even in my fantasies, its always all about the physical sensations and the communication and never about what the other person actually looks like. Even their gender or body parts were really undefined and ambiguous until quite recently when it has almost always ended up being a girl in the fantasy.

The weird thing is, I feel fairly confident that I'm primarily attracted to women. Yet having been questioning for several years, instead of it feeling great that I've finally worked out this burning question that has felt so important to me for a long time, I'm feeling kind of confused. I feel like I keep doubting myself and second guessing myself, having doubts about whether I'm being honest with myself that I've found the answer. For example, when I'm alone and thinking out loud, even saying the word gay or lesbian in relation to me is scary. I keep fighting the urge to whisper it. Its like questioning has become so familiar to me that actually having some degree of confidence about my orientation is strange and scary. To be honest, I'm not sure what to do or think about that.

I've never spoken about this to anyone before. I know my friends would be supportive, but don't want to tell them unless I am certain, because I don't want to backtrack later on and tell them I was wrong and I've changed my mind. On the other hand, I try and deflect questions that assume I'm straight or agree to anything to encourage the idea that I'm straight. I feel like every time we have a conversation that involves orientation and they are clearly working on the theory that I am straight, when I don't correct them I am hiding something from them, kind of lying by omission and I don't want to do that to them. Likewise, I also don't want to keep an aspect of my personality that feels like a major part of who I am hidden or under the rug.

At my school, students and most teachers are really supportive and open about GLBTQ people, however at the same time there are a lot of misconceptions. It was never mentioned during sex ed, questions involving the topic were brushed over. That said I don't know of anyone in my year level that is GLBTQ. I'm also scared of discussing this with my parents. I'm not very close to my parents, especially my mother. My dad I know would be supportive, my mum most likely would as she is frequently telling me that she loves and supports me in general. On the other hand, she continues to make jokes about queer people for example continually referring to a band called the Indigo Girls, whom I like and who also happen to both be queer, as “those lezzo hippies who probably don't shave their armpits.” Despite me repeatedly telling her I find it rude and unnecessary. I am also sometimes referred to as a “lezzo hippy” since I have stopped shaving. She says a lot of things along the lines of “I'm not homophobic but...” or “I'm not racist but...” She also says a lot of other stuff to me for example “I don't know why you would ever think that you are equal to me” that to be honest, make me disinclined to open up to her or trust her with personal things. I love her but I don't like her if that makes sense. However, its not like she is horrible to me and I know she really loves me so I don't want to hurt her feelings as I'm sure she means well.

Apologies for the long post! I think I'm just asking for any kind of input on any part of this, or if other people have experiences to share about how they stopped worrying about questioning and/or their orientation in general and just let it happen.

[ 05-25-2011, 05:19 AM: Message edited by: TonicTwelve ]

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


Posts: 61 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djuna
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Hi Caitlin! [Smile]

I'm hearing that you're uncomfortable with the idea of declaring a specific orientation, and you're saying that if you do come out one way or another, you want to get it "right". Is there any reason you don't want to go on identifying as questioning? That can be a long-term orientation for many people. Or is there another word that has more freedom to it than "straight" or "gay" that you could use? For example, I've seen you use "queer" - is that a word that might give you more freedom?

Too, I'm a little confused by what you mean when you say orientation is based on personality, could you explain that a little?

As regards your parents, is coming out to one or both of them something you're interested in doing, and if so do you want to talk here about how you might approach that?

Homophobic jokes aren't funny, you're right - it sucks to hear your parent using that "humor" directed at someone else (for example the Indigo Girls), but especially when it's directed at you, it's hurtful and completely unacceptable, for sure. If you've already told her that you don't want that to happen and she's carrying on, though, while you're living with her I'm not sure what you could do - would it be possible to talk to your dad about how these jokes are upsetting you?

I would agree that those jokes aren't good incentives to trust her with coming out to her, either.

--------------------
“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TonicTwelve
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As to why I don't want to continue to identify as questioning, there isn't really any good reason. It's stupid, because I know I don't have to pick something to identify as, I just feel like I do. I kind of feel like I need to hurry up and make a decision, even though I know that's not true. Queer is a word that feels like it fits, it's just not really commonly around where I live. I didn't realise it had a meaning other than strange or unusual until I started reading Scarleteen! That said, it's not like I can't explain the meaning to someone if they don't know, so that actually feels like a really good option, because it is quite vague and leaves a lot of room for variation.

As for personality, what I mean is that I never just look at someone and think 'oh they're hot' or think that they are attractive just by looking at them. I have never felt sexually attracted to someone without knowing more of their personality first. As I get to know them more, and find out what a nice/friendly/cool person they are, then sexual attraction develops from that point onwards. I think it is for this reason, celebrity crushes are few and far between for me because you can't really know someone you've never spoken to all that well. I'm not sure I explained that very clearly, sorry!

Coming out to my parents is something that I have accepted that I will have to do at some point if I am not interested in having relationships exclusively (if at all) with men. It's not a prospect that I'm really looking forward to, but considering dating doesn't look like happening in the very near future it isn't an immediate concern. If/when I do get to that point though, help would be greatly appreciated.

As for my mum, I've accepted that I just need to live with it. Dad picks his battles regarding stuff going on between my mum and myself and as stuff goes in that line, this is something that's fairly easy to tune out. The fact is that despite these jokes, she is generally accepting when she is with people who aren't straight and she probably wouldn't have a problem with it. It's just that the jokes and other comments she makes don't make me want to share anything personal with her.

Thank you for your help! All you staff and volunteers are just awesome and it is so fantastic to have a resource like this available! [Smile]

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


Posts: 61 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djuna
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You're welcome! Glad to have you around. [Smile]

Trying to figure out our identity, whether sexually or otherwise, doesn't make us "stupid". For example, some of the best work the Beatles or Bob Dylan did was when they were really seriously trying to figure out their musical identity, and weren't sure what it was. I don't know if that's a useful metaphor, but there you go. [Smile]

Too, what you identify as doesn't have to be a single word. For example, some people identify as "bisexual, but I lean toward men" or "pansexual, but lately I'm in a phase were I'm mostly dating women". And if you have a word that you like - which it sounds like you might with "queer" - but it's not in common use where you live, you can use it and then explain it, as in "I'm queer - I pretty much mostly date women", or however you want to define that.

--------------------
“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Djuna
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By the way, thanks for introducing me to the Indigo Girls! These gals sound (and look) awesome. [Smile]

--------------------
“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TonicTwelve
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That music metaphor is a good one and makes a lot of sense, thank you! I like that way of thinking about it.

Likewise with using more than one word. Now I think about it, I don't think one word can ever really cover something as complex as someone's sexuality so that's another really helpful point.

And no problem for the introduction! Always glad for another convert [Razz] Amy Ray on her own also does some cool stuff which is a little more rocky than the Indigo Girls together.

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


Posts: 61 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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