How Queer: First Fantasy

How Queer is an occasional series of vignettes and reflections on growing up in a heteronormative world. Because most of these experiences made me feel odd, or wrong, or struck a warning bell in my head when they occurred, many of them are things I have never shared or even really fully unpacked in my own mind. As such, they may be a little more fragmented or dreamlike than my regular essays. Today’s post, the first of the series, is very personal: I write about my first romantic fantasy.

What was your first fantasy?

Mine was different. I was hardly involved. Instead, I staged the set and brought in players — neighborhood kids, who were dating — the longest-running couple in our fifth grade class.

I was twelve. I wasn’t yet ready to play a leading role in my own love life.

It goes like this: I am invisible, hidden behind a wall or a chair. The boy and the girl begin to kiss. She is wearing a blouse with buttons down the front. He reaches over and begins to undo them, one by one (a gesture stolen from the movie Big, and less so, House Sitter). From under her blouse, a glimpse of bra. They lay down, on a couch. And it fades to black. (I don’t think I really knew what was supposed to happen next).

Where was I, really, in all of this? Who was I? Was I the girl? The boy?

I think that I was somehow both.

I was the girl, waiting to be unbuttoned.

I was the boy, ready to undress the girl.

It was never going to be as simple as I hope he likes me. It was never going to be as simple as me and him (or even me and her), together, in a room. It had to be the three of us. That was the only way I could connect to being the girl, and wanting the girl, all at the same time.

The B Word, Part 2: Myth and Misunderstanding

Aren’t we really all trying to get to the same place?

Can I reclaim a bisexual identity by painting over the world’s assumptions with the brush of my own truth?

Let’s talk — some more — about the B word.

If you’ll recall from last week, the comments section of an AfterEllen roundtable discussion about bisexuality got me thinking. I haven’t identified as bisexual in years and years — but is that truly because the label doesn’t fit? Or was the rejection of ‘bisexual’ just an attempt to avoid the stereotypes and misinformation I knew I would be saddled with? 

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The B Word, Part 1: Rethinking Bisexuality

Ironically, a bisexual person lives in that apartment.

Why do I identify as queer, and not bisexual? Is it just because of other people’s baggage? recently tacked bisexuality with a two-part roundtable discussion between their writers who identify as bisexual. But what really interested me was the comment section.

AE commentators can tend to be a bit more civil than the rest of the world wide web, so at times, the resulting discussions are actually illuminating. As I started to engage with the other readers’ takes on bisexuality, I started to think more intensely about the labels I attach to myself.

At this point in my life, I’m a 5 on the Kinsey Scale. Before I had other language for it, I used to describe myself, on any given day, as 65-80% gay. And yet I don’t identify as bisexual. Why not?

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Quotable: Home for the Holidays

This atheist LOVES Christmas.

At least in theory. But let’s face it. Christmas as an adult is way more complicated than it used to be.

As a kid, Christmas was a magical time filled with warmth and gifts and family. But when you grow up, those things change a little bit. Family becomes less of a support structure and more of a collection of people you are forever tethered to, people you will always love completely and immutably, but people whose company you might enjoy or be completely stressed out by on any given day.

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Quotable: Coming Out Stories

We all have closets. What’s in yours?

Awhile back, I wrote about coming out, and the response I received was really encouraging. A lot of people responded with their own coming out stories in the comments. They wrote about coming out about their ADHD, their miscarriages, their divorces: life events, hardships, or facets of their personalities they had previously kept secret. I was reminded that we all have closets, but the more that we can throw those doors open and be our authentic selves, the happier we’ll be.

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Sparkle and Shine

I’m wearing a dress to a Christmas party tomorrow, and I feel super weird about it.

Remember back when I wore dresses?

Of course you do. It was just last year, and all the years before that too. The tights always worked with the belt always worked with the boots always worked with the sweater. I swished, I swirled, I planned out my necklaces. I got a lot of compliments from my very girly boss.

I went out and got myself some nice tall boots. I got them to wear with my skirts. And they looked lovely.

But then I also got a magic pair of jeans — my first pair of skinny ankle zips. Their close cuffs slid smoothly into my boots. And with those jeans…my whole world changed.

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Are queer people different than everybody else?

Recently I was on a second date with a woman and I mentioned a wedding I would be attending soon. “I don’t know the brides well, but it should be fun,” I said.

“Oh,” she said, “so it’s a GAY wedding?”

I laughed. “Yeah. I mean, it’s a wedding. Weddings are weddings.” I was half-joking.

Three days later we were texting when she sent a follow-up question that must have been bugging her the whole weekend. “When you said what you said about that wedding…was that an attempt to have LGBT people blend in with straight people?” she asked.

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