Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Identity Trial

Being a lesbian often gets dichotomized as either 'femme' or 'butch.' I have never adopted this categorization, as I believe in a continuum of queerness in which I mostly fall in the middle with a slight lean to the ‘butch’ side. I often describe myself as “semi-butch” since I do not wear make-up, subscribe to the latest fashions, wear girly clothes/colors, or spend more than 15 dollars on a haircut. To reaffirm my beliefs, the Gay test simply said I am “quite open-minded between the sheets and just a little bit butch when out on the streets!” Perfect.

Recently, my “semi-butch” status has been questioned, as I have been accused of appearing more “femme.” I can see how this would happen as I do not look stereotypically gay, and get hit on by guys all the time. To put it simply, I pass very well.

So how do I gay it up more so my insides match my outsides?

Cut my hair?
Been there, done that and it looks horrible. Middle school would have been so much easier had I not looked like a boy. I know there are new hairstyles and products to make short hair look good, but I do not have the time or patience to deal with styling it every morning. So that option is out.

Wear masculine clothes?
I already sort of do that. I have been known to get a few items from the boy’s department here and there (men’s clothes are way too big), and generally wear pants and button-down shirts to work. To sum it up, I can count on one hand the times I have worn a dress/skirt.

Walk like I have a huge cock between my legs?
I would do that except years of working retail when I was in school has conditioned me to have the “retail walk.” For those of you who are not familiar with the term, the “retail walk” is when you walk really fast in a determined manner to avoid anyone bothering you. In short, no strutting for me.

So here I am left to defend my “semi-butch” lesbian status with only my wits to protect me against those in the gay community and with the men who think I am just blowing them off harshly. But I sleep easily at nights with the mentality, “It’s not me, it’s them,” and bad 80s big hair band lyrics:

“Here I go again on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone”
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