You Are Queer Enough
June 12, 2021 4:09 AM   Subscribe

We’re here, we’re queer, and some of us have had the privilege of coming out openly to our friends and family…but are there certain stereotypes and expectations in the queer community that keep us from feeling valid? [...] Impostor syndrome tries to trick us into thinking it only shows up in the board room. But, the reality is that it can sneak its way even into the spaces where we most expect to experience belonging. In the group chat. In the Pride march. And even in our very own mindsets (gatekeepers who invalidate bi and pan folks with cis male partners — I’m looking at you!). [Autostraddle]
posted by ellieBOA (41 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
I've had this one rattling around my head recently:

"I'm here, I'm queer...I'm still getting used to it."
posted by explosion at 4:53 AM on June 12 [52 favorites]

I recently came out as ace / aro: I think I've been aro all my life, and ace has followed on as I've aged out of having any interest at all in partnering short- or longterm. Even when I IDed as straight, partnering attempts were fraught and not worth the time / effort.

Lotsa impostor syndrome going on, since I identified as straight for so long. But honestly I've always felt much more comfortable in queer spaces anyway. I'm glad that many of those spaces now officially have open doors for folks like me.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:24 AM on June 12 [31 favorites]

This is a nice piece, thanks for posting it. My sexuality is kind of complicated but most visibly bi-married-to-cis-man and monogamish. I don’t really run in formally queer circles although I think I gravitate that way in friend selection just because.

I feel like an impostor a lot of the time because I’m invisible, but about a year ago at the dinner table for some reason my kids were asking my husband and I whether we’d remarry if the other person died and I said if I did date after it probably wouldn’t be men. My youngest had a few questions but I think this cemented things for my oldest (they both know about my long distance girlfriend although I keep it light) and he kind of nodded like everything felt into place.

At his school and among our friends we have had a lot of coming out celebrations the last year and I think he passed the word to his friends as I seem to get the news before the other moms. That’s the most I’ve ever felt like a member of the community, even more than the three summers I volunteered at Pride.

I guess for me coming out to my kids was more claim to my identity than I’d made before because since then a lot of the awkward feelings have faded. It’s still a place of privilege to be invisible though. I dunno, man.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:32 AM on June 12 [37 favorites]

I don't know if congratulations are in order, Sheydem-tants, but I offer them nonetheless. It's always a good thing to understand oneself better. And always a good thing to let go of stuff that isn't serving you well.

I'm a queer cis woman partnered to a queer trans man, so I feel you on the invisibility thing, warriorqueen. Years ago, my partner commented to me, "Have you noticed that whenever we're out with a group of new people, you always manage to tell a story that starts, 'I dated a woman once who...'" I hadn't really noticed but I definitely was doing it for the visibility.
posted by Orlop at 7:11 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]

Sweet little essay.

I have never felt validated or visible, because life choices have defined me way too firmly in other people's eyes. In 2004 when I joined Metafilter I identified in the (now no-longer shown) gender field as "ornery." I didn't feel as if there was a name for what or who I am, even though people who like to make vast generational categories would call me a straight cis-female Boomer married monogamously to the same guy for 45 years. We're both queer and most of our close friends are gay (and our kid is nonbinary) but basically I decided a while ago it's too hard for people (including our friends) to deal with not being able to stick a label on us, and they think we should have to somehow act out a definition of identity instead of leaving it ambiguous, so I just don't bother explaining.
posted by Peach at 8:06 AM on June 12 [15 favorites]

Stealth nonbinary here (I look male, use the male name I was given and rarely ask for "they" pronouns) and I'm married to a bi woman. So yeah, we know invisible.

(And when I tried not to be stealthy about it, it was awkward and I still had to explain it. Literally waving a nonbinary pride flag in a trans rights protest march a couple of years ago while wearing a Fallen London "individual of mysterious and indistinct gender" t-shirt, I had to explain it to several presumably queer people and/or allies. That is just tiring.)
posted by Foosnark at 8:07 AM on June 12 [23 favorites]

It can even happen in the article that subtly intimates that only bi/pan people with cis male partners have their identities invalidated.
posted by haileris23 at 8:17 AM on June 12

I did not get that impression from the article.
posted by aniola at 8:33 AM on June 12 [10 favorites]

Yeah, I totally didn’t get a “These are the only people being invalidated” vibe.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:04 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]

I similarly have never felt very welcome in the Queer community. There's an aggressively performed identity that is used to signal membership, and I just can't...

It isn't me, and it's not a particularly safe space for a neurodivergent because I find the aggressive policing for not fitting in is actually much more severe than mainstream, often pitched as social justice. This can be very frustrating that there's a brigade of "you are queer enough!" helpers, but I am most certainly not, at least because various ways to be myself will get yelled at and scolded as actively harming people... even if indeed they are no such thing, and statements like asexuality isn't a hard binary, but a spectrum will get enthusiastic pecking from people with all the fury of someone who thinks they are rescuing the fragile.

I am not going to spend time in a space so dedicated to a moving target of purity of form and thought, because it would keep me in permanent autistic melt down.
posted by Phalene at 9:44 AM on June 12 [27 favorites]

I'm a cis white straight male married for 20+ years to a bi-woman of color who presents pretty much straight and "traditional" feminine. From time to time it comes up that she had dated women in the past and still is attracted to some women. This has led to some slightly uncomfortable reactions from some people in the past. But these days even our adult nieces and nephews know (and some of their kids do, too) and do not bat an eyelash about it. They are accepting and warm about it. Her siblings know—but pretend like it's not a "thing" at all and basically ignore the issue.

I've talked with her about it and it does trouble her sometimes that everyone just assumes she's straight-cis when she is decidedly not. Not that she seeks a "label" to wear around, but it's a (reflexively) socially invisible thing she deals with and it does bother her sometimes.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:50 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]

I admit to sometimes (sometimes unconsciously) not feeling like bi/pan cis folks with opposite gender partners belong in all parts of the queer community (Pride parades, yes; queer social and kink and *especially* parenting groups, not always). And I say this as someone who was formerly in that position.

I do try but I find that these people so often (a) don't really understand their level of passing privilege, (b) talk a lot about their straight(ish) relationships in spaces where I REALLY want to hear about same sex relationships because I spend the rest of life hearing about straight(ish) ones, and (c) propose threesomes too damned often. There are things that my relationships have in common with other wlw relationships that simply aren't there for bi/pan/cis people in "straight" relationships, and sometimes I want to enjoy my sense of community with those more similar to me. And the issues I face as a pan woman parenting with a same sex partner are SO different from those of the cis women with cis male partners.

These people ARE queer and should get to claim that label ... but sometimes ... I want my queer club to be more trans and same-sex-relationship focused. And I feel bad for that. :-(
posted by mkuhnell at 9:53 AM on June 12 [22 favorites]

But it does set me at ease and make me smile when someone in an opposite-gender relationship mentions a past same-gender partner!
posted by mkuhnell at 9:55 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]

@Phalene I'm sad that you haven't felt welcome. I know some awesome autistic queer folks. I promise that not all queer communities are so hard to navigate (especially off-line)!
posted by mkuhnell at 9:57 AM on June 12

There's an aggressively performed identity that is used to signal membership, and I just can't...

Yes me too.
posted by aniola at 10:10 AM on June 12 [10 favorites]

I really think this has more to do with a broad state of eternal conflict, and how people relate to that.

I’m not queer, but I am disabled, and you see this in those communities too.

You’re not performing your marginalized identity right is a common refrain, and it needs to go. That kind of petty in-fighting prevents unity.

It makes me sad.

Hugs to all those who feel unwelcome in their own communities. It’s no good.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 10:15 AM on June 12 [16 favorites]

I want to push back gently on some of the comments above about how bi/pan people shouldn't share their whole selves in LGBT spaces. That's what the B is for.

Comments about bi/pan people proposing threesomes too often are also just re-enforcing stereotypes. The people you met might have done that, and I'm sorry they hurt you. Please don't put that as a generalisation about any one kind of person becaus eof their sexuality.

With regards to bi people having passing privilege, only the same amount as gender confirming gay people do. In dismissing us you're contributing to the minority stress model that contributes to worse mental health outcomes than monosexual populations. (Here for more info)
posted by Braeburn at 10:59 AM on June 12 [27 favorites]

I too found this content extremely relatable. I think there's way more people than you might think who did not know how to get on the train when they were younger, when they should have, and now feel like the train is no longer in the station for one reason or another.
posted by bleep at 11:23 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]

I'm just thinking about the debates on Tumblr insisting that "Queer" is a slur and there's proper ways to be LGBTQ and I'm wondering how much of the promotion of not using a general label is marketing driven. A nebulous group where each person may have their own individual ways of dealing with gender and sexuality is difficult for algorithms to work with, but hey, being labelled neatly into a rigid category with associated expectations? That's perfect for analytics.

I'm probably being paranoid. I hope I am. But they idea of cohesive exclusive identities and spaces is just so useful
posted by happyroach at 11:48 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]

I want to push back gently on some of the comments above

Thanks for the gentleness.

The threesome comment was a bit of a throwaway, so I'd appreciate it if people focus more on other points. I would never assume this stereotype of any one person---but it is an issue with how I feel in bi-positive spaces in general.

With regards to bi people having passing privilege, only the same amount as gender confirming gay people do.

When they as single, yes. But I can assure you that same-gender couples and families have hard battles to fight that opposite-gender cis couples will never face.
posted by mkuhnell at 11:50 AM on June 12 [13 favorites]

the debates on Tumblr insisting that "Queer" is a slur

To be fair, "queer" was a slur for a very, very long time and still is used that way by bigots in some areas. My dad was shocked that I would choose that word in particular for myself (instead of pan or gay). I'm an older queer and I still kinda cringe inwardly when the word is used by non-queer, non-allied people.
posted by mkuhnell at 11:52 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]

Bisexual and autistic here. I've found all subcultures to be at least, if not more, difficult to navigate as mainstream culture. Fortunately, the internet has spaces where queerness and neurodivergence cross over heavily. I would never attend a pride event but I have my online buds.
posted by LindsayIrene at 11:58 AM on June 12 [7 favorites]

worse mental health outcomes than monosexual populations.

Thank you for the APA paper link. Even as a bi person, I honestly didn't know most of that.
posted by mkuhnell at 12:00 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]

Hi! Is this thread about me?

I've started giving my pronouns as he/they in a few select spaces where it feels appropriate. But I'm not even really sure for myself what this is about. I have all the white cis male privilege anyone could dream of (plus being in a relationship that reads as straight), and when I try to think about how attached/unattached I am to the male gender identity, I also think about the defaultness of my own experience, in that the (white, hetero) cis male identity is the default identity.

If I think I don't feel strongly male because I feel "default", is it just my privilege that obscures the fact that I am really feeling "male" after all? Or am I somewhere in the agender or nonbinary world?

If at other times I go "ugh, HAIR, coming from all the places, it gets worse and worse and I don't like it" am I having "actual" dysphoria, or just having the experience of any aging person of my body type?

And, yeah, I doubt my queerness anytime I think about it.

OTOH I get genuine warm support from queer friends and it kinda makes my heart melt to think about that. And I support them right back and together we'll get closer to the place where we deserve to be. (I don't guess I participate in explicitly queer spaces, which may be why I don't have the less positive stories like some of y'all above)
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 12:11 PM on June 12 [16 favorites]

Happy to share. Not happy that these outcomes exist, obviously!
posted by Braeburn at 12:19 PM on June 12

My kinds of neurodivergence often have a lot of overlap with doing sexuality different than the norm. Part of why I don't feel "queer enough" is because for me, neurodivergence is going to take you further in understanding who I am. When you understand my neurodivergences, the sexuality bits just sort of fall into place.

For example, here are some of the bullet points from the first search result for what is sexuality?
- Our level of awareness, acceptance, and enjoyment of our own and others’ bodies
- Our ability to express and have a need for closeness with another person
- Our sexual identity which includes:
- Our attitudes and behaviors toward our health and the consequences of sexual activity. This includes:

Personally, I think neurodivergent should be one of the many letters of the rainbow acronym. I am not confident sharing this opinion because I feel like I might say it wrong. But even if I can't explain it with the full set of caveats it needs, I think it's a sound point. Sexuality is all tied up in how our brains interact with the world.
posted by aniola at 12:25 PM on June 12 [9 favorites]

"You do not have to be non-monogamous or monogamous."
"You’re still queer even if you’ve never had sex or if you never want to have sex."
"You’re still queer if you love astrology and ask people for their birth chart on a first date, and you’re still queer if you don’t know what a moon and rising sign are."
"(gatekeepers who invalidate bi and pan folks with cis male partners — I’m looking at you!)."

Feels like a subtle invalidation to me. The immediate leaping here in this thread to "That's not right." instead of "What made you feel that way?" doesn't help to disabuse me of that opinion either.
posted by haileris23 at 12:31 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]

(Pride parades, yes; queer social and kink and *especially* parenting groups, not always).

I'm a bisexual woman in a polyamorous relationship. My partner is male, so if you don't see our whole family together as a group, you'd probably confuse us for straights.

I've never felt like lesbian spaces were for me. I'm simply not gay enough, I am about 80/20 in my attraction for men/women. I respect that I have passing privilege, that my struggles aren't the same as they are for people who don't have that camouflage, and that women who are looking for a serious relationship don't want to feel led on by women who are exploring themselves. It's okay that some spaces are not for me.

I've had some great sexual experiences with women though. In better times I try to make time for kink events to try to explore that side of myself further. I always have doubt that I'm not good enough, not experienced enough, not gay enough, somebody will take my measure and find me wanting.

So in the end I have to battle my social anxiety to even get out the door. I feel unwelcome and awkward, which I guess probably just makes me look even more like a clueless baby queer who doesn't know what she wants when I get to the event. Most of the time I end up staying home, because I find that kind of judgement exhausting. I end up defaulting to just not trying to swim against the tide (definitely privilege that I even have that option!), but that 20% of me just ends up sadly gathering dust in the corner, lonely and forgotten.

These people ARE queer and should get to claim that label

What good is a membership card if you're not welcome when you show up to the club?
posted by Feyala at 12:34 PM on June 12 [20 favorites]

The pandemic left lots of us alone with ourselves - even with family around - less social pressure and its refracted presence of self-normalization against perceived standards.

I'm positive I'm pan. If I was braver or better able to manage it when younger maybe my life would be different. But I'm happily a dad in a cis-presenting relationship with a (quietly) bi woman. But I think I'm coming out to metafilter more explicitly than to many other people in my life because - no - I don't feel welcome at all.

And I don't have to. The other realization of the last many years is that my very occasional feeling of not being welcome, not being given a chance or a fair shake, and being judged unfairly from stereotypes is just "Tuesday" for nearly everybody else.

So, everybody deserves love, has intrinsic value, and is worthy of being alive just by virtue of being human - it's not something you earn through deeds or suffering or whatever I let myself buy into. So I have intrinsic worth.

But I don't intrinsically deserve to have my specific queerness celebrated and welcomed everywhere and anywhere, because it is one part of a package that is many other parts privilege and camouflage that is highly insulating. And, if I'm honest, is hard to give up, which is why I'm only very selectively out to anyone.

But it's there. All the time. Not quite a man like other men who don't have these questions. Not quite ever able to relax. So thank you for the article and discussion - I don't demand it but I sure do appreciate being a little seen.
posted by abulafa at 12:54 PM on June 12 [13 favorites]

I appreciate that not all queer communities are harder for autistic people to navigate, but the OP was about the commonality of the lived experience of feeling you needed to meet certain passing metrics.

I don't think people telling me to stop having imposter syndrome are bad, but imposter syndrome generally has certain contexts one develops it. To develop membership in every Queer community I have thus experienced takes more commitment to live queer via shiboleths and emotional labour than to stay out.
posted by Phalene at 3:47 PM on June 12

It isn't me, and it's not a particularly safe space for a neurodivergent because I find the aggressive policing for not fitting in is actually much more severe than mainstream, often pitched as social justice.

Thanks so much for putting this feeling into words, Phalene. There's something particularly heartbreaking about being told "THIS place is finally for you!" and then finding the community's rejection of your autism just comes with extra gaslighting.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:05 PM on June 12 [9 favorites]

I have so many feelings about this.

On the one hand, I know queer spaces are in short supply, and I respect that as a mostly femme bi/pan woman in a long term relationship with a cis-het guy, I need to make as much space for folks as possible. On the other, in practice, that has meant that over the years I've become more and more closeted, and that I no longer have a queer space that I feel comfortable participating in. It's one of the ways that being bi or pan isn't really either/or so much as neither/nor.

The privileges of physical safety while walking down the street or the ability to look for a partner in omnipresent het spaces far outweigh the isolation that I'm experiencing, but the isolation is still there, and it's not like I'm 100% comfortable in those het spaces, either. Or with, pre-pandemic, dressing in business casual skirts and blouses that feel like a clown costume. Or with being back in the habit of being vague about the pronouns of people I've been in relationships with just because I don't want to deal with judgment from either straight or queer folks.

There are a lot of folks who, for some reason or another, fall into the category of subculture-within-a-queer-subculture and end up feeling alienated because of it. I have a friend who is a decidedly gay man, but who's middle-aged and works a blue collar job and has experienced being turned away from a queer space at the door because "his appearance would make people feel unsafe." He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt at the time, but, I guess, not the right kind of jeans and t-shirt. He survived the AIDS epidemic in NYC in the 80s, is married to a man, and is active on Grindr anyhow, but he still wasn't, to that person's eye, queer enough. After a lifetime of being turned away from things by straight people, it really stung.

Despite everything, I'd still like to think that we're moving toward greater inclusion. That there's more space for people to dress and identify differently without having to be questioned about it, or without having to perform queerness in a very particular way. That as fucked up as things still are for trans people, visibility and support have grown considerably and will hopefully continue to do so. Me feeling like I have a place where I belong is low priority on the list of things that I'm hoping will happen, but if and when we get there, I'll be really glad.

For what it's worth, I also find the threesome thing super alienating. There are so few spaces for queer women to get together to begin with. and it's extra offputting when so many dating app accounts or personal ads are for couples, especially since not all of them are forthright about it, and extra especially because a lot of the people involved seem to approach queer women as something between a novelty and a service, which about the last anyone wants when they're looking for a human connection with someone who can love them back.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:12 PM on June 12 [24 favorites]

A quite lovely thing for me recently, as I've written about elsewhere, has been going dancing at goth-club events that are managed by folks whose previous club was a very queer and queer-friendly space before it closed in the early days of the pandemic. A few weekends back, I went to the club before the regular crew I've gotten to know arrived and was quickly invited into a dance circle of queer folks, including a guy with bleached hair and a sequined romper who danced with abandon. It was one of those "How do they know? How do I know? Wow, gaydar is real" moments. (OK, maybe it was also my T-shirt and the sequins.)

The club that night felt like one of those queer New York spaces I'd always heard about but had never fully been invited to join myself. It's always that kind of space—we've definitely closed out at least one weekend night in the past month with a dance circle of folks vogueing, including one guy who vogued while wearing another guy's polar bear head, as that guy danced with a disco ball and flashlight, and the host frequently notes that this is a space for everyone, gay, straight, bi, trans, drag, etc.—but this was a particularly queer night. A couple queer Gen Z guys shared a drink with me—again, don't know quite how I knew, just how they moved around each other, but I knew and trusted them more accordingly, and vice versa. Later, after a few drinks, I had that feeling of waking up on the dance floor, my senses suddenly sharpening as I found myself dancing with a beautiful woman. We made out intensely while dancing before she disappeared into the night just before close. All the regulars (including cis het folks) in the crew I've been hanging out with were so encouraging.

The whole night was tremendously affirming for me, and I've been turning it around in my head for the past 3 weeks, perhaps in part because I wish I knew her name. (I posted a Craigslist Missed Connection a couple times, but they both got flagged and removed within minutes for unknown reasons.) I've known I was bi since I was a teen, and I'm starting to think that really I'm pan. But the problem in my head is that I just have no game with women, or at least have no confidence in my ability to approach or relate to women. I've always felt like I had no idea what to do when it comes to trying to date or be with women, so it's been a long time since anything like that happened. I'd like to get more experience, but it's hard when so many women are hardened against anyone who they think might be "experimenting" or a "tourist." I'm neither—but I lack experience, and I don't want to waste anyone's time, and it just starts to become self-perpetuating. So I've largely been heteroromantic.

But that was just lovely, and I'd really like to do that again. It's had me reflecting on the intersection of gender and sexuality. I feel like I wrote about this in more detail recently, but can't find it... It's possible I just said it out loud to a friend. I put part of it in an Instagram story. Anyway, the gist is this: Different people bring out different aspects of gender in me. What gender I am or feel like at a given moment is very fluid. This woman made me feel like a man, even though she was the dominant one (not that men have to be dominant, of course, and to be very clear, I don't believe in "traditional" gender roles, but men do often lead on the dance floor, and it was how I felt)—she was smaller than I am in every way, yet more insistent. It felt like she was topping from the bottom, and I loved it.

I've never felt more bi/pan, and I've never been more attracted to women. The next weekend, though, two different men among the crew of regulars at the club decided to pursue me. I'd come out to the club with the hope that perhaps I'd see this mystery woman again, but she was nowhere to be seen. I ended up dancing with each of the two men, but really I was just disappointed that the woman didn't come back, found myself mostly admiring women on the dance floor, and left early to avoid pursuit. I've been messaging sporadically with both of the men, since they're friends with the crew of regulars, but one man exhibited some red-flag behavior that led me to stop, and the other one, who'd friended me on Instagram on a previous night, I told outright on the dance floor that I don't like his Instagram stories (a lot of conspiracy theory stuff).

So when it came time to go to the club yesterday, and one of my cats had thrown up off and on all day, I didn't go. I was worried about my cat, of course—she started eating again and seems fine today—but also, I was just dreading navigating more of that kind of aggressive pursuit from both of those men, as well as the feeling of missing someone whose name I don't even know. Maybe it was just a club thing; maybe she's closeted; maybe maybe maybe a lot of things. But yeah...I was out of town last week, and this week I'm just going to take it easy, and maybe I'll come back next week and things will have shifted. Sure, it would be nice to meet someone at the club, but I can also see just treating it like a gym night and dancing for 5 hours once a week without committing to anyone romantically.

tl;dr: It's hard to find a space, as a bi/pan genderqueer woman, where I feel safe and wanted and truly seen, not objectified by cis het men.
posted by limeonaire at 5:46 PM on June 12 [15 favorites]

It's funny, I have been thinking a lot about what I want in spaces, and in relationships. In part because the queer dating app I'm on added mandatory western astrology signs which I don't like.

So many queer spaces are gender specific.

I understand wanting your desires and attractions normalized, because mine weren't, and I also not wanting to be erased, because my existence is erased. Nonbinary folks and sometimes transmasc folks are occasionally invited to caucus with the lesbians, which just feels like transmisogyny to me.

Still, I want RL spaces that center bi/pan folks (and I actually just saw a happy hour for this posted, which I eventually may go to), I want RL spaces that center folks under the trans umbrella, and maybe even nonbinary/genderfluid folks specifically. I might actually work on creating something like that if nobody who is more in touch with the trans community does it. If I make the event, at least I can't be anxious that it's not for me, right?
posted by Chrysopoeia at 6:42 PM on June 12 [8 favorites]

for me (hard femme presenting bi enby/fem type) I think it's less that I pass and more that I have "what can they even do if you read female and you show up with a guy who reads male" privilege

like I'm pretty sure if I'm by myself people are expecting my wife to show up & then it's this tall beardy guy and everyone is maybe confused but they're also very jovial and sell us the car or rent us the apartment or whatever the thing is*

and that is really fucking gross, also it makes the moment-by-moment of my life way easier & I recognize that, but recognition or feeling guilty doesn't fix the problem for everyone else

so I feel like me abstaining from some queer spaces helps keep them relevant for other people who need them, but also there's an element of feeling like I need to do penance for having an easier life?

there's also an element of... bi erasure was such a huge thing when I first came out that I spent a decade (!) trying to live as a lesbian because I straight up didn't believe bisexuals were genuinely attracted to women so I clearly could not be one, that's how toxic & fucked up my formative gay community was, good times

so there might be some "I don't want to insert myself into a space I'm going to be policed out of" lurking around in there too, idk

* not a threesome, I promise
posted by taquito sunrise at 9:26 PM on June 12 [9 favorites]

Earlier this year my kid came out to me as bi-romantic/Ace. So I pointed out to him that I am Bi as well.

I found it kind of funny that he was shocked, as a lot of people who don't know I am married to a cis-het guy at first peg me as lesbian/pan/'not straight'. I mean I now have really short hair, but even when I had long hair and presented very femme. (Now I would say, just femme). But yeah, bi-erasure is real, even among your loved ones, even among those who are themselves queer.

Luckily, it has brought my kid and I closer together. Whether it is because he sees that there are many ways to present/be/explore your identity and your sexuality, or whether because they feel I have a level of understanding that helps, I'm not sure.
posted by Megami at 12:31 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]

So many crushes over the years have used me as their example as straight as a board, and I'm happily married now for years to a wonderful woman, but I still imagine what it'd have been like if any one of them had actually had that vaunted gaydar, or if I had been less of a stammering awkward mess.

God, what I'd have given just to be seen and shot down!
posted by pan at 10:09 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]

It really goddamn sucks that so much of the Queer Social Experience is about only accepting visibly out people, and can only be about... shared struggles. I can't find the words I want for this. Like, a cis bi person married to an "opposite" sex person will have different experiences and struggles from me (NB, polyam, and autistic), but since when do we have to have the same struggles, or the same difficulty level in life, to be queer in the same space together?

The answer is "since always because we're humans and we suck", but sometimes that's depressing.
posted by XtinaS at 12:58 PM on June 14 [8 favorites]

Xtinas: can only be about... shared struggles

Um, it doesn't only have to be about that? I'm in a queer board-gaming group (public and based at a game store) full of all sorts or queers and I don't think we've talked about shared struggles. I've been in multiple other queer gaming groups before this, so this one definitely isn't an isolated case.
posted by mkuhnell at 2:29 PM on June 14

Chrysopoeia: I want RL spaces that center folks under the trans umbrella, and maybe even nonbinary/genderfluid folks specifically.

Odds are you aren't local to me, but just in case... The DC Center for the LGBT Community has all kinds of support and social groups including genderqueer, trans, older folks, young folks, polyam, etc. (Alas, everything is online or canceled because of Covid at the moment, but it's a good place.
posted by mkuhnell at 2:35 PM on June 14

because "his appearance would make people feel unsafe."

This is so terrible and makes me so mad.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 7:29 AM on June 15

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