The Cult of Melinda

The gAyTM is closed! No gay rights, no gay $$$!

Monday, August 03, 2009

So what does it feel like....

Watch the video. Play along. How did you feel?

Have you done it? Good. Now read this.

By now you know that this is what it's like to be gay. But there is so much more. They never got around to coming out. I've talked about that earlier. What I didn't talk about was the long term aftermath.

I'm openly gay. I have been since I was 17. It still sucks even now. After the initial horrors I described in my earlier post, I enclosed myself in the gay community. I avoided straight people as much as possible. I went to gay bars and parties. I had all gay friends.

I could be myself without questioning anything when they were around. I could say "She's hot." without worrying about someone being uncomfortable about that. I could say "my ex-girlfriend" without wondering whether I should shorten it to my "ex" so that I wasn't "pushing my sexual orientation into someone's face." I could watch gay movies with my friends and everyone got it. No one asked me stupid questions about what it was like to be a lesbian or what we do in bed or if maybe I thought I just hadn't met the right man yet.

I also learned when not to be myself. I learned to go on a date without it looking like a date. I learned to walk down the street with my hands behind my back so I didn't reach for her hand the way I really wanted to. I learned to exit the gay bar then cross the street in such a way that I could look like I hadn't just come from the gay bar. I learned to play pronoun games with people I didn't know or just straight up lie about my "boyfriend" waiting for me back home.

Fortunately, I got to be myself a lot more often than not. I have to admit, though, that the "not" moments hurt like hell.

Then I went to college and I was alien again. I was (insert scary music here) THE TOKEN LESBIAN. Surrounded by straight people, I was paranoid and defensive. Certain people took to counting how often I said lesbian, no matter that it was completely relevant to our constant discussions about sex and relationships. (What else do you talk about at that age?) I'll admit I talked about it a lot.

How could I not?

Have you ever been the token? The only X in a room full of Y. The only black person in a room full of white people. The only Jew in a room full of Christians. The only woman in a room full of men. The constant self-awareness and the constant paranoia about Y people's capacity for hiding anti-X sentiment behind a smile is nerve-wracking. It doesn't help that Y people have a habit of introducing you as their X friend or discussing you as the X.

"Hi, John. Have you met Melinda? She's a lesbian."

"Melinda? Which one's that again?" "You know. The lesbian."

You're not the semi-tall girl with black hair and blue eyes. You're not the woman they met at Joe's party who kept cracking jokes. Or the one who kicked ass at the drunken volleyball game. Or the one in their English class who sits in the front row. Or the one they chatted with about Vulcan philosophy v. Stoicism for a half hour. You're the lesbian. That's it. That's who and what you are. The lesbian.

And they'll never get why YOU talk about it so much. Maybe they'll even do an intervention to tell you that you're being too lesbian-y for some people's taste. Then, they'll go right back to introducing you as the lesbian. And every time they see you, they'll feel like they have to mention something lesbian just because they're cool with lesbians. And screaming, "Hey, you're the cunnilingus expert! Tell me something..." in a crowded room. Or warning people ahead of time that they're going to meet a GASP! lesbian at the party, so hopefully, that's okay. They shouldn't freak out too much. You don't bite. And you're pretty cool...for a lesbian. Then, they'll time you to see how often you say the word lesbian and report to you how long it's been since you last said the word, even if you've only said it twice in the whole conversation because someone asked you about something lesbian-related.

These people will get over it eventually. But it'll start all over again with the next group of straight people. And the next. And the next. And the next.

What was that threat to deport us all to an island in the Caribbean? I'm game!


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