It's been about two years since I came out as Sexually Fluid.
And I'm so much happier in myself.
The process of letting myself 'act Queer,' though?
That's still very much on-going.
So since it's my coming out anniversary, and also Pride Cymru weekend - and I'm Welsh and Queer - I figured I'd talk about it a li'l bit.
Because it's definitely true what they say (and by 'they' I mean the LGBTQ+ community as a whole,) we never truly stop coming out.
In every new situation, there's a self-preservation mechanism in the back of our minds assessing:
Is it safe to act Gay here?
Can I mention I find a woman attractive here?
Do I need to, and can I, fully come out to these people? Or would that put me in danger? Or make things too awkward? Or damage the way I'm treated by this group of people?
Even in front of the handful of people to whom I'm fully out, it can be difficult.
Because 'the norm' is so often just assumed to be allosexual, cisgender, heterosexual.
And breaking that 'norm' can be difficult - even when you tell yourself it's ok.
So what is straight-passing?
Well, put simply, it's when people assume you're straight.
At some point, many Queer people are straight-passing, though for some people it's less possible than for others.
There's a difference between actively straight-passing, and passively straight-passing.
Passively straight-passing is just people assuming, even though you're being 100% you.
Actively straight-passing, something we all at least aspired to when we were closeted, is the habit we have of making ourselves seem less Queer.
A lot of the time this is for safety - both emotional and physical.
There are many situations where being LGBTQ+ means you're a target for abuse, discrimination, or even murder.
Straight-passing is something we all try to train ourselves to do to stay safe.
Trying to coax ourselves out of trying to do that after we've come out? Not the easiest thing!
As understanding as my family is, I'm still hesitant to be 'too Gay,' in front of them.
If I'm reading an LGBTQ+ book, I try to hide the cover, even if it's not racy.
If it is racy, I go out of my way to hide the cover - especially if it's F/F.
I know I don't have to. But I still do, almost automatically.
Sometimes I catch myself trying to make my outfit more feminine, not for myself, but for other's perception of me.
Which is ironic because I tend to dress the most feminine when I'm fully lesbian, and the most non-feminine when I'm fully straight.
(Yes, I can be straight and Queer at the same time - the perks of being Sexually Fluid!)
I can be hesitant to raise LGBTQ+ issues 'too often' in front of family, or make eye contact when I'm talking about them, because I'm still worried about the response I might get.
To be fair, this is probably because even the most well-meaning responses can be ignorant af.
I'm also more likely to mention when a dude is attractive if we're watching a film or whatever, than when a chick is. Because, again, of those ideas of 'normal.'
**I know it's a book too, I actually read the book because I loved the film so much. I do that a lot. 👍
But I'm proud not only of who I am, but how far I've come in accepting myself.
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