Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Being Gay

I call myself gay. If someone says, "Are you gay?" I usually answer "yes." Occasionally I'll say something like "mostly," or "about half." I'm female, and I like girls and guys (and probably would like anyone in between). I'm also quite young. I'm going to now share a quite personal story, because it's important for these sort of stories to be out there, despite people's inhibitions created by society.

I went to an all-girls school for all of my life and was raised mostly unaware of even the idea of sexuality. The concept of "having sex" was explained to me by my older sister at the age of ten. Like most kids, it was gross to me. At eleven my oldest sister told me about homosexuality. I don't remember the details, just that I became aware of it. I asked pretty normal questions, I think, like, "How do they have sex?" (I received the answer "oral sex," which I found befuddling until I worked out that it had to do with using mouths as vaginas and tongues as penises, sort of. That was the impression I got, which I found too horrifying to consider so I ended up pretending oral sex meant French kissing for a while, just to avoid thinking about the other possibility, which was slightly closer to the truth.)

Anyway, I found this extremely intriguing and spent much time thinking about it, knowing somehow that at least one of us four sisters would be gay and knowing somewhere deep down that one of those at least one would be me. The same way girls daydream about boys and kissing, I wondered if I'd kiss my best friend when she visited, whether I'd magically be in love with someone and she'd be in love with me. This never happened, and I remained a romantically unsatisfied young girl, rather usual for an eleven-year-old.

It was when I was twelve, seventh grade in school, that I first fell for a girl. The reasons I loved her were mostly made up. But the facts are that she was new, she was very pretty, she had similar music tastes to mine (something extremely rare for me to find), and I think I had just been looking for someone to go all head-over-heels for. I went to her house once, and then after that I was just awkward and weird and terrible around her. I figured out the whole "oh damn I really like girls" thing, and then it was this... this huge thing, like, it was bothering me so much that it was this huge secret. I went to a Catholic school, I was twelve years old, I had a huge crush on a classmate and I knew it was damn well obvious, and I was lost in a sea of confusion. This occupied my life, taking over my depression and just making it all about this.

So I did what I always thought you were supposed to do, I told my close friends and family. Only to be met with ridicule from my sisters and parents, telling me that I couldn't know who I liked because I hadn't had any sexual experiences. I got so frustrated trying to explain it, that that didn't matter, that I was fucking old enough to know who I would or would not like to date!!!! It was just so unfair. After months of angsting, I "came out" on Myspace and Facebook, which was... well, just plain awkward. Then I kind of pretended none of this had ever happened. I had stopped liking the girl a couple of months after I started, but it had seemed too late, like everybody knew, now that it was over anyway. It was really just a brief infatuation.

By the next year I had realized I can't make a giant deal out of this because (a) I don't need to define myself by my sexuality, and (b) I don't need the hassle. But I think everybody knew, and when we got into arguments with my religion teacher about homosexuality and talked about them at lunch, I think it was just an established fact that I liked girls and guys. I wouldn't say my peers are homophobic, I just think that were a "totally" gay person to go to our school, they would find themselves alienating that person.

So here I am. I'm fifteen, and I think boys are beautiful but I really want a girlfriend. I know this is probably not going to happen. I'm in high school. Here I am, and I'm just going to sit around fantasizing for a few years, most likely. People don't make a big deal out of it at all. But I had a huge argument with my dad today, and I really started this to talk about some of the issues we discussed, and then somehow I launched into story telling time.

Well, I was talking about how the MPAA rating system is bullshit, and how they rate homosexuality a lot harder than heterosexuality - how just the presence of it is enough to be considered "sexual content" even if only kissing is shown. This is obviously true, and obviously an issue, even not in films - look at Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they couldn't show a lesbian kiss for a year, and couldn't imply sex until they changed networks. And my dad completely misinterpreted everything, and such, but I just really think this is related in a lot of ways to how I feel about being told I'm "too young to know."

Homosexuality isn't inherently more sexual than heterosexuality. People don't tell eleven-year-olds they're "too young to know" they like the opposite sex. It's not some "decision." It has nothing to do with sexual encounters, it's just about what you want. (And yes, for the record, my dad things that (a) premenstrual women can't know about their sexuality - bullshit - and (b) a man, for example, who has only had sex with a man cannot claim to be bisexual because he's never been with a woman. Both wrong assumptions, completely missing the point.)

I guess I'm just frustrated. That I can't Be Gay without it being a Giant Deal in Capital Letters that has to do with - gasp - Sex. Like, it really, really doesn't. I mean - it does, of course, but... saying I like girls too doesn't imply that I'm sexually active, that I'm doing inappropriate things for my age, that I'm too sexual. It just means I've actually figured out what I want.

Here's the thing. I'm fifteen. I think dating would be nice. I'm sure most people agree that it's okay for fifteen-year-olds to go out with people their age. I'm not even asking to have sex. I just want to go out with someone, and right now I feel like it being a girl. I'm not even saying that's always going to be my preference - I KNOW it's not.

But this is what I want NOW. And honestly, that's what's important. I want the decisions I make about now to be respected, and not held up to some bullshit idea that I can't know what I want because I'm "too young."


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