Explaining Myself

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I don’t mind explaining my queerness to non-queer identifying people. But recently it’s been pissing me off. When I’m at a bar, drinking with friends, I don’t really enjoy having to explain my sexuality to the random guy trying to “dance” next to me. Recently, out and about in Beirut, I’ve found that my sexuality is incredibly confusing for a majority of straight men to understand. Some recent responses like “I don’t care,” “You’re too hot to be a lesbian,” and my favorite “You’re not even bi?” have made me quite bitter. Their persistence shows a complete disregard for my position, and an assumption that they are entitled to my body regardless of my consent.

Before I ever had to explain my sexuality to others, I had to explain it to myself. My recent experiences remind me of the period in my life when I started realizing I was queer, through high school and during my first (hetero) relationship. I was subconsciously trying to fit into my female “gender box” while at the same time identifying strongly as a feminist. I couldn’t reconcile the two, constantly arguing with myself and others about what it meant to be a woman in a largely sexist and male-dominated society. My young feminist rants gave me the official classification of “man-hater” and “carpet-muncher” by some of my fellow male classmates. I’m reminded of them when I encounter those random men at the bar, the ones who can’t seem to understand why straight sex isn’t universally appealing.

What I want them to understand is that my gender has nothing to do with the ways in which I express my sexuality. My attraction to women and non-gender conforming individuals comes from a need to be a part of something much more significant than “woman” vs. “man.” Queerness, for me, is about accepting that sexuality and gender are nuanced.

It’s not so much about explaining myself as it is about trying to be understood.

Guest Contributor

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