LGBTQWTF? I’m gay? An experience from the Gulf

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A couple of years ago, I had totally regressed into the kind of lazy stupor that characterized my university years. While most students were experimenting with mind-bending drugs and having endless wild but ultimately hollow sexual encounters with perky and accommodating boys, I was really only fitting in with the ‘sleeping until twelve’ and ‘not studying very hard’ aspects of the modern student stereotype, opting to spend my days at home immersing myself in increasingly obscure music and experimenting mainly with the various settings on my toaster.

All my friends were actively dating, something I was never into. I felt that relationships were guarded by boundaries and expectations. And of course, I could never be any boy’s ideal girlfriend; I barely even regarded myself as a girl. They seemed to expect me to be demure and passive, to laugh at their jokes, to be awed and mystified by their various pseudo-intellectual pursuits and guises. But I could see through them all. And in a way it was terrible. I could never be satisfied by the things everybody else finds perfectly charming.

As odd as it sounds, the only boys I was attracted to were the ones I wanted to be. But that’s not supposed to be what a girl wants. I should long to inject my own womanly wiles into their situation, to take care of them, but in reality I longed only to possess a man’s power and freedom. I never wanted to be a voiceless muse or a wife. I want true equality with the one I love.

I’ve been attracted to men, but always, I felt, in another way. It was always more of an admiration, or perhaps wishful thinking. I don’t think I’ve ever been drawn to them in a conventional way. I can appreciate a man’s company, but when it gets to what should be “intimate,” I feel debased, devalued, and not myself at all.

I’ve always felt that boys and I were on different levels. With every boy, it was something permanent. We were never on the same wavelength.

Most men I’ve been with were predisposed,  at least in my subconscious perception, to dominate women. And I refused to be dominated. I want to be treated as an equal, in a nurturing, understanding, down-to-earth relationship.

I think it all comes down to the fact that I never really felt like a girl. This isn’t to say I felt like a boy, because that’s far from the truth as well. In every aspect of my life, excluding relationships with boys, I am afforded complete reign of all things masculine and feminine. Gender has never held me back from anything. But when I’m with a boy, he makes me self-conscious. It is a self-consciousness I could never recover from, having to be forever conscious of my femininity that seemed to always knock me down a peg, given the expected standards of what’s becoming of a young woman.

Even pure anatomy seems to be against me. A man’s body simply makes me uncomfortable, in that it seems designed to overpower me. I’m torn between my better half, which wants to always gain the upper hand in a relationship with a man, and my social conditionings, which dictate that I be demure, docile… domesticated.

This brings me to how I fell in love with a girl, and how after lots of unneeded, introspective, self-absorbed internal debate, I decided that this is who I was meant to be. I decided that it was no longer an obstacle that I am in love with a woman. It just contributed to my complete and utter adoration of her.

I cannot say this was not hard for me to accept.

My house is usually abuzz with statements like “send them to hell” accompanied by stories of “gays” being turned away from jobs. My favorite kneejerk reaction was people calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty. My sister has actually said this; she has the apparent belief that the death penalty is an applicable punishment for homosexuals.

Being a closeted lesbian is hard. For the longest time, I wanted to go and die in a hole and take my shitty homosexuality with me. But with time, I embraced it. That’s life for you, you think it doesn’t quite make sense and then something tells you that fuck, this makes the most sense of anything I’ve ever done in my life.

Needless to say, I have yet to come out to anyone but the woman I dated. How could people possibly understand? Ours is a strange and honest situation that seems to make most people cringe, at least inwardly. But I felt I could deal with the scoffing as long as I had her. I wouldn’t have allowed the ignorant prejudices of others to impede on our love.

I could have all the banality every girl secretly craves if I wanted: a ceremonial wedding, awkward sex, and a line of communication in desperate need of intense rehabilitation. Nobody would gossip, speculate, or harbor strange animosity. But I can compromise my childhood plans and expectations and withstand a hundred years of loneliness,  as long as I can live life the way I need to.

There are perhaps millions of women in my position, and to them I say, “Allow yourselves to fall in love.” I still remember the first time. I had been following her movements for years. My toes curled in, my breath was shallow and futile like a kid playing hide-and-seek. “I want you now more than ever,” I whispered in her ear. She said it back. And I can’t remember any other time in my life when I felt this perfect.

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