Is she gay?

This is a question that has hovered around me for years and I’m finally amused enough to put my thoughts in writing.  I’ve been mistaken for a man a couple of times – once by a police officer who pulled me over for speeding (yes, I was speeding) but hurriedly backed off after calling me “sir” and realizing I wasn’t a “sir.”  Another time, a waitress walked up to our booth and, seeing only the back of my head, called me “sir,” then fumbled around correcting her mistake.  In both of these cases, it seemed that their mistake was most likely caused by my short hair and broad shoulders, which they saw only from behind and when I was seated.

Cause, honestly, there ain’t no damn way I could be mistaken for a man otherwise, regardless of my sexual orientation.  For people who don’t know me IRL, there’s just a smidgen too much packed in the trunk up front to ever be mistaken for male anatomy. But back to the question at hand “Is she gay?” The answer is…

None of your fucking business. Literally.  Who I fuck is none of your business.

I don’t care about the question, I don’t care that people ask it, or that they can’t pin down whether I prefer boys or girls or turtles or leather couches.  In fact, I often go out of my way to cloud the issue.  I’m an equal opportunity flirt, sometimes an equal opportunity snuggler and hugger and hand-holder.  I love my female friends and male friends equally, and am equally physically affectionate.  I dance as a follow and a lead, and I’m not squeamy about other ladies’ boobs touching my boobs, or getting sexy when leading someone – male or female.

In short – I don’t care what other people think about my orientation.  The only reason my orientation should ever be your business is if you want to ask me out.  If that’s the case, ask and I’ll say yes or no and maybe that will be based on my orientation and maybe it won’t.  I find it flattering when anyone thinks I’m compelling and attractive enough to want to go out with, and if I’m not interested, I’ll let you know right up front.

I realize this makes some people uncomfortable, but that isn’t about my choices or behavior, or even my appearance.  It’s about their discomfort when they can’t put me in a category, or definitively label me this or that.  As I write this, I realize that everyone who has ever defied gender stereotypes has probably said the same thing.  I feel a little like a fake because I’m not sure I’m defying anything, I just don’t think it’s anyone’s business and I’m secure enough in my sexual identity to not need anyone else’s approval or understanding.

I also approach this the same way I approach dancing.  If I only ever follow or only ever lead, I miss out on 50% of all the best dancers and that’s a LOT of missed opportunity.  The same is true in this aspect of my life – if I focus all my desire for physical contact not only to one sex, but confined strictly to the *realm* of sexual activity, I miss out on 50% of all the best hugs and friend snuggles.  That’s a high percentage of loss and hey, I’m not a loser.

13 thoughts on “Is she gay?

      • In terms of the dancing, you mean? To be honest so many of these things are culture or context specific aren’t they? I thought the fundamental point that it isn’t anyone’s business was bang on. There’s an ace article on responding to intrusive questions with open ended ones that force the original questioner to acknowledge their own preconceptions/prejudices. It’s fairly long but an amazing read and so intelligently argued. You might like it. A blogger on Not About Kids told me about it – they’ve got a link to it or the original is on Harpers (surprisingly actually!).

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      • Being vague-ish about my orientation is a more recent development. I worked in a women’s prison and I didn’t want to lie about myself, but I didn’t want to be too specific either. So I was vague about many things, including my orientation. I also felt like I didn’t want to say or do things that I perceived as attempts to prove or defend my orientation. If I wanted to admire an attractive person, whatever gender, I just did. If I wanted to dance with someone, I did. It simply became unimportant to be perceived in any specific way.

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  1. Thoughtful article. I’ve known you for a few years and I never guessed that people questioned your gender or orientation. .. and it never entered my mind to ask you about either. You are a wonderful friend and person: open, honest, thoughtful. You attempt to make the world a better place by helping others and being introspective. That’s all that really matters to me!

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