M.J. Corey is my long distance lesbian BFF. She’s a writer too, and she has this blog where she links to all her stories that get published, and writes her opinions on gay culture and New York City and life in general. She’s pretty freakin bad-ass.
She also happens to be the friend I referenced in the post What exactly does gay look like? from a few weeks ago, and she’s responded to my curiosity about changing appearances to “look” more gay with a short article on her website. I copied and pasted a few parts below, but you should read her entire response here.
It was bound to happen. I always hated being girlie. There was a lot of pressure from a lot of places to be girlie.
I was a tomyboy of a kid… When I was a brace-faced, gangly pre-teen I’d try on boy’s clothes in H&M changing rooms. I was a frumpy baby dyke for most of my life, but my boobs were huge and I seemed destined to be a glamorous, hour- glass girlie girl.
For one year- my freshman year of college- I went all out with the girlie gurl thing…. I wore thigh highs and mascara and all that…. I never felt more disconnected from my body. Few people knew that I was confused and disgruntled all the time over how I looked, feeling like a big liar….
It wasn’t necessarily coming out that made me start looking really different. My plan when I came out was for NOTHING TO CHANGE. I didn’t want to look gay. I didn’t want to be the weird lesbian daughter or the token lesbian friend and all that internalized homophobia shit. For me, visibility was something I really feared; I suspect that’s why I dressed so outrageously feminine in the year right before I came out.
But once I settled into life as a self-proclaimed homo and started actually dating girls, it snowballed naturally. I cut my hair, like all new lesbians do- an initiation act that I think is sort of idiotic, to be honest…
The next thing I know…I’m wearing all the dyke garb…I was getting more and more comfortable with the whole gay thing and my looks were catching up with this comfort.
The point is, it was already in me. I’ve always been that “type” of dyke. (even though p.s. I HATE GAY “TYPE-ING”) …..I sort of feel in the middle, with the potential to lean – or careen – towards either side depending on my mood in the morning. I tend to feel better when I’m boyish, but I have it in me to be hella girlie too…I like being a “tweener,” as Jenn calls me…
I think it’s interesting that she attributed her one year of extreme-girlyness to a fear of being visibly gay. It sort of correlates to another conversation I had recently, where another friend commented on the fact that some of the most homophobic people are homophobic because they’re actually gay but are afraid and/or don’t know how to deal with it (Hello…Dave Karofsky of gLee fame!).
Anyway, I think we need to applaud M.J. on a great, insightful response. And if you want to chime in with any thoughts, questions, opinions, or stories on this topic, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s keep this ball rolling.