One night I went out with a friend to the gayborhood. In my city’s gayborhood, which is a strip of bars and night clubs all dedicated to things queer, you can find a LOT of gays. Surprising right? Well, my favorite thing about having a gayborhood at all is the astonishing comfort you feel being with someone the same sex as you. For once, you don’t have to worry about offending someone or generally feeling like you’re being watched, gawked at or judged for your sexual inclinations. Somehow, straight couples can kiss, and hold hands, but god forbid you, a woman, reach for your female lovers hand for a pg13 squeeze or a quick peck on the lips.
Being a woman who loves women, I can guarantee 2 things when I go out with a sexy babe: we will be sexualized, or we will be uncomfortable and afraid to share our affection.
The first time I experienced this silent judgement and honest fear, was in a small city on a week night in a local bar. Me and my date had just had dinner and wanted to grab a drink. Though we didn’t grope each-other, or really touch for that matter, it’s not that hard to spot a lesbian couple. Particularly when our body language tends to be a bit more open and intimate than that of just friends. We sat in a secluded corner of the bar, and yet I felt the entire room’s watch on us. Middle aged white men questioned us with intense gazes. I finished my drink and made a nervous joke to my date. “Wanna get out of here?” She laughed. “Thought you’d never ask!” I glared at her. How the fuck have we both been in here 3 seconds away from being lynched and this is the first time you admit you feel slightly uncomfortable?! The whole time I had been admiring her for how unapologetically gay she was. Something about it was defiantly sexy. Meanwhile I’m ove here trying not to be a pussy and enjoy our drinks without being self conscious. At a gay bar, where everyone is gay af, the only people that get judged are the straight ones. Why are you here? When I think my date looks gorgeous and I want to kiss her, I lean forward and smooch her like I mean it. Here, in a bar meant for a middle aged dentist with a 2.0 kids and minivan, I worried we were pushing the limit when our knees touched. Looking back, I can only laugh at how crazy the situation was. If you’re wondering if I have a legit fear of being a victim to hate crimes, I absolutely do. Yet the rebellious streak in me refuses to allow society to tell me who and how and when to love…to an extent. I didn’t finish that drink with my date because I enjoyed the atmosphere. I did it because fuck those closed minded white men! I hoped my presence was just as uncomfortable for them as it was for me. As it was for her. At any rate, it was from that moment onward that I realized I wouldn’t allow anyone to shame me for my sexuality. That if I wanted to kiss my partner, I would. Periodt.
It was with this mentality, on a separate occasion, with a separate date, that I encountered my first experience with hypersexualization of two women who both own their femininity. My date wrapped her arms around me as a leaned over a bar stool to close out our tab. I’ll add that being drunk all but removed my inhibitions about being openly gay. As we waited, I turned around and kissed her…passionately. I broke our kiss to be able to receive our tab, and her hands continued to wander my body. She playfully squeezed my ass. With my back turned to her, I noticed a commotion behind us. A man had started to ask her questions. “Did yall just kiss?” She laughed. “Fuck yeah!” she exclaimed. Part of her was annoyed. Part of her was in too damn good of a mood to let this turd ruin our night. To our surprise, her new friend stared in awe at both of us before boldly asking: “Could you kiss her again please?” In honesty, I failed to hear his request, and as I finished signing the tab, I spun around and kissed her of my own volition. I’m not really sure why she went along knowing we had an active audience. She watched him from the corner of her eye. In my drunken stupor I facilitated his show, but what was her excuse? She finally broke the kiss, and kinda started laughing, teasing our random voyeur. His mouth was open and he seemed to be trying to conceal his excitement. “Babe lets get out of here.” She insisted, taking me by the hand and leading us to the door. At this point, I’m agreeable drunk. So agreeable that I’m actually not pissed that this guy is trying to use us for his viewing pleasure. Or that I just participated in some weird ass foreplay that I don’t think I would have been down for had we discussed it before hand. I’m so agreeable I’m not even worried about his social media posts or him following us out of the club. I’m too drunk.
And even after all that, I still believe in PDA for the LGBTQ community. As if relationships weren’t hard enough, one of the things that make it more difficult is feeling like you have to hide from the world.Or when you’re saying good night to your lover and you go in for a kiss that you see your partner is reluctant to receive because they’re checking to see who’s watching. Are you serious? I can’t kiss you cause there’s people around?! You try to respect her wishes not to “flaunt” our sexuality in their faces, but you can’t help but feel anger at the self imposed repression. You can’t help but feel like it’s the two of you against the world and even the two of you don’t agree. There’s no point in getting everyone riled up over a kiss. But to me, that is precisely the point! If we keep acting like we’re ashamed to be gay, they’ll keep acting like they have a right to shame us for being gay. I’m not going to apologize for wanting to kiss or hug my partner. I’m not going to only be gay in the safety of my home when the same stigma doesn’t plague me when I’m dating a man. If we keep hiding, they’ll always react like they’ve never seen two women together, they’ll always react like we exist for their sexual pleasure, they’ll always react like I don’t have the right to love who I love in peace.
Close your eyes bitch! I’m not saying I wanna grab my girl by the pussy when I’m out, or even smack her on the ass. I’m just saying, why can’t I hold her hand when we’re in the supermarket? Why can’t I sit close to her with out that “Good-for-you-guys-being-publicly-gay!” nod or the “OH shit…ya’ll are on a date DATE” expression from the waiter. Why can’t I kiss her good night with out first checking that not too many people are looking? And why can’t you creepy guy’s stop trying to insert yourself into our affairs? If we wanted dick we would let you know, obviously it’s not that hard to come by if you’re offering it like hotcakes. Obviously if we wanted your dick we wouldn’t be all up on each other instead.
Anyway, as i was saying at the very begining of this bitch, one night, me and my friend went to the gayborhood. I was dressed rather femininely while she was dressed like a stud. If you thought I was about to end this with a happy story, you thought wrong. If you thought we would be safe from objectification in the gay gay streets of the gayborhood, you’re wrong. For the first time, I felt mildly unattractive next to my friend. Why? Because gay man were calling out to her like crazy! I stared at her in disbelief and she shrugged her shoulders casually. She mentioned how normal it was for gay men to hit on studs, or ask if she had any brothers. I can admit, the attention confused me as not a single one of them looked my way. For her however, they aggressively blocked our path and shouted compliments at her. I was appalled. Not in the gayborhood! I thought to myself. Clutching my pearls. I started to become pissed. Their attention bordered on harassment, but who do you call when you’re being harassed by gays in the gayborhood? I can’t even…
The moral of the story…it’s not comfortable being anything other than heterosexual. I’m not making any profound statements here, or trying to convince anyone of anything, Im just stating my experience. One thing that I would like to end with, is that apart from my friend being harassed i absolutely loveeee the gayborhood. The love there is real and you better believe I wont miss 2019 Pride. However, with that being said, a part of me always fears going to the gayborhood. Its an ideal target for an effective hate crime–just like the kind we all see on the news every now and then. I hate and both fear news of that nature. I cant stop myself from feeling like It could be me on the news if wasnt so damn lucky. i cant help but acknowledge the morbidity of my thoughts, the legitimate fear of hatred that people have for the lgbtq community…but then I remember that rebellious spirit and i cant let a hypothetical fear paralyze me, especially not when the majority of my community and family and friends support and love me regardless of who i choose to get naked with. Just like that in an instance im filled with both horror and gratefulness. Anyway, this was on my mind two Dos XXs into my week night…and this concludes my 3 random personal accounts being publicly gay. Good night!