“Dude, I think you might be gay”

By ELLA SHIELDS

It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t straight. After making out with a girl at summer camp I was told I wasn’t straight. I didn’t believe her.

There is this misconception, which I fully bought into, that girls only get with other girls to impress guys. In all teen movies, girls are making out with each other while guys eagerly watch and cheer them on. It’s reaffirmed time and time again that girls can make out with friends for fun. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s hot.

The idea of things “not counting” if it’s with a girl made it very difficult to figure out my sexuality. After kissing a girl in a game of truth or dare at an all-girl sleepover, word started spreading that I was gay. I still didn’t think it was true – I had just done it for the game. I had always had crushes on boys. But then my crush started to ask me questions and giving me a lot of attention because of it, so I played along. I pretended I was gay so that I would get male attention. I was one of those girls.

Slowly realizing that I was into girls just made me more confused. I see women in a very different way than I see men. There’s no denying that I’m attracted to women, and sex with them is awesome, but I still feel like I’m being fake and doing it for attention. I don’t have romantic feelings for them, so sexual experiences are just that – sex. It’s very much a fun thing to do with a friend that feels really good, but it’s nothing more than that.

I identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, but I doubt that I would ever date a woman. Does this mean I’m a fake? Am I allowed to say I share the struggle? I was once told “get out of here, you homo. You can’t breathe the same air as me”. Does that one-time offense mean that I’ve been discriminated against because of my sexuality?

Did the society in which I was raised condition me to sexually objectify women to the point that I want to sleep with them? Or am I just gay? Imagine how awkward it is, trying to explain this to my mom.

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