It honestly feels odd writing this out…as this post is essentially me coming out on my own blog. It had to be done at some point and I figure what better time to do this than at the start of Pride Month in June?!
If you know me personally, you know that I fully embrace my queer identity. I have always loved the LGBTQ+ community and found great friends, joy, and peace in queer spaces. However, it can be hard to find representation of femme (re: “girly”) queer, cisgender women on Instagram, let alone in the fashion blogging world. I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to integrate my identity into my blog/Instagram. But here I am, getting comfortable with myself in this space and ready to share more of who I am with you all!
I feel like many of my new followers (which is most of my followers since I’m so new to this) may have questions about me or how I identify, so I’m happy to help break it down for you all.
How I identify: Pansexual
This means I have the potential to be attracted to men, women, and those not on the gender binary. A more elaborate description of the terminology can be found here, but I like to think of myself as having the potential to find the inner and outer beauty in anyone. And here is a comparison of pansexuality to the more widely known term bisexuality, because the two can easily get confused.
How I knew:
As clichéd as this may sound, I fell in love with a girl at an all-girls catholic sleep away camp the summer before starting high school. The girl had cropped hair and wore baggy clothes so I assumed she was a cute boy at first, but when I found out she was a girl my feelings didn’t change. That was the beginning of my realization that I wasn’t going to restrict myself to falling for one gender.
Why use “pan” and not “bi”:
I first started identifying as bisexual when I came out at age 14. I didn’t know any other terms besides gay/straight/bisexual at the time, and “bi” seemed to best suit me. However, as I grew older and began to research more about the sexuality spectrum, I realized that pansexuality felt more true to who I am and who I am capable of loving. Many people choose to not use labels on themselves or prefer general terms such as “queer,” but I always felt at home with pansexual after misidentifying myself for a few years.
The “Femme” component:
This one’s a tricky topic to tackle. Because I am a feminine, queer, cisgender woman, I can pass for straight. I’m not the “typical butch lesbian” stereotype people think of with cropped hair and plaid shirts. I enjoy dresses, makeup, millennial pink, and rose gold accessories. But fashion and trendiness are often only associated with queer men in the LGBT community. Queer women aren’t usually thought of as stylish in the mainstream sense of fashion.
Passing for straight affords me a lot of privilege – I’m not going to get harassed because I “look gay” and onlookers can pass off my being with another woman as me being with a close female friend. I can fit into the heteronormative narrative of our society simply because I look the part of what a woman is “supposed” to look like and dress like.
However, this also means I fit into a very specific section of the male gaze that fetishizes feminine queer women. I’m more likely to be gawked at when I kiss a girl or am in a relationship with another woman. I have been asked to kiss women just because a guy wants to see it. I have been told to either hide my sexuality so I don’t attract the wrong kind of man, or showcase it to attract more men. I have been asked about participating in threesomes and been leered at by men and women as soon as I reveal my sexuality.
All of these scenarios revolve around what men want, as opposed to what I, as a woman with her own feelings and desires, would want. I get tired of going on dates and feeling like I need to either hide that part of myself or wave it around from the very beginning. Sometimes it feels like I am deceiving people if I’m not upfront about my sexuality because I don’t “act gay” enough.
Being queer isn’t easy, and I acknowledge that I have it better than a large portion of my fellow LGBT community because of how I present. However, there is still much work to be done so that everyone can feel safe in their homes, schools, bathrooms, and streets no matter how they identify. We as a community will continue to fight for the rights of everyone who has felt othered and marginalized.
What Pride means to me:
I joke that this month allows me to be super flamboyant, and honestly I feel as though I need a time to really be enveloped and emboldened by this beautiful community that at its core believes in the fullness of self expression and never apologizing for who you are. Pride parades allow you to let loose and have fun! The parties that follow encourage you to be your best, most extra version of yourself. Even though most people are putting on a show and dressing in outfits that aren’t everyday wear, Pride always seems incredibly authentic. It’s about you letting go of restrictions and putting yourself out there however you want to. It’s about acknowledging the hardships of the past and celebrating how far we’ve come as a society while knowing there is still work to be done for future generations. Pride is about freedom and self love.
And I can’t think of any better reasons to be proud.
Happy Pride Month!