Coming out as a(n obvious) butch dyke when I was previously known as, and basically looked like, a heterosexual woman, was like my very own social experiment about the effects of sexual orientation and gender presentation.
I've written previously about happy surprises that coming out brought to my life. I've talked less about the unhappy surprises; I'll hit some of those now.
Here are some ways my interactions with others changed when I came out:
As I said, I'm only listing the negative or neutral things here, and I'm making a lot of generalizations. So please don't take the list too literally.
Still, it was incredibly trippy to feel like I had stayed the same, but all these elements of the social world had suddenly changed around me.
Do any of these hit home with you?
9/12/2012 09:30:14 am
Some of those hit home for sure particularly after my divorce despite the fact that the majority of people I knew, already knew I was gay long before that. The few married couple friends I had stopped speaking to me particularly the women.
9/12/2012 09:35:17 am
I lost a job when I came out a work. The secretary that I worked with asked me about my gf who was picking me up and taking me to lunch everyday. When I told her she was my gf, this woman backed away from me like I was going to pounce on her. So I had to explain to her that just because I am attracted to women, does not mean I am attracted to all of them. So I don't know if she was more offended that I wasn't attracted to her, or because I was a lesbian. But within a few days I lost my job...she had seniority.
9/12/2012 09:43:23 am
EVERYTHING you have said applies to me as well!
9/12/2012 11:10:28 am
Heidi-- this is so true! I'm pretty butch 99% of the time, but every now and then I have a "girly" day and it always baffles me how differently I get treated... actually, I find people are much nicer too me as a femme, approach more readily, are quicker to do me favors... I've mostly stopped doing it because it bothers me how much nicer people are to me when I look "pretty," even if I'm so much less able to be helpful to others in heels and the like.
9/12/2012 09:44:30 am
Now just make that highly visible and a source for asinine competition and this whole thing is me.
9/12/2012 09:46:34 am
I meant make that highly visible to men and add asinine competition-and this whole thing is me.
9/12/2012 09:49:15 am
Number 13 strikes home with me. My best friend since middle school seemed quite accepting when I told her, but... communication kind of stopped between us after then. It was a slow death, first she'd just ask me about work, school etc., without delving into any talk of my personal life (when we used to spend hours upon hours talking about guys), and one day we just didn't talk anymore.
9/12/2012 09:49:40 am
People assume that I like femme girls (even though I'm femme myself which would go against the "stereotypical gay" couple). People also assumed that I would get turned on by seeing naked girls ect. Like I'm suddenly more likely to be a pervert. People are also often surprised that I am lesbian because I don't look butch. They would assume I was either bisexual or straight. Some think that I would change if I ever "tried men".
9/12/2012 11:13:31 am
I've "tried men"... and if anything it made me gayer.
9/16/2012 11:59:22 am
Yeah.. i've "tried men" as well... definitely integral in discovering my affinity to women!
9/12/2012 10:43:04 am
when I came out my best friend abruptly cancelled a vacation we had planned together and she considered herself liberal and gay friendly, with many malegay friends! humpf! its amazing how all my "opened minded" and "liberal" straight friends have fallen off the radar!
9/12/2012 11:15:34 am
Ha! I've always loved that one from straight women: Totally progressive and gay-friendly AS LONG AS WE'RE ALL CLEAR THAT EVERYONE LIKES PENISES OKAY. And then the men are exactly the opposite and want to share halves of a BFF necklace shaped like a pair of breasts.
9/12/2012 11:05:53 am
Thank you for this! A lot of these really ring true for me, too. I can't stand the assumption that I only like femmes or that I'm always the Top or that I suddenly care about sports I didn't used to. (I am a crazy cat lady, though...) One I did not experience was that my straight friends stopped asking about my relationships-- if anything, they've asked more often (once a friend asked me if I'd started dating someone 3 times in one week!) and they've started trying to set me up with all these "cute girls [they] know"! This has really gotten much worse since Marriage Equality became a frontline issue, and now my straight girl friends want to know what all my wedding plans are... for a girlfriend I don't have... and even though they all know I don't really dig marriage, even if I believe in marriage equality. It's annoying. It's like they expect me to be like all of them since Marriage is SO Gay now.
9/12/2012 11:33:14 am
I went through a transition from "relaxed femme" to "soft butch" (this included cutting my hair) over a span of about a year or so (2009ish). Since then, I have not been hit on by a man (yay!) but I have also noticed that a lot of men aren't sure how to approach me. I'm not super tomboyish...I'm not loud, I'm not into sports, and I'm obviously not a man. "Typical" guys are generally standoffish with me until they get to know me.
9/12/2012 01:59:22 pm
I still have trouble getting my friends (even some of my closest gay friends!) to understand that just because I'm a lesbian does not mean I am automatically going to be attracted to every other lesbian in the entire world. I've experienced a lot of resistance and confusion from them when I try to explain that I like butch girls. I know they're imagining the most unflattering, stereotypical image of a butch they can possibly think of...as if being butch means you're totally hopeless, have no clue how to dress yourself and think you're a man. Another popular one with me is when they say I'm the "girl", to which I now reply, "We're lesbians, so we're both girls" because I'm tired of explaining it every time. I didn't realize that it was my job to paint my nails and spend several hours a day doing my hair just because I look good in a skirt. Or when my straight friends and family bring up the fact that I used to date men...implying that I could still do it, and if I'm just going to date butches what's the difference? Ummm...really? Are you kidding me?That one bother me the most, although "straight men at parties" is becoming a close second: that awkward moment when a guy is hitting on me and immediately after telling him I'm a lesbian (for about the 5th time) the conversation spirals into him explaining that I can't possibly know I'm "for sure a lesbian" because I've never had sex with HIM...and/or groping me. "Oh, I didn't realize that you were the greatest lover in the world. Please put your pervert hands up my shirt and turn me straight!" Idiots.
9/12/2012 08:01:02 pm
well; this will throw you all; came out of a very abusive relationship just over 4yrs ago and the ONLY person who supported me bar my parents and 2 now deceased gfs is my exhusband; i am who i am at any given point in time; am THE carer for my terminally ill dad as mum passed after ex went ape (strange that, brain cancer) i dress according to what eva i might need to do for with dad; live small redneck town,no probs as thet know and about exhub being friend and they accept; admittedly extranneous circumstances but am accepted for who/what i am
9/12/2012 10:00:01 pm
I blend in well with society most days. I look like the majority of heterosexual females out there. I have been married more than once, to men, and have children which only makes me look more straight. Because of this men are always really nice to me when they first meet me but always turns out they just wanted to date me. Once I break the news I have to listen to them tell me how I am broken, what a shame it is, how I just need to meet the right guy, how they could change me. Each time I just feel like yelling, "Leave me the f%#$ alone!!!!" Do they realize each time they do that it just reinforces my low opinion of straight men and how they are completely unable to think beyond their penises? Pathetic!
I'm sorry that you went through this.
9/13/2012 06:41:04 am
i have been becoming butch over the last year after realising I was gay and I could finally giving trying to look at least slightly femme and being completely hopeless at it. I don't know, I suspect New Zealand is generally a bit more tolerant - I've gone through a complete revolution in my appearance at work and have had very little reaction except from an obviously gay guy who said he really liked my hair.
9/13/2012 06:45:42 am
I find that I am so much more myself now that I am a more attractive person generally - my sister did visit and never said a word about my radically different hair cut - so who knows what she was thinking. For I found as a heterosexual I was invisible to both men and woman - now all of a sudden at 47 I'm apparently suddenly "hot" and get a lot of attention from gay women I never got from either sex before - I'm loving it.
9/13/2012 06:53:09 am
*For me I ...
Number 13. but in sort of a reverse way.
Almost all of what BW says ring true, but here are a few more I can add to the list:
9/16/2012 10:44:31 pm
What annoys me most is when I'm deliberately excluded from "girly" conversations, about families and babies etc. A work friend needed a tampon and nobody had any, she didn't even think to ask me because she automatically read me as male. It makes me feel like less of a woman when things like that happen, but not enough that I want to go back to being miserably femme to blend in. Their problems, not mine.
9/17/2012 01:02:55 pm
I've never had the experience of going from a straight-looking het woman to a butch lesbian so I can't speak to that. I have gone from a straight-ish looking het woman to a usually straight-ish looking bisexual woman though. I'm not planning any massive appearance overhaul either. I'm not any more interested in bending and contorting myself to fit queer stereotypes than I am in fitting straight ones. I'm still gonna be that ambiguous chick in the corner wearing a sundress and combat boots because that's just me.
10/18/2012 10:42:26 am
I didn't know that you didn't like camping! What's up with that? You have a subaru therefore, you must like camping...
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