This is a call to arms. Straight people, I want you to stop daydreaming about boning your hot same-sex “girl crush” or “man crush” and just do it. I’m tired of your shit. I don’t want to hear you say, “I totally could be gay but the only thing stopping me is licking a vagina.” Why you thinkin’ bout lickin’ a vagina, huh? Newsflash: lesbians don’t just sit around thinking about cleaning pussy off their face.
You think I wanted to be gay so I could lick vaginas? No. That’s not how it works. I found out I was gay cause I was having extremely close personal attachments to the same sex. So if you’re saying you’re feeling all the emotional sides of a lesbian relationship and you are sitting around thinking about licking a vagina…SEEMS PRETTY GAY.
I used to think the same thing as you: “I can’t go down on a girl!” Turns out, I’m super gay! Do you know how many excuses I’ve made for not being gay? About the same number of red hairs on Julianne Moore’s body. So what’s stopping you? Let’s explore, in more way than one.
The protagonist in this story, as in every story in America, is the “straight” white teenage jock boy, Chad, who shoves you into a locker and calls you gay for almost everything you do. We navigate our lives dodging Chad. Every move we make, we try not to make too gay. But why are we trying to avoid being gay? Chad infused the word “gay” with negativity and inferiority. Our men can’t be too feminine, they can’t cry, they can’t talk about a trans woman without calling them a “tranny,” or Chad will think they sympathize with trans women and, therefore, must want to be a woman, which is gay. So Chad will shove them into a locker and yell, “Fag!” Then all Chad’s friends will laugh and fist bump and tap each other’s junk.
They’ll go home and exchange secrets about their deepest emotions and ask each other if the emotions they’re feeling are weird. Chad’s best friend Brad will say “No.” Chad and Brad trust each other. They might even kiss. They’ll have a sleepover and Chad will ask if Brad will hold him just a little because he is lonely, and he will.
Chad and Brad will wake up, put on their varsity jackets and go to school. While leaning on a locker, Brad will interrupt Chad’s conversation with a total babe and ask if they’re still on for tonight, and Chad will say, “Are you trying to fuck me? Ew, fag.” Brad will be confused.
Eventually, someone will shoot up the school because everyone in America, even toddlers, has access to a gun. The first person they will try to kill is Chad but Brad will nobly take the bullet and Brad will die.
Chad will grow up and get fat and get a wife and join the military and become a staunch Republican and support Donald Trump and sign a petition to reinstate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He will have a son, Dom, and Dom will be gay. When he comes out to his father, Chad will kick him out of the house and yell, “FAG!!!” Chad’s wife will be like, “What’s wrong with you!?” and she will divorce him. Chad will have nothing left and he will put a gun he bought at Wal-Mart in his mouth and through tears he will say, “I’M NOT THAT FAG, YOU’RE THE FAG.” Chad will take his own life because the pressure to not be a fag was too high, even for Chad, who was a fag.
Now that I’ve divulged that darkness, I want to tell you another story. This is a story about the last year of my life.
I, like many in America, had a shitty 2015, mostly because at the top of the year, I came out. It was fucking hard to deal with and I was super depressed in the beginning of the year because not only did I come out, but also I found out I was gay. It wasn’t a secret I was hiding since my pubes sprouted; it was something I discovered about myself in my 23rd year of life. I was mortified and embarrassed that I, a self-aware and anxiety-ridden Jew (only by blood), could go 23 years without knowing something about myself so crucial to my being. It was because I, like many people in America, dealt with years of internalized homophobia, because of Chad.
I spent my entire life hearing Chad in the back of my head. I didn’t agree with him, but I also didn’t stop him. I figured if the masses agreed with Chad and it was kosher to call some kid gay and actually mean it in a malicious way, then being gay must actually be bad.
As a kid, I was a tomboy. I was bullied for being boyish and I had no friends that were girls. So I was forced to adapt. I started dressing more “girly,” in the American vernacular sense of the word, but it was too late. I was already friends with all the boys in the school. None of them saw me as a sexual object like they did the girly girls. I even called a boy gay in middle school for an entire year. He was. When you’re a kid, you don’t think something might be wrong if everyone was doing it, especially adults.
I spent high school being basically asexual and unaware of it. I liked boys because I knew I was supposed to. I didn’t have a boyfriend until my senior year and when I finally had one, I didn’t even like him, I just wanted a prom date. Sorry if you’re reading this, first boyfriend. I never felt love, like real, movie-love, for a boy. I was curious about sex, but who wasn’t? My hormones were like, “I’M AWAAAAAAKE, GURL!!!!!”
I went to college and my behavior persisted: a few hookups here and there, nothing serious. I was feeling what I was supposed to be feeling. The only lesbians I knew of were Ellen Degeneres and coincidentally a woman named Ellen who my dad worked with. But besides them, I never even saw lesbianism as something that was real or could happen to someone I knew—because the only time I ever heard the word “lesbian” was when I, or a girl butcher than I, was being called that as a joke.
Why would I ever want to be a lesbian if it was all a big joke to everyone? That wasn’t me. I was cool. I mean, I wasn’t as popular as Chad–I was on my way to art school. I had tons of friends at many different lunch tables. I was smarter than a significant amount of my peers, unlike Chad. I was a good kid. I wasn’t a lesbian.
Cut to: I am a lesbian. It took about a year for me to process everything, from the moment I realized the thoughts I was having were gay, to asking myself if I wanted to touch a vagina, which I didn’t. I realized that certain things I was feeling for certain people weren’t normal. Or, let me rephrase that—it was normal, it was just gay. And not Chad’s version of gay, just actual gay. I was having gay feelings for women, the movie-feelings I was apparently supposed to be having for me my whole life. Here’s when it all changed: I met other women like me. Actual lesbians and bisexuals and queers and trans people; they were real.
I remember the first out lesbian I met was in college. My best friend was close with a group of lesbians at her college. That was the first time I realized lesbianism wasn’t folklore, these people were real and they were dating and fucking and living their best lives—and my best friend of all people was friends with them. Was it OK to be gay? Yeah, maybe it was.