The AfterEllen.com Huddle: What You Should Call Us

 
 

Jill Guccini: While I probably most often refer to myself as a lesbian, I also really love the word queer, especially when I’m writing, because I feel like it refers to so many different types of folk who don’t feel comfortable using any other exact term. If you are 100% sure of your label, that’s awesome, and I agree that it can be the base for a much stronger-seeming political stance. But lesbian can seem like a rigid definition that doesn’t ring completely true for just as many people. If sexuality is a spectrum, then queer is the best word to use for it, or at least the word I feel most comfortable with. It’s like, when I’m explaining myself to the outside world, I use the word lesbian, but when I’m within our community, I like queer, which probably means that that’s the truer version of true.

I also feel like something about the word queer blends together the connections between sexuality and gender identities, which are not the same identities, but can often have complicated relationships to one another. Whereas “lesbian” leaves out gender entirely. Anyway, Heather’s description of it being a living and evolving thing is much better.

For a personal explanation: I am married to a woman. I know I am attracted to women. But I’ve been attracted to dudes in the past. If something crazy happened in the future and my wife passed away or something, could I be attracted to a dude again at some point? I don’t know! Maybe! Am I bisexual? I don’t know! But I definitely know I’m queer. However, Valerie, I would also totally embrace sparkly if the rest of the world came around to it.

Anyway, I think the most important thing to always stress that everyone’s preference is a personal choice, and there is no right or wrong.

91799582

Bridget McManus: I’m all lesbian all the time.

Dorothy Snarker: I tend to use gay, because brevity is the soul of wit. I know it lacks specificity, but sometimes it is nice to have an umbrella term for sexual otherness that is not the entire alphabet. But when exacting definition is required I like lesbian, as I like lesbians (well, most of us). I tend not to use homosexual in anything other than a joking context, because it’s just a fucking hilarious word. I sometimes use queer, but its lingering negativity is hard to shake no matter how hard we reclaim it. Bottom line, I’m just a big gaymo. Just don’t call me Portard.

Ali Davis: Ugh. This is where I admit that I haven’t figured out a good word to call myself. I used to say my sexual orientation is “Who’s Asking?” but people would just blink at me because they have no sense of humor when they’re trying to figure out what you are. I said “bi” for a long time because, while it wasn’t quite what I meant, I assumed that most people knew what the word itself means.

But a lot of straight people really don’t know what it means and they assume it means I insist on dating two people at the same time or that I date in a strict boy-girl progression or that the word itself has no meaning and I’m straight but into any freaky sex thing they care to imagine. …Which is the other problem with the word: the -sexual at the end of “bisexual” takes the conversation to a place neither of us wants it to go if we’re just meeting. It feels like immediately escalating from polite who-generally-catches-one’s-interest conversation to whom-one-likes-to-bang, which is a little much. (Usually.)

“Fluid” is probably the closest thing to accurate that can be said without a lot of hyphens (overwhelmingly-interested-in-women-but-occasionally-attracted-to-men-but-Jesus-the-way-they’re-socialized-is-a-bummer-so-yeah-women-but-it-hasn’t-always-been-that-way-so-it-feels-dishonest-to…) but then people really don’t know what “fluid” means, so they say “What?” which brings me back to “bi” to clarify.

I’ve been going with “queer” or “queerballs” lately because it feels like declaring myself as a part of the LGBTQ community and signifies “not straight” to a straight person and “not straight but not falsely claiming to be a lesbian” to a lesbian.

I’ve toyed with the idea of adopting “yam,” short for “I am what I am,” but I’m pretty sure that brings us back to “What?” So I may jump on board with “sparkly.”

And, yes, using “homosexual” is either hilarious or code for “I am uncomfortable with homosexuality, but I know I can’t use those other words in public anymore.”

I would like other people to refer to members of the LGBTQ community as citizens with full marriage and workplace rights. Or, for short, The Delectables!

Portrait Of Craig Rodwell

Erika Star: I prefer Lesbian, lesbo or lezzer. Maybe Big Ol’ Homo if you’re feeling feisty.

Lucy Hallowell: I’m gay. Lesbian is a perfectly fine word and it certainly applies to me but I just don’t use the word very often. Chalk it up to the lingering negative connotations from middle school or the way is rolls off the tongue. Pardon me, what we’re we talking about? I got distracted by all this talk of tongues and lesbians. Oh right, homosexual. Hilarious, stupid word that belongs along with those other vestiges of days gone by like “water closet” and “ice box.”

Anna Pulley: I’ve said this before, but preferred descriptor is a sentence, not one word: “My heart is gay, but my vagina is less discriminatory.”

Dara Nai: I feel like “homosexual” is only used by old, white, male politicians and clergymen, so no thanks. “Gay” is an easy umbrella term that’s become benign, and “lesbian” is useful when we need to distinguish between us and gay men. (Because apart from marriage licenses and some Glee episodes, we have absolutely nothing in common.) I understand the attempt to defuse or reclaim the word “queer” but personally, I can’t stand it. While “queer” may give some users a sense of community or identity, or culture, to the outside world, it’s still a pejorative that only confirms our undesirable “otherness.”

Ultimately, I don’t care what someone else wants to call me. Just don’t call me during Scandal.

Pages: 1 2 3
 
 

Tags: , , , , ,