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The Unexpected Struggles of Coming Out as A Queer Woman

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Coming out is hard. Even in a society where Queer identities are more and more accepted, homophobia is still ingrained in our culture. From opening up to a religious family to telling your doctor your sexual history, coming out can be scary. So when I came out as bisexual, I was faced with a new set of unexpected challenges. While coming out is different for everyone, here are some of the challenges I’ve noticed after coming out as bisexual.

1. When You Have to Hide Your Identity

Coming out can be a liberating experience. But unfortunately, not everyone is Queer-friendly. This means that sometimes your identity has to be tucked away for your own safety or comfort. For example, in a public space with your partner. This is especially prevalent in countries with anti-gay policies. So while I might be “out” in my everyday life, safety is always most important.

2. When People Don’t Believe You

It can be frustrating to come out every time you meet a new person. But what’s even worse is when coming out isn’t enough. As a femme-presenting person, many people assume I’m a straight woman. And sometimes, the response to my identity is “but you don’t look Queer!” But here’s the thing, there’s no way to “look Queer.”  My sexual orientation describes who I am attracted to, not how I dress. Not to mention, coming out takes massive courage. So when someone opens up to you, believe them.

3. When You Have to Figure out Labels

Figuring out labels is exhausting. I knew I was Queer at age 12, yet it took me years to discover what label I would use to identify myself. This period in a Young Alpha’s life is confusing as is. But when it comes to questioning your sexuality it can be an ongoing process. Even after coming out, I often questioned whether I was actually straight, or actually a lesbian. In truth, these labels are not fixed identities. They are general descriptions of our preferences, and these preferences can change.

4. When Men Fetishize You

If I had a dollar for every time a man told me it was “hot” that I liked girls. . .  I’d have more money than I should! It’s no secret that threesomes are a popular fetish. And on the surface, there’s nothing wrong with having a fantasy. But many Queer women experience blatant harassment on a regular basis after coming out, because of the myth that women can’t enjoy sex without a man involved. Little do they know, women are much more likely to orgasm with other women than they are with men. If only they knew!

5. When You Have Internalized Homophobia

Contrary to popular belief, Queer people can be homophobic too. Many Queer women live with self-hatred and personal biases due to learned homophobia. For example, as a teen, I developed a strongly internalized homophobia, because I was terrified of coming out. I thought that if I made negative comments about other Queer people, I would be cleared from all suspicion and shame. Even today after being open about my sexuality, I still struggle with occasional shame around my identity, despite being happy with myself.

Growing up, I thought my life would be easier once I came out. And despite all the challenges that came with it, I was absolutely right. I’m honest with myself and others, and that feels incredibly freeing. I also learned that having validation is not what makes me Queer. And coming out is not what makes me Queer either. So whether you’re still in the closet, or you experience some of these challenges as well, you’re identity is 100% yours. And 100% valid.

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Gabrielle Samson

Gabrielle is a Ryerson student in the Creative Industries program with a passion for diverse media and women empowerment. As a young, Queer, Woman of Color, Gabrielle is passionate about contributing to the Young Alpha series from a lens of intersectionality. She is also a fitness instructor and personal trainer eager to advocate for physical and mental health for young women.

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