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Identity crisis

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My ex and I separated in January 2009, he moved out in June.

We have two girls together, ages 6.5 and 1.5; they spend every second weekend with their dad.

Recently after separating, I came out as being gay, to much support and little surprise (my mother told me at age 13 that if I liked girls, it was perfectly normal; I freaked and went the other way... I'd like to kick my early teenage self most days)

I started dating my now gf approx. 2 months ago. She's a boyish kind of girl (a soft dyke? that's what she says - I'm still trying to get comfortable with the lingo) and all our friends tend to dress the same way... cargos, boyish t-shirts, short hair, faux hawks, etc. - but still girly looking, no one's too hardcore...

Annnyway. I've recently cut my hair and started dressing the same way. Less because I want to fit in, and more because it feels 'right'. I can't explain it really, it just feels good. Having said that, I just feel like I'm having a bit of an identity crisis.

Prior to this I wasn't 'girly-girl', but I dressed like a typical chick. Jeans & tees, yoga pants, whatever and my idea of dressing up was, well - feminine.

Now I'm trying to figure out where I fit in all this... So far everyone (including my gf, thank god - I was worried she was only attracted to the 'girly' look) has been supportive, but it feels weird to be 28 years old and re-figuring out what I want to look like.

Any advice or input or btdt? Thanks!
post #2 of 13
I don't think it's strange at all that it feels weird to change your look. I've been out for 12 years and I still have issue with new clothes, not wanting to look "too gay", whatever that means. For example, I'm about to buy suits for the first time to go with new status at work and I'm extremely concerned about looking too gay in a suit. It's weird, I know.
Change is hard. Glad to hear you've got support!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
'Too gay' - exactly

I've made such a one-eighty in looks, people are already adjusting to that... The only ones who haven't blinked are my two kids!
post #4 of 13
when i first came out, i went through an identity crisis about my appearance too. i was all over the map for a while. i went kind of butchy for a while or at least i thought i was butch - my dp, who is butch, thinks its cute that i thought i looked butch! once the whole lesbian thing settled in for me, i arrived at a comfortable place for me in my appearance which turns out is even more feminine than before i even came out!

i never went through the too gay concerns. i was always feeling like i didn't look gay enough. being invisible to a whole group of people who i wanted to notice me was not what i wanted. i am even more invisible now since i am fem unless i am on the arm of my dp!!

with time, i think you will find what is right for you. good luck and welcome
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjnoho View Post
i went kind of butchy for a while or at least i thought i was butch - my dp, who is butch, thinks its cute that i thought i looked butch!
That's us right now. I get lots of 'awwww, cute!' from the group of girls we hang out with (in a nice way though! not demeaning! lol) They've all been there too, trying to figure out what/who the heck you're trying to be...
post #6 of 13
I also think it's a part of coming out. I went through a short period where I was newly out and thought I had to look more butch. I didn't really pull it off at all, and after a few months settled back into my relatively femme look. Like jjnoho, I ended up going more feminine after the fact, probably because I realized I no longer had to try so hard to be make sure people knew I was gay, I just was. Now I wish people could read me as gay more often, but I like my long hair and makeup too much to go more butch again.
post #7 of 13
I came out as a teenager, but no one could 'tell' that I was queer (what with my hippy girly attire and long hair), so I cut my hair, got a wallet with a chain, donned the big black boots and baggy jeans and did the 'butch' thing for as long as it took me to figure out that that wasn't me. I'm a femme, always have been. My uber butch DP laughs when I talk about my 'butch' phase ... she says I was still a femme, only in the wrong clothes. Anyway, give it time. You'll settle into yourself as you learn more and more about yourself and what it means to be queer.
Welcome to the tribe!
post #8 of 13
I think that many of us have to go through different styles to figure out how we find ourselves attractive, but I feel it's much more an issue of gender identity.

Like others here have said, when I came out, other lesbians told me I didn't "look" gay. I have always been femme but thought it was about my look and not my identity. I changed my clothes and cut my hair, but it didn't feel right.

It wasn't until I was with my ex who is gender queer that I learned to embrace femme as a gender identity, seperate from my sexual orientation or female sex. Like my ex, I deal with invisibility both in public and in the queer community because I still don't "look" gay. What does gay look like anyway?! Aren't we far more interesting and diverse than that by now?

I think it's a personal exploration and you just have to do what feels right in your core. Kudos for coming out and embarking on the precarious (but thrilling!) journey of coming into your queer self, however that looks.

xo
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
'What does gay look like anyway?!'

That made me laugh Especially since that's another issue. I feel like I want to identify with my 'new group', kwim? I want people to realize I'm gay.

I was at a restaurant last week and two (to me) obviously gay women came in together. Dressed the same as me! Golf shirts, cargos, faux hawks - the one girl gave me 'the nod', you know?

As god as my witness I almost squealed like a little girl. I was like 'YES! The sisterhood just officially recognized me!' My gf was in hysterics, cause (again) she's been out for over ten years - she's past all these issues.

Anyway, it made me feel really good.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerFemme View Post
It wasn't until I was with my ex who is gender queer that I learned to embrace femme as a gender identity, seperate from my sexual orientation or female sex. Like my ex, I deal with invisibility both in public and in the queer community because I still don't "look" gay. What does gay look like anyway?! Aren't we far more interesting and diverse than that by now?
Yes. This. So much of my coming to terms with my own queer identity has been about understanding my femmeness (and sometimes, lack thereof) as part of my gender identity, NOT part of my sexual orientation.

And welcome, FarmerFemme! Not trying to totally hijack the thread, but I see that you're in Boise. My DP, who is gender queer/trans identified, grew up in Boise, and is actually heading back this month to take our daughter to meet his very Mormon, very conservative family. I'm not going on this trip, and I feel some amount of terror at sending the two of them into the belly of the Mormon, homophobic, transphobic beast. This is silly, but it makes me feel better to know that there's *someone* in Idaho who "gets" us as a family.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post
I was at a restaurant last week and two (to me) obviously gay women came in together. Dressed the same as me! Golf shirts, cargos, faux hawks - the one girl gave me 'the nod', you know?

As god as my witness I almost squealed like a little girl.
I SO get this... actually reading this made me tear up a little and feel happy at the same time. I came out 2 and a half years ago at age 34, after 13 years of marriage (divorced now, and w/ DP since coming out). "The nod" and "the look" do the same thing to me still. Someone SEES me. And I love that it's almost never about checking each other out -- it's about visibility and solidarity. How freaking cool is that?

I hear you on the clothing/hair stuff. Most of my life I've been, um, femme-y with a tomboy twist? After coming out I played with hair length and clothing styles and seem to have settled on my old style + shorter hair and more tomboy. If DP and I are going "out" I dress according to how I feel. She's what a lot of people would call "soft butch" and so I feel pretty visible with her.
post #12 of 13
I've been out for 14 years, and I still go through phases of wanting to look more or less dykey/femme/etc. It was especially fascinating for me to realize that when my wife got pregnant, I suddenly felt very uncomfortable wearing my more feminine clothing (i.e. skirts, fitted shirts), and began shopping in the men's section again (which I hadn't done really since becoming a mother).

Many people change their "look" every so often, and I think it makes perfect sense that the other changes in your life would trigger a change in physical appearance, having nothing to do with your queerness.

But yes, it is a big shift to suddenly appear "gay" to the general public, and I can see how that would take some getting used to. Sometimes, especially since having babies (whose presence often leads people to assume I am straight, even here in the land of queer families), I feel an urge to look MORE gay, to not blend in as just another hetero mama.

Congratulations on Coming OUT!



Lex
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelaM View Post
Yes. This. So much of my coming to terms with my own queer identity has been about understanding my femmeness (and sometimes, lack thereof) as part of my gender identity, NOT part of my sexual orientation.

And welcome, FarmerFemme! Not trying to totally hijack the thread, but I see that you're in Boise. My DP, who is gender queer/trans identified, grew up in Boise, and is actually heading back this month to take our daughter to meet his very Mormon, very conservative family. I'm not going on this trip, and I feel some amount of terror at sending the two of them into the belly of the Mormon, homophobic, transphobic beast. This is silly, but it makes me feel better to know that there's *someone* in Idaho who "gets" us as a family.

AngelaM - I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner! I hope the trip went well. Idaho gets a bad rap, but we have some lovely liberal spaces. We actually have a trans group and queer organizations across the state. It's not always easy, but there are a growing number of us making change.
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