Why is it that no one ever talks about what happens after you've had your OM-Gay moment? You've finally stopped asking Google to define your queerness, you've studied all the episodes of The L Word, and you've hung up that rainbow flag with pride. But now what, how do you “gay?” I certainly didn’t know how to.
My first issue was wardrobe. A lot of queer people had told me that when they came out, they finally felt free enough to dress the way that they wanted. But what did that mean for me? Was I supposed to go out and buy flannels now, or was it okay to stick to my floral-patterned dresses and dorky socks? I was convinced that I wasn’t dressing “gay enough.”
Dating was the worst. Was she a hipster, a lesbian, or both? I had heard of this thing called ‘gaydar,’ but I wasn’t sure if I had acquired that power yet. It got to a point where I would study my crushes like textbooks. How short were her nails? Was she part of the ‘Clexa’ fandom? How long can I stare before it becomes creepy? My lack of gaydar is what led me to have many straight-girl crushes. Of course, I eventually realized that any girl following Hayley Kiyoko was somewhat queer. I usually gave them extra points if they commented heart-eye or rainbow emojis under Hayley’s pictures.
And then there was sex, the ultimate mystery.
“What happens after we make out?” I asked a friend.
She laughed and simply told me to avoid lesbian porn.
I then wondered how much I was willing to let the internet teach me. But I really didn’t want to relive the images I had seen the first time. Why, oh why wasn’t there queer sex ed when I was taught how to put a condom on a cucumber? I was beside myself trying to figure out how to give pleasure to another women. I hadn’t even figured out how to please myself down there.
I’ll never forget the first time I was confronted with a vagina that wasn’t mine. I stuck my fingers in and didn’t know what to do next. That’s right, people. I froze inside her. She was very polite, though.
“Want me to show you what to do?” she said.
I wasn’t ready to have anyone or anything down my knickers, so I proceeded to make a circular motion in hopes that she would feel something.
To this very day, I cringe at that memory and hope she has forgotten all about me.
When I finally did get into a relationship—well, sort of—it felt like a promotion.
“Maybe I actually have this whole gay thing down after all.”
I didn’t. Many friends around me called her a ‘situation.’
“You’re in a situation-ship,” they would say.
And let’s be honest, how many people have great memories of their first gay relationship? As it turns out, my coming-out crush was my first heartbreak. I truly believed that she was the love of my life and that I wouldn’t be able to find anyone like her. Who else was going to accept me with my lack of experience and awkward demeanour? I had gotten so wrapped up in all the firsts I had shared with her that I allowed her to mistreat me.
“She likes me. She just shows it in her own way.” This was my excuse until she left me for someone “gayer.”
I became insecure, wondering if any girl would ever give someone like me the time of day again.
So when exactly does this baby queer struggle end, you ask? To be honest, I haven’t the slightest clue.
I do think the most important thing is that you’re proud of your queerness. It doesn’t matter what you wear, how you identify, or how much experience you’ve had. You’ve honestly figured out the hardest part, which is coming out to yourself.
Like everything else in life, you just have to take it day by day (or gay by day, if you will).
And I’m sure every queer person looked back at all their firsts and wondered what on earth they were thinking.
Soon enough, you’ll grow into yourself, and maybe you’ll teach someone else their first steps.
So, from one baby queer to another, don’t stress. Keep your chin up, and remember that it’s only up from here!