Am I queer? It’s not a question that I spent any time on as a younger person because I identify as male and am attracted to women. So why I am even asking this question?
I’m unconventional. Being male especially as a teenager I was often in social situations which became exclusively male and conversation turned to which of the females in the social group did people think were the hottest. Whilst everyone did have different opinion on these sojourns I came to realise my personal preferences were more different than most of the rest of these groups. When people have asked me what sort of women am I attracted to, I’ve always struggled to come up with an answer, there is simply too much diversity, I’m simply attracted to who I’m attracted to.
Is it more than this? I used to play field hockey in a mixed group and one day I was with a fellow hockey player where one of the female players was dressed up, make-up, posh dress and so on and he said to me “I didn’t realise that X was really attractive, I’ve only seen her in sportswear”. I was stunned, how on Earth had he not noticed that this woman was really attractive before. The answer was that he doesn’t find women dressed for sport attractive, but does find women dressed up in what our culture deems ‘feminine’ attractive. I realised that I’m the opposite, I find women in sportswear attractive and being dressed up does nothing special for me. He asked me “What do you like women to wear, what turns you on?” My answer was “Jeans, DMs and a nice wooley jumper”, I never realised how much of a minority I was in for this preference.
On another occasion I was asked about liking women with short hair, the “women who look like boys” accusation, I do not see that, I just see an attractive woman. However a consequence of this is that I am have found myself to be disproportionatly attracted to lesbians. It isn’t a fetish for lesbianism (though I acknowledge that this exists), it’s simply that I just see women I am attracted to. Also my gaydar is terrible as all the social cues as to someones sexuality I am fairly blind to.
Whilst I am perhaps an untypical person, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am queer. For queer is an identifier for people who have suffered abuse due to their sexuality. I have suffered abuse from those idiots whom make the assumption that I’m gay, such as being shoulder charged in the street or more general social exclusion. However it is rare enough that I haven’t really suffered from this as a continual persistent abuse that would count as suffering from homophobia or other things such as racism or sexism.
There is however an aspect of me that does push me into something like that. I consider myself to be somewhere on the autistic spectrum. This means that some of the unwritten social rules I don’t get and I have had to actively learn them, espeically those social rules around how men and women interact socially. This has happened enough to be caused me to suffer. I like women, most of my friends are women and sometimes I find myself somewhere such as in the pub talking with a woman. Someties there are two things going on, a conversation that is underlayed by an undercurrent concerning whether there is also a mutual attraction. What has frequently happened is the point that the woman decides that they are not interested in me, however the actual conversation is interesting enough to not bring the interaction to a close. To me the conversation was as important as the assessment. I’ve yet to find a way, if such a way exists, of naturally bringing such a conversation to an end without a sense of awkwardness that I ‘haven’t taken no for an answer’ being there. I suffer from there being so many heterosexual men who persist, I’m not part of that, yet I suffer from it. It’s trying to comply with a set of social rules that exist for people not in my social group. It is maddening, it’s made me not express an interest in a woman for fear of the social awkwardness that seems to inevitably ensues, even in situations where the woman is expressing an interest, but I’m enjoying the conversation too much. This may not make any sense to you kind reader.
I’m not technically queer, but perhaps I should be able to identify myself as so. However I also acknowledge that we are all as individuals a morass of personality traits that society has labelled male and female, yet none of us have a set of entirely male or female traits, we are all mixed bags of craziness trying to make sense of ourselves and the world. Our genes and our societies in general push us towards particular preferences or expressing of certain traits, but sometimes this doesn’t serve us well as individuals, society doesn’t tolerate such diversity. Sometimes individuals are different enough to push them past a point where they become wierdos, queers, misfits, even though such individuals are actively striving not to cause others harm. Sometimes your sexuality pushes you across that boundary, sometimes it’s something else. Sometimes your differences give you automatic membership to a defined social group and sometimes it doesn’t.
I’m a middle aged hetersexual, but still put this record on and turn the volume up and go ‘Yeah!”