She made a big point of telling me that someone she knew finally came out to her, and then paused to look at me. It was a very pointed, very expectant pause, like she was expecting me to say, "You know what? I'm queer too!"
I didn't for a number of reasons.
1. My coworkers are already pushing potential partners on me in jest which I could laugh off, but if I came out I think they'd start pushing potential partners on me in earnest and I don't want that pressure.
2. I've yet to kiss, date, or have sex with a person who's not a man so I'm relunctant to call myself queer. (Though I realize that is unfair as straight people don't need to kiss, date, or have sex to identify as straight.)
3. I think people expect me to say I'm lesbian, and I'm not, and I think that fact will make them take my queerness less seriously because it seems the only queerness that should be taken seriously is the one where someone can't help but be only attracted to someone of their own gender. I think if they found out that I'm not only attracted to women, I'm attracted to people in general, they'd take me less seriously.
3. I'm not queer because I couldn't help it. I wrote about it in my last LJ entry, and I'll cut and paste the relevant sections here:
I think I'm queer by choice, which was one of the reasons I couldn't identify as queer for the longest time. It was one of the things that used to eat me up when I was in church, because it wasn't that I was queer, it was that I wanted to be queer. I never went through the whole try to straighten myself out. I never did the try to stop liking girls and then discovered that I couldn't help it, it was beyond my control, I can't help but be attracted to girls thing. I never tried that because I LIKED liking girls, because I didn't want to stop liking them, and I was afraid if I tried, I would find out that I could stop liking them, and I didn't want that.
So yes, for me, it was probably a choice. I choose to like girls.
And you know what? I still think my liking women is legitimate. Just because liking girls was probably a choice for me and not something that I couldn't help doesn't mean I like them any less. I mean, no one ever goes up to a straight person who choses to like someone of an appropriate gender and tell them that they don't really like that gender because chose to like it. Why should my orientation be wrong because I chose it?
Oh yeah, because being queer is wrong. That's the real issue. And if you could choose to stop liking girls, then you should.
I totally stand by that, btw. But it also makes me relunctant to reveal my queerness because the people who do know eventually bring up how it's okay for me to be this way because I can't help it and then I feel bad because I actually think I can help it but I like being queer so I don't see why I should try to be otherwise. I'm totally okay with that, but I'm not the mood to have to try to explain and validate myself to people if they're not.
ANYWAYS! aka BUT!
I hope I don't come across as saying people who can't help but be queer don't enjoy being queer, that it's something they don't like. The problem with phrases like "have no control over" and "can't help it" is that it gives the idea of having no agency (but somehow the lack of agency doesn't come up with people who can't help but only be attracted to what society defines as the opposite gender). It often comes across to me (especially in the church that I was growing up in) like they're victims, which is such the wrong way to describe whose who are queer not by choice. They're not victims of some DNA trap, it's a part of who they are, and it should be celebrated as thus.
I actually don't think there's much difference between being queer by choice or being queer because it can't be helped - the need to express oneself is there in both scenario, and the need to be accepted for who one is.