Queer/Race

Kissing Girls: My Dad Thought I was Gay.

Posted in Uncategorized by bblurbs on April 23, 2010

 

“Hey, are you busy ? Is there anyone around in your apartment ?” My father must have been able to tell that I had him on speaker phone.

 “Nope, it’s just me,” I replied.

“Okay, can I ask you a question?”

I wasn’t sure what he was going to ask about. Probably something about school or maybe my plans for the summer. My father was always, always worried about the future. Or maybe it was about the trip we were going on that weekend to visit my grandparents in New England. I was bringing along a friend this time, and my grandparents were pretty deep in their religious faith. Maybe he didn’t want my friend to hear. Did he have some news?

“Okay…Are you gay?” It was the last question I had expected to hear from his mouth.

“Am I what?” I asked, startled by the question that came with out any forewarning. Maybe I misheard?

“Are you gay?” he repeated.

“NO I’M NOT GAY!” I shouted quickly into the phone, surprised by not only his questions but how defensive I got. “What the-?”

Immediately, my mind raced back to all the lesbian-ish things I had done in my life. I remembered the time my dad found a picture of me pretending to kiss a girl in high school and how disturbed he was (Those kissy pictures were cool back then). I thought back to the times when I had really kissed girls. But was I “gay” in actuality? No! I wasn’t gay. But now my dad apparently believed so.

“Now, hold on, hold on!” he said, interrupting what would have unintentionally been a string of cuss words that I learned to use so elegantly in college. “I was just wondering!”

Wondering? Had I really given off that gay vibe?

“Well, where in the world did you get that from?”

“A friend of mine apparently saw on one of your social websites, Twitter or Facebook, that you were in a relationship with a girl. Are you?” he asked again. I felt a sigh a relief. My best friend and I had put that silly status up months before as a joke. I tried to explain this to my father.

“Noooo, Dad! That was just a joke. She’s my best friend. We did it as a joke,” I said, attempting to explain to my father how “In a Relationship” with your best friend on Facebook was humorous. He didn’t laugh. “I’m not gay, I’m serious!”

“Well, okay. Well, that’s good. I mean, if you were gay, that’d be fine too!”

“Dad, I’m not gay…”

“I was just thinking about this all week. And then you invited your girl friend on our trip to New England, and I thought that was your girlfriend. And then, I was going to ask you about it this weekend, but I didn’t want to ask it in front of Grandma and Grandpa, and it’s just…”

“Dad!” I laughed. “I’m really not gay!”

“Okay, are you sure? Because you know, I don’t care about that! I’d accept you either way. I was just wondering how you would have kids, would you adopt or…”

“DAD! I am NOT gay!” He had clearly been thinking about this for awhile, and it was so embedded in his head that he refused to believe that I was actually straight. “You will have grandchildren, okay? Lots!”

“Okay, phew! Good. But wait, not too soon right? Wait a little while!” he joked.

“Yes, Dad,” I giggled.

“Okay, that’s all I wanted to ask you!”

“Okay, Dad. I’ll talk to you later.” We exchanged our goodbyes with awkward laughs and I hung up the phone and realized how much I loved my dad.

After the conversation with my dad, I will admit I had to reflect on my past few crazy years in college. He had been so convinced that I was gay during that conversation that it actually scared me, setting me back into a self-conscience and confused reflection. I had experienced a plethora of things in that five minute conversation with my father that made me really sit back and not only take a look at myself, but at the queerness of it all.

  1. Coming Out? Although, I did not come out in this equation, because I am indeed a straight heterosexual female (who admittedly happens to appreciate other females), I felt as if I almost had, or as if I easily could have came out to my father; A privilege that I realize many homosexuals, attempting or wanting to come out to their parents, do not have. (Actually, a privilege that many heterosexuals with their regular, straight issues don’t even have lol). Taking this Queer Race (ENGL459Q) class had almost made me want to call my father back and say “Yes, I am gay!” just to see if his accepting reaction would still be the same. Would he suddenly be caught by surprise? Had he wholeheartedly thought I was gay, or maybe just a smidgen? I wondered. But the fact that he had wasted no to little time waiting on his daughter to come out to him made me feel proud.

 

  1. Double Standard. It’s obvious. As a woman, I feel as though we are allowed to be as sexual and as sexually open as we want and it’s often considered erotic or in plain terms “hot”. I can kiss girls on a drunken night or dance a little too close. I can take kissy pictures with friends and I’m still a heterosexual. (To some, apparently not my dad lol). But see a man kissing another man after a few too many beers, man taking a kissy photo with another man, or dancing a little too close to a man. That’s “homo” and it’s only right to call it “homo”. Why is that?

 The tantalizing looks that two women being sexual with each other receive will be undoubtedly different than two men doing the same. I feel as though it’s unfortunately a double standard I even hold myself to. I can act “gay” and do things that are “gay”, but not be gay. A man who experimented in college with men, but is now married to a woman with children (WITHOUT any Christian intervention, but as a personal choice) would be looked at completely different than a woman who experimented in college and was not turned heterosexual.

I’m not a particular fan of double standards or anything unfair for that matter lol. Therefore I tried to think outside society’s box. If a person’s sexuality was based not just on their apparent present actions and sexual preferences, but on their past sexual preferences, are they gay? I, for a moment, subjected myself to the man’s side of the double standard and was displeased, as I questioned myself and feared that perhaps, acting out on my urges, whether sober or drunken, may have given people the wrong idea about my sexuality.

And then I thought again about how little I regretted about my past (It’s not as scandalous as I’m making it sound) and how momentarily ashamed I was to be so defensive about being questioned about my sexuality. Why couldn’t I have just answered with a simple “no” without all the defensive dramatics? There’s nothing wrong with being gay.

Kissing girls or not, it was obvious that it what I wanted to do at the time. I know that generally speaking, I am not gay. Although I find women physically attractive, I am secure in my heterosexuality to know that I am physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, etc., etc., and all of the above ways, attracted to men. However, society, as we allow it, infamous for unfairly creating and placing labels on people, could generally convince others of different. I find it incredibly funny how it’s essential for society to make and enforce these labels, and how uncomfortable these labels can sometimes make us because what other people relate to them, and we are unfortunately a product of it all.

One thing that I learned from this whole, now very humorous situation, is that it’s SO IMPORTANT for people to define themselves by their own terms, not others, and not societies. The Census gives you Black, White, and Hispanic. What if you want to check all three? What if you don’t fit in the box? What happens then? You define you. And when you define you and become comfortable with your own label without having to check in with society, that’s when you become comfortable with yourself!

– Brittany Britto

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10 Responses

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  1. kriegerdeslichts459 said, on April 23, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I totally get you on the whole double standards thing. For whatever reason, the need to label other people seems to be entrenched in human nature, and it can be very difficult to overcome it. These labels represent a social hierarchy that privileges some people over others and some behaviors over others. Until we learn to let go of meaningless labels, we’ll never be able to full appreciate each person’s unique talents and abilities.

    I feel that with queer people, our labels are forced on us by our behavior, and that just makes me laugh. For instance, you wrote that it’s no big deal for two women to kiss, but two men who kiss are automatically “homo.” What people don’t realize is that they are taking a cultural and sociopolitical label and equating it solely with a behavior, and that’s ridiculous. It’s the same reason why Alfred Kinsey’s sexuality spectrum is largely discredited now; it identified people based on what sexual things they’d done and with whom rather than by feelings of association with a particular group or identity.

    Identity politics kinda suck, don’t they? Suffice it to say that you needn’t define yourself in any way that doesn’t honestly reflect who you are. I quote Lily Allen: “Say what you say, do what you do, be what you want, just as long as it’s real.” 😀

  2. iTerp said, on April 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    HAHAHA! This is quite funny and insightful Britto! I liked the way that you captured the dialogue between you and your father — I could really see this playing out in real life:

    What I really found interesting was this line: ““Okay, are you sure? Because you know, I don’t care about that! I’d accept you either way. I was just wondering how you would have kids, would you adopt or…””

    This is not the question I would expect to come out of a parent’s mouth when confronting their child in a situation like this. But, I could never imagine a parent turning off to their child because of their innacceptance of their sexual orientation. I do not usually have enough forethought to think about children and the fruits that come from marriage much later when discussing LGBT issues. Perhaps I have been narrow-minded or shortsighted because of course children are important to one’s parents! I know that my parents have weirdly been plugging for children forever, so it would make sense for a mother or father to want to know about this issue.

    However, bearing your own children is not the only way to raise a child. Why is there such a stigma with adoption or surrogate parenting? I think that parenting done in this way is one of the most loving and careful calculated ways; parents that are choosing this option have sat down and weighed their options, which are costly and dangerous sometime, but know that in the end, having a child is worth it all!

    I do not mean to say that your father has an issue with these types of conceiving, but I feel like I hear similar sentiments from others on this subject. Why is it so unheard or such a ridiculous or far-off option?!

    Loved the blog post; I think your father had a funny concern and I am glad that he is so accepting of your ways. But I am also worried about parents who find a personal problem with their children and any of their lifestyle choices; I know that parents are there to guide and assist children on the paths of life, but stop correlating queer/gayness with a bad path!!!

  3. nr459 said, on April 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post of a personal story that so closely relates to common misconceptions in contemporary American society. Everyone is so quick to put a square box around your physical characteristics and sexual preferences. And without these labels, we are nothing.
    Besides society, the challenges become even more complicated when we are being labeled by our own family and friends. How are we supposed to handle that? How do we change that?
    As someone who was adopted, I find it impossible to draw neat lines around people. I don’t fit in perfectly within any confines, and I never will. Who is to say what our race is? What our color is? What our sexual preferences are? WE are.
    All in all, I really enjoyed and related to your post. It’s time to bypass the confines of labeling. It’s 2010!

  4. mchambe2 said, on April 27, 2010 at 1:21 am

    i really enjoyed this post as well… and all this talk about identity politics, double standards, and boxes… reminded me of a line i heard and really liked in an episode of Glee (of course) in the recent episode dedicated to Madonna, while the boys were singing the song “do you know what its like in this world… for a girl” arty says/reads something about girls being able to wear boys identified clothes, but that the opposite is not true: “for a boy to dress like a girl…is degrading, because being a girl, is degrading” i wanted to get sasssy and scream “SPEAK ON IT” because much like you all were talking about with identity politics and double standards, guys kissing guys is “homo” yet girls kissing girls is “sexy”, the same goes for gender identification. its okay for girls to be tomboys, (up to a certain age however) yet if a boy is into socially acceptable girls dress, people worry. why are people so hung upppppppp?!

  5. sarah said, on April 27, 2010 at 1:25 am

    actually there are a LOT of girls who think guys kissing guys is sexy……a lot of asian girls in particualar….other than that tho i totally agree with you…..i’ve always thought about this topic and get worked up about it……

  6. Becca said, on April 27, 2010 at 4:41 am

    I’ve also put some thought into the double standard issue. Not only are men held to a higher standard of labels, but even once “out”, I believe they must deal with many more stereotypes. Granted, we may constantly hear about lesbian girls with their masculine clothing and birkenstocks, but I think that they create less fear in society.

    For example, bigots often tie male homosexuality with pedophilia. “Gay men cannot teach in our schools! They will go after our sons!” In my experience and readings, I have not heard those same concerns raised with females.

    Additionally, I think that there is a higher fear of men coming on to other men. Even with the DADT policy, it seems to revolve much more around men and other men than females.

    As for your thoughts about looking back on your actions from the past few years, I think that this highlights the feeling that we must label and get to the bottom of all that we do when it comes to sexuality. As a person interested in improv and “guy” films, I find myself questioning things about myself that shouldn’t be questioned solely because of the fact that my interests may not be stereotypically feminine.

    I appreciate your honestly about your defensiveness at the question.

    I really enjoyed your post.

  7. cni1 said, on April 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    As far as American pop culture I have to agree with the double standard for men and women. There are some instances I know of that see things differently.

    Looking at anime and American fans. It’s something of a popular theme to imagine certain characters as homosexual even if they’re canonically straight. Yaoi (male-male romance) is also a popular form of manga(comics)/anime that can has a lot of fans, usually younger teenage girls.

    I can’t speak for it against American pop culture, this is just a comparison. As far as a cultural group and from what I’ve seen, homosexuality amongst characters by the fans is pretty near worshiped depending on where you go. I’m not casting an opinion on this–it’s merely an observation. Granted, you’re also going to see parents not-approving of either circumstance.

    • dvek said, on April 29, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      I think this is a fantastic observation. It’s certainly not a universal truth that all people worship queers, but it’s always amazed me how many “straight” people, especially young girls, are so into things like yaoi, or bishonen (beautiful boys). Crossdressing, gender play, genderfuck and other queer concepts are a central part of many manga, which in and of itself is a central part of Japanese society (though there are in fact many ultra-conservative, often heavily racist and sexist manga that simply aren’t translated or available outside of Japan). Manga is still sort of “subculture” in America, but compared to ten years ago, it’s very mainstream these days. When I was growing up, manga was almost impossible to find. Nowadays I can’t stand walking into Borders and seeing a whole section of it, plus shitloads of Japan swag that’s overpriced because those drooling idiots that think being otaku is cool will spend the money…grrr…

      I digress.

      Most manga that is popular today features at least one character that defies gender norms; the catch is always whether this character is a central part of the main story, especially as a main character, or whether they simply exist within the fictional world. This may speak to my dated conception of manga, but I can’t think of many where the main character is queer in appearance, presentation or whatever. That varies a lot depending on the genre, which itself speaks to the perceived audience and…well… this is getting pretty long winded for a comment.

      As for parents who wouldn’t approve of their teenage daughters worshiping yaoi, I think the stigma is first attached to the idea that their youngsters have pornography, and the fact that it’s homosexual pornography is secondary. Right?

      I feel like I should have just blogged about manga. 😐

  8. negrita said, on January 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    wow i cant believe your dad thought you were gay

  9. Kandy said, on February 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    It seems like you actually fully understand
    quite a lot related to this particular subject and it all shows thru this particular article, titled “Kissing Girls:
    My Dad Thought I was Gay. Queer/Race”. Many thanks
    -Jacklyn


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