My struggle with the word gay

I am a transgender, queer, biromantic, probably asexual lesbian woman. That’s how I identify these days. I might tack on a new adjective or two, merge a couple as my understanding evolves but at this point in time that is me. I sum myself up in a haste as queer, trans or when talking to cishets LGBTQ+. Finding the right words is a rite of passage for everyone in our collective community. But that’s the trick, finding the right words.

Gay. It’s the cornerstone of it all. It used to be called just the Gay community, everyone else was lumped in together or left out in the cold. Depending on who you ask, it wasn’t better but some say it was more efficient. I have trouble with gay. I talked about how much I prefer queer here. Let me explain.

I am a lesbian. There are no bones about it. I am a woman. I am holding on to the T because it’s a part of who I am but there are days I drop it and just say female. Woman. Girl. Lady. Goddess. Then there are days I sweep it all under the rug and hide in shame. I think we all had those days. They’re not our best days. 

Gay doesn’t work for me because it undermines my being a woman. It gives power to the bigots who take away my womanhood and strip me down to a gay man playing woman. I know gay men who refer to one another as girl, use male pronouns, embrace their manhood while exploring femininity. That is not me. I  was a woman born into the wrong body, but I was also born a lesbian. I thought I was into guys but honestly, the truth is the idea of touching a dude makes me gag. It just does. But the idea of making love, whatever that looks like, with a transwoman even one with a penis, excites me. 

I know gay can also mean happy. Queer can also mean strange. Words have meaning and we have to accept the given meanings even when we try to find ways around them. I say I am probably asexual because even though I say lesbian and biromantic, I know I am into girls first, but sex is, not a priority for me. I haven’t even masturbated in months, so long in fact I forgot when was the last time. I don’t miss it. That was definitely driven by the male organ. That’s over now.

I am gay in the truest sense. I am a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trangender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual plus community. Gay is shorthand for homosexual. Yes as a woman I am attracted to other women, even transwomen. Right now I am deeply crushing on a transwoman who has expressed similar interest in me. I hope there is something there, I truly do because she’s absolutely amazing and right now I value our friendship above all others. 

Therein lies the issue. I used to identify as bisexual because I liked cis women and transwomen. I fell into the trap of trying to separate trans from cis. Once it clicked in my mind I was just a woman, as are my fellow transfemmes who identify as such, that’s when I realized I needed a new word.

I chose biromantic because I am either demisexual or asexual. I can’t get arouse without feeling like I belong first. I’ve been hurt one to damn many times to give anything, including my heart to just anyone. I’ve made that mistake too many times. Never again. I deeply adore the woman I am chasing, so much so I light up whenever I see her icon on Twitter interacting with our community. But I am not rushing into anything. I am not going to just give my heart, or body, to anyone just because their nice to me. I learned that the hard way.

Maybe, maybe I am just bisexual but deserve respect? I don’t know I don’t have a sex drive to be honest. I fantasize sitting on the couch, watching a movie with my partner with boring old microwave popcorn and chilling. That’s my ideal relationship. The breeders can have the sex. The gays, pans, lesbians who are into that can have the sex. I don’t feel the need, the pressing desire. I never did. I was happy to be rid of my sexual desires.

That’s why I don’t want  to be identified with a word that is tied to sexuality. I want to be identified with a word tied to my gender. Because sex is not for me. Being a woman is all I want. Find another woman who shares that ideal would be amazing. But should I walk alone, single and untouched forever, so be it I am fine with that. Don’t call me gay. I am trans. I am queer. I might be asexual. But I am not full gay in the way you think of it. And yet, I am. Just let me pick my words. I’ve had enough of the wrong ones slapped on me all my life. 

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos.