Growing up I was often unsure of who, or what I was supposed to be. I had a white grandmother, but dark skin. I was fluent in German, but couldn’t pronounce a single word in my mother tongue. During my primary school days, my coiled afro hair felt out of place, while at home my accent, which differed so much from the African tones of the people around me, made me feel like an outsider.
During many sleepless nights I would ask myself am I black enough? and after many more sleepless nights, I finally found my answer- There’s no such thing as “black enough.” My cells produce enough melanin pigment to turn my skin, eyes, and hair dark. End of story.
However, now that I’ve grown a bit, a new question plagues me: Am I queer enough? Sadly, this question can’t be answered using science, but now that I’m a little smarter and wiser, I realise that most of the things that create my insecurity regarding my queer identity are stereotypes.
For those of you who are unsure of the term, stereotypes are conventional and oversimplified images or ideas of a particular type of item or person. An example of a stereotype is: All men are bad at housework. It generalises men and makes it seem as if they are unable to do housework and should therefore not bother doing it. Stereotypes are often wrong, cruel, and demoralising.
For a long time, the LGBTQI+ community has been stereotyped and generalised.
“Lesbians have short hair, Gay men are fashionable, Trans people are gay” and so many more stereotypes exist. As a cis femme woman people have often made me feel as if I didn’t deserve to be a part of the queer community. Simply because I didn’t “ look” queer. Or better said, because I didn't meet any of the stereotypes.
But as previously mentioned, stereotypes are often wrong and oversimplified. So I asked some people here at TWE a few questions regarding their thoughts on queer and gender identity.
Where on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum do you fall?
Caterpie: “Our whole system identifies as queer- two are agender, one is trans, another is demigirl, and so on… Sexuality is complicated.”
J.D: “Bisexual and Gender fluid.”
Astrum: “Panromantic, Asexual, Genderfluid.”
J: “Transgender, Bisexual, and Asexual.”
Piper: “Lesbian, Non-binary & Aroace (Aromantic Asexual).”
What does being a member/ an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community mean to you?
Melissa: “It means I have an identity & (that ) I can feel safe with my sexuality and not ashamed.”
Caterpie: “Being open-minded and supportive.”
J.D: “That I'm not afraid to be who I am.”
Astrum: “A community that will support me even when others may not.”
J: “(It) Means knowing I'm not alone in what I feel and go through.”
Piper: “It means being a part of a community in which I can express myself and feel a little less alone with how I feel and what I go through in regards to my sexuality and identity.”
How, if at all, do you represent your sexuality?
Melissa: “I am very open about my sexuality, if anyone asks if I like girls etc. I will just say yes.”
J.D: “I'm open about my bisexuality.”
Astrum: “I like to wear flags.”
J: “I'm very open and chat a lot about my experience being ace (asexual).”
Piper: “I'm quite open about my sexuality, depending on who I'm speaking to. I express it much more online than I do in person since it feels safer that way.”
How, if at all, do you represent your gender?
Melissa: “Just normal day-to-day things.”
J.D: “I’m open about being gender fluid.”
Astrum: “I like to wear flags.”
J: “I tell most people my preferred pronouns and ask theirs. I have a trans flag on my laptop and phone case.”
Piper: “I tend to represent and express my gender identity a lot more online, but I also like to do it through the way I dress and carry myself. I often associate my gender with certain styles or interests I have.”
Do you feel as if there’s a reason for your queerness?
Caterpie: “We’re autistic so we don’t understand gender”
J: “Yes, men and woman existing”
Piper: “I think the main reasons for my queerness are community and self-expression since those have always been a big part of my life. I also think that it allows me to support others through their journey by discovering who they love and how they identify.”
Do you feel a part of the LGBTQI+ community?
Melissa: “Yes, I do.”
Piper: “Most of the time! There are moments where I see a lot of discourse and disagreements around my specific sexualities and those in correlation with my identity, which sucks. But finding the parts of the community in which people listen and accept one another is always so wonderful.”
These answers, just like the people who provided them, are diverse. Spanning all throughout the LGBTQI+ spectrum these answers highlight how complex and yet simple being queer can be.
All of us don’t express ourselves in the same way, and neither do we need to. To answer the original question: No, you aren’t queer enough. Simply because it doesn’t give such a thing as queer enough. We’re all just people who despite our differences all feel a part of this wonderful rainbow community.
I hope that this article helped answer some of your questions, and if you’d like, you can answer some of the questions above and share your answers with the rest of us, through the comment section below.
We‘re all bigger than our labels (or lack thereof ).
If you ever need to talk to someone don’t hesitate to contact-
We’re here for you Now – The Trevor Project