I wanted to write this article because it is so ridiculously relevant to the queer community that these things need to be said. As someone who is invisibly queer myself, I have struggled and continue to struggle with some of these experiences and feelings daily. For a long time, I listened to the internalized queer-phobia that has been fed to me and never talked about my sexuality much. I know I am not alone and I hope that if you are someone who can relate this article is affirming. On the other hand, if you are someone who happens to contribute to queer invisibility please reevaluate the way in which you are approaching and excluding other queer people.
You might identify as invisibly queer if…
- You do not identify as Straight, but you are in a straight relationship(s).
Maybe you have never been in a gay/lesbian/bi/pan/demi, etc. etc. relationship before. Or maybe this is your first straight relationship. Regardless of what your relationships have looked like in the past, you are currently in a straight relationship and EVERYONE assumes you are straight. And if you correct them it gets all weird and they act like you have seven heads and they suddenly don’t know how to form sentences and you just want to scream… I wouldn’t know from personal experience or anything.
- You benefit from straight privilege to some degree
Whether you want to benefit from it or not, if you are in a straight relationship(s), regardless of your identified sexual orientation, it is likely that at some point or another you have/will benefit from straight privilege. This can feel pretty shitty. So, use that privilege for good and not evil. Stand up for your fellow queer identified peers. You can help make a difference using your cloak of queer invisibility.
- You are told you aren’t queer enough because of your current or past relationships/experiences
Ahhhhhh! The queer police are here and they are about to read you your queer rights. Apparently, there is a secret queer booklet that only a certain number of people know about in which they are able to tell you if you are “queer enough” just by your past partner(s). Or we could skip that all together and take a “How Queer are You?” Buzz Feed quiz and put this thing to rest? But seriously though, all types of people, regardless of sexual orientation, feel like they have the right to tell you how you should identify, which is super invalidating and exclusive.
- You feel like an imposter identifying as queer
This is a pretty awful experience. Many of us secretly fought horrible, sleepless nights as kids, teens, adults wishing to be straight because it would be easier, less scary, and more status-quo. Yet, it isn’t uncommon to now feel like we’re appropriating our own Queer identity when it’s been ours all along! So just take it! Take it and run!
- You are given the 3rd degree to prove you are queer by other people within the LGBTQ+ Community.
You might be surprised how often this happens to people who have been in or are currently in straight relationships. Common questions may include but are not limited to: “Okay, do you love them or did you just want to have sex with them?” “How long were you in the relationship, though?” and one of my personal favorites, “Since when are you gay?” Let me just ask, if you can’t find support and love within your own community, when are you going to find it? You don’t owe anyone an explanation sweetie. NO ONE.
- You were once a welcomed part of the Queer community, but because of your gender identity or the gender identity of your partner, you are now shunned.
Why this is so hard for people to wrap their minds around, I’m not sure, but just because someone comes out as Trans and their identified sexual orientation may possibly change, they can still be queer if that is how they want to identify. They are still part of the LGBTQ+ community (for fuck’s sake there is a T in there!) and they are welcome wherever Queer people gather. END OF STORY. And if you are someone who excludes either said trans person or their partner(s) you are being transphobic and antagonistic.
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