Hey there guys, gals, and nonbinary pals!
As Pride month draws to a close, we thought we’d (finally) release our answers to these queeries. Enjoy!
We also HIGHLY recommend you check out the resource and information list put together by BSU, NPHC, and GSA regarding educating yourself about and supporting Black queer people. Nina Feldman sent out an email with this list recently.
Here are our names, to clear up any confusion:
Have you ever wished you weren’t queer? If so, how did you get over that?
L: Sometimes I wish that I’m not queer (and transgender), but those are aspects of me that I can’t change, so I try not to sink time into making myself melancholy when my sexuality and gender are things I have no control over. If I catch myself in those trains of thought, I just remind myself of this.
A: I used to wish that I wasn’t queer (in my case, a lesbian) a lot more than I do now. For me, it was mostly rooted in feeling like I would miss out on a lot of “girl things” like having crushes on boys, for instance. I got over that feeling by realizing that who I like is just, as Lei said, part of me and something I have no control over. And honestly, now, I really love and appreciate being a lesbian! It’s a part of me that I’m very proud of!
G: When I was first coming to terms with my sexuality (eighth grade), I was dealing with internalized homophobia and denial about being queer. Every day, I would tell myself that there was no way I liked guys because being straight was the norm. I even managed to convince myself that I had a crush on a girl. I’m not entirely sure how I got over it, but I eventually just refused to be in denial anymore. When I came to College Prep, it took me a bit to be out and proud, but once I found the queer community here (both in and out of GSA), it became a lot easier.
How do you make coming out not awkward?
G: Make it casual; slip it into a conversation somehow (there’s a question on here that deals specifically with that!). If your definition of “coming out” is simply letting people know that you’re queer without it being that big of a deal, that’s a perfect way to do it. However, if you want a more “formal” way to come out or you only want to tell a couple of people, you can just tell them “hey, I just wanted to tell you that I’m [insert identity here].” It doesn’t have to be anything big or special.
L: Don’t overthink it! For casually coming out to acquaintances, I try to slip in a joke/pun or passing comment in conversation about being gay (If the said person can’t tell I’m queer by my general… everything, haha). I agree with Gabriel, though. If you want a more formal way to come out, you can just straight (ha) up tell them; it doesn’t have to be anything serious or flashy.
How do you tell the difference between romantic and sexual attraction? (I know I’m gay but now I’m questioning if I’m ace too but idk how to figure it out since its a lack of attraction, and it’s pretty hard to figure out whether or not you’re NOT feeling something)
H: I totally agree. It’s hard to figure out if you’re not feeling something, especially when no one seems to be able to describe either attraction or the distinction between the two. Generally, I’d consider how you’re feeling about a person. If your daydreams are more along the lines of wanting to hold hands with someone as you watch the sunset, that’s romantic attraction. Sexual attraction is usually interpreted as desiring sexual contact with another person.
B: I second what Hanako said.
Who will the GSA leaders be next year?
We made an assembly announcement about this towards the end of the school year. The leaders will be Bek, Gabriel, Avi, and Lei!
What are your favorite queer movies and TV shows?
G: Love, Simon of course! I’ve heard people recommend One Day at a Time as well.
L: I’m Not Okay With This is a Good Netflix show- it’s about a teenager named Sydney Novak, who is trying to deal with her weird neighbor/friend Stanley, her crush on her best friend Dina, and her new superpowers (I know, one of these things is not like the other ones). I haven’t seen it in a while, but I remember it’s a funny and dramatic show.
When I came out to one of my friends, she told me she supported me and was an ally, but ever since then, she hasn’t really been all that supportive. I don’t think she’s homophobic, but she does act kind of weird around me whenever anyone mentions crushes. What should I do?
L: I think the best thing to do is to just talk to her. A surefire way to figure out what is causing your friend to act this way (or to let her realize that she is acting that way) is to ask her, but I wouldn’t recommend spending a lot of energy or time trying to change her level of supportiveness.
G: I totally agree with Lei. It might feel really awkward or uncomfortable, but asking her is probably the only way you can figure out what’s really going on.
I consider myself bisexual, but recently I’ve been doubting it again. How do I know if I’m lesbian? I just don’t feel that sexually attracted to male bodies, but I’m happy dating guys…
H: Sexuality is complicated! That said, your romantic and sexual orientation might not line up; you might be biromantic, but only sexually attracted to women.
B: I’d say that if you’re happy dating guys, don’t worry too much about the label, just do what makes you feel comfortable. I generally see labels as a simpler way to explain myself to other people, rather than a perfectly accurate description of my feelings toward different people.
Do you have any recommendations for books with queer characters?
H: Let’s Talk about Love by Claire Kann is a great romantic novel with an asexual protagonist that I’d highly recommend. If you’re looking for YA literature, this website is pretty comprehensive.
G: My go-to is always Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda, but I’ve also found that the Percy Jackson series/saga and anything connected to it has good queer characters. They Both Die At the End (Adam Silvera) is probably my favorite book right now, but it is extremely sad, so consider yourself warned.
B: If you want fantasy mixed with an exploration of gender identity and feminism, I’d highly recommend Monstrous Regiments by Terry Pratchett.
L: The Song Of Achilles is a good read, but be warned that it has a *tragic* ending.
For those of you who are graduating, what do you think your experience as a queer person will be like in college and in the “real” world? How are you preparing yourself for the future and any possible discrimination you’ll face?
H: Honestly, I have no idea what to expect. I’m going to a pretty blue state by design, and my college has a lot of really great resources for queer students. However, I’ve never lived anywhere else, so I don’t know what the “real” world is going to be like. As of now, my plan is to focus on what I control; not internalizing others’ homophobic attitudes is the thing I have the most control over.
I hate being female for so many reasons, but I don’t think I’m trans. My gender just feels wrong no matter what. What do I do?
C: I’ve never felt super comfortable with using the term “she” in order to identify myself, and I personally don’t agree with gender as an upheld construct in general. I’ve always felt weird trying to label myself, and so I’ve settled with using the pronoun “them.” There are so many gender labels out there so don’t limit yourself to picking from just a few, and if you don’t feel comfortable with any label, then you don’t have to choose one. You get to dictate your identity, so make sure you feel comfortable with how you label yourself. Choosing a label that strays from the unconventional can be difficult, but at the end of the day, it’s really not about other people. It’s about what makes you feel happy and content in your own skin.
G: Another option is that you could be agender! Agender is a term for people who do not consider themselves to have a gender. If your gender feels wrong no matter what, it’s possible that the “no gender” option is the best fit for you. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to find a label that you feel most clearly defines you.
How do you tell the difference between romantic love and platonic love?
G: I usually have a very hard time with this. For me, it’s probably due to the fact that platonic attraction/affection between men is frowned upon by society almost as much as romantic attraction/affection. I’ve started to realize that the little things are often the most telling. If you’re romantically interested in the person, you’ll want to spend all or almost all of your time with them, and you’ll get that weird fluttery stomach feeling (that nobody likes) when you’re around them. That being said, it’s different for everyone, and I’m notoriously bad at telling the difference.
C: I think sometimes those two things intersect, and that’s not a bad thing. Give yourself time to figure it out, and see if you start to find yourself yearning for something different than a friendship. Sometimes, I like a friend as a person so much that the line between platonic and romantic attraction blurs, and after a while, I usually realize that I just really like hanging out with them. However, I am always open to going either way, but if you feel deep down or lean more one way than another, don’t be afraid to explore that avenue. As a side note, I think you should feel like your significant other is also your friend, so it’s totally fine to feel both.
H: It’s all very confusing. For me, romantic attraction feels (1) feels higher risk, (2) more directed, and (3) way more terrifying. By higher risk, I mean that, even though an interaction with whomever I like might feel terrifying, I come out of it either grinning like an idiot or thinking, “Wow, I’m really, really dumb,” (and often both). I say more directed because when I like someone romantically, the way I feel about them and interact with them is very different from the way I feel about other people in that moment. I think terrifying speaks for itself.
B: For me, the biggest difference is that with romantic attraction, I constantly find myself flipping back through a conversation with the person to make sure I did everything right. But some people might do that for both, so…
How do I ask if someone is queer without creating an awkward situation? Alternatively: how do I casually let people know I’m queer without making things awkward or disrupting the conversation?
H: I’m generally a very awkward person, but here are some things I’ve done to let people know I’m queer:
Talked about my girlfriend
Mentioned that I lead GSA
Told people that my favorite music is by Hayley Kiyoko
Worn rainbow sunglasses
Truly terrible, awful puns
Obviously, not all of these have a 100% success rate, but usually they work pretty well. If you want to ask someone if they’re queer, I’d recommend just asking them up-front, so long as you do it privately and make sure they know they have the option not to answer. If you feel awkward about asking them, feel free to ask their friends!
L: Seconded on Hanako’s awful puns and memes.
G: Usually, I’ll just find some way to slip it into a conversation. You’d be surprised at how often the opportunity shows itself.
B: For casually letting people know I’m queer, my strategy is to just wear a rainbow hat. In my experience, people usually pick up on that hint without our ever having to have a conversation about it that goes beyond “I like your hat.”
A: For letting people know I’m queer, I, like Gabe, try to slip it into a conversation. Bad puns are usually my go-to, but expressing my love for female fictional characters also does the trick.