Spaces: Being Queer in Nonqueer Spaces

“I’m not used to seeing queer people in spaces that aren’t specifically for us”

A few nights ago, at dinner, I was sitting with my friend’s mother at the bar of a restaurant waiting for our table to be ready. (This was a popular establishment and we had been given an hour wait time.) At some point as we chatted, the man seated next to me asked us if we would like his leftover chips and queso. Gesturing to himself and the person next to him, he said “we” didn’t double dip or do anything weird to it. I was hungry and I am a trustworthy person so I said yes and thanked him.

He laughed and told me not to worry about him hitting on me or anything because he was gay. He leaned back and introduced me to his partner. I laughed and said I was gay too. We wished each other a happy belated Pride month and swapped a few stories. It was great.

I’m not used to seeing queer people in spaces that aren’t specifically for us. I’ve grown accustomed to seeing others at Prides because basically everyone is queer, but I still become giddy when I see two girls holding hands while walking on the quad at Notre Dame, a same-sex couple buying groceries, or even just when I see pride flags displayed. I am constantly (and pleasantly) surprised to see the normalization of the LGBTQ+ community. This visibility is a clear sign of our acceptance. It also causes us to be more accepted because the world becomes more used to it as a normalcy instead of a quirk. (#RepresentationIsImportant)

Yesterday, I spent about six hours at the South Bend farmer’s market tabling for TREES, Inc. Unlike the Prides I have worked before, it was not a specifically queer event. I didn’t just talk to young kids wearing pride flags like capes and their parents and others who were in and loved my community. I talked to older millenials on health kicks, baby boomers from agricultural backgrounds, families with little babies, etc. No one was outwardly presenting in a million rainbows, but everyone was accepting. People thanked us for the work we do and donated to the organization. It was incredible. I wore a button that said “Pretty, Gay, and Pretty gay” and it was the first time I was in a nonqueer space that I felt totally safe in. Granted, South Bend is pretty liberal (we have a gay mayor!) but this was still huge for me.

I’m not saying that these experiences have changed the world for me, but it is really inspiring to see that you can be safe while being out. Of course, I am a white, straight-passing lesbian and I can only speak to that experience, but hopefully in my being out and outspoken, I can help normalize queerness and make the world a safer place for others.

I’ve learned a lot about being queer in the two and a half months since I’ve been out. I’ve gone on dates, started a blog, and worn more rainbows in a month than most people wear in their lives. I’ve learned that coming out and being out is liberating but can also be exhausting. I’ve struggled with unlearning internalized homophobia. I’m making a lot of headway, but I’m still learning that at the end of the day, we shouldn’t be forced to confine our queerness to Prides.

What I Wore Wednesday

“hello, gorgeous”

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Hello, gorgeous. Can you hear the summertime from this dress?! It’s so pretty and easy and delicate and classy and fun. Easily my new favorite. I wore this to a beautiful mass in a monastery/ hotel/ golf course with a friend of mine (the same friend who bought me the dress) (thanks love). Of course I took pictures.

dress bananarepublic.com ||| shoes calvinklein.us

Thoughts: on this blog

“maybe falling completely in love with yourself is the secret to happiness”

Hot take: a lot of what we do as humans is so that we can feel like or convince ourselves and others that we matter. We tell people we’re named after celebrities or saints, we read classic literature to feel connected and important, we make art, we go to school, we travel. Of course I’m not immune to that, as even this blog is my scream into the abyss that I am an important human.

And maybe that’s just a part of the human experience! Like maybe there’s something to the idea that we do things because we recognize that we’re only here for a short time and we want our stay to be meaningful and beautiful! Maybe that’s poetic!

What I’ve been trying to do in my daily life (especially post-the-beginning-of-Cheeky Femme) is try to recognize that the only person whom I should worry about is me. Yes, it’s a super-cheesy-high-school-assembly line, but maybe falling completely in love with yourself is the secret to happiness. It can’t hurt to try!

So I’ve been trying to be more honest and open with myself. I’ve stopped trying to drown out my thoughts when I’m alone. I tweet things that I think are funny and important and I post pictures on Instagram that I think I look cute in. I’ve tried to stop being so hard on myself. It’s so refreshing to think that the only person you have to please is yourself, especially if you can convince yourself that you love yourself, because you’re so easy to please! (Confusing? Only in sentence form. Abridged version: if you love yourself and live an authentic life you’ll love everything about yourself! It’s like if you were totally in love with someone else except it’s better because it’s you.)

So step one on how to fall in love with your self: do something special for yourself. Go walk in a park or out to dinner or paint something, alone. Don’t cheat by listening to loud music or checking social media the whole time. Learn how to live in your own headspace. Be comfortable by yourself.

Peace and love y’all. Good luck.