— even if I was given a choice. Here’s why.
Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash
“Let’s get out of here. This place is so mainstream.”
―Victoria Holmes, Poptastic
“Auriane, would you turn straight if you could?”
I was asked this question once. I can’t describe the context in which it happened, nor who asked the question because all I remember is how strongly and loudly my answer came out:
“HELL, of course not!”
I was surprised myself. A lot of queer people would change this if only they could. And yet, it is one of the few things I am sure of, and it hasn’t wavered since that day.
Being a lesbian is not the easiest path. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community often rhymes with verbal and sometimes physical aggression, mental struggles, courage, and determination to come out of the closet. Even meeting potential lovers is more complicated. It’s a statistic: there are fewer potential matches around us! This makes app and gay bars all too often unavoidable.
The truth is that it’s not a choice. Gays are born that way, just as straight people are born that way too. There has never been a time in my life when I’ve sat down on the beach, dramatically looking at the sea, asking myself, “What if tomorrow I tried to be a lesbian just to see what it feels like?” No, it was obvious, and in me, from the very beginning.
Looking back, I even see clues in my childhood. I remember finding myself trying to look confident and ‘cool’ when I walked past groups of girls as if I was trying to please them, whereas when it was boys I didn’t give a damn.
Why wouldn’t I turn straight if I could? This is my attempt to answer.
I can understand why many people would respond differently than I do. Being straight is simply easier in many ways. I am fortunate that I have not experienced any major discrimination as a lesbian so far. Still, the family part has not been the easiest, and I frequently get disapproving glances in the street.
Being a lesbian is part of my identity. I am not just a lesbian, but it contributes to making me who I am. I have built myself on this foundation, which has to do with relationships, which are one of the most important things in our lives.
Now that I have done the biggest job, which is to accept myself and stand for who I am, I don’t see the point of changing. But even at the very beginning, I believe I would have answered in the same way as today. I wouldn’t have accepted to choose the easy way instead of the truth.
There’s also this thing in me that feels kind of… interconnected. That makes me feel whole. My identity as a lesbian has had an impact on many aspects of me, including my physical appearance, the way I stand, I walk, I behave, I think. It’s as if I “made sense”.
Of course, I tried to be straight. I dated boys for a long time. Especially when I started having doubts in high school. I even tried it again later, just to see. But it didn’t work out. I don’t feel any emotional connection with men. There’s not that spark.
“An element of fantasy is needed when falling in love and I was unable to find the fantasy element with any of the male gender.”―Novala Takemoto
The very last boyfriend I had was one of the nicest I’ve ever met. He was very handsome, very caring, very sweet. The archetype of the perfect boyfriend. But I left. For two reasons. First, strangely enough, I “missed” my lesbian identity. Second, I realized that I didn’t like the natural dynamics of heterosexual couples. I don’t like the way it makes me feel. Like someone is “taking care of me”, but not the way I expect. Not the way I’m used to in my relationships with women.
I felt like I was no longer part of the “community”, even though I don’t usually care. I felt like I had lost a part of myself. I don't identify at all with gay events, but there is still a whole world in being a lesbian, a world that I enjoy because it is mine to some extent.
“It’s hard not to be a fighter when you’re constantly under siege.”―Cassandra Duffy
Being a lesbian taught me to fight for who I am. It told me not to choose the “easy” path, because it is often not the “real” path. It taught me to stand up for myself because if I don’t, no one else will.
Being a lesbian made me stronger. It gave me the keys to find my place in this difficult world. It gives me the feeling that I’m helping to make the world a better place, defending my rights, fighting for tolerance, and acceptance. I’m participating in changing mentalities and I’m proud of that.
As I expected, this looks more like a “work in progress” type of brainstorming than a finished reflection. That’s OK. It’s difficult to give real reasons for something that comes so naturally, intrinsically linked to the person I am deep down inside. Nobody wonders why they like chocolate. Well, I like women. I really like them. And that’s reason enough not to want to become straight.
I am convinced that it is not a choice. By definition, making a choice is picking an option between two or more possibilities. Well, we have only one. Choosing another would condemn us to be unhappy and to live outside the person we really are, for the rest of our lives.
I have the chance to live my homosexuality well. But think of all those people for whom this is not the case. Do you think they would choose this option if it were one? Just to “follow the trend” or “stand out from the crowd”? I doubt it.
What about you? Would you become gay if you could?