–by Bevianna Bones
Well Pride Month, otherwise known as June, is upon us. A time for the LGBT community to stand up and say, “Here I am world, deal with it.” And as we approach the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, I can’t help but think, now as a 35 year old lesbian, how much the world has changed since then. With the supreme court trying to reach a verdict on marriage equality, and the repellent of the military policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; it seems to me as though in mind of all of these things, it is very different world in which we live in now. I have often been chided by some of my more predominantly militant friends for not being “out and proud.” By this I merely mean that they often tell me I’m not political enough. I am “out” by societies standards, I support the HRC and Trevor Projects through monetary support. I like to lounge around in basketball shorts and hoodies. I am who I am, I am a 35 year old woman who happens to be a lesbian. I am not owned or defined by this. I am who I am and nothing more. I’m a geek, a dork, a loyal friend, and a hard worker (and a bit of a fag hag) before I am anything. Being a lesbian does not define who I am. It’s just part of who I am. And I guess that’s part of my Pride story. It’s not who I, it’s part of me. No more than what your sexuality or gender identity is to you. I don’t feel like I need to wave a giant rainbow flag, cut my hair short, and adopt a gaggle of homeless animals to make me any more, or less a lesbian. The fact that I love boobs and female nether regions is reason enough. But I didn’t always feel as secure in myself as I do now.
I had my moment of revelation back when I was 18 years old. At that time, I was searching this newly discovered identity for exactly “who” I should be. Who I should identify with. Back in those days, there weren’t a lot of gay and lesbian role models in pop culture. Ellen and Melissa had just come out, and it was very taboo to speak of homosexuality. I’ll never forget the lesbo episode of Roseanne the first time I saw it when Hemingway planted a big ole smooch on Rosie’s face.
Oh the passion…
Shocking. I latched on to any movie or television reference I could find to help me figure out how I was “supposed” to look and act in my new found baby-dykedom.
Be it that there wasn’t a whole lot out there at the time, I settled on wearing camo bdu’s, wife beaters, pulling my hair up (because I never quite got the balls to spike it and bleach the tips), swearing a lot, and acting what I thought was butch enough to advertise that I was a lesbo. I even learned the art of hackey sack, so I could mingle in the all the prestigious dyke circles. After that phase, and meeting an older, wiser group of lesbians, I started into the hiking boots, jeans, Oxford, ballcap phase. And softball. Lots and lots of softball. Salt Lake was lucky enough to have an actual Pride softball league, so I got to meet many more different people within the community. I lasted in that phase well into my twenties, until I moved from SL,UT to San Antonio.
Maybe it was being on my own, away from all of the “friends” and influences of a very “out and proud” community; or maybe it was just my own maturity. I didn’t really realize that I finally felt comfortable in my own skin until I stopped caring about who I needed to be, because I was a lesbian. I finally realized that I needed to just be me, who just so happens to be a lesbian.
I’ll forever be a tomboy, I’ll forever love my basketball shorts and hoodies. I’ll forever love to wear girlie lingerie and forever love women’s bodies. That’s what’s really important, and it took me a long time to realize it. The LGBT climate here in San Antonio is very different, compared to that of good ole SL,UT. Gay men are a plenty, and openly well loved; while the lesbians seem to have to fit a mold. A very “butch” mold. I’m guessing that has to do with the Hispanic community and their influence. All the homegrown sa lezzies seem to be stuck in that I’m not sure who I am phase I was in 17 years ago. And these are people that tell me I’m not gay enough because either I don’t fit their identity stereotypes, or am not political enough. To them, and all the baby dykes out there, I have the following words of advice: being part of this community doesn’t mean trying to be something you think you need to be, for one reason or another; being part of this community, and being proud, and having pride, is just simply being who you are. While sexuality is an important part of our identities, it’s not all of who we are; we are all so much more. Stay true to yourself, and of that be proud.