I Was Brainwashed Into Being Straight for 30 Years
And you may have been too…
It’s not as scandalous as it sounds, but only because it’s so normalized in our society. Because my sexuality was assumed from birth, it took me 30 years to realize that I was queer the whole time. Allow me to take you through this three-decade-long struggle fest. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about your own sexuality in the process.
The earliest time in my life that I can remember being attracted to the same sex was in elementary school. I found myself having confusing feelings about some of the girls at my school.
I wanted to smell them when they’d wear perfume, I liked to take in all of their little mannerisms from across the classroom, and the ones that I found pretty made me nervous (still do). And it didn’t stop there. As puberty started to hit some of us, I started to take notice of their bodies as well.
This was around the time when I started to feel like a creep because society had been molding my young brain to believe that being gay was unnatural. Even the kids in my school were using the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory way.
So, clearly what I was feeling was wrong. Right? I’d started to hope that maybe I wasn’t attracted to these girls. Maybe I just really admired them. And maybe I got jealous when cute boys would talk to them because I liked the boy, not the girl.
This became too much for my little mind to battle alone.
I needed guidance.
I needed to ask someone who knew all of the answers.
I needed to call in reinforcements.
I needed to tell my mom.
Now, my mother and I weren’t exactly the closest. I didn’t come to her with my problems (still don’t). But, she was my mom. She was all-knowing. She was the problem solver. Surely, she would know what all of these feelings meant. Right?
Out of desperation, I mustered up all of the courage that my 8-year-old body could hold, and I told her.
“Ma, I think I might be gay.”, I uttered in shame with my head down as we sat on the edge of my bed.
I’d felt like I had just admitted to being a murderer. What would she think of me now? What would my FAMILY think of me? I wanted to take the words back just as quickly as I’d let them out.
My mom looked at me thoughtfully and maybe even slightly amused. “Why do you think that?”, she asked.
I wasn’t prepared for that question for some reason. I’d mentally prepared to be extracted from the family, but somehow her asking me why I thought I was gay had caught me off guard.
I didn’t know how to answer her. How could I sum up all of my confusing thoughts and emotions and make her understand?
So, I ever so eloquently said, “Sometimes I look at other girls’ butts.”
This wasn’t the response that I’d expected. I somehow felt relieved and defensive at the same time. Relieved because I apparently wasn’t going to be kicked out of the family. Defensive because, well, she laughed at my feelings.
“You’re not gay.”. She said it so finally. So definitively. I believed her because she knew the answer to every question.
But, I was still confused. “What about the butts?” I’d thought to myself.
As if reading my mind, she said “Sometimes, I look at other women’s breasts. It’s normal.”
And so it was. I looked at other girls’ butts, but it was normal. I didn’t have to worry about being gay and abnormal. Right?
Middle school, high school, and college came and went.
Did I still look at butts? Yep.
Did I still get nervous around pretty girls? Uh-huh.
Did I take homoerotic pictures with my friends just for fun and hope for maybe a kiss on the lips? Perhaps.
Surprisingly though, I didn’t think too much of it. I didn’t think that I was queer and I thought that all of my feelings were normal for a heterosexual woman. Well. Until.
The year is 2017-ish, I’m 26-ish, and I’m married to a man, which is a story for another day. I will say though, that the marriage wasn’t a happy one for various reasons, my sexuality likely among them.
Anyway, I’d had a conversation with a queer friend of mine that had inadvertently left me questioning my sexuality once more. It had been so long since I’d questioned my sexuality that I hadn’t even remembered ever questioning it before.
I hadn’t remembered the conversation that I’d had with my mother in elementary school when she assured me that I wasn’t gay. These thoughts all felt so new to me.
Nothing much happened during these years leading up to my turning 30. I would just casually wonder from time to time if I was queer. I wondered if certain things that I thought or did had anything to do with my sexuality or if they were common for heterosexual women.
“Do I only like lesbian erotic content because I’m gay?”
“Do I like looking at her Instagram so much because I’m gay?”
“Can I not stand being too close to her without feeling uncomfortable because I’m gay?”
I didn’t take these thoughts too seriously. That is until I got on TikTok.
Yep. Definitely Re-Awakened.
Sometime after my divorce, I discovered TikTok, and boy, oh boy did it open my eyes. I would say that before TikTok, my eyes were squinting, but after TikTok, they were wide open like Kevin McCallister in the aftershave scene in Home Alone.
Not only are there very attractive queer people on there, but there’s also an abundance of information educating you on sexuality.
Enter the lesbian masterdoc.
I’d heard a lot about the lesbian masterdoc here and there. Women were saying that after reading it, they went from questioning their sexuality to knowing what it was for sure.
This got my attention because I’d taken about a million and one “Am I Gay” quizzes and was no closer to a definitive answer. So, I read it.
Now, I have to admit, reading the masterdoc didn’t leave me 100% certain of my sexuality, but it did teach me a couple of things. First, it taught me the term compulsory heterosexuality which is explained as the idea that heterosexuality is assumed and is the default sexuality.
I found this to be funny because people are always talking about the ‘gay agenda’ being pushed on our children, but what about the ‘straight agenda’? I’d spent my entire life having heterosexuality shoved down my throat, whether it be from my family, my peers, or the media.
I rarely saw queer representation in books or on screen growing up, yet somehow they were still being vilified for shoving homosexuality in everyone’s faces.
Even to this day, I don’t feel that there is enough queer representation. Things are progressing, but I don’t feel like that’s worth applauding. Acknowledging and respecting someone’s sexuality is the bare minimum.
Anyway, let me step down from my soapbox and get back to the masterdoc.
Other things that the lesbian masterdoc touched on include, but are not limited to:
- It’s not uncommon for lesbians to have crushes on male celebrities/fictional characters/otherwise unattainable men.
- Using sex with men as a form of self-harm.
- Not having an emotional reaction to being physical with men.
- Being bored with heterosexual sex.
- Recognizing past/current crushes on women after coming to grips with your sexuality.
- Picking a guy at random to be attracted to.
- Feeling guilty/uncomfortable in locker rooms.
- Feeling like you are attention seeking/trying to be trendy by claiming lesbianism.
- Many more things.
The masterdoc helped to get the ball rolling for me to figure out my sexuality. It gave me a lot to think about and put a lot of things into perspective for me, past relationships with both men and women included. And, it helped me to realize that I was not alone in my confusion about my sexuality.
I mentioned earlier that there are a lot of attractive queer people on TikTok. This is what probably drove home for me that I was queer.
I would see these women on TikTok and not only did I find them attractive, but I could see myself being with someone like them. I’d never taken it that far before. I’d never allowed my mind to consider what it would be like to be romantically/sexually involved with someone who wasn’t a man.
This part was very scary and liberating for me. I’d finally realized after 30 years, that I wasn’t straight. It felt like coming home.
Now that I am almost 32, I’ve had a good amount of time to let things marinate. It’s still a process and I don’t have a label for myself (I don’t know that I ever will), but every day I settle more and more into being queer.
Some things that I’ve experienced in the last two years:
- All of my romantic/sexual dreams are sapphic now. Every single one.
- I prefer anything romantic that I read/watch to be queer in some shape or form.
- I keep having suppressed memories about being queer pop up. Like how I used to have a thing for Princess Jasmine (amongst others) or how I use to love flipping through Victoria’s Secret catalogs in secret.
- I’m not certain that I’m attracted to men at all. I am only certain that I am attracted to women.
- I joined some lesbian/late-blooming lesbian groups on Reddit and they have been very eye-opening.
- I’m enjoying being queer!
This has been a very transformative time for me and I look forward to having sapphic experiences. I wouldn’t say that I’m out, but I’m not in either. I think that since straight people don’t have to come out as straight, then queer people don’t have to come out as queer. Everyone will find out when they meet my next partner.
Here’s to being here and queer!
Do you feel as though you were brainwashed into your sexuality? Have you ever questioned your sexuality? Did you discover your true sexual identity later in life? Tell me in the comments!