7 Things I Wish People Understood About Being Queer

Being queer is about demolishing binaries.

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NATALIE SLAUGHTER OF SHESAID

We don’t fit neatly into your little box.

Being a queer woman is, as the word might imply, weird.

It doesn’t quite fit into the growing number of boxes we have for sexualities, since it can mean a broad number of things, and that unsettles people.

I remember sitting in a room full of queer women, largely lesbian identified, and someone making a joke about how nobody was interested in men in the room. It was incredibly alienating and raised more questions than it answered.

I was young and unsure enough to hesitate before I considered challenging the assertion; thankfully someone else in the room wasn’t. How did she know that no one in the room was bisexual? Pansexual? And what defines a man? The conversation devolved from there and included some really transphobic comments, but it’s one of the first times I can remember feeling with a sense of finality that I wasn’t a lesbian, or even pansexual. I was one of the lucky few whose sexual identity got to be way more complicated than that.

There are a lot of unknowns out there when it comes to this somewhat ambiguous umbrella. Even a Google search will conflate “queer women” with “lesbian.” So the first and most obvious thing I wish people understood about being a queer woman, is that we exist.

And now that you’ve got that down, here are a few more questions and answers you can tuck away for later…

1. We aren’t all lesbians

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Contrary to popular belief, queer isn’t the same thing as gay, and not all queer women identify as lesbians. Some of us are bisexual, pansexual, demisexual or even asexual. Queer is a broad and all-encompassing term that is purposefully inclusive and really just means that we’re a group of people who approach sexuality from any angle that isn’t straight up heterosexual.

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