Hello. Ever since i was about six years old i have felt like i was a girl, but that was about off an on about the age of 10-12. I haven't ever really felt that straight either. Am i really transgender or am i just confused? Thanks.
You could be trans! Not everyone consistently knows they’re trans when they’re younger- I didn’t realize I was genderqueer until I was around 15. We can’t tell you what your gender is, but our What am I? post is a good place to start.
Maybe this can help someone. I'm like a super bottom (but not a femme or pillow princess). And It's very hard for me, since I feel kinda heteronormative, to believe that I'm a real lesbian. So I came up with a test: Every time I think I could be into a guy, I imagine him whispering in my ear. The most realistic way possible. 100% of the time I feel disgusted. Needless to say, it never happened to any woman I was ever attracted to.
Common experiences of lesbians who don’t know they’re lesbians yet
curiosity, I recently googled “Am I lesbian quiz”. Half the “Are You a Lesbian” quizzes just asked outright, “Are you attracted to women?” as though that isn’t the
very answer a questioning lesbian is trying to figure out. The other
half marked me as heterosexual for things like owning more nail varnish than
dogs. I hope this list will give you more nuanced ideas to think about
as you explore your identity.
These experiences are all really common among - but not universal or exclusive to - people who later realize they’re lesbians and find a comfortable home in the lesbian label and community.
It’s mostly stuff that I and
other lesbians I know have wished we knew when we were first coming to
grips with our lesbian identities, because the fact is it takes a long
time to discover how common a lot of these experiences are among
lesbians, and not knowing what to look for when trying to figure out if
you’re a lesbian can be hard.
‘Attraction’ to men
Deciding which guys to be attracted to – not to date, but to be attracted to – based on how well they match a mental list of attractive qualities
Only developing attraction to a guy after a female friend expresses attraction to him
jealous of a specific female friend’s relationships with guys and
assuming you must be attracted to the guys she’s with (even if you never
really noticed them before she was interested in them)
Picking a guy at random to be attracted to
to be attracted to a guy at all, not just choosing to act on it but
flipping your attraction on like a switch – that’s a common lesbian
Having such high standards that literally no guy meets
them – and feeling no spark of attraction to any guy who doesn’t meet
Only/mostly being into guys who are gnc in some way
Only/mostly being attracted to unattainable, disinterested, or fictional guys or guys you never or rarely interact with
Being deeply uncomfortable and losing all interest in these unattainable guys if they ever indicate they might reciprocate
Reading your anxiety/discomfort/nervousness/combativeness around men as attraction to them
Reading a desire to be attractive to men as attraction to them
Having a lot of your ‘guy’ crushes later turn out to be trans women
Relationships with men
Dreading what feels like an inevitable domestic future with a man
Or looking forward to an idealized version of it that resembles literally no m/f relationship you’ve ever seen in your life, never being able to picture any man you’ve actually met in that image
repulsed by the dynamics of most/all real life m/f relationships you’ve seen
and/or regularly feeling like “maybe it works for them but I never want my
relationship to be like that”
Thinking you’re commitmentphobic
because no relationship, no matter how great the guy, feels quite right
and you drag your feet when it comes time to escalate it
along with escalation because it seems like the 'appropriate time’ or bc
the guy wants it so bad, even if you personally aren’t quite ready to
say I love you or have labels or move in together etc.
Or jumping ahead and trying to rush to the ‘comfortably settled’ part of relationships with guys, trying to make a relationship a done deal without investing time into emotional closeness
like you have to have relationships with guys and/or let them get
serious in order to prove something, maybe something nebulous you can’t
Only having online relationships with guys; preferring not to look at
the guys you’re interacting with online; choosing not to meet up with a
guy even if you seem very into him and he reciprocates and meeting up is
a boyfriend mostly so other people know you have a boyfriend and not
really being interested in him romantically/sexually
Wishing your boyfriend was more like your female friends
Wishing your boyfriend was less interested in romance and/or sex with you and that you could just hang out as pals
Thinking you’re really in love with a guy but being
able to get over him in such record time that you pretend to be more
affected than you are so your friends don’t think you’re heartless
After a breakup, missing having a boyfriend more than you miss the specific guy you were with
Worrying that you’re broken inside and unable to really love anyone
Sex with men
Having sex not out of desire for the physical pleasure or emotional closeness but because you like feeling wanted
OR: preferring to 'be a tease’ to feel wanted but feeling like following through is a chore
Only being comfortable with sex with men if there’s an extreme power imbalance and your desires aren’t centred
Using sex with men as a form of self-harm
numb or dissociating or crying during/after sex with men (even if you
don’t understand that reaction and think you’re fine and crying etc for
Being bored with sex with men/not understanding what the big deal is that makes other women want it
Doing it anyway out of obligation or a desire to be a good sport/do something nice for him
having sexual fantasies about specific men, preferring to leave them as
undetailed as possible or not thinking about men at all while
Having to make a concerted effort to fantasize about the guy you’re “attracted” to
Early interest in women
Not recognizing past/current crushes on women until you’ve come to grips with your attraction to women
Being unusually competitive, shy, or eager to impress specific women when you’re not that way with anyone else
Wanting to kiss your female best friend on the mouth for literally any reason (”to practice for boys” included)
Getting butterflies or feeling like you can’t get close enough when cuddling with a close female friend
Looking at a close female friend and feeling something in your chest clench up and being overwhelmed with love for her - love you may read as platonic
had strong and abiding feelings of admiration for a specific female
teacher, actor, etc., growing up that were deep and reverent
Having had an unusually close relationship with a female friend growing up that was different and special in a way you couldn’t articulate
relationships would be simpler “if only I were attracted to women/my
best friend who would be perfect for me if she/I weren’t a girl”
a female friend is treated badly by a man, having your protective
thoughts turn in the direction of “if I was him/a man I’d never do that to her/my girlfriend”
Being utterly fascinated by any lesbians you know/see in media and thinking they’re all ultra cool people
your favourite character in every show be that one gay-coded or butch-looking woman
(like Shego from Kim Possible or Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica)
Feeling weirdly guilty and uncomfortable in locker rooms etc., when your
female friends are less clothed than they normally would be around men
and being more careful not to look than they are
The 'straight’ version of you
Thinking that all straight girls feel at least some attraction to women
that your interest in seeing attractive women/scantily clad women/boobs
is an artificial reaction caused by the objectification of women in
Being really into how women look “aesthetically”/“just as artistic interest”
Thinking it’s objective and uncontested that almost all women are way more attractive than most men
Being a really intense LGBT+ “ally” and getting weirdly
emotional about homophobia but assuming you’re just a Really Good Ally
and v empathetic
Having like half your friend group from school turn out to be LGBT+
Getting emotional or having a strong reaction you don’t understand to f/f love stories etc.
Having had people think you were gay when you had no suspicion you were gay
Exploring attraction to women
Feeling like you could live with a woman in a romantic way, even if you can’t imagine doing anything sexual with a woman
Feeling like you could enjoy sexual interaction with a woman, even if you can’t imagine having romantic feelings for a woman
you couldn’t be a lesbian because you’re not attractive enough, cool
enough, or otherwise in the same league as most of the women you know
with het sex/romance in media by imagining yourself in the man’s
position or just never/rarely imagining yourself in the woman’s position
Really focusing on the women in het porn
Being really into the idea of kissing/being sexual with a woman 'to turn guys on’
Being really annoyed when guys actually do express interest in watching or joining in when you do that
Only feeling/expressing attraction to or sexual interest in women when you’re inebriated or otherwise impaired
Having a lot of conflicting gender feelings that are only possible to resolve once you understand you are/can be a lesbian
that being gnc and feeling a disconnect from traditional womanhood mean
that you can’t be a woman even if that’s what feels closest to right -
many lesbians are gnc and many lesbians feel disconnected from
traditional womanhood since it’s so bound up in heteropatriarchy
you’re attracted to women and not being able to parse that (esp + any
gender nonconformance) as gay, taking a long time to figure out if
you’re a straight man or a lesbian
Being dysphoric about the
parts of you that make straight men think your body is owed to them,
having to figure out what that dysphoria means for/to you
you’re attracted to women, but feeling weirdly guilty and uncomfortable
trying to interact with them as a straight man, and only later
realizing you’re actually a trans lesbian
Knowing you’re gay, but experiencing a lot of the symptoms of comp het
when you try to interact with men romantically/sexually, and only later
realizing you’re a trans lesbian and not a gay man
nonbinary and taking a long time to sort through being able to
respect/understand your nonbinary identity and your lesbianness at the
Wanting to be a lesbian but feeling like if you don’t already know you are one you can’t be
guilty about wanting to be a lesbian, feeling like you’re just
attention-seeking or trying to be trendy
Suppressing your lesbian
dreams because you think exploring that desire would mean you’re a
bad/homophobic person using lesbianness selfishly
Wishing you were a lesbian to escape the discomfort of dating men
about how much fun it would be to be a lesbian and just be with women/a
specific woman, but thinking that can’t be for you
Worrying that some of your past attraction to men was actually real so you can’t be a lesbian
Worrying that bc you can’t be 100% sure you’re not attracted to men and can’t be 100% sure you won’t change your mind, you can’t be a lesbian
Worrying that you only want to be a lesbian because of trauma and that means your lesbianness would be Fake
Worrying that trauma-induced complications in how you experience sex (e.g., a habit of self-harming via sex w men or a fear of any sex at all) mean you’re not a Real Lesbian
Every item on this list is common among Real Lesbians. It’s all Normal Lesbian Stuff. If you’re worried that you can’t be a lesbian even though it’s the life you really want for yourself, I hope this gives you permission to explore that. You are allowed to be a lesbian.
And if you’re not sure yet – if you took the time to read this entire thing because you’re curious about your identity, if you identified with a bunch of items on this list – you may or may not be a lesbian, but friend, you almost certainly aren’t cishet. Welcome.
(I’d love to hear other things lesbians wish you’d known were A Thing when you were first exploring your identity!)
the most difficult thing to understand when i was figuring out that im actually a lesbian who was experiencing compulsory heterosexuality is that comp het isn’t just forcing yourself to like men
you can really, genuinely have warm, positive, strong feelings towards men and they can still be comp het. because comp het is the assumption that any feelings that you have towards a man MUST be attraction because society talks all the time about hetero love and attraction so when you feel something towards a man you think “oh, this must be what it’s like”. and then as part of “discovering your sexuality” you try to find ways that you find men attractive. you think “i’m not attracted to physical appearance, only personalities” or “i only like feminine men” or you find ways to make yourself aroused by men by imagining them in all kinds of kinky and unusual scenarios until you hit one that appeals to you
and then when you can’t follow through with this ‘attraction’ in real life scenarios when you have a chance to have a romantic/sexual relationship with a man you assume that’s it’s some broken part of you that’s stopping you, or some quirk of your personality, or a circumstance of your life (”i have high standards” or “i only like older men” or “i have some incredibly obscure made-up sexuality where i only like men until they like me back”), and you explain away why you’re unable to find an attainable man in real life who you’re attracted to.
and this is something that’s really difficult to recognise because in the process of figuring out your sexuality you question how you feel and you come back with “well i definitely have strong feelings for men” and assume you’re straight or bi. but another important thing to question is “have i correctly labelled and understood what this feeling is and am i certain that it’s actually attraction”
society puts so much emphasis on the importance and intensity of heterosexual love and attraction that it’s important to actively remind yourself that it’s possible to love someone and have a deep interest in them without having romantic or sexual feelings towards them (especially if that love comes along with another intense interest, like your feelings towards a fictional man in a tv show you love)
How to know if you are actually atracted to guys or you are just brainwashed through heteronormativity letting you believe you have to give guys a go because you have some kind of connection?
This is such a good question and it’s really important for any woman questioning their orientation/attraction. I’m going to explain the difference using three specific examples of times when attraction gets confusing, but there are a ton of different ways compulsory heterosexuality manifests, so if none of these hit on what you’re feeling, feel free to shoot me another anon.
Attraction vs. Compulsory Heterosexuality
Nervousness and Blushing
A ton of romance media and common cultural tropes have this idea that you know you’re attracted to someone if you’re nervous or blushing around them. Because of this, you might feel like you must be attracted to a man if you feel nervous around him, just because you’re experiencing the physical bodily response you’ve been told to expect, not because you actually want to date him.
Actual Attraction: You’re nervous because you’re excited to get to know someone. You find them attractive first and because you’re thinking about your attraction to them, you get self conscious because you hope they might like you too.
Compulsory Heterosexuality: You’re nervous because you are aware that he is attracted to you, and because he’s paying such close attention to you– especially if he’s pushing boundaries or getting too close into your personal space– you become self conscious because you know he’s watching you. You blush because you’re uncomfortable.
Many questioning women have a hard time sorting through their attraction because of hypotheticals. Our culture, in general, disregards or challenges wlw’s attraction and it gives this anxiety that we need to know 100% that we are not and will never be attracted to men no matter what in order to claim labels.
It’s hard to do that as a young person who is just learning about themselves, flooded with “what if”s about the future. Because of this, you might feel like you can’t rule out being attracted to men because you might hypothetically be attracted to one someday. Who knows?
Actual Attraction: You imagine a hypothetical future where you end up with a man and it feels exciting and makes you feel good and hopeful and happy and right. It’s a nice feeling and is comfortable to think about. Reassuring.
Compulsory Heterosexuality: You imagine a hypothetical future where you end up with a man and it makes you feel uncomfortable, scared, sad, disappointed, wrong. It’s an upsetting thing to think about and you hope it doesn’t happen. You don’t want to end up with a man even if you feel like you could.
Our culture places a big emphasis on sex when it comes to orientation. Some people’s orientation includes sexual attraction and some people’s orientation doesn’t, but most of us feel like our sexual fantasies are the most important indicator of non-straight sexuality because LGBPQ+ people have been so thoroughly reduced to sexual acts and sexual objects in the homophobic culture we’ve grown up in.
Along with that, we’ve also grown up in a heteronormative and cisnormative society that repetitively teaches and reemphasizes the same singular sexual “script” for how sex is supposed to go, over and over and over. They do not teach any others, and it requires non-straight and non-cis people to invent their own sexual scripts individually and with partners.
But as a young person, when you’re aroused, your mind has a very limited template of potential narratives associated with that feeling, so many people default to the same heteronormative script in their fantasies because it’s unconscious and easy. Because of this, you might feel like you must be attracted to men because you imagine abstract situations of sex with men, even though you have absolutely no desire to sleep with men in real life.
Actual Attraction: When you fantasize about men, it is because you’re attracted to their bodies or specific men or the idea of having sex with men. You imagine qualities of their body and you like the idea of what you’re imagining. If you think about the fantasy later that day, you might feel like it’s embarrassing, but you also feel like it’s sexy.
Compulsory Heterosexuality: When you fantasize about men, it is mostly just enacting a kind of narrative. More focused on movement than features– the men in your fantasies might be faceless or blank-featured or their bodies might symbolize some emotion. You don’t really like the idea of what you’re imagining. You might not even be in the fantasy, but instead another faceless woman might be. You might even imagine yourself as the man. The narrative follows the sexual script, but the details are more vague and abstract and might even shift and change throughout the fantasy. If you think about it later that day, you might feel vaguely nauseated or uncomfortable or feel invalidated and wrong.
It’s really difficult to unroot compulsory heterosexuality. My simplest advice on getting through it is this: even if you are attracted to men, you do not need to date them if you don’t want to. If you only want to date other women, then you have the right to that. The rest is less important than the simple reality of what you want right now.
listen @ all you girls who are questioning your sexuality: i will love you no matter what. there is no pressure to be anything.
i will 100% love you if you turn out to be a lesbian.
i will 100% love you if you turn out to be bi.
i will 100% love you if you turn out to be pan.
i will 100% love you if you turn out to be ply.
i will 100% love you if you turn out to be ace.
i will 100% love you if you turn out to be lith, or demi, or grey or anything else, or just decide there is no label that fits.
and you know what? i will 100% love if you do turn out to be straight. there’s a lot of sapphic positivity going around right now, but that’s mostly because there hasn’t been a lot in the past. a lot of the problems that i had while questioning were “what if im just doing it to join the lgbtq+ community? what if im an intrusive hetero™?” and i promise you, you’re not. youre completely valid in your search for who you are, and i love you for that.
happy pride month everyone im queer & i made a calendar🌈💖
(these are the official days of pride i didnt make them up i just wanted to make my version of it. Celebrate LGBT+ everyday please stop bringing negativity to my post. I also apologize for getting the Agender flag wrong its just what kept coming up when i searched for “Agender Flag”. Thank you to everyone who has helped educate me instead of being rude.)
I hope everyone has a happy pride!🌈💖