blog post written by @saffronliberty 

'Compulsory heterosexuality'

 - (coined by lesbian poet and major feminist Adrienne Rich in 1980) refers to the idea that from the moment we’re born, straightness is imposed on us by our patriarchal society.

In a world that prefers heterosexuality, by default homosexuality is oppressed -politically, legally and socially. Society is eager to show straight people how to understand their sexuality. But this conditioning means for others it can be a much more confusing, long winded journey.

WHAT MY QUEER JOURNEY TAUGHT ME.

It took me an embarrassing amount of tinder dates, shitty heterosexual relationships and just shy of 20 years to even begin to fathom where I could be going wrong.

 

 

Dating men is notoriously difficult and lets face it, unsatisfying sexual experiences can be more common than not for a lot of us. I paid little attention to my unfulfilling experiences as like me, so many of my friends confirmed that their experiences with men were ALSO a bit shit.

I'm sure many of you have been told that these experiences are because you're "just going for the wrong guys". Trust me, I've heard it enough.

So it might come as no surprise that I struggled to differentiate between a long sequence of unpleasant male encounters and actually just not being interested in men…at all.

Instead of exploring the possibility that I could be gay, I assumed it was me showcasing signs of emotional disconnection due to this history of bad experiences. Therefore, having made the decision there was something fundamentally wrong with me, I remained unaware of what was actually fundamentally wrong - my subconscious compulsive desire to identify as straight.

 

 

SO WHY THE CONFUSION WITH MY SEXUALITY?

A world full of misogyny, that's so heavily orientated around the male gaze, can be a confusing place. It seems pretty unremarkable to find a womxn hot when they're so heavily over sexualised. But, (especially in my case) this can make it hard to distinguish between an acknowledgment of this attraction and a genuine one.

This is where gay pride plays its part. Pride helps to gain the attention of leaders, the public and the media; in order to allow LGBTQ+ peoples voices to be heard. It encourages everybody to stand in solidarity with victims of discrimination, preaches acceptance and raises political awareness of current issues. 

The visibility installed through pride acted as a huge contribution to me beginning to understand my sexuality. Finding people I was able to relate to and understanding the dynamic of compulsory heterosexuality opened my eyes, enabling me to develop a clearer view.

Since identifying as a femme lesbian I still sometimes find myself being forced into playing the role of heterosexual female by men - through being sexualised, mocked or completely disregarded.

But I now take pride in the fact that I feel confident in who I am and can place the shame that I once carried about my identity onto the people who instil it. Because I now know it belongs to them and not me.

5 WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR LGBQT+ COMMUNITY 🏳️‍🌈

1. Have conversations about current issues

2 . Speak up against slurs and attacks

 3. Support LGBQT+ events

4. Donate to organisations

5. Educate yourselves