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Of course, there are plenty of straight women who would say the same thing, but there's nothing quite as efficient for getting the message across as walking down the street arm in arm with a multiply pierced and freshly shaven dyke. (Lesbians don't want to date you; straight men want to date you just a little too much.) Of course, I know that the labels are vexed. It feels just as important as I imagine it must for the gay person to own that label.
(I used to wonder why coming out as queer had never felt liberating to me; now I know.) It says, "I tried to deny this for years, but it's who I am." It says, "I am that brave." I worried about telling my ex-girlfriend; but she seemed perfectly fine, happy in love with someone new, eyes twinkling. Because I want to be a lesbian, and I'm not a lesbian.
I thought, "I want this so badly." It was the kind of experience commonly described by newly out gay people: "So this is what it can feel like." But for me, there was something else, a long-held terror of men. It did not feel good to be with them; it did not feel safe.
(Sometimes I called myself a lesbian, willfully ignoring the false note it struck.) But soon after we started having sex, my girlfriend was hospitalized for depression. For months, I fretted over whether I was attracted to her. Meanwhile -- and I know how sad this is -- I'm afraid of men.
Coming out as straight after identifying as queer is, unfortunately, a narrative ripe for misinterpretation, especially by the pernicious "ex-gay" folks, who promote the view that homosexuality is an externally induced perversion and can, with counseling, be reversed. Just like the terrified, closeted man who prays that his attraction to men will fall away the moment he meets the "right" woman, I, too, thought that my attraction to men would fall away when I met the "right" woman. Maybe, since I have claimed my particular truth, the future will be different.