It’s Not What You’re Told, It’s What You Listen To: Internalized Heterosexism
I keep telling myself that I should be attracted to guys, and that the only reason I’m not is because of my history. Then I talk to other survivors who are straight women or gay men and who still date men, and their perspective is very different. I think I need to just accept that I’m not interested in dating men. I’m only rarely sexually interested in them. I’m maybe 90% interested in women and feminine-spectrum nonbinary people, and then it tapers off quickly the more masculine things get. Basically, I round down to being a lesbian.
The ciscentric narrative thinks that I should be conflicted over having an attraction to men, but even before transition I was struggling with my attraction to other women. I had a brief window where I was in denial about everything–my sexual identity, my orientation, and sex in general–and during that phase I did struggle with being interested in guys, but that was in addition to repressing everything else as well. The majority of my time has been spent dating other girls, feeling weird about it, and not understanding why.
I get surprised that I’m insecure about being a lesbian, because of that ciscentric narrative. It’s like that quote I recently reblogged that ends with, “In that moment, I forgot I exist”. Cisnormativity says that I should have approached sex “as a guy” first, which means I might feel insecure being a gay guy but dating women should feel natural and acceptable, because socialization. But that’s not how it worked for me. I did have crushes on guys growing up, and I did feel insecure about them, but that insecurity is filed under the same trepidation I had about expressing my femininity and my femaleness. The shame I felt for being a lesbian goes deeper. My attraction to guys was shameful only externally, it was about how other people (incorrectly) saw me. The stigma I felt for my attraction to girls affected me on a much deeper level. It made me feel dirty to my core.