Queeries: Advice from a Dyke - The Future, Lesbians IRL, and more
Welcome to the first edition of Queeries! The series where I, Hannah, answer your questions about love, life, school, friends, family, the queer community, and everything in between. Am I an expert on everything who has their life together? No… Do I love to tell other people what to do? Absolutely!
I’m a firm believer that art, in all its forms, is a great way to create and expand communities and foster important conversations. Is this art? Is it an advice column? Maybe… Who knows… Either way, I want to use my life experiences as a dyke in her mid-twenties to help you figure your life out.
Need advice? Ask your question here!
*Questions may be edited for clarity or length
Ashu (she/her, India) asks:
I avoid thinking about the future because I don’t know how I can escape the one my family has planned for me. My family is very conservative and very traditional and I’m into women. They will not accept it and I think of changing/hiding myself for them. How do you escape a country? How did you escape your rural town? I just can’t imagine a way to be happy, help pls.
I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling with your family not understanding this part of your life. It can be really difficult and really stressful when the people who are meant to support you the most can’t accept you for who you are. Your safety and wellbeing should come before everything else, so if you’re not in a place where you feel safe to talk about this with your family, it’s okay to wait or to not want to come out to them at all. You never owe someone an explanation of your identity, especially if it might put you at risk.
When I left my small town when I was 18, I did so with a lot of privilege. Going to university gave me the opportunity to leave and a community when I got there; however, I recognize that this is an opportunity that not everyone has. If you’re not able to leave where you are, you can still find community and ways to explore and express your identity and self in a safe way.
I would encourage you to try and find someone in your life who you can talk to about this. It might be a friend, classmate, coworker, or anyone you feel safe talking about queerness with. Additionally, queer communities exist everywhere and if it is safe for you to do so, you might benefit from spending time with people who understand your situation. Chosen family can be just as valuable, supportive, and loving as a biological family.
Keep reading for advice on how to find community!
Emma (they/them but any are fine, Vermont) asks:
How to meet other lesbians? I know like, one lesbian in real life and it’s bothering!! I feel detached from my own community.
First, I feel like it’s important to note that you probably won’t be friends with every other lesbian or queer person you meet in real life. Sometimes we can feel like because we have this shared experience, it automatically means you’re going to get along; but the reality is, queer people are all different and you won’t get along with everyone. LGBTQ+ solidarity is great, but fun fact: some queer people are dicks and it’s okay to not get along with everyone.
That being said, there are also lots of queer people and lesbians out there that you will have things in common with and that’s where you’ll find your community. I would suggest starting by thinking of things you like and then finding lesbian or queer versions of those things. For example, if you like reading, there might be a queer book club near you or if you like playing soccer, try to find a lesbian soccer league. Activities are always a great way to bond with new friends.
If you’re having trouble finding a group that you fit well with IRL (this is a big problem for queer folks who live in rural communities), don’t be afraid to look online. Author Jen Winston, in their recent interview with Gaygenda Magazine (shameless self-promo), said “your community does not have to be in real life at first. To find community and to feel seen online is totally valid…” There are so many queer communities online that are made up of people from all around the world that bond over everything from gaming, academics, music, etc. A good place to start is The Gaygenda Community discord server!
Community is what you make of it and even if your community is one other person for now, that’s still a start! The gays have a way of finding each other, so keep your eyes and options open and you’ll find your group.
Anna (she/her, age 19) asks:
So I’ve never been in a relationship before, and never had anyone interested in me before – and really never been interested in someone enough to want to pursue something myself… and last month, a classmate kissed me. It was my first kiss, and it was alright, but it did make me feel very weird in the sense that I’ve never had to think about romance before… is it weird to find the whole going on dates and texting someone thing very tiring, even if it’s enjoyable?? Also the whole intimacy thing feels very weird… like holding hands and stuff.
If there’s one thing I know, it’s intimacy issues.
The world puts a lot of pressure on us to pursue romantic love, and the relationships and intimate moments you see in TV shows and movies aren’t always the best or most realistic examples of what love and dating looks like. Firsts (first date, first kiss, etc) are not only stressful because they’re new experiences but also because, if they don’t match up with these examples we’ve been provided with, they can sometimes feel disappointing or like you’re doing them “wrong”. You might feel like you should want to constantly text and spend all your time with this person because that’s how fictional relationships are often portrayed, but it is 100% okay if that’s not for you. It doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t like this person, maybe it’s just that you just like having your own space and personal time! If that’s the case, I would recommend talking to this person about how you feel and if you’re a good match, they’ll respect that.
In terms of holding hands and other types of intimacy, it’s important to listen to yourself and respect your personal boundaries. If holding hands feels weird, that’s okay! It’s not something you have to do in order to have a relationship. Being intimate with someone, physically or emotionally, is a vulnerable experience and can be scary, especially if you’ve never really had to think about it before. You can explore what parts of intimacy you like and don’t like, just make sure to communicate with your partner and keep them updated on how you’re feeling and what your/their boundaries or needs are.
Remember that you always have the right to say no to someone, even if you’re romantically involved, dating, or in any other form of situationship and if you decide that you don’t want to pursue something romantic with someone, now or ever, that’s also totally valid! It’s your body and your life and you get to decide what you’re comfortable with.
With all this being said, I’m a person writing an advice column in my bedroom, take what I have to say with a grain of salt. If you need real advice or help, I encourage you to speak with someone more qualified than me.
1. The Trevor Project
2. Trans Lifeline – 877-565-8860 (U.S.), 877-330-6366 (Canada)