Seeing real life lesbians matters.

Seeing real life lesbians matters.

Last year, I wanted to honor rainbows by describing how safe they made me feel when I unintentionally visited NYC during pride month. This year, I am honoring the other part of visiting NYC during pride month that was so validating to my insecure baby gay self:


The city felt truly gay and truly like a haven for me in the summer of 2017. Not only did I see inanimate objects of gayness (like rainbow flags), but I saw many gay people. And every little bit of gay that I saw, I SAW, you know? My favorite “gay people spotting” was when my family and I went to a Broadway play. As we were sitting in the theater, I noticed getting seated in the row in front of me, a lesbian couple.


This was exciting to me.
It was exciting that I SAW them, truly, as what they were.


But it was also exciting because it was a model for what my life could look like, a model for what I wanted it to look like, and feared that it wouldn’t be:

I was like, wow, gay people—gay women—are out here living their lives in the way they want. They are actually DOING IT. These girls are doing the gay thing and in the sort of banality of going to a play—of doing something "NORMAL."


It was like this sneak peak into their normal day, their average day, their average gay life. I got a little snippet of lesbian relationship normalcy. And to illustrate what I mean by this is like, it felt just as simple and ordinary and “uninteresting” and commonplace as heterosexual lovers going about their day. I was just out with my family at a play and PLENTY of heterosexual lovers went to this event—and go to every event—and no one bats an eye when they go about their day together. It felt like that. And I needed that—as you may be able to tell, I didn’t feel normal.


This lesbian couple, slipping into their seats inconspicuously, represented this to me. Almost symbolically, with their backs to me, in the corner of my vision, in this sort of peaking in, this sort of grazing of my existence, in this sort of anonymity, they existed “normally.” But despite their inconspicuous existence, I noticed them, because I saw them as lesbian lovers—not gal pals. And I felt represented and put at ease because seeing “real life young adult lesbians” doing life in a comfortable way gave me the ability to see myself existing there, in a place I’d love to be. I thought it was incredibly heartwarming and was like, this is really nice. This is lovely and promising and soothing to my fears and insecurities.


I felt privy to information that others were perhaps not because I SAW them. And it'd be pretty easy not to. It'd be easy not to because of how simple and quiet and yet embodied and self-assured their existence was.


It was special to me to see them because there was such novelty to being gay and BEING GAY, truly—like being, in reality, being, in existence, being, in a theater—a real place, not an online place, not a fantasy world.


And not only that, but being, in a place that was special to my younger self, as I used to go to the theater to watch plays with my family. It was kind of beautiful to be out with them (my family), even though I felt rejected by them, and see, even if they didn’t see, myself in these women. I guess because I knew who I was, and unlike in the past, I didn’t care anymore to repress and mold myself to who they wanted me to be. I was beginning to feel free[ly me].

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