Dating Cis Men Does Not Make Me Straight

Dating Cis Men Does Not Make Me Straight

I, a queer-femme, have fallen in love with a cis-gendered male. Now what?

For some time, I have felt unease in my decision to date cis-men. Since I identify as a queer-femme, I’ve often asked myself — how do I navigate my queerness and my sexuality when I choose to date, what appears to society, as a heteronormative relationship? Queer, for me, means that I am not heterosexual but I also don’t consider myself bisexual. I find all people attractive — trans, women, men, and those who don’t subscribe to any particular binary. The term “queer” sits comfortably in my mind and feels confident when it rolls off of my tongue. My gender and my sexuality are fluid, as is my freedom to explore my connection to the LGBTQIA community. However, my preferences in partners seem to tell a different story.

I date a cis-male and in public this gives the impression that we are in a straight relationship. As a result of the assumptions that are made based off our appearances, I often feel like my sexually is negated. All the while, I also readily admit how my “passing” as a straight cis-female creates a state of privilege that in many cases is not afforded to individuals in the LGBTQ community who live through hate and discrimination, daily.

My woes of not being accepted into the queer community because of my straight partner and my femme qualities sound frivolous as I type this. However, I can’t help but wonder how many other queer couples feel this way? Their appearance to the publics perception is heteronormative and their efforts to prove their sexuality are repeatably unaccepted.

I’ve struggled with a need to prove my queerness in many different aspects of my life. Why is the need to prove my sexuality so important? Why do I feel as if I won’t be accepted until my peers understand my queerness? Are they judging my cis-male partners? The hypothetical and rhetorical questions could go on and on.

The only answer to these (and all other questions) is that my identity is valid. It is not something that I need to prove to anyone because my relationships with my cis-male partners are mine and mine alone. My identity, along with my sexuality, and my love for my partners should not interject with how I hope the public sees me. While in a perfect world, my sexuality and my relationships wouldn’t be judged, they are, which is why my involvement in the queer community is incredibly important to me.

Finding queer femme affirming spaces has been an incredible help for me in my personal exploration of my identity. Dating my cis-gendered partners can sometimes bring up confrontations within these spaces. For me, my sexuality is fluid. Who I love, who I kiss, who I touch, is my choice and mine alone. Proving my queer identity is not my job, nor is it my responsibility. Discussions about queer and LGBTQ issues are important to me, yes. Creating an open dialogue about bodies, sex positivity, and queer sex is my passion, yes. However, once superior complexes and hierarchical tensions come into a safe sphere, it becomes problematic. Who dictates the answers to the questions: what does queer look like? or who is queer enough? These are obviously questions that can’t be answered.

“Identity policing certainly falls under the umbrella of microaggressions. When someone makes an assumption about an identity that isn’t theirs, particularly in regard to sexuality, it comes off as interrogating the other person’s self-perception, with the implication that their understanding is somehow flawed or inferior,” writes Erin Tatum on Everyday Feminism. 

Storing a memory bank of my “firsts” to prove to my audience that I am queer enough is not a healthy practice,  it’s exhausting. Interrogating me about my sexuality, or assuming something about it, is honestly just plain wrong. For now, my partner is a cis-male. Tomorrow, it may be a non-binary person. Regardless, I am still here and still unapologetically queer.