Broad shoulders, short hair, deep voices, flannel shirts, jeans and timberland boots.
These are all what comes to mind when you hear the word ‘lesbian,’ but why? No lesbian I have ever met or been friends with has looked like that. This leaves me wondering, where did this stereotype come from?
All gay men must be extremely feminine, all lesbians hate men and if you’re bisexual – well, then you’re just confused.
Society has a tendency to box people into categories that aren’t necessarily true. Each time I finally get the nerve to tell someone about my sexuality, I am often met with confusing remarks.
Oh! That makes so much sense!
Wait, really? I thought you were either a raging lesbian or asexual.
Well obviously, look at how you dress.
I didn’t know what you were, but I knew you weren’t straight.
Does that mean you want to date both genders at once?
Don’t get me wrong, I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who love me for who I am. But those remarks only perpetuate the stereotypes associated with the LGBTQ+ community. Because I prefer comfort over style and have a louder personality, I must be gay or have no sexuality at all. Because I like football, sneakers and rap music I must be a “raging lesbian.”
Let me clear this up for you.
My name is Nyah Ashwin Rama and I am a 16-year-old bisexual girl living in Coppell. I am attracted to both men and women. No, I am not confused nor is it just a phase and I am not polyamorous.
If this does not fit your narrative of me, then I am sorry. I am sorry that society cannot seem to move past its preconceived notions of what the “typical” bisexual girl looks like and that the way I present myself actually requires someone to get to know me before making a judgment.
We are obsessed with putting each other into boxes. It helps us make sense of the unfamiliar and have more control in our lives, but what would happen if we just stopped trying to understand each other before we even met? Why do we need to make sense of someone’s identity before we really know them?
Placing labels on people in the LGBTQ+ community is not only restricting, it’s harmful. When people make predetermined judgments, they leave no room for a person to grow. When relating this to LGBTQ+ stereotypes, it affects how people can express their sexualities. Society pressures them to act and look a certain way in order to identify how they choose to. These stereotypes might also put someone who is not open about their sexuality in an uncomfortable position, either forcing them to come out or mislabeling them.
After I first realized I was bisexual, it took me a long time to come to terms with it. I had to let go of a certain narrative of myself and I would rationalize it by telling myself “well, you rarely like women so you’re not really bisexual.”
Even though I have accepted who I am now, I used to wonder why I felt so much pressure to define myself in such narrow terms. So what if it took an extra minute out of my life to explain the complexity of my sexuality to someone? If they really care about me then they will listen.
Now, I take the time to fully explain when someone asks me about my sexuality instead of brushing it off. I don’t assume anyone is gay, straight or bisexual no matter how they present themselves.
Humans are so much more than race, class, color, sexuality and religion. At the end of the day, aren’t we all just people?
Follow Nyah (@nyah_rama) and @CHSCampusNews on X.