Invisibility is Not What I am Fighting For

by Shaker masculine_lady, who shares her home and life with her wife, three children, and a badass cat named Eartha Kitty.

[Content Note: Invisbilizing queer folks.]

This past Sunday, I saw this book in my church bookstore:

image of a book cover featuring images of queer people titled: 'You Can Tell Just by Looking' and 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People

I don't really have a lot of info on the content; it's the title "myth" that I am so grumpy about. I want you to know that I am a Grade A Gay when you look at me. If you don't see queer me, you don't see me, and invisibility is not what I am fighting for.

I'm reminded of an interaction I had years ago, when I sat on a "raising awareness about the gays" panel. A woman came up to me afterward and said, "I would've never guessed that you were a...lesbian. You really can't tell by looking!" This was followed by a lot of reassurance that I was a perfectly lovely young lady. I bristled then, and I bristle now.

When you look at me, and you don't see that I am a lesbian, you aren't actually seeing me. You are seeing the version of me that you are comfortable seeing—the non-threatening, not politically queer version of me. You might see my lesbian family, with the good-looking kids and the house and the mini-van and the whatnot. But you do not see who I truly am if you are unwilling to see the parts of me that make me different from you. I do not want my queerness to be invisible,* and my fight for full citizenship is not bound up in proving I am just like you (or anyone, for that matter).

I am a perfectly lovely masculine lady and I don't happen to be queer. I am unstoppably queer.


* I totally understand that there are folks who need, as a matter of safety, to fly under the gaydar. Those folks are a major part of the reason I don't want to be invisible—because I can and they can't. Queer visibility makes the world safer for all of us.

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