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Kristen Foery

June 1998

Stereotypes

"If life is a bowl of cherries, then I am the fruit flambe" -M. McLauchlan

The above quote was once said by a friend of mine who enjoys yelling "QUEER CANADIAN PRIDE FOREVER!!!" He's quite an interesting lad.

I digress.

My friend is quite lovable and also very queeny, by his own admission. When he first told me that quote, I laughed and then went into really deep thoughts. What is it about the gay community that makes us easily definable?

My personal gaydar is fairly fine tuned, but I must admit that I first look for the stereotypes. For months, I thought I couldn't be a lesbian because I didn't *look* like what I perceived to be one. When I evaluate myself, however, I realize that I do have some stereotypes. I wear birkenstocks and flannel, listen to folk music, worship Melissa Etheridge and Ani DiFranco, shun red meat, and have a political conscience. To top that off, I work in a bookstore/coffee bar.

After I made that mental list, I realized: Wait... with only a few cosmetic changes, that describes my best friend... and she's straight...

When I used to see gay males walking down the street, I would try and detect something 'swishy' in their walk. I usually couldn't. It escapes me why gay men are always described as 'mincing' when they walk. Mincing looks rather painful. I suppose that lesbians aren't supposed to mince, though... we're supposed to stomp. It's so confusing, keeping stereotypes straight. (Excuse the pun). I mean, whenever I belt out Broadway tunes, I feel so unfaithful!

Please note my sarcasm.

A boy that I know who is a closet bisexual once said that all gay people need to have some definite, concrete way of identifying each other that isn't known to others. I suppose the general rainbow motif is known to the public at large, so he was suggesting that we use the seahorse as our symbol and all call each other 'Shirley' or something.

In the town where I live, there have been gay bashings. Still, gay men and women act stereotypical. Once I asked a 'queeny' gay man why he chose to present himself the way he did. He told me that it was because otherwise we wouldn't get noticed, and that others had died so that he could be queeny.

I think that it's important for every gay teen to know about history. I don't suppose that you, reader, are familiar with Stonewall? Or Harvey Milk? I think that the gay community is losing touch with our past, and that's the worst thing that we can possibly do.

Occasionally my fiancee and I will tease each other about butch/femme roles. Neither of us is one or the other, but we recognize that to non Family it may seem that way. It's funny how quickly two people can be filed away in someone's mind.

This month I am finally 16 years old. I'm going to enjoy the freedom of a license. I'll like it even better when I can get a motorcycle.

Kristen
poetgrrl1@juno.com


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