Sometimes it feels like I have to coexist in two worlds, as if my queerness must master a balancing act that my brain has yet to teach my body to maneuver. Moving from Atlanta, where I spent four years in college “finding myself,” to Los Angeles felt like I was a freshmen all over again.
In Atlanta, I had a group of friends and we always had something to do. We knew the promoters, the bartenders—everyone. And I knew exactly how I fit in with my crew.
But in L.A., a city where there are a vast number of groups, I didn’t have a clue where to start and moving to a place where I know less than a handful of people has been a rude awakening. It has been an interesting road figuring out how to show up as queer in my two very different circles.
My queer identity manifests in the idea that sexuality is fluid, but my lesbian friends would all gag at the mention of a penis. And my straight friends definitely don’t want to catch my eyes lingering on a woman’s ample behind.
I was recently in a lesbian club for Juicy, a monthly party hosted by The Real L Word star Whitney Mixter and felt so out of place. It seemed like all of the women were secretly a part of some pride rally. They were all screaming, “I love women” and waving their rainbow flags.
Okay, clearly no one in the club was doing that, but it felt like it as they kissed each other and gyrated to Pitbull dancebeats. My friend and I sat there–half envious, half repulsed. Was I jealous because I wish I had a girlfriend to be hugged up with? Or was I sickened because I had been spending too much time in my “straight” world and had internalized self-loathing?
I admit I have been hanging out more with my community of straight friends, but only because I have one lesbian friend in L.A. When I’m with my straight friends, I feel way too gay for them, like I’m the one sporting multicolored beads and glitter. I want to kiki about RuPaul’s Drag Race or talk about how gorgeous my favorite Real Housewives star is, but it feels too much even for my progressive peers.
It’s funny when friends try to pretend like they are okay with your queerness, so one of you does an awkward laugh when you bring things up. I remember mentioning a guy I thought was cute and my ex-girlfriend in the same sentence and my good friend responded, “Huh? I’m confused.” I just paused, scanning her face to see if she was serious since we had had this talk before. Once I realized she was for real and felt the ultimate expression of judgment, I just took a deep sigh and said “never mind.” Sometimes I’m just too tired.
So is there truly a place where queer people can feel they don’t have to conform to the ways of an all gay or all straight circle? I struggle with this and often times don’t believe there is.
For now I have found some solace knowing there is a place for me within both groups to help start the conversation about identity and what it means to be queer, even if I have to create it myself.
– Audrey Cash
Deaundra Audrey Cash is a queer-thinking writer who has penned pieces for AccessHollywood.com, OMG! Yahoo, AOL and E! Online. With a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and an M.A. in Journalism from Syracuse University, she likes to push the boundaries on conversations about sexuality, identity, and the best taco food trucks in Los Angeles. She is an obsessive “Game of Thrones” fan who loves to watch movies in her free time. For all “Love and Hip Hop” commentary and cupcake reviews, follow her on Twitter @fallforaudrey.