With the new me on the inside, came the new me on the outside. I wanted to blend in on the gay scene. I’d be out to gay bars with my gay male friends a lot. Gay bars were not new to me, but the gay bars just for girls (it turns out these rooms are often in a separate room downstairs near the loos). The most unglamorous hidden away spot.
It sounds a cliché, but I cut my hair. Nothing drastic, but it went from long to a choppy bob fairly quickly. Next I scrutinised my clothes. In my mind I needed to look edgier and cooler. That was my new gay look. With my short hair and new Super Dry leather jacket (a la Frankie in Lip Service) I was ready.
I went to First Out Café in London (sadly no longer there) ordered a coffee and flicked through Gscene magazine. I wondered if the person behind the counter thought I was gay. Did the other customers think I was gay or straight? Was I fitting in? It consumed me. It was all I could think about the first few times I went.
How do you look gay? Well unless you walk down the stereo-type path then there is no sure way. I was still me, just with shorter hair and a leather jacket, but it didn’t scream dyke when I walked in a room. It turns out I don’t really look gay but it took me a long time to accept that was ok. You see weirdly, sometimes when you tell someone you are gay, they will tell you that you don’t look gay. To me it always feels like a bit of a slap in the face. In my mind it became a bit like me telling you my favourite colour was blue and you telling me it wasn’t and that I didn’t look like a blue favourite colour person! I love blue ok. Get over it.
There are two rules of thumb here. One you have someone like Ellen Degeneres. She looks quite stereotypically gay. She has short hair and dresses in quite a comfy male style often associated with a ‘classic’ lesbian style. Then you have Portia De Rossi, Ellen’s wife, who is quite girly and mainly dresses more conventionally. Then you have P!nk who is awesome, dresses how she wants even if everyone thinks she looks super gay (despite being married to a man.)
Alot of people’s point of reference to how gay people dress is down to coverage from Pride events and the media. News flash, all gay men don’t dress in leather thongs and lesbians in XL checked shirts!
Of course what I realised is what I wore as this new authentic me didn’t change who I was and didn’t matter. Some people look ‘text book’ gay and some don’t. We know what we are inside. If I’m honest sometimes I like it when I out myself to someone and they never saw it coming. That’s taken a while and a lot of outings to get to that point.