Being in the minority, and on the negative end of stereotypes, does not make you immune to believing in them, and perpetuating them.
It’s kind of old news, the first openly gay Miss America contestant and winner of the 2016 Miss Missouri title, Erin O’Flaherty, is a feminine lesbian. In a Cosmopolitan interview, she said that she struggled to wrap her head around the fact that she was a lesbian because she wasn’t a stereotypical lesbian.
I identified with Erin because growing up I too was feminine and struggled with my identity, and even though my struggle had nothing to do with the fact that I was feminine, those stereotypes still had a negative impact on me.
As a kid, a teenager, and young adult, I was a socially awkward introvert, and in the closet. It was hard for me to reach out and find other lesbians. Girls that I thought were gay, and girls who I knew for sure were gay, wouldn’t give me the time of day. I would try to cozy up to them and they would dismiss me. It was like I was wearing some kind of lesbian repellent.
One thing I was sure about, the repellent had nothing to do with my looks. I know it sounds stuck up, and the truth is I know I am not super-hot but when I get dolled-up guys pay attention (not all guys but some of them) so it stands to reason that some lesbians would find me attractive too. It had nothing to do with my looks, at the same time, I was sure that it was my looks, and my hobbies that made lesbians dismiss me.
It comes down to stereotypes. The LGBTQ community is not immune to buying into them.
What do you think it means to be lesbian or gay?
All it means is that you are attracted to the same sex; it has nothing to do with what you look like, or what your hobbies are.
- You don’t have to play sports or love camping to be a lesbian.
- You don’t have to love musicals and have a great sense of fashion to be gay.
We should all remember that.
Coyne, Amanda. “Meet Erin O’Flaherty, the First Openly Gay Beauty Queen to Compete at Miss America: O’Flaherty is the newly crowned Miss Missouri.” Cosmopolitan. Hearst Communications. 23 June 2016 Web. 21 June 2017 Accessed. http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/news/a60394/erin-oflaherty-miss-missouri-lesbian-miss-america-interview/