B. Marshall (Texas)
One would think that being queer in a small town like Wichita, Kansas is a lot harder than it would be living in a big city. That person would be extraordinarily wrong.
When I was back home, I knew practically every student in my school and practically every person they’ve ever dated. There was no such thing as “personal business” and for the most part, it always worked in everyone’s favor. It made finding friends and significant others with the same interests as you fairly easy, and whenever anyone was thinking about playing for your team, you knew about it instantly from a friend of a friend. This cultural invasion of privacy made fellow lady lovers visible so we could form bonds and build a close knit community. Sadly, mid sophomore year, my comfortable community was ripped away when I was exiled to Texas.
Since then, I’ve been a surviving solely on the comfort of heterosexual male friendships for the past year, which itself isn’t too hard since my particular brand of butch corresponds with that of the notion “boy” culture. And while I do miss hanging with queer women, it’s nice to hang out with a group of friends where you can admire girls together, yet not have to compete for them, cause when that beautiful goddess with a preference for the Sapphic side of life comes along, you don’t have to go all Hunger Games just to get her phone number. The only down side to the whole gay-girl/straight-guy friendship is the simple fact that most guys, especially in high school, are heterosexist assholes.
My two close friends, who love me dearly, also fall under that generalization. Due to their presumed “hetero privilege”, they feel that same-sex relationships (especially between two women) are all play but no substance, that our interactions, be it sexual or romantic, are childish and simply inferior to that of a heterosexual one. Since their sexuality matches that of what’s considered the norm, it’s understandable why they feel as if it doesn’t matter since it doesn’t apply to them. Though it does aggravate me how narrow minded they can be on that topic, I’m glad they feel differently than I do. It makes me feel like maybe I need more friends. Not someone who will be my “yes” man, but simply another person who gets where I’m coming from. Unfortunately, I’ve searched high and low and have yet to find a friend like that here, and I’m beginning to believe that it is absolutely impossible to find someone like that because I have already found her once before.
My (platonic) other half is Kiara. She’s my Broham, my wingman, my lesbro, my best friend, you know—just… everything. I miss her a lot less than what I used to, but I still have a hole in my heart, a hole I’ve been trying to fill for the last year and seven months. Here in Stud Country, I’m beginning to find that there are a lot of racial ties to being gay in Texas and it leaves me feeling lost in a big blur of confusion. Whether you’re Black, white, Hispanic, or Asian—it doesn’t matter. Anyone can be butch, femme, etc. in Kansas if that’s what they felt like they were. Here it’s a whole different ball game. If you’re black and masculine presenting, your automatically assumed to be a stud and are expected to act and feel a certain way and get corrected if you introduce yourself as anything else. It clogs up the whole friendship making/courting process, and it’s honestly very intimidating. How am I supposed to approach people if they’ve already written me off as a certain type because of my skin color? Why even bother to infiltrate an LGBTQ community if they haven’t been very welcoming thus far? Or maybe I have a bias and am judging Southern queers too harshly based off a few bad encounters. But I really just think I’m not in the right age bracket to find the type of companionship I’m looking for.
I am a sixteen-year-old girl who is a junior in high school and I yearn for normal things: friends that don’t secretly wish you were straight, a best friend who doesn’t live 700 miles away and girlfriend who doesn’t compare you to studs, and appreciates the small girlish things about you, as well as the mostly masculine. I don’t want to wait till until college, when boys are a bit more mature, and baby gays are willing to fight for each other instead of against one another, to have everything that I want.