4 Movies/TV Shows That Helped Shape My Queer Identity

I got to thinking recently about all of the media that I’ve consumed throughout my life. And it’s a lot. I’m an only child who has had access to the Internet and my own computer since I was about 10 years old. So it goes without saying that I have watched A LOT of TV and movies over that time period.

It wasn’t until college that I really started seeking out queer movies and shows because up until that point I thought I was a straight cis woman (HAHAHA).

But I was thinking back to the shows and movies that I loved watching growing up, and I realized that there were definitely queer characters and movies that I loved back then, but they weren’t necessarily meant to be seen as queer. Straight people accidentally created the GAYEST characters and then are like o shit and try and backtrack (ex. mulan). Like no honey give us this one thing.

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But, as queer people definitely understand, we take what we can get when it comes to representation, and oftentimes this means finding the queer people within straight media.

So I thought in this post we would take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the movies and shows that really had an impact on little queer trans me when I was under the impression that I was straight and cis (again, HAHAHA).

Charlie’s Angels (2000)

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Drew Barrymore playing Dylan has got to be the gayest portrayal of what was supposed to be a straight character that I’ve ever seen.

As I watched this movie over and over (and still watch it over and over like come on this is a cinematic MASTERPIECE!) I was obviously very attracted to all of them. But even when I watched this for the first time as a 7-year-old, I knew I was drawn to Dylan’s character more than the other two.

It is undeniable that Dylan is queer. Like, there’s no question. I will not hear anyone tell me any different. And watching this obviously queer character in this mainstream movie definitely made me feel ~something~ as a kid and teen watching this. It was probably a combination of gaydar and attraction.

Whatever it was, this movie was so important to me as a baby queer and it still is as an adult. I think I still watch it (and the sequel) at least once every few months. RIP Bernie Mac.

Cheaper By the Dozen

Here, we have another movie that doesn’t seem queer on the surface. In actuality, it isn’t a queer movie at all.

BUT!!!!! We all know that Sarah Baker was queer.

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Exhibit A.
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Exhibit B.

These could be pictures of me at that age. I definitely had those exact outfits. What made her so important to me was that she was just like me: a tomboy who liked sports and hung out with the guys. I never soaked my sister’s boyfriend’s underwear in meat, but that could’ve been a result of not having a sister. We all need to admit that’s one of the most badass pranks in movie history.

Seeing her in this movie made me feel like I was watching myself for once.

She was just so fucking ~~~cool. Words can not explain how much I wanted her frog hat.

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I would still wear this, tbh.

I think most all queer people who watched the movie could say that she was DEFINITELY queer. The hairstyle?? The way she carried herself?? The outfits??? Played softball AND lacrosse?? Come on.

And then they had to have her have a crush on Taylor Lautner in the 2nd movie but let’s just ignore that. She could be bi!!!

Also, this movie had our queer character queen Piper Perabo. Enough said.

John Tucker Must Die

While this movie only really had one instance of queerness that was obviously a gross example of queerbaiting/using queer women to lure in gross teenage boys, I fell for it. The Sophia Bush/Brittany Snow kiss in this movie was a game changer.

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*cries in gay*

You know when you’re closeted/don’t know you’re queer yet and you see ~gay~ stuff and you kinda just go like “ooooooooh~~~!!!” without really understanding why? That was me watching this kiss in the movie. I was watching it at a slumber party and all the girls were swooning over the very plain looking lead guy while they all were like “omg yuck!!” at the two girls kissing.

I, meanwhile, began to feel warm all over and couldn’t understand why I suddenly had a nervous stomach ache. I couldn’t quite understand WHY I suddenly felt like throwing up and cheesing hard while I watched it, but I definitely couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen the entire time.

I ship it.

Pretty Little Liars

This was probably the first piece of media that was purposefully queer that I watched, and it definitely had an impact on me. That’s probably why I stuck with it through all the bullshit storylines (somewhat randomly making a trans person the evil villain?? Beheading Noel Kahn?? Making it ok for a teenage Aria to be in a relationship with her teacher?????).

While some of the early storylines of Emily revolved around her being closeted and her coming out, many of her romantic storylines were treated as “normal” romantic storylines. Not all queer media has to revolve around coming out stories: we have lives beyond coming out of the closet. Watching Emily have multiple different partners, normal relationship issues (besides the slightly abnormal complication of A trying to kill her/ruin her life), and ultimately be more than her sexuality was eye-opening for me as a young queer person.

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With this show, I got to see a classic coming out story while also not seeing yet another disaster/horror story about coming out. She had struggles with her family accepting her, but her friends were there for her and her family came to accept her and be proud of her identity.

Sure, this show obviously isn’t the best or most representative piece of queer media out there. But this one character showed me that not all queer people have to have horrible lives that revolve around their queerness. Emily was a normal teenager with struggles in school, with swimming, with her family, and an always evolving murder mystery involving multiple fake deaths and numerous rumors!! Who doesn’t go through all that in high school amirite??

Also, we got to see Moze from Ned’s Declassified play a queer character, which I was also waiting for since the School Survival Guide dayz.

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Moze + Ned 4 ever

So idk how to end this post!!!

I’m sure I could name more if I really thought about it, but I’m lazy so 4 it is. These 4 were the ones that I really remember being attached to growing up. Of course, I watched Grey’s Anatomy (Callie is my bi queen), Glee was up there, I called Harry Styles’ queerness in high school, and I definitely read some gay fanfiction during my tumblr days of 2012 when I looked like this:

 

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so quirky!!!!!

 

There y’all have it!! 4 movies/shows that impacted me a great deal as a little baby queer tran.

P.S: Only a month and a half until pride month!!

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Are You Twins??: Queer Couple Struggles

This is a ranty post that I didn’t really plan but has been on my mind lately.

This topic is familiar to every queer couple I’ve ever known, and it is fucking annoying as fuck. So often queer couples will be asked by random (mostly cis straight) people, “Are you two twins?? No?? Sisters at least, right?? Wow, you just look so similar!!!!!!”

First of all, fuck off. Even if we were twins, why do you feel the need to ask?? Twins exist… get over it. And people are so excited when they ask if a queer couple are siblings. WTF? Do you know how many siblings exist in the world? What’s the big fuckin deal and why does it matter so much to my middle-aged waitress?

Also, apparently having the same color hair and wearing glasses makes me and my girlfriend look identical to most people. Tight.

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But that’s not even the point. How often do straight couples get asked if they are siblings even if they have the same color hair or both have short haircuts or are the same ethnicity or both wear glasses? Probably close to never. Do you think their parents, friends, and acquaintances feel the need to comment how similar they look like it’s some sort of cool, funny observance?

It also hurts my feelings when people say this. And not just in a regular “that was a shitty thing to hear” kind of way, but in a dysphoria inducing, wallowing, deep-depression type way. Being compared to my girlfriend looks-wise is somewhat of an honor because of how gorgeous she is, but besides everything else I said that makes this a shitty thing to be told: I AM A GUY. How do you think it makes me feel to constantly hear that I look exactly like my GIRLfriend who is a WOMAN when I am a TRANS GUY who is a MAN?!

It’s offensive and annoying to hear constantly from strangers, friends, relatives, and acquaintances friends that I look like my girlfriend so much so that we are twins.The worst part about this is that OTHER QUEER PEOPLE SAY THIS SHIT TOO. It’s bullshit to “mix up” our names when talking to us: that’s not funny or cool it is hurtful and fucking annoying. It’s bullshit to tell a queer couple to their face, or at all, that they look like siblings/twins. LITERALLY, WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?? WHO DOES IT HELP?? WHAT IS THE POINT OF SAYING THAT?? If you wouldn’t say the same thing to a straight couple who both have red hair or who both have similar cheekbones, then why the fuck would you say it to a queer couple?

All it does is belittle the relationship and encourage people to see queer couples as no more than “oh they must be siblings or gal pals or brothers or something.” It isn’t a funny comment, it isn’t an interesting comment, it isn’t a comment that ever needs to be fucking said so just shut the fuck up and let queer couples be happy no matter what they look like.

Rant over.

 

Losing a Queer Identity

The title here is misleading because I am queer and will always be queer.

However, once I realized I was trans (transmasculine to be specific) I did experience a loss of part of my identity. While I gained happiness and confidence, I lost my “queer woman” identity, which has caused me to experience a wide range of confusing and upsetting emotions. (Let me know why that intro sounded like a shitty first draft to a persuasive essay you wrote in the 7th grade).

Throughout college, I was extremely unhappy. I had some amazing times, made amazing friends, and met the love of my life. But deep down, I constantly felt unattractive, unhappy, and unmotivated. Looking back now, I know it is because I am supposed to be a boy, but I was living as a girl.

But at the time, I had no clue. I began college as a straight girl, clinging to femininity thinking that it would make me happy to have men attracted to me as a feminine woman. While I know I was objectively good looking, and I know that men were attracted to me, I was still unhappy. I became almost self-destructive and made my whole self-worth based around my looks and whether men wanted me.

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Meet my past “straight girl” self (left) who wore crop tops to class and apparently fake leather shorts and sandals to frat parties.

Obviously that is unhealthy and that thought process was likely because of my upbringing as a woman in a patriarchal world.

So when I figured out I was bisexual as a sophomore, it was as though a whole new world opened up to me. My thought process went something like this: Men never made me feel good or like I was worth anything, so perhaps focusing on my attraction to women will make me feel good about myself.

And while this logic is still flawed as it uses other people to value myself as a person, it was kind of right. Discovering I was attracted to women as a woman made me the happiest I had ever been.

I was suddenly more confident in myself. I loved being gay (I’m using gay as an umbrella term here, I am bi, but I like the word gay for myself as well, let me live). I embraced my queerness to the extreme.

I wore exclusively tumblr lesbian clothes. I watched the L word on repeat. I posted selfies on tumblr on the reg. Snapbacks were a lifestyle. Softball 4 dayz. I even watched all of Carmilla (my fellow queer people, you know when you watch Carmilla that you are DEEP in queer culture). I embraced my already pretty gay walk. Queer lady YouTubers were my people.

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The peak of my gayness: Summer 2015. Peep the vans, the button up, and the sunnies.

I got to be the classic gay feminist constantly having gender and social justice discussions with my friends. Halsey and Fifth Harmony hypnotized me with their hotness. I had a sexy picture of Emma Watson in my room (to be fair, I had this up before I realized I was queer. lol at my past self thinking I was straight).

I walked around like I was hot shit. I wanted people to look at me and think “queer.” I flirted with girls and was with girls in a way that I had never been with or connected with men. I was actually loving myself for the first time. I was so proud to be a queer woman.

So why was I still unhappy, even when embracing my queer identity? I didn’t figure it out until the end of my senior year: I wasn’t a queer woman. I’m a queer guy.

Realizing that was a turning point for me. I am the happiest I’ve ever been right now living as a boy. I’m starting hormones soon, I’ve changed my name, and I’m in a much better place.

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I made my mom take this.

But being a man means that I am losing my place in the wlw, queer woman community. Being a queer woman brought me so much confidence and happiness during a time in my life when not much else made me happy or even made me want to get out of bed.

Not only that, but I am afraid of not appearing queer at all anymore, not just not appearing like a queer woman. Im not super masc or anything, but I’m afraid as I start passing that I will be straight/cis passing as well. I am so proud of my queer identity; I don’t want to lose it. I don’t want people in Provincetown to think I’m just some straight tourist. I don’t want to go to pride and have people upset that a straight appearing cis-looking guy is there.

Realizing my trans identity has given and is giving me so much. I’m just afraid about what it might be taking away.

It sounds dramatic, but I feel grief over the loss of this identity. But I’m also confused. I know that I’m a guy, but when I see queer lady stuff like Hayley Kiyoko’s new gay as fuck music (WHICH I AM LIVING FOR BTW) and Lauren and Halsey’s queer duet song and girls holding hands in public and other wlw stuff, I feel a kinship with it. I feel like, hey that’s just like me!

But it isn’t anymore. I feel cut off from that world that brought me happiness and confidence during a time where I almost always felt like shit. And when I feel like I’m a part of that wlw community still, I start to question my trans identity. How can I be a guy and still wish that I was a part of a wlw community? How can I look at my favorite queer lady YouTubers and feel so connected with them as though I am one of them if I’m really a guy?

Being a gay girl gave me things I desperately needed as a depressed 20 year old: community, confidence, and hope for happiness. Losing that is really hard for me to deal with. But as a guy who is sad about not being a gay girl anymore, it is a confusing loss. I know I’m moving forward and being who I really am as a boy. But being a gay girl was fucking fun, and I do miss it.

Hopefully that made some sense and can resonate with someone out there. You can be trans and miss parts of being your old self. You can be a trans guy and miss your experience as a queer girl. Being trans doesn’t have a rulebook or any requirements.

I’ll just keep telling myself these things until I really believe them.

I’ve Known Since I was 5: An LGBTQ+ Stereotype

One of the most damaging stereotypes about being LGBTQ+ is the belief that all LGBTQ+ people know from a young age that they are LGBTQ+.

While this is often true for many people, it’s not for others. Many people (both LGBTQ+ and cisgender heterosexual) believe this idea wholeheartedly, and it actually invalidates many queer and trans* experiences; it can even lead to people invalidating their own identities because they didn’t discover this identity or part of themselves until later in life.

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Double Rainbow.. all the way

As a young kid, I didn’t think about sexuality or gender in any way. I was just being me. I was a “tomboy,” but to me that was just who I was. Attraction and gender didn’t even enter my mind; I was too busy playing Runescape and worrying about whether Harry would defeat Voldemort (spoiler: he does). When sexual attraction did enter my life, I was attracted to men. This is still true, but it turns out that I am also attracted to women. But, did I know this in middle school or high school? Not at all. I was so oblivious to my sexuality; I assumed all girls had a crush on Katara from Avatar: the Last Airbender, dreamed about dating Emma Watson, and felt tingly when hugging girls and boys. Looking back, I was so, so, so bi. But I didn’t know.

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Me in the black shirt with the attached tie. Soooo queer. So unaware of it.

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