I was once asked, “what came first, your style or your sexuality?” My answer? My style.
Hi, I’m Ariana. And I’m here to say that my style has nothing to do with my sexuality. This may be a confusing information for some people but yes, I said what I said. The clothes that I wear are unrelated to my sexuality. I actually discovered style and sexuality at different points in my life. I can’t say that style and sexuality don’t relate because I’m not an expert on the topic but they’re separate for me.
Right about now some of you may be asking “you’re a woman who likes mens clothes AND you’re gay. So that must be related, right?” maybe for some people but I can’t speak for some people, I can only speak about myself and my experiences.
When I discovered my style, I felt some shame.
I knew girls were expected to wear girls clothes, but I was around 17 years old and I just wasn’t into traditionally feminine clothing. I tried wearing women clothes up until I was 17 and I reached a point where I just didn’t like any of the clothes I owned. I can’t explain why because wearing whatever made me feel confident just made sense to me. During this time, I didn’t even bother with questioning myself too much about why I preferred boys clothes vs. girls clothes. Once I found my style preference. I felt 70% more confident in myself. I’ve always been a lover of style and expressing myself with clothes so it just felt right.
Clothes marketed to girls and women are cute. And I’m not just saying that.
They just don’t make me feel cute and I want and deserve to feel cute too. I know some of you may be expecting or wanting a complex explanation on why I don’t wear women’s clothes but for me, It’s simple. I don’t like the styles for myself.
My favorite label is my name. It’s the identifier that I love the most.
I actually don’t like my name that much but it’s the only one I have. I can’t even pretend that I don’t understand the importance of some labels. But what is it about labeling ourselves that make people feel the urge to label more? I rarely get asked how I label myself or why I present the way that I do. But I do get stared at often when I’m out and about minding my business and i’ll admit, it throws me off.
My biggest question is why do people stare? what are they looking at or for?
The staring can really make me feel insecure in public because I don’t know why they’re staring. Yes, I know, I kind of have a lot going on at once. I have big curly hair, I’m black, gay AND I prefer a style that throws a curve ball right into the societal standards.
I understand that there might be a lot to take in when I walk down the street or if I’m anywhere in public. But am I really that confusing?
Okay, let’s get back to how I label myself or how I don’t.
I’m going to throw you guys a bunch of labels and i’m going to let you guys know if I identify with the label or if I don’t. Here we go.
- Lesbian: Yes, I do identify with this label because I happen to be a lesbian but I rarely use this term when I’m speaking about myself.
- Gay: Yes, I do identify with this label. Although it’s more commonly associated with men, I use it as an umbrella term for the word homosexual without having to say, homosexual, because I just don’t like the word.
- Tomboy: No, I don’t identify with this word. If tomboy is a word that describes a girl or woman who likes things commonly associated with boys or men, then no, I don’t relate. I would say I like a wide variety of things that have nothing to do with me being a woman.
- Butch: No, Butch is one of those words that I really don’t identify with. Butch can be used to describe a woman who presents masculine traits. But despite how I look, I feel and act very feminine.
- Dyke: No, and it’s just offensive guys.
- Fem or Femmie: No, feminine presenting lesbians get labeled fems or femmies all the time, just because of how they look. I feel feminine but I don’t relate to the word because of the societal standards placed upon the word itself.
Those where the top 6 labels that I see the most and as you guys can see, It’s not always black or white, sometimes it’s grey.
One of the things I enjoy most about myself is my ability to surprise people. Not with gifts because i’m horrible at that. I mean to surprise people with just being my authentic self. Those close to me actually make jokes about how I can’t even pretend to be someone else just for fun. I don’t even know how to be anyone else. I’m not this or that, I’m so many things and some of those things contradict some other things about myself but you know what? it is what it is.
labels are one of those things where you have to personally find where you stand and if you relate, feel free to explore, if you don’t, keep moving forward.
Peace & love,