Queeries is an LGBTQ+ advice column catering to any individual across the gender and sexuality spectrum. Throughout this series, we will be answering questions or “inqueeries” that readers may have, and hopefully provide some closure and/or useful advice that can be used in everyday life. All questions are anonymous and will be answered to the very best of our abilities. Inqueeries can be sent to our Instagram’s DM @risenzine, Twitter DM: @risenzine, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tumblr page: risenmags.tumblr.com
One. Is there a reason a lot of lesbians choose to have an undercut/pixie hair style?
Joy: I recently cut off most of my hair, and I personally did it in order to feel more masculine. Masculinity is, unfortunately, a character trait given to most lesbians that can be pretty detrimental. Some girls feel as if they have to behave tough when they come out, and the truth is they don’t have to change at all. While I can’t speak for every gay girl in the world, I can say my choice of hairstyle made me feel more empowered and secure about my identity. I found that cutting my hair was a stepping stone to embracing myself. In the end, it really depends on the person and their preference.
Liv: When I was younger I used to wander the same thing. The media portrays lesbians as these masculine characters with short hair and obtrusive attitudes, but the more you open your mind to the world, the more you realise how far it is from the truth. Representation matters and not all lesbians have undercuts or pixie hairstyles. In saying that, when I realised I wasn’t straight, I did consider chopping off my hair. I guess this epiphany triggered a desire to change something within myself - a way to symbolise my liberation and acceptance of who I am. That’s my own reasoning behind my desire to cut my hair, but of course, everyone has different reasons; and the assumption that all lesbians have undercuts/pixie cuts should be quashed.
Two. Nature vs Nurture. Are you born lgbtq+ or can your environment influence your sexuality/identity?
Amelia: This is a really interesting topic. The narrative a lot of the time is “born this way” but I think that “nurture” definitely factors into how your identity. For example, if gender is socially constructed you’re not “born” as any particular one, and I don’t think sexuality is caused by a particular gene (though there is a lot of cool research into this!). At the same time, though, you can’t “learn” queerness which I this is what this question often boils down to: “Is sexuality a choice?”. The answer is inexplicably no - I didn’t chose my attraction, it came naturally. Whether this arose from nature or nurture or both is, ultimately, irrelevant, as attraction is innate and beyond our control. It’s how we convey this attraction, e.g. what labels we choose, that I believe depends on “nurture”: our culture, upbringing and personality.
S: Growing up, I barely even knew there was an option other than being straight and cis. This is not a product of homophobia in my community - of which there’s very little anyway - but due to the fact that I wasn’t educated on the topic and it wasn’t stressed in discussions with friends, family, and teachers. As I grew up, I definitely began to realize that my feelings were different than many other people I knew. I think educating myself thereafter might have sped up the process of my becoming more comfortable and knowledgeable about my sexuality. Even if it had taken me longer to come to terms with my identity, I believe I still would have reached the same conclusion, regardless of whether my community had further educated me on the topic or or if I still had not learned much about it at all. At it’s core, I feel like self-identification, comes from well, yourself. The people and factors around you can certainly influence the way you perceive your sexuality and the manner in which you act upon it, but not the identification at heart.
Sharon: Well, for me personally I believe it was a little bit of both. I had feelings for girls since primary school, but I often repressed these emotions and began taking an interest in the boys all the other girls seemed to like. After around 5 years of convincing myself that I was straight, I was finally “relieved” that I could fit into the social norm of hetrosexuality. I then went to an all girls school for secondary, and my attraction towards the same sex became more apparent as the years went by. I do feel as though if I hadn't attended an all girls school, there is a good chance I would have remained supposedly “straight” for a lot longer; and that being in that environment did influence my sexuality.
Three. Following the 2016 election, I am afraid that gay marriage laws and are going to be revoked and lgbtq+ rights are going to be taken away. Do the Queeries team have any advice for taking care of myself during this trying period?
S: My very best advice is this - breathe. Remember all that we have accomplished these past few years. Remember that it is okay to be afraid, but don’t let this fear control you. My post-election self-care consisted of hot baths, meditation, reading and writing to get my thoughts out, and listening to positive music by LGBTQ+ artists to keep me inspired. Take the best possible care of yourself, because you are wonderful as you are and Trump cannot take the love and courage from our hearts.
Amelia: Sadly, we do live in a very scary environment right now. Though I know for the vast majority of us this isn’t a real surprise - hatred now just has a more public platform. What I say to you is that you are valid, and no lawmaker or politician can take away your truth from you - this only means we organize and fight back harder than ever before. Our history is seeped in rebellion and standing up against the status quo of the powerful. We have that same bravery and drive within us all. So look after yourself by remembering your own power, your history, your worth. Reach out to other queer people when and wherever you can and unite together. You are not alone in this battle and we are far from few. When you come to terms with that, we can do anything.