Tori Morrison Me, My Gay Self And My Straight Hair.

Allow me to preface my tirade that not all acts of bigotry are caused intentionally. It’s my belief that most acts of heteronormatism are subconscious and therefore, can be brought to the conscious, and hopefully, rectified. With this, I would like to declare that my family and friends are unintentionally gay bashing me. 

For years I have rocked a litany of dyke haircuts. I’ve had a shaved head, steps, mohawks, fohawks, short boy cuts, zebra stripes, stars and in all kinds of colours. Perhaps this could explain the surprise my loved ones expressed this year when I grew my hair out. Something strange started happening to the people around me which at first seemed very nice. I was wrong.

You see, my family and friends started with small quaint little compliments, such as “I like your hair.” Or “You look nice today.”  As a self-absorbed attention seeker, they made me feel pretty and I sweetly accepted their feedback. What I didn’t realize was the longer my hair got, the less complimentary the comments became, and the more aggressive their campaign became for me to never return to my short-dykey roots. Let me explain is a short, dialogue how this now occurs; 

Some jackass: “Hey I really like your hair like that.”

Me: “Oh thanks. “

Some Jackass:  “Yeah you should keep your hair long like that. It looks so much better. You should definitely keep growing it out, and keep it red like that, it looks natural. It’s not that you looked bad before it’s just. . . um. . this looks so much better.”

Me: “Oh yeah, I’m actually growing it out so I can shave the sides and have a really awesome long Mohawk, but left down. Then I’m going to die it back to black.”

Some Jackass: “No I don’t think that would be a good idea. It looks better the way it is now. That would look weird. Don’t do that. You should cut it into like pretty layers and grow it out and keep it red.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m not going to do that.”

If I unpack this compliment, it’s clear that it’s not that I look nice and they thought out of the goodness of their heart that they would tell me. What they are really expressing is more like this;

Some jackass: “I just remembered you used to look like a scary lesbian. I feel more comfortable around you now that you look like a female again. This allows me to not need to think about the fact there are other kinds of people. Even more importantly, I no longer think I need to treat you like a lesbian, because I no longer see you as one.”

Me: “Yeah, still gay. What is the nice way to say stop being a bigot, that won’t make me look rude?”

Some Jackass: “No, I would prefer to think of you as not gay. Also I expect you to look like a women and I feel like I’m allowed to pressure you, because I’m normal and feel I have the privileged to do so.”

Me: “Since I’m too polite to call you a bigot, but not polite enough to ignore this, I plan on writing a grumpy article about you being as dumb as a bag of sand.”

So this happens to me now about 6 times a day, unless I remain in my apartment and put my phone in another room.  I’m 27 and I’ve been out of the closet to everyone in my life for at least seven years. I know what society tells women they are supposed to do and be, I don’t need anyone to tell me how much more comfortable they would be around me if only I was taller, blonder, and skinnier.

I’m not going to be that person; in fact, the people telling me to be that person, aren’t even that person. I think it’s weird that so few of us meet the standards that we are busy socializing others to be. So the next time you feel the need to tell a black girl how great her pin straight hair looks, or a boy how good their catch is, ask yourself, what is your intention behind your praise. If it’s any answer except, “I want them to feel good today, and all the time” Then shut up, fuck off and don’t open your stupid mouth till you work on your manners.  

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