Y’All Need Help #22: Spring Cleaning Part 1

Hey quick little note before we get started: we’re spring cleaning the You Need Help inbox! If you don’t see your question here or in the next installments, it’s because it’s being answered by another person in a stand-alone post or via a Lesbian Sex 101. I’ve answered the questions below with as much care and love as ever, but some of these responses are short and lots of them also need YOU. So! I’ve numbered the questions and divided this into several pages to make it easier for you to help out in the comments. YAY SPRING CLEANING! Whew let’s do this and then grab a beer or some lemonade or something.

Carol Aird Tinkerbell Junior Bernard Spiegelman Sullivan

Q 1:

Will there be another queer IRL photo gallery? Plz say yes!!

A 1:

Listen buddy, this is a gross misuse of the YNH form but I’m going to answer you anyway because a) I care for you and b) this is spring cleaning. There will eventually be more Queer IRL galleries! They’ll just sporadic and led by our Straddleverse editor, Vanessa Friedman! I really loved those galleries and I super loved how much y’all love them, so they’re definitely not over for good.

Q 2:

I live with my parents and my mum’s not cool with me being gay. It crops up in an ugly way every so often and bleeds into her other issues with me (of which there are several). She’s also very volatile on and off and while it can be okay for a while, when its bad its really bad. But my parents live in a nice house close to my uni and the beach and if I left I’d have just enough money for a small room somewhere in far away dodgy suburb, and thats once I got on benefits which is a whole other complication involving basically disowning myself. What do I do???

A 2:

Damn this sounds miserable. You’re the only person who can actually decide which sacrifices are the ones worth making, but your situation is a good illustration of how there are almost always sacrifices to be made, and usually we’re all just making decisions based on which of the sacrifices and miseries will be the easiest to live with. Make one of those lists with the pros and cons of each choice and then make a pan of nachos and get down to the business of making a decision.

Q 3:

My partner just came home with me for the holidays for the third year in a row. It was a mixed bag, but rough. We fought some, had some good conversations, did some fun activities, and had some enjoyable family time. One of the big issues was my sibling. We are all late twenties but she was acting ridiculously immature. It isn’t necessarily new behavior but seemed worse this time. For example, she’ll get stressed out about something minor and yell at everybody and then pout all afternoon — especially if anyone dares to call her on it — things like that. Small things but totally unacceptable, and they add up.

My girlfriend was rightly appalled and also appalled that we all seem to enable it in the sense that we tend to ignore or pacify her instead of demand that she act like a functional human like the rest of us. I’m sympathetic, but it is tough when I only see my family a couple times a year. I feel a bit caught between the best ways I’ve found to deal with my family and making my partner feel welcome in our family/demanding adult behavior from the adults in the family. Part of me feels like you can’t change other people and ignoring bad behavior is the right thing to do. The other part of me feels like it is enabling, and also not as deep or sincere of a relationship as I might have if I acted otherwise— plus ignoring it is not something my partner is comfortable with and she is my family/becoming part of my family too. Any insight?

A 3:

Your sister acts like an immature asshole when she’s unhappy or stressed out and no amount of “demanding” that she act like an adult will change that. If she cared what anyone in the family thought of her, she wouldn’t act like toddler in front of you. She doesn’t care what y’all think and she probably super doesn’t give a fuck what your girlfriend thinks. When adults act like assholes, all you can do is disengage from them and not let their tantrums change anything.

Your girlfriend can be annoyed by this behavior — I would want to peel my own face off, personally! — but she’s not in a position to demand that the rest of you do anything at all. She can complain about it to you, for sure! And you can listen and even agree and commiserate, but not only is it not her place to tell an entire family how to respond to someone they’ve been dealing with for nearly 30 years, it’s also not something she or you or anyone can actually change anyway. This isn’t about your family not welcoming your partner (unless I’m missing something and your sister was pouting about your girlfriend and no one was standing up for her??), it’s about your partner seeing your family for what it is and hopefully loving you anyway. That’s what we’re all doing here: looking at our person and everyone who comes with them and being like, “yeah, I still love you.”

Q 4:

I am in my late 20s and in a relationship with the love of my life, we have been together 3 years and have been living together 1 year. Marriage is definitely on the cards at some point and we are both very happy with our situation except for one thing. I’m out to everyone EXCEPT my family. I’m not quite sure how I got to 29 without telling my family but I have. We live in a different city to my parents and I see them perhaps once a month or so, I visit them and they rarely visit my city, so I know that this has given me an excuse not to tell them. My partner hates that I am not out to them and so do I but I just can’t get the words out. I’ve never been able to find the right moment and I just don’t know how.

Lately my partner has been putting me under increasing pressure to tell them, to the point that its making me feel seriously uncomfortable and even more reluctant to do so. I was outed to friends by an extremely regrettable gf when I was 18 and every time my partner mentions me telling my parents I have the same horrible feelings I had the first time it happened. I have tried talking to my partner about how this is making me feel, but she is impatient and thinks I am just stalling. Being outed the first time was a seriously traumatic experience for me and I am only just now realising that it’s had a lasting impact on me that I need to address. How can I get rid of these feelings and just bite the bullet and tell them? Do I just invite them to lunch with “my friend”? Do I be a coward and do it via text? I’m playing all the options over in my head constantly and each one makes me feel sick to my stomach. I have to do this soon. I am more than aware that this is making my partner unhappy, I feel so selfish that I am treating her like this.

I am also aware that my parent would have to be pretty oblivious not to have guessed since their 29 year old has been “single” forever and never brought anyone home…PLEASE HELP ME COME OUT TO MY PARENTS!!

A 4:


We usually tell you to come out in your own time and never let someone pressure you into coming out, and I still believe in that for people whose wellbeing and security rely on being in the closet. It doesn’t sound like those factors apply to you. I’m truly sorry that your first experience with coming out to people was so traumatic, but part of dealing with trauma is being able to recognize that while another event might bring up the same feelings as the first event, it is in fact not the same event. This time is different and this partner is different and the whole situation is different. You’re even in charge of how it’s done now! If you’re going to marry this woman, you’ll need to throw your parents a cursory “I’m gay, btw.” Their reaction won’t change anything — you’ll still be with your person, you’ll still be you and have your job and your favorite pants and plans next weekend — they’ll just know more about who you are.

Doing it via text isn’t cowardly, by the way. There are plenty of things I’d rather text to someone than say to their face, and since texting is an option, let it be your option.

Q 5:

Dear style goddesses, please help. I have very very long straight almost to my waist hair. I love it but it doesn’t read as gay. I really don’t want short hair or a more andro look — I want long femme hair but I want it to look gay. Helllllp!

A 5:

Ok here’s what I think! I think when you have long hair and you want to ping, you sometimes have to gay up the other parts of your look. What does that mean, gaying up your look? I don’t know because I don’t know what you look like, and I think gaying shit up isn’t always universal. But listen, when you see someone with an extremely gay haircut (whatever you consider that to be) and the rest of their look reads straight, don’t you find it nearly impossible to believe they’re straight, because hello their hair is so gay?? Maybe if you can’t find a haircut that you really want, you can focus on gaying the living daylights out of one or more other things about your look. This is just me thinking out loud!

Readers: tell this person how to cut her hair!!

Q 6:

I recently (3 months) started seeing someone. She’s really fantastic, and we usually spend time together doing outdoorsy stuff in athletic attire. I like so many things about her, but she doesn’t dress well in non-athletic attire at all, which is very unattractive to me (think the type of shirt that your mom put you in for the 6th grade Christmas concert). I feel incredibly shallow for even thinking this, but is there anything I can say to her without hurting her feelings?

A 6:

There probably isn’t a way to say something without hurting her feelings. You might have to do the thing straight women do to their boyfriends, which is to just start buying her the clothes you want her to wear and never give up and deny it if she calls you out. Or, if she ever asks for your input on an outfit, GIVE IT. Give it gently but like, give it. Three months is pretty damn early in a relationship though, so it’s probably best to either break up with her or else accept the fact that she dresses a certain way and that it has nothing to do with you because she’s her own person.

Q 7:

Recently my sexual desires have increased (getting my mental health together after struggling for years has helped), but I find myself uncomfortable with the new sexual side of my attraction towards women. Before I always found myself primarily attracted to non-sexualized things (intellect, hair, way women gesture as they talk, etc.) but now I’m noticing bodies in a way I had never done before in relation to women in real life.

This feels wrong and I cannot tell if it is internalized homophobia that is making me feel like expressions of my sexuality are predatory or if I am being a good feminist by not “objectifying women.” I immediately avert my gaze if I feel eyes lingering on a woman (even if my attraction is returned). Can you help explain why I felt comfortable with my attraction towards women when it was primarily non-sexual?

A 7:

Sexual desire is a wily thing that usually has to compete with societal pressures and the shame we’ve been taught since birth. It sounds like you’re dealing with internalized homophobia. Having sexual feelings about certain body parts isn’t objectifying. Unless you’re looking at women as things devoid of emotions or needs and that only exists so you can motorboat their boobs, you’re not objectifying them. Have you read our roundtable on internalized homophobia? You’re definitely not alone (hello hi right there with you) and it does take work to unlearn all the things we were taught about how we should feel when we look at or even think about women and their bodies.

Q 8:

Sooo I am madly in love with this incredible woman, and we have been dating for almost a year now (!!). We took things pretty slow because even though we’re both about to graduate from college, this is the first serious relationship either of us has had with a woman (or anyone, for that matter). Anyways, we had sex for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was great and scary and vulnerable and wonderful and so many things. However, I was not as …into giving oral as I thought I would be. It was a bit weird and overwhelming and I’m sure it was just because it was a new thing, but of course I panicked that I wasn’t “good” at being a gay lady, or worse, not even gay at all. BUT I know that I love my girlfriend (and find her very attractive), so that panic has (luckily) subsided. Any tips on improving/not being intimidated by oral sex?

A 8:

We’re working on a 101 that will hopefully answer this question (and many others)! But let me just shout from this very cramped desk in the suburbs just southeast of Phoenix, Arizona: YOU ARE STILL SUPER GAY.

Q 9:

I’m 24 and never had sex. How do I get out of my head long enough to stop being scared that any girl I like will reject me or want someone more experienced? I’m generally quite confident but here I have none at all.

A 9:

Hi I’m going to share something with you which is that I, a 37 year old who has had sex for what like 22 years or something, STILL occasionally get in my head before / during / after the sex. It’s a skill, getting out of your head. It’s an honest to goodness skill. Even if you’d had sex with 300 different people, you’d still be having sex with the next person for the first time, which would involve a lot of trying things out and communicating about what worked or didn’t, and learning new things! If the person is worth liking and they like you back and things are COOL and FUN, your virginity shouldn’t be an issue. Every new person is a wild experiment and it’s weird and fun and nobody knows how it’s gonna go but you have to get OUT out out of your head head head. YOU’RE DOING GREAT.

Q 10:

Long story, so here we go: I’m two months from graduating from uni, and have got really close to one of my teachers (she’s 4 years older and is a grad teacher, but isn’t involved in any of my exams/assessment for context) who, lord knows, has helped me so much with coming out this past year. She has a long term girlfriend, and they’re in a kinda open relationship (only threesomes) – basically, we kissed the other night (after a night out), but she can’t tell her girlfriend until after I graduate. I really really like her – I’m trying so fucking hard not to because I really don’t want to put her in an awkward position (job and relationship-wise), and I just don’t know what to do! Her and her gf have been like big gay sisters to me – and she (teacher) has made it
super clear that I’m more than welcome for a threesome (which I wouldn’t say no to)…. Please help before I make terrible life decisions!

A 10:

It’s weird that she did something with you that she knew she wouldn’t be able to tell her girlfriend about. That’s got kind of a cheatery vibe, right? Anyway feels like a small red flag that I’d be remiss not to mention! And to answer what I think is your question, I truly believe that you can keep almost anything tamped down for two months. Just keep it tamped the fuck down, ok? Just chill out BE COOL. Cool it. If you’re invited to a threesome after graduation, great, neat, sounds good I guess. If not, also fine. We are chill as fuck over here. Everything is cool. We’re not getting anyone fired or putting ourselves in a position to be blamed for a breakup or a fight or whatever. We’re just over here, finishing up uni, thinking about how we can be better versions of ourselves, better citizens of the universe if you will, making sure we’ve got our shit together before graduation etc.

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Laneia is the Director of Operations and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 916 articles for us.


  1. #6: This question could have been asked about me two years ago and everything has turned out SO WELL that I wanted to share. I spend a lot of time in athletic clothes and used to look pretty dorky otherwise. Then I started dating someone who has a great eye for fashion and who wanted to see me better dressed. I was never particularly happy wearing bad fashion choices and I had a distant desire to dress well but I had NO idea how to start so I never dealt with it. My fashionable date started slowly, gently opening up the conversation. “I love shoes more than life itself! How do you feel about shoes?” “I love shopping for clothes! How do you feel about clothes?” “I love reading fashion magazines. Do you want to look at one with me?” “I’m cultivating X aesthetic for my outfit tonight, what about you?” And then I would indicate a willingness to learn from her by saying things like, “I don’t know anything about clothes! I’d love your help!” Slowly her comments took a next step to, “I’d really love to dress you some time. You have a great body.” etc.. it was masterful; she made me feel very comfortable. Less than a year later, she had helped me replace my entire wardrobe, listening to my opinions and needs, and I feel so much more confident and happy. I realized I used to have an underlying sense of dread that I did not look good in my clothes. Now I feel great leaving the house and I’m a person who gets compliments on her outfits! Someone you’re dating who dresses badly might really enjoy your help with that if you approach it right!

  2. hiii long-haired person in question #5!!! as another stubborn queer with long hair, this is what I have to tell you:

    – short fringes
    – undercuts
    – unnatural colours
    – asymmetrical layers

    nb: if none of those work for you, i second what laneia said and think you can just amp up the other parts of your look. if you’re not into the idea of dressing more andro, you could go in the other direction and blossom into a hard femme instead?

  3. Q.10….

    Everything about this reads as a power imbalance to me. The teacher/student relationship, the secrecy from the gf, the explicit invitation to a threesome, but after graduation.

    Right now it reads as though everything is on the teacher’s terms, and what I might suggest to the student is to think about what they want their relationships to look like (including friendships), and to let themself know that it’s not only valid to be clear with others about those desires, but will make it far more likely that they materialize.

    As someone who’s working on that clarity for herself, I really wish the very best to them.

    Also, whereas finding the truthful heart of yourself and choosing your own course of action is your responsibility, the reactions of the university/ gf to the teacher’s own actions are absolutely 100% not. I would be especially concerned if this was intimated by the teacher in any way, as this would be very clear emotional abuse/manipulation.

  4. Dear #14, I am so glad that you are getting a chance to spend time with your dad, but I do also hope you are taking time for yourself! My wife and I have been doing foster parenting for a year and my goodness the care taking does take a toll. I’ve been switching around my employment in order to keep some sense of sanity and not feel completely overwhelmed. So please be nice to yourself. I love Laneia’s advice to do variations on the nice things for yourself. Before I would take myself out for hikes in the woods. Now I have a hard time fitting in that my down time, but I still try to take a walk around my neighborhood by myself every now and again.

    Also I keep thinking that maybe I should try this therapy thing that I’ve heard people talk about. I’ve been impressed with the counselor my kids see.

  5. Question 15 : When I look back on all the ones I thought were The One… omg they were so not the 0ne. I felt for sure I would absolutely die from heartbreak and loneliness when [insert name(s) here] rejected me. But with hindsight I’m so relieved the relationships never panned out !

    It may not seem possible, but that voice you hear is a crazy mix of hormones and fear and is not to be trusted. I know it’s strong, and it’s desperate, but it’s not your entire being, there is much more to you than that. What this knot of angst thinks is right for you, really _isn’t right for you_ !

    My wise-old-wolf advice is, be good to yourself, treat yourself like a lover, like your main lover in fact, because that’s what you are. Treat yourself with dignity and respect.

  6. Q5: Even when I have a “gay haircut” I still get read as straight (probably because the idea of a queer brown person is unthinkable) so I’m VERY VERY SALTY about the whole “queer markers” thing. Do what you want with your hair. People who are going to give you shit for not “looking gay enough” aren’t worth hanging around.

  7. Is it just me, or does Carol Tinkerbell Bernard’s name keep getting longer, and longer, and longer ?

    Carol Aird Tinkerbell Junior Bernard Spiegelman Sullivan

    I absolutely love it, I mean what a pedigree ! But when I saw the caption for Her Adorableness, I just had the teensiest thought that I was going crazy…

  8. Q5: ‘Tell this person how to cut her hair!!’ says Laneia.

    So: cut your hair, or do not, according to one principle and one principle only, namely, the way you want your hair to be. You love your long hair so keep it that way, up to the point of fighting for it. By this I mean: if other people put conformity pressure or compliance pressure on you because of your supposedly ‘ non- gay hair’ – this being nonsense in the first place – resist. Consider that, if they do this, it is likely that they will put more pressure on you regarding other things.

    I am absolutely with Creatrix Tiara, above. She strongly hints at other mechanisms of exclusion, and this is definitely serious. Should it happen that your citizenship in Queerlandia ( I borrowed this from Morgan M. Page) depends on conformity and compliance regarding very personal matters – your hair is part of your body, woman – Queerlandia is in need of interventions from within.

    As an aside: I sense anxieties like ‘ am I queer enough, am I gay enough, will my inexperience ruin everything …’ in quite a lot of the other questions. If I could only share a bit of trans woman fierceness with you all…it is not your fault, there is nothing wrong with you, there is something seriously wrong with ‘ communities’ that make you feel this way.

    Have you ever thought of your long hair as a flag of defiance? Just an idea …

    And now I will attempt to throw magical roses across the ocean at Laneia’ s feet. She deserves them.

      • Thank you! Mine is too, btw, and always was, for many years the only ‘feminine’ attribute I could have, now it’s a red henna-dyed mane way down my back …hence the ‘ flag of defiance’ idea. I believe this day and age needs power femmes …

        Enjoy your day!

        • Power Femme! Love it. Also count me in for defiance flags too.

          I get read as straight 99.9% of the time. My first time at camp I tried to strike up friendly conversation with fellow campers in the grocery store, during the stop off for supplies. I was met with intense confusion. They thought I was just some random person. Even though there were a bunch of us all running around the store at the same time. They thought I was part of the 1% of people in the store that were straight. That was fun!

          It does bother me a lot day to day, but also I like to think of myself as a deep undercover secret agent. Infiltrating the world of the straights and reporting back to queer HQ. Not that anyone would want to know that information. It’s mostly deeply boring and/or infuriating.

          • Hey, I like the Undercover Secret Agent idea! Behind enemy lines …

            I do understand that being read as straight when you do not want that to happen can be frustrating … maybe somebody should invent some mystical Power Femme badge that looks stunning on Power Femme attire? Considering that some ladies are really interested in femmes they would learn to identify that symbol in no time I think. Just an idea …

            And be careful on your missions!

  9. Long hair/gay attire, I absolutely agree, that you should wear it just as you please, but I guess (at least that’s what I ask myself) the question is how to be visible for other lovely ladies or potential dates! I am a lazy/tomboy femme with long hair and personally do not intend to pass as straight, but I guess I do most of the time :(
    I wear a pin on one of my bags and yesterday I wore rainbow ribbon in my hair (but that felt quite blunt and maybe other gays think “gee, why does this straight lady sport our symbols??”).
    Idk, I want to make myself seen without being too blunt. Any ideas on that one?

    • Looks like an opportunity for creativity to me – and, here and now, as an opportunity for brainstorming. Me, I wear a bronze labrys, for several reasons. It so annoys TERFs, it says: hey, I have an axe! …and it signifies my inclinations I think. Not absolutely sure about # 3 though, but as I am a trans woman and not young any more I assume I am not allowed to play anyway. Which does not stop me form joyfully grinning at the wonderful world of girl- on- girl culture I want you all to enjoy.

    • Hi Ophelia,

      I go to these regular women-loving-women meetups where I am one of the very very few with short hair. It’s really opened my eyes to the wonderful variety of expressions we have. So I don’t think any gay woman would assume you’re an impostor for wearing a rainbow ribbon. We just get a bit lost in the sea of straights. How are you at eye contact ?

      Have you considered an Autostraddle pin or three ? A Tomboy Femme tshirt would broadcast very nicely too, lol.

      I don’t know if where you live there are meetups of any kind ? For me this made a big difference. It feels so good to let my hair down jk

    • Hi, fellow lazy/tomboy femme with long hair. The following are some of my fashion tools: doc martins, oversized coats/sweaters, overalls, blazers, button ups, big weirdo dresses. generally doing the opposite of what cosmo would tell you to do to catch a man.

      MOST IMPORTANTLY no matter how you dress, I find that a)making lingering eye contact with cute girls and b) dropping queer culture references into conversation will get the message across to anyone that matters. good luck!

  10. I legit clicked on this link expecting to read questions about non-toxic window cleaners and concerns about being a hoarder. But this is good too. ;)

    Q1 – I was wondering the SAME THING yesterday. Glad to hear that more galleries are coming.

    Q7 – I had similar concerns about not wanting to objectify women when I started coming out to myself in the 90s. I’m bi and I had this idea that it was OK to have NSA sex with men but not women – like I felt like I was kind of using the men I has NSA sex with (even though it was consensual and I was open about not wanting strings or commitment) and that it was really, really, really wrong to use women that way. Which when I write it out, sounds like nonsense.

    My self-diagnosis is not that I was suffering from internalized homophobia but internalized 2nd wave feminist anti-sex attitudes / general weirdness about sex. And I think you may be suffering from that too.

    My prescription is 3rd wave sex-positive queer feminism. Appreciating women and women’s bodies and sexuality in consensual, non-exploitive ways is being a good feminist.

    For me, realizing that there really is a difference between objectifying someone and appreciating their body made a difference. And also, I really like it when my partner appreciates my body. I know the difference between people noticing my body in a way that makes me feel icky and a way that makes me feel sexy and appreciated. So I try to appreciate others in non-creepy, consensual ways. It’s a dance. And it can be fun.

  11. Hey #5, I could have written your question ten years ago. I felt exactly the same way.

    As a (usually) more femme presenting person with long hair who liked to dress up in cute thrift store treasure outfits I would get frustrated at how straight I looked. I felt like the butches that I loved to date had it so much easier in this department because everyone knew they were gay because of how they presented themselves to the world. That is what I wanted. I didn’t want to have to constantly come out to people in my life, I just wanted my gay look to do it for me.

    For a while I tried to have other markers in my look that would out me like wearing my keys on a carabiner. (Is that even a thing?) I would even dress up butch sometimes just to see if I liked it. I really encourage you to do whatever experimenting you want to do with your look to see what feels right for you. If you like the haircut suggestions, try them out. But if they don’t seem like you, then go back to the way you wore your hair before.

    Eventually, that’s what I did, I gave up trying to out myself in my look. I realized that my femme self was just going to have to keep coming out all the time. And honestly, it’s not that bad.

    I wanted to share my experience to let you know you’re not alone in your desire to flaunt your rainbow flag in your look. It’s okay to want to look gay and it’s okay to be gay and not “look gay.” I wish you all the best on your journey.

  12. Q5…undercut! you can still have your femme long hair but an undercut definitely queers things up. Or if you aren’t ready to go full undercut just do something asymmetrical with or without a bit of a shaved side. Doing a nape shave (even better with a sweet pattern) that shows when you put your hair up is adorably queer and still femme (I vote for this one – I think the contrast is, in itself, queer). Whatever you do, I hope you love it!

  13. I have LOVED reading about queer haircuts. I think this is a super fascinating thing. I had a big old crisis last year because I have been in a hetero marriage for a long time, was working in a conservative field and just generally leading a closeted life, and my hetero marriage didn’t seem to be fitting anymore. I had very long (pulled straight, well below my waist) hair and dressed like tomboy femme maybe? I decided I wanted to read as queer by more people.

    I have NEVER done this before; I always figured presentation had to come from some deep place inside your heart. I cut my hair and ditched skirts and dresses for the most part. I am normally no-makeup, short nails, basic jewelry, I actually love my armpit hair and my significant biceps. The dresses or skirts I wear are toned down, gray or green, no florals etc… So I am not really that femme presenting, even though I, like, feel femme?

    Just cutting my hair and doing away with skirts made a huge difference in how people interacted with me and I LOVED it. I am still absolutely dressing true to myself, but focusing more on an aesthetic that is coded as queer, which feels super comfortable to me. I am pregnant right now and that changes things for sure, because fuck a bunch of non-legging-pants when you’re pregnant, but I’m about to cut my hair even shorter. I have gotten tons of complements from very norm-y people, saying it fits me much better, too.

    I absolutely agree that this is 100% problematic on both a social and personal level. My therapist kept telling me that. But I just really like how I’m walking through the world right now and what it says to people.

    That said, if you want to overlook the problematic-ness of it and want your long hair to be read as queer, try a hat. It sounds funny and patent. But a slouchy beanie or one of those ball caps popular with BMX and mountain bikers and other outdoors athletes can go miles towards butching up an outfit.

    • I love this: “I always figured presentation had to come from some deep place inside your heart.” For a lot of people I think it does, but (especially for those of us who are sort of *shrug* about fashion, or could kind of go either way in terms of skirt vs pants), it’s so so helpful to realize that that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you can just like, choose a way to dress or wear your hair and lean into it!

      I definitely did this a bit too — I was tired of wearing dresses and skirts to work, mostly bc of the unfair sexism of men being able to wear like comfy cotton polos or sweaters and me “having” to dress fancier, but also because that plus my long hair meant I was always read as straight. I still love dresses for fancy events in my own life/on my own terms, but now I have a sort of work uniform of button-downs/polos/flannels under crew-neck sweaters with jeans (to be fair, I work in an arts-non-profit, so it’s v casual). At first I felt like a bit of an impostor, but now it feels totally natural and comfortable and “me.”

      I think it’s amazing that we have such a strong sense of “living your truth” etc in the queer community, but that’s not always how everyone interacts with fashion/hair and other aspects of presentation. It can be super valid to try on different fashion personalities to see which feels right. And maybe none of them will feel right, but you’ll just like one of them and decide to make it your own!

  14. Q5: It sounds like your hair is ripe for sk8r boi-era Avril Lavigne long layers with literally no volume which is, imo, VERY GAY. Think the tomboy skater chick that you had a crush on in every 90’s teen movie, you know? GAaayyyy!

  15. Q 5:

    No cutting or shaving required, the hairstyles of the Amazons from Wonder Woman movie

    Also if you have enough hair consider a 6 section sectioned ponytail using red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple hair bands in that exact order because that’s the rainbow pride flag.

    And I looked there’s def some pride hair barrettes out there.

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