A bunch of us were drinking at the Dhaba near college. It was a girls’ night out. While it’s not like we cannot say most of the things which we spoke about in front of our guy friends, it is a different thing to discuss them amongst only girls. It was a fun evening. The drinks were flowing, the cigarettes puffing and the laughter unbridled.
I was the only lesbian there at a table of six. When boys and boy issues were largely discussed, they’d make it a point to talk about girls and point out potential queer women and hot women for my benefit. They’d ask me about how it was going with this girl who I liked and about the ones I’d met online and was yet to meet in person. They’d ask about how each one was and gave their verdict on who would be the best match for me. You know, like how girls generally dissect each and every conversation which one might have had with a boy one likes. There have been very few non-queer dominated parties/gatherings where I felt completely safe saying whatever came to my mind and being as lesbian as I am (whatever that means). If this wasn’t true acceptance, I don’t know what is.
We were then joined by another friend of ours who happened to be drinking there with another group of people. She was already slightly drunk. Now, this person has always been vocal about queer rights. Her older sister had ensured this by constantly talking to her and making her read about the same from an early age. I knew this. At some point, the topic of kissing other girls came up. This friend and another one at the table confessed to have kissed once at some point. This friend decided to give her another peck on the lips right there. And then proceeded to do the same with two others at the table who were comfortable with it. Then she turned to me and asked if she could kiss me as well. I consented and we kissed. All of us laughed at this and then moved on to the next topic of discussion. It was as simple as that, see?
The same friend parked herself next to me and asked me, in a quieter tone, if I’m okay with kissing straight girls. Personally, as far as that person is not using me to experiment at my loss, I have no problem kissing straight girls, as long as they don’t get awkward about it the next day. Yes, it takes a few drinks for them to do it, but I get it. As Lauren Zuniga says in ‘Confessions of an Uneducated Queer’, “Oppression is a loud room — sometimes we can’t hear our own pulse.” My friend then asked me if we could make out sometime. I started to reply, “Well, I know you’re straight. So as long as you don’t” when she cut me off with, “Who said I was straight?” and looked me right in the eye. I realised my mistake then. Just because she had dated a guy before this and before that, I assumed that she was heterosexual. I realised my mistake and duly apologised.
Here I was, a mostly out lesbian woman, sitting smug about having escaped the clutches of heteronormativity when I realised that I still have vestiges of it in my system. I’m writing this to say this; just because you’re queer, it does not mean that you’re not heteronormative or transphobic and are as liberal as they come with regards to gender and sexuality. Do not think that you’re a rebel who has transcended the conformity of society, because more often than not, there is still a lot more work to be done.
This is not me preaching to you. This is me reminding myself of the same.