Toronto
3 min

Freeing my inner faggot

Or is that just a stereotype?

Credit: xtra files

I once heard there is a Spanish word that means female faggot.



My Spanish isn’t very good, but I’ve always secretly liked this translation. You see, I have a very good relationship with what I like to think of as my inner fag.



Words like fag can be offensive and so can the stereotypes they call to mind, but I like to play with words and stereotypes until they are not offensive anymore. Imagination, which includes imagining one’s own life, is all about turning things inside out.



Coming out reveals the inner fag or dyke – or possibly both – to the universe. It says, “Deal with it!”



While I am biologically female and couldn’t be happier about it, I speculate that had I been born male, I would have been gay. What I mean by this is that the essence of my sexuality is not my attraction to women, but just being queer.



A lesbian friend of mine disagrees. She says that she “knows” she would be a straight man, if she were male, because women are just so much sexier than men.



Of course, I agree with her. And I don’t. I think men can be terribly sexy, with other men or indeed with women. Just not with me.



What do these speculations mean? It might be possible to transition from one sex to another, but it is certainly not possible to have been born differently. Yet I find the imagining both fruitful, as it were, and fun. It is as if there is more than one possible world and I have different lives going in each of them at once.



I love to imagine alternative universes. Think about it: We could all have different lovers and friends and careers, none of which would come into conflict with one another because they would all be fulfilling our different needs and desires. We would never run out of time or energy to do the things we want to do. If there were these alternative worlds, we could all be more relaxed about our differences, honouring and even celebrating them, without allowing them to limit us.



Worriedly, I am asked, “What do you mean about your inner gay man?” Isn’t that just a stereotype? I love theatre and the gym. But am I being less of a dyke there than when I watch hockey or football?



One of my straight friends had her wedding shower at the home of an aunt, who has been in a lesbian relationship for many years. The aunts’ basement was decorated with NFL paraphernalia. Hmm, not my kind of dyke household, I thought, before going upstairs and admiring a kitchen that was much more to my taste. My inner fag was screaming, “Let me out! I want a piece of that fabulous recessed lighting!”



Of course, the real attraction of being a gay man is the reason gay men are gay: sex. My gay brothers, according to stereotype, have more sex than anyone, and we lucky lesbians are supposed to have the least.



The inner fag could have sex on the terms of, “That’s what I want,” with little danger of it leading to complications like laundry and exhaustion. Men who may or may not be queer-identified can meet, get off and move on. Whereas with women you risk having to clean their hair out of everything, if not hear about their boyfriends the next day.



This whoomp-there-it-is school of sex is one of the most appealing furnishings in my alternate universe.



But I am not alone in having such a pleasantly divided personality. An acquaintance of mine once confessed, apropos of absolutely nothing, “I dream of being a Jewish lesbian, but instead I’m a gay Catholic male.”



I have had serious, rational discussions with a woman (in search of a boyfriend) about her “perfect woman,” for whom she would make an exception, and with a straight man whose best friend is a gay man about his own inner lesbian. Hey, some people are serious about astrology.



Maybe the really turned-around thing about me is that most of my close relationships have been with men. Stereotype has it that people in every group are supposed to be closer to women than to men. Straight men are supposed to be close to their wives, mothers, girlfriends, sisters and not to know how to be close to other guys (because that would make them faggy).



Gay men are supposed to cry on the shoulders of fag hags and think the men they date are dogs. Straight women know that men are dogs and confide in their girlfriends. And lesbians are supposed not to like men much at all.



Which is the problem with every “supposed to.” I fit none of them. Does anybody?