On Being Straight Passing

By: Elizabeth Guevara (@elliegguevara)

Have you heard the term straight passing? It is used in the Queer community to describe a member of the LGBT community who demonstrates qualities of heteronormative appearance, like a very feminine woman, or very masculine male. Straight passing men and womyn are afforded a certain level of privilege that “obvious” looking LGBT people do not have but that’s not to say that they don’t feel discriminated against or alienated.Caitlin is a straight passing femme lesbian who constantly feels like she has to prove she’s “gay enough for the “gay club” by donning snapbacks and plaid shirts or hypersexualizing women just to fit in. At Dallas Pride, people see you as an ally. It's really frustrating feeling like I don't fit in in either community.”

Cait's Thoughts On Being Straight Passing

Its especially hard to try and work into a conversation that you identify with that community because you might seem to be commenting on something that you have no business commenting on.

Being straight passing is also kind of a blessing in other ways because you reap the benefits of hetero privilege in society. This means that you may get free drinks for men in a bar, or not feel looked at quite so hard in public. Whether we like it or not there is this insinuated “look” to being gay and if you do not meet that you float between the two identities. There are pros and cons to this situation.

To feel connected you hang out at “gay” spots or you are especially vocal on social media about your identity. This gives you some attention from people who may not automatically insinuate that your sexuality aligns the way that it does. In a lot of aspects these two coping mechanisms really help to lift the pressures from both communities. It helps the hetero community recognize that you don't fit the heteronormative mold you are expected to and it helps the queer community recognize that you are one of them and have a voice. This also helps to connect you to more people like you and aids you in solidifying your identity. This means it could help you find someone to date or even connect you to organizations targeted in building that community in society.