Let me just start by saying that your sexuality and the way that you look and present yourself have NOTHING to do with each other. This topic is so important to me because as a feminine lesbian, appearance played a huge part in my coming out journey. People often think that appearance and sexuality go hand in hand, and that can be extremely damaging to those still trying to come to terms with their sexuality.
This may sound like such a silly topic, but I remember when I was coming to terms with my sexuality, I always thought there was no way I could be gay because I didn’t look gay (whatever that means). There weren’t as many femme lesbians in the media at the time and I didn’t really have anyone to look up to that made me feel valid. As I continued my coming out journey, I kept changing the way I dressed and looked in order to “fit in” more. I stopped carrying purses, I stopped wearing dresses, and I stocked up on vans and hats. I was never happy the way that I was presenting myself though. I wanted to wear what I felt comfortable in but I felt this pressure to keep dressing less feminine, and that if I didn’t no one would ever know I was gay.
It definitely took time and a lot of self growth, but the more comfortable I became with my sexuality, the more I fully embraced being femme. I learned to be confident and to love myself for exactly who I was, which led to me shedding this version of myself that I felt like I had to be and I started to bring back the real, more feminine version of myself. I had to reminded myself that being a lesbian simply meant that I am attracted to women and nothing else. I’m still just as attracted to women when I’m wearing a dress as I am when I’m wearing jeans and a backwards hat. I still get comments when I come out to people for the first time like, “you don’t look gay” or “I would have never known, you’re so girly” and I always explain that sexuality doesn’t have a look. My confidence and self love help me brush of these comments and instead of letting it affect me negatively, I use it as a chance to educate people. I hope I can be an example that sexuality doesn’t have an appearance. At the end of the day, I’ve always loved dresses and makeup and all things girly and that will always be a part of who I am, just as much as being a lesbian is a part of who I am. And trust me, anyone who hangs out with me for more than 5 minutes still knows I’m gay.
My biggest piece of advice is this… always love yourself first. Know that you’re exactly who you are for a reason and love yourself so much that everything you do is for you and your happiness and not for pleasing others. Stereotypes can sometimes be fun to joke about, but don’t let them control you. Remind yourself that sexuality is about who you love and nothing else. You can dress and present yourself however you want because appearance has nothing to do with your sexuality. You’re valid in a dress and you’re valid in jeans and you’re valid in your Birkenstock’s and Doc Martens and backwards hat.