i think i might be a lesbian

hey you :) i've been where you are now, once. wanting answers. worrying something is wrong with you. questioning what you're allowed to call yourself or not.
so i'm here to guide you through this. it might not seem like it right now, but once you've gotten some answers you might feel less alone. <3
note: you’re never too old or too young to learn about your sexuality, this carrd is for anyone who needs it :)

are you attracted to women/non binary people sexually and/or romantically?

if you’ve reached this page you’ve answered no or i'm not sure on the “are you’re sexually or romantically attracted to women/non binary people question”

if this is the case i just wanna check up on you, sometimes reading a lot of info about your sexuality can be overwhelming and make you doubt yourself and if thats happened to you now that’s more on ok. you might be experiencing comphet and internalized lesbophobia and actually be a lesbian anyway or lesbian isn’t your label if so here are some other options that might describe what you’re feeling:

• asexual and/or aromantic
• bisexual
• pansexual
• queer

there’s lots more of identities and labels that you can read up on ive just mentioned some that also include attraction to women or a lack of attraction in general.

now a few fyis

1. you might be a he/him they/them lesbian, that doesn’t make you any less valid or your lesbian identity any less real and i hope that maybe if you keep reading this carrd might help you in some way. I’m not an expert on this subject though and don’t wanna speak over any of my enbies so I’ve linked lots of valuable resources at the end for you, that specifically describe he/him and they/them lesbians’ experiences. <333

2. It’s completely fine if you find out you identify as bisexual or pansexual instead of lesbian, you are beautiful and valid but please don’t call yourself a bisexual or pansexual lesbian, it’s harmful to all three to say that this is a real identity, more info on this in the resources at the end of this carrd.

3. you might also be straight and find out you don’t resonate with any of this, but I hate to break it to you this chance is very very slim since if you question whether you might be a lesbian or another lgbt identity, chances are like 95% that you’re not straight.

how do i know if i'm a lesbian and how do i explore my attraction to women?

• if you get butterflies in your stomach or feel nervous/excited when looking at women or being around them

• if you can see yourself dating a woman but not being sexually intimate with her

• if you can see yourself being sexually intimate with a woman but can’t imagine a romantic relationship with her

• if you think about kissing or “practicing kissing“ your female best friend

• feeling scared or anxious when you check a woman out and quickly looking away because you’re afraid someone will notice

• feeling nothing/indifferent/bored when you’re in romantic or sexual situations with men

• having extremely high standards when it comes to men that no man can ever fulfill, but very low standards in women

• if you had many experiences with women in your childhood where you wish something more could have happened or where you think you felt something that wasn’t very heterosexual

• conflicting feelings about femininity and masculinity (this can have two meanings, feeling like you’re not lesbian enough or that you can’t be a lesbian because of the way you present your gender or questioning your gender identity see he/him and they/them lesbian resources at the end of the carrd)

• not being able to see yourself marrying a man and having kids with him when you think about the future and possibly also imagining a woman in these scenarios instead

• dreaming about women, thinking about how soft their skin is, how pretty their lips are and wondering what it feels like to touch another woman in any romantic or sexual or both way

• you’re welcome to dm me if you would like to know more these are the most significant examples I can think of

q: i'm not attracted to men and don't wanna pursue any relationships with them but i've had past sexual/romantic relationships before, does that mean i can’t be a lesbian?

a: no it doesn’t mean you can’t be a lesbian. first of all a lot of lesbians deal with compulsory
heterosexuality which I’m going to explain further after this, but basically a lot of lesbians feel like we have crushes on boys just because we think they are kind or pretty and society’s norms expect us to have a male partner. these are so called comphet crushes and are not the same as a genuine sexual or romantic atraction to a woman or other gender that isn’t a man. and even if a lesbian has had genuine romantic or sexual experiences with men in the past that doesn’t make them any less of a lesbian, your identity isn’t defined by your dating history.

what is compulsory heterosexuality?

compulsory heterosexuality is something that goes hand in hand with heteronormativity and basically describes that heterosexuality is forced onto humans from a very early age, because of societies norms and expectations of what we’re supposed to be and who we're supposed to be with. it is something that many lesbians struggle with because they feel like they are forced to like men, even though they know they aren’t attracted to them sexually or romantically. unfortunately compulsory heterosexuality and heteronormativity are not only struggles but something we are taught and unfortunately is deeply ingrained into our mentalities and it takes a lot of emotional strength and time to dismantle it. for more on comphet, check out the other resources at the end of this carrd.

what is internalized lesbophobia?

internalized lesbophobia, just like internalized homophobia refers to negative stereotypes, beliefs, stigma, and prejudice about homosexuality and lgbt people, that lgbt people turn inward on themselves. internalized lesbophobia specifically is about lesbians connecting shame and stereotypes to their lesbian identity, because lesbians are taught that they are predatory, just going through a phase, only with women because they’ve been abused by men and much more. dismantling internalized lesbophobia is mostly a life long process, where lesbians try to learn to love their lesbianism and stop judging themselves, even though pretty much the rest of society does.

how do i deal with compulsory heterosexuality and internalized lesbophobia?

i wish i had one perfect answer to solve your struggles but unfortunately i don’t since it’s very different from lesbian to lesbian how we deal with it and how it affects us. what i can do is provide a list of suggestions with
things that have helped me and many other lesbians deal with the comphet voice in our head that says “are you really sure you’re not attracted to men after all?”

• look in the mirror every day and say you’re a lesbian and that your lack of attraction to men is valid and your love for women and enbies is beautiful, this one is especially hard when you’re struggling with comphet but it has the power to make you feel more secure in your lesbian identity.

• surround yourself and communicate with other lesbians to hear about their experiences and see if they might have any advice that could help you, if you don’t know any irl, there are lots of support sites you can turn to, openly lesbian people on social media platforms and you’re always welcome to dm me :)

• educate yourself and try to find representation or something you can relate to in whatever form you can: read up on lesbian history, listen to music by lesbian artists, watch lesbian tv and films (but check out recommendations by lesbians to avoid those that perpetuate harmful stereotypes), see if you can listen to podcasts or interviews with lesbian activists aso.

my personal journey with the lesbian label

tw: suicidal thoughts tw: internalised lesbophobia tw: violence tw: homophobic bullying

I realised I’m not straight at the age of 12. Looking back there were definetly signs before that. I didn’t realise that the way I felt about and looked at girls meant that I was a lesbian and that I had genuine crushes on girls.
But getting back to realising I’m not straight...
At 12 I started to really notice girls. I distinctly remember it was summer and I was walking around my school and everyone was talking to me about how hot the boys looked shirtless or in tanktops...but I didn’t see the appeal. That should probably have been a crystal clear sign for me that I wasn’t bi but I ignored it because internalised lesbophobia is a bitch. Anyway I started to notice that looking at girls was unlike anything I felt before it I hadn’t felt romantic and sexual attraction like that before and I felt kind of giddy if that makes sense when I spoke to them. I started to notice girls in dresses and shorts instead and the way they would play with their hair and how soft their lips were. But anyway I think I’ve established that there definitely wasn’t a straight bone in my body lol. As time progressed I started to think about girl love stories and what kissing a girl would feel like. I couldn’t picture myself being with a man romantically at all but picturing myself marrying a girl someday filled me with hope and joy.
This part of my identity was very beautiful because I didn’t feel fear initially about my crushes on girls or even imagining being sexual with them.
Realising I was a lesbian and coming out...was not quite so beautiful.
Now I’m getting to the part about labelling myself because unfortunately my journey to identifying proudly as a lesbian is still a long way away.
So basically I was struggling a lot with comphet, something that I’ve thought a lot about is that my "crushes" on boys weren’t actually crushes. I know for many lesbians they start of having genuine feelings for men and later on realise they aren’t attracted to them...but for me it was a bit different.
You see I grew up in a very sheltered neighbourhood in a small village where everything had to be picture perfect down to the white picket fence and the first time I heard the word lesbian was in 7th grade.
I remember clearly growing up that I had lots of crushes on boys or so I thought. The terrifying and sad thing is I thought every time a boy was nice to me or made a kind gesture that that meant I had a crush on them. Even though they made me feel nothing. But because of comphet and society’s expectations that women mold and center their lives around men I thought "this is natural“ "this is what it’s supposed to feel like“. Already when I was like 6 I had my entire life mapped out in relation to what my parents expected of me and of the expectations that were of me as a woman. I knew that I was supposed to do my A levels become a teacher like my parents find a good husband give him children and live a picture perfect life where I would never discuss my mental health, my attraction to girls or what my dreams are.
So the sad fact of the matter is from age 12-16 I thought I was bisexual and identified as such. Don‘t get me wrong I absolutely loved identifying as bisexual for a while and it’s a beautiful label and Identity but it isn’t me!
And my reasoning behind identifying this way instead of lesbian was, that I felt like I had like 5% attraction to men so I wasn’t allowed to identify as lesbian. And I didn’t want to exclude them from my attraction because that meant identifying as a lesbian. And that terrified me because I only ever heard negative things about lesbians.

One of the worst times of my life was age 12-16. Because I started to realise that I was a lesbian and I watched countless of coming out videos and I felt absolute hatred towards myself and thought I was disgusting because I didn’t fit the norm and I thought being a lesbian meant I couldn’t be happy. I even had suicidal thoughts because of it.
I used to force myself to be sexually attracted to men and find things that made them appealing even if it was just that I found them pretty, because I thought not being attracted to men was unnatural. I had comphet crushes on celebrities because they were unattainable which is something many lesbians experience and let me tell you, that doesn’t make you not lesbian.
It didn’t help that I was getting bullied all my childhood and they found out I liked girls too.
I had come out to my parents as bi, but my mother was only ok with it as long as we didn’t talk about it so I didn’t feel comfortable at home.
During this dark time in my life I realised that no matter how hard I tried my identity and feelings wouldn’t change and since the internalised lesbophobia that plagued me wouldn’t stop I started to search for anything to make me feel better. Now even though the internet was full of misinformation that slowed this process down I‘m really glad I did this because I started to find explanations for how I felt. I found countless of other stories like mine, I watched out celebrities talk about being lgbt and I watched tv shows and read books with lgbt representation. And I mean ANY lgbt representation I could get my hands on because the lesbian resources for girls my age were almost non existent at the time. This meant I also educated myself on lgbt history and that trans and non binary people exist because growing up that was something I hadn’t heard of either I’m sorry to say.
And I realised being a lesbian is the lack of attraction to men but doesn’t mean that you can’t be attracted to non binary people f.x. so that was pretty liberating as well.
Now that I’m grown up I really really wish there had been irl lgbt resources for me but I can tell you in my small village in Germany and all the nearby towns and cities there was NOTHING.

Then years passed and I went through a lot of stuff at home and with my mental health so I but my lesbian identity a bit at the back of my mind. That changed when I met a girl that I fell properly in love with for the first time. She’s my girlfriend of 6 years now. I don’t know why, but being with her made me feel all the more certain that I wasn’t attracted to boys in any way. She really struggled with accepting that she was bisexual and through seeing how horrible she was towards herself and how hard it was on her it was like something clicked and I wanted to help her and realised I wanted to stop doing this to myself any longer. There were rumours about us at school and people didn’t make a secret of being homophobic to our face and behind our backs. But this was when I realised I didn’t want to be scared or live in the closet anymore. So I came out as lesbian. First to myself. Then to my girlfriend. And that was it, with everyone else I just stopped denying it.
Even though I was certain I identified as lesbian now, I had practiced saying the word lesbian over and over again years prior when I wasn’t certain. I thought that the more I said it the less scared I would feel and it took a long time, but it really helped.
The first few years of identifying as a lesbian were tough because I was met with reactions such as “are you infectious” “i can’t sit next to you i don’t want to catch it or that you check me out” and my personal favourite getting beat up and shouted the d slur at and getting told it’s unnatural and I can’t have children.
But the longer I identified as a lesbian the more secure and confident i became in my label.
I still struggle with comphet even to this day. I have days where I still think “are you sure you’re not faking being a lesbian and are attracted to a man deep down”. But the good things outweigh the bad and now I’m proud to identify as a lesbian. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

coming out: "i've read all of the above and think i'm a lesbian now what?“

first of all i just wanna say i'm extremely proud of you and i'm glad if this carrd helped you in any way. you’ve accomplished the first step and that’s the realization that you’re a lesbian and not only admitting it to yourself but growing to love being a lesbian. a part of being able to do this is come out, but as I said lesbians still face a lot of stigma so I understand if you’re wary and scared of coming out. maybe start small by coming out to someone online or someone you don’t necessarily know well, that way you can practice coming out. if you need tips or advice, like i said my dms are always open and i strongly urge you to take your time with coming out, especially if you’re not sure you’re in a safe environment. there’s no shame in being closeted and you’re not on your own, no matter how lonely you feel. <333

did this carrd help?

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updated 30/06/2020 15:30
credits go to all resources mentioned above, the rest is based off my own experiences of being a lesbian