Ever since I realised I was gay, I always felt I had a strong “identity”.
Before I came out, I liked gaming, comics, and gadgets to name a few things. I enjoyed cooking, walking, and reading. That was me.
After I came out, I still liked those things. That was just me. The icing on the cake was that I finally realised what the extra feelings I had inside me meant. I liked women now in addition to gaming, comics, and gadgets.
On the outside, my short hair, “masculine”clothing, and general boyish attitude made me who I was. I may have already looked like a typical lesbian (not to mention in addition to my typical boyish hobbies) but it wasn’t because I was gay that I wore those clothes, it’s just how I felt comfortable.
I was confident in who I was. What I liked. I wasn’t particularly fond of being put into a pigeonhole because of how I looked, but I had a hole (pardon) nonetheless. I had an identity.
Since becoming a mum, however, I’ve had several conflicts with my identity. It’s been blurred somewhat. I’m still a lesbian. I still like dressing the same. I still like the same things. But because I don’t get to enjoy them as much, because I don’t often look like the K from before motherhood, I don’t often feel like me anymore. I’m T’s mum now.
I go to baby groups, soft play, baby swim, the lot, and although I’m made to feel very welcome, I’m still very alone. I don’t feel like me. Maybe it’s the area I live in, maybe my gaydar is off, but I can honestly say that I haven’t met another same sex parent (in person) since Gay Pride. I feel I’m no longer this comic loving, gaming lesbian. I’m mum. All the time. Making my identity feel very blurred.
On face value this sounds ridiculous; of course lesbians can be mums! Our past has made this possible. Of course mums can be gamers. But what I’m referring to is my identity. Is it still as strong now that I’m a mum? Or has it simply evolved? I guess this post doesn’t have a difinitive answer.
I’m often wondering whether I can be both. I was able to “come out” and keep my hobbies without any conflict, why can’t I seem to do this now I’m a mum?
Does that sound strange? Can you relate?
This post is part of a month long celebration for LGBT history month. If you’d like to get involved, tweet using the hashtag #LGBTHM or find one of your local LGBT groups on Facebook and find out how they’re celebrating LGBT History Month.
*picture credit: hybridtales.wordpress.com
I can’t completely relate to the being a mom bit yet because my wife and I don’t have kids yet, but I hear this a lot.
I think there’s a bigger identity shift in the LGBT community when it comes to parenthood because being LGBT is an added layer to a person’s identity. There’s a lot of things the LGBT community has to go through to become parents that the straight community doesn’t have to go through so it’s difficult to relate.
I think that adds a new layer to the identity shift. Yes, you are a mom now… But you’re still in the LGBT community AND a gamer, etc. the straight community doesn’t have to deal with that added shift. Their sexuality isn’t a layer in their identity like it is with the LGBT.
I created a Facebook group for LGBT families and invited those I knew. Maybe that’s a way for you to connect? Make the group and get your friends to spread the word. It could be as easy as meeting at a park for group play dates or whatever. Just a thought. 🙂
Thanks for commenting – I think you have it spot on.
Although you don’t choose to be gay, so some would argue there’s no added layer, I would disagree and say that there’s a completely different layer to your identity when you’re gay. It’s really interesting.
I’m having a lot of these struggles during pregnancy, especially regarding clothing! I think I fall somewhere near you – solidly female, but I prefer sports, short hair, button-down shirts, and technology to manicures, shoes, or make-up. It’s an odd place to be, performing such a feminine role (childbearing), but still feeling like androgynous old me.
Oh my gosh! Don’t remind me of the maternity wear (or lack of) for butch / masculine females.
I loved being pregnant but it was a struggle to find things to wear that still made me look like me!
Hope you have better luck than me!
While I’m not gay – regardless of what my wife suspects – I can relate so much to this. Since Olivia and George were born outside of work I’m only known as “daddy” or “Insert child’s name’s dad”. In work I have to play a role and can’t truly be myself either. Quite often my professional and personal compass points in different directions but I have to always follow the professional one. I’m starting to lose, or forget, who I am but when I think back to who I was I’d rather not go back to that.
Thanks for commenting! I know what you mean, Identity is certainly not isolated to gay people.
Your situation definitely sounds a little sticky (my only concern what my clothing and comics!) and I can see where everything would become a little blurred, especially as you don’t always have the same amount of time off with your kids, if I remember rightly?
It’s always really tough when it also includes profession – I’ll be facing this issue in April when I’ll be juggling that as well. I don’t really know where to begin. X
I can have the same conversation with a group of hetro women and then again with a group of gay woman, but they will feel completely different. I feel at home when in a group of gay women. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just comfortable. I’m very social and can mix well and be comfortable among hetro women but it’s just different. I completely understand when you said ‘I’m still very alone’, I have felt like that before.
Thank you. I’m glad I’m not alone. Like you, I feel at ease with straight women – no issues. But with gay women there’s that connection. I don’t know what it is. We both parent the same, etc. It’s just that other factor. It’s bizarre.
I think identity is such a big issue when parenthood rolls around. It definitely was for me and I found the process of identity shift an evolution…one that took about two years of being a parent to start to get sorted in my head and one that it s still going on. I mean this in terms of aligning the past me with the present me and all the things I used to enjoy and identify myself with. As well as reconciling all the new values etc that sprung up since becoming a parent into me. I think it must be extra hard not to have found many other families in the same boat as yours who can relate in a more understanding way. Can you hold your own mini-parent pride (or something anyway!) to see if there are other LGBT parents in the area you can connect with?
This is interesting to me because it hasn’t been an experience that I can relate to at all. A lot of the time unless I’m actively pregnant, I don’t feel like anybody’s mum. When I leave the house in the morning the twins are asleep and then I’m at work, and then I come home and the twins are asleep. And at the weekends – well, Kirst is their mum. I feel sometimes like I just gestated them and pay for them! Motherhood hasn’t done much to my sense of identity.
As far as the same-sex thing goes, I suppose that as a woman who happened to fall in love with her best friend but could just as easily have married a man, it’s never been a big part of my identity. People always seem a bit surprised when I refer to my other half as ‘she’, but it’s not something that I feel particularly stifled by. It’s interesting!
This is really interesting and actually helps my current conflict. You’re clearly and absolutely the twins mum, despite rarely seeing them during the week; that became part of your identity automatically, which is wonderful.
Likewise, I’m still pre-motherhood Kate despite now becoming a mother, it’s just tucked itself away for a bit… Or gone off to work.
You can totally be a mother without “mothering”, and I can be a geek without “geeking”.
I’m fascinated by your setup and am interested to know what it would have been like if Sharon did what Kirsty does.
I’m really surprised people have made sense of this post as it was quite a mind-dump, so I’m glad people have been able to relate, or not relate in your case. Thank you.