The 'right' kind of lesbianHow much acceptance of the LGBT community has to do with how gay we look, from what we wear to how we act?

My friends were the first to know I was a lesbian. Then I told my parents. Now my extended family knows. And after a few years of being in the closet, I finally came out to my co-workers too.

I don’t hide my sexuality. I guess you could say I’m an out and proud lesbian. But I don’t shout it from the rooftops either.

Unfortunately, I think that’s been the biggest reason why I’ve never had to face any negative reactions (at least, not to my face).

You see, I’m the “right” kind of lesbian. I have short hair, but not too short. I like to wear jeans and a T-shirt, but I’ll wear a skirt and girly top to work and a dress to Christmas parties. I’m the kind of lesbian who, unless I’m making out with a girl, doesn’t really look all that gay.

I’m also the “right” kind of pet owner, but only just. I have a dog and three cats – which is bordering on Crazy Cat Lady or Desperate Spinster Lesbian. I’ve been informed many times that really, that’s enough. If I adopt one more sorry soul from the pound, I’m definitely crossing the line. I guess for now I’m okay – lucky me.

But what if I hadn’t naturally been this “right” kind of lesbian?

What if I desperately wanted a rainbow tattoo, loved flannel, felt most comfortable sporting a spunky buzzcut and shared my home with 15 well-fed and much-loved furry beings? Would my sexuality have been as easy to accept? I doubt it.

I think a lot of it has to do with how we as the LGBT community respond to society’s expectations. I think we feel that, if we don’t fit in and can’t make people happy, we’ll “show them!”

That’s why I don’t really like Mardi Gras. I don’t like it because I think it doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the LGBT community. To me, Mardi Gras is a reaction to society’s perception of how we as gays are supposed to be. But I’m afraid that instead of being a big “F you!” to all the ignorant people out there, it’s actually reinforcing their close-minded opinions and dislike of out-and-proud queers.

I’m out and proud, but it doesn’t change who I am or what I do, and it definitely doesn’t make me strip down in the middle of the street and show my boobs on national TV.

I think the best way to prove them wrong is to live our lives, the way we want them to, without feeling like we either have to be the right or the wrong kind of anything.