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Getting to Queer

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That time I sat down to write about labels and ended up with the story of my first thirty years

When I was younger, and closeted, I was obsessed with labels.

As a kid, of course, I knew that gay men were sparkly, Puckish creatures, and that lesbians were overweight women kitted out in flannel and mullets. (I don’t have any particular memory of ever hearing the words bisexual or queer). I knew there were sometimes glamorous, feminine women on TV who were portrayed as lesbians, but I understood this to be a lie, in the way of the gorgeous starlet who plays the regular-looking person in the biopic, and how single mothers on television are always moving with their plucky children to obscenely large houses with wrap-around porches: femme lesbians were, I thought, just another glossy Hollywood liberty.

And so in junior high school, although I know I felt…

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