Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
Last weekend, we went to the very public, LA County Fair. Yes, it was AMAZING even despite not being able to eat fried Oreos because the line for funnel cakes was shorter. By now, I’m sure most of you know that we are, in fact, in a relationship. And for those of you who didn’t know, well…surprise! Being two girl-women in a relationship definitely has its perks. Like not feeling pressure to conform to gender roles, sharing clothes, and doing super “gay” things without having to immediately declare “no homo!” because we are all about the homo here. For the most part, being gay is pretty uneventful. Until you make the sometimes dreaded decision to actually leave the house. Being in public is where we realize that being an interracial gay couple can be a bit more eventful than we would like.
They say there are two sides to every story.
So we’re going to put this saying to the test and tell you guys both sides of what it’s like being an interracial gay couple in public.[bctt tweet=”Love is love.” username=”theangelinos_”]
Hannah and I have polar opposite experiences while we’re together in public. This has to do with two major reasons my anxiety – which I talk about in this post and me being hyper-aware of people possibly judging me and staring at me because of my skin color and androgynous appearance. If I were saying this out loud and in front of Hannah, this is the part where she’d say “they’re staring because you’re so beautiful.” (Awwww, cute, right?) Anyways, when it comes to my identity in public, I have to take into consideration that I’m black, gay AND androgynous looking. While for the most part Hannah only has to consider the fact that she’s gay.
I usually feel insecure with my identity in public because of how black people are viewed in society. I’m not insecure about any of my identities, but when you add all 3 together, being black, gay, and androgynous in public can cause confusion and a lot of unwanted attention, and that, we both know.
We get a lot of stares when we hold hands in public.
For the most part, I’m pretty good at ignoring the various looks and stares from people when Hannah and I hold hands. Hannah doesn’t mind PDA, while I tend to think all eyes are on us when it comes to PDA. Having an Anxiety disorder has taught me many things, one of my favorites is how to NOT make eye contact with people. I tend to walk with a purpose in hopes of successfully ignoring those around me. Because I walk with a purpose, it’s easy for me to not look directly at others but to focus on where I am and where I’m going.
I may be super focused in public but it doesn’t mean I don’t notice when people are staring at us.
Many people, mostly men, have to turn their heads to double take at us because apparently, they didn’t get a good enough look the first time. When this happens, it usually makes me insecure because I’m afraid these people will create conflict. These moments usually end in one of two ways. 1. I ask Hannah if we can “unravel” to put an end to the unwanted attention. Or 2. we share a few disgusted comments amongst each other and continue about our business.
Being a happy couple makes the unwanted attention worth it.
Every relationship has its own challenges. Hannah and I work really well together. We work really hard at not letting any negative forces come in between us. And if for any reason negative forces do interfere with our relationship, some good old-fashioned grown-up communication usually stops the negativity dead in its tracks.
Being the white half of an interracial couple is a role that comes with plenty of controversy. Actually, interracial couples as a unit tend to be fairly controversial, and are often criticized from every angle regardless of race or gender. Whether that criticism accuses a partner of color of self-hatred or a white partner of fetishization, the outcome is the same: controversy and, consequently, attention. Layer on the added complication of lesbianism, and you’ve pretty much got a walking attraction.
In the context of women, I’m fairly unremarkable on my own.
I’m white, feminine, and straight-passing- traits that ensure my safety and privilege in society. I think this is a fair enough explanation for why I’m not bothered by stares, and why PDA is second nature. In my life, I’ve rarely had to question the appropriateness of showing affection or the potential consequences of drawing negative attention to myself. Because of this, I’ve inadvertently drawn a lot of attention to us simply by forgetting about the realities of being a part of something deemed unusual by the general public.
Honestly, I don’t really feel like I have a true comment on my experience of being part of an interracial gay couple in public.
However, I do have a comment on what it’s like to be a part of Ariana’s experience. My experience is as an otherwise socially acceptable counterpart to a woman who essentially checks all the boxes of what is negatively judged by strangers. When I think about our public experience, I’m usually thinking about how to make her life a little bit easier. If we are holding hands, I pull her quickly through crowds to somewhere with more space. If someone double takes, I ignore them, and if we get comments, I ignore those too. I would say something every time if it were just about me, but it’s not: it’s about me and her as a team.
The way I look at it, I’m fine either way.
If we let loose in public, I’m fine. I don’t have anxiety and white people are not racially profiled. Likewise, if we are more conservative and restrained in public, I’m equally as okay. I’m spending time with the woman who makes me the happiest, and holding back affection doesn’t take away from my experience with her. However, Ariana’s experience would be completely different in either of those scenarios. Because of this, I really try to do what’s in my power to make our public experience feel more comfortable for her. People are weird and creepy and intrusive, but I can’t control them. That’s the unfortunate reality of being a couple like us.
But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Even with our public experience, being with Ariana is the most normal part of my life. She is 100% my better half, and getting unwanted negative attention in public is a small price for what we have with each other.
Here are the rest of our pictures from our fair date! We had so much fun taking these, and this date was the perfect way to say our final goodbyes to summer. Although, one thing we haven’t said goodbye to are those fried Oreos… (we’re coming for you!)
There you have it, folks. Thanks for reading!
If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our last post about our fall decor home reveal here!