I distinctly remember going on my first queer date when I was twenty. I still needed the so-called safety of an open heterosexual relationship to find the guts to show up in that way. I know now, that what I thought was a sense of safety was actually just the simultaneous fear of being rejected in my queerness by that community, and having to face this part of myself, a new sense of “She”, which had not been given much stage time or the microphone to say what it wanted.
She was feisty, angry, strange, unabated in her expression, deeply desired a different kind of community, a kind of love, and had zero-fucks to give – she wanted more, more expansion, more meaningful intimacy, to be seen, more.
She had a lot to say, apparently. She wanted to be fucked differently. Love larger. Say “nope, not for me” way more than she was at that time. Belly laugh when someone’s humour genuinely evoked that. She wanted to dress outside of what was ‘in’, and strut down the street in those docs and that epic frilly dress, completely fucking impenetrable to the male gaze.
My relationship at the time ended, not long after I realised my queerness deserved much more air time than that relationship could ever offer. Now, I can proudly say, I’m pretty down with my own queerness and anyone who can’t get around that, ain’t allowed to be getting down with me.
Going on my first queer date was not simply about sitting at a cute coffee shop, across from a bookshop, nervously fantasising about kissing the softest lips I’d ever seen. With the day bleeding into the night, and coffee mugs, transforming to wine tumblers, and jackets shared with this beautiful human woman. But it was a bit of that. That kiss still means something to me. We never went on a second date, but, it was larger than that. I’d entered a rite of passage into my own sense of how I wanted live, fuck and love. It was terrifying, at first.
We can fall into asking ourselves questions like:
What if I am not gay enough? What if I am bad at this kind of sex? What if people judge me? What if they ask about all the queer sex I haven’t even had yet? What if my family doesn’t accept me? What if I get treated differently? These internal questions and battles are all valid af. I can’t dissolve all your fear, that is your work in loving yourself fully, my love, but I will say, I’ve been there.
If you are a closeted ‘Queer at heart’, the trillions of tummy butterflies on that first date, are worth it. Being a bit of a beginner at sex again, is worth it. Feeling the acceptance of chosen family, for being exactly who you are in your heart, is 1000 percent fucking worth it. And when you can accept yourself as queer, others will just get with your programme, hype you up, or get off board. And you will continue finding new ways to meet yourself in deeper acceptance.
What does Queer even mean these days?
We can try to define queerness, but really it has been reclaimed and transformed in the way people have lived it, and over such a large passage of time, it’s quite illusive to define. I personally use queer to define myself because it makes me feel free, and makes my heart feel seen by myself, and I happen to love people based on who they are, not how they identify in terms of gender. I use the term queerness in the dating context to be expansive, and inclusive of genders and sexualities that sit outside of heteronormative dynamics.
For some humans, labels can be a helpful and affirming way to identify themselves but it becomes problematic, when labels are used as a method to exclude as not something enough. No-one has the right to tell you what label is or isn’t right for you, it’s the twenty first century people. Red flag those kinds of antics! Give each other the grace and space to explore our identity as we phoenix through life.
Maybe you were always queer (now you’re stepping into it).
You might feel new to your queerness, but you have likely always been queer (or insert preferred identifier), you are just learning to express it and name it. It can absolutely feel like dating from the beginning, when you first make that leap, but don’t we all wish for a bit of a clean slate on that front at some point?
In my experience the rules and dynamics offered in queer dynamics can offer the space to explore our own agency, freedom, body, autonomy and consciousness in a whole new light. It feels more possible to create connections and love that are not bound by arbitrary social scripts, gender constructs and intimate partnership ‘role’ assumptions.
Where the heck to start?
Okay you have just met the total cutest, queer babe ever. Now what?
A sweet starting point might be to check in with them on their pronouns. Dating apps can be a fun way to start leaning into your queer identity – especially apps that specifically cater to you and how you currently identify. Dating apps like: Her, Feeld, and Grindr depending on who and what you are searching for. Hinge can also be quite good, as an all rounder, especially if you’re feeling more into the bisexual or pansexual side of things.
If you meet the potential queer love of your life, in person, and want to ask them out, focus on being upfront about what you want. Instead of focusing on the identity of a person and trying to make assumptions about their sexuality. You could try just asking: “Would you be open to me asking you on a date?” or “I’m really attracted to you, and would love to get to know you more, would you be into that?”.
I’m all for keeping it straight up, and levelling up with my radical honesty, no matter who I am dating.
Holy shit, they said yes?!
Now what? Okay. This is a date, like any other, respect and consent are the number ones.
1. Stay present and conscious with dating scripts you might be playing into.
2. Ask if they have any specific needs to feel good for this date, these could be: dietary, physical, spacial, or to do with safety, or transport.
3. Keep in mind that trauma and neuro-divergence, as well as just generally moving through different public spaces, can commonly create unique personal intersections for Queers.
Note: Public expressions of Queer love can make some people face their own fear, shame and prejudice, and mean they act out in ways that are judgemental and hurtful. Don’t take other people’s baggage or fear on as your own.
If you are new to queer dating, bring an awareness of this to the way you organise the logistics of the date. You can ask if there are any places they don’t feel safe being ‘out’? And what about for you? Where do you feel safe being yourself (if you happen to kiss this queer honey under a streetlight in the rain)?
Work out together if day or night feels more comfortable and understand that all queer people have different experiences and associations of moving through public spaces. Check in and keep that radical honesty and open communication going from day one.
To disclose or not?
As with any date, what you disclose about your sexual history is your choice. It’s your story and you get to use your own discretion about what you choose to share. Being new to queer dating or sex does not necessarily mean you are bound to disclose this, especially not on a first date. If you want to own that, good for you. But taking your time with what you share is just as valid.
Queerness is a spectrum of love and acceptance, not a competition on being ‘gay enough’. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If someone is fixated on how many people you have slept with, what kinds of people (Queer or otherwise), or the gender of people you generally sleep with, maybe try to gently but clearly, lay a boundary if you don’t want to go there.
Try: I don’t really feel comfortable getting into my intimate history on a first date, but I do really want to know more about you. What do you give a shit about?
Do we need to clarify?
Sometimes in queer dating, I think we can feel the need to over-clarify that we are into someone or ‘queer enough’. This is only natural, considering how few real-life representations in film, TV and beyond, where we see people who are truly comfortable in their queerness. Popular culture tends to focus on representing these experiences of coming into Queerness as being shamed, secret, hidden, a ‘phase’, rejected, or awkward. So let’s re-write that now, to be: Queer is to celebrate the beautiful complexity of loving yourself and others, without binaries.
Instead, you could focus on clearly communicating the kind of connection you are seeking in general, and then with time, if the vibe is there, more specifically, with this person. Transparency, and courage around this are all championed in this magical queer threshold of experience. To put it shortly: The focus of the date doesn’t need to be on your queerness, or theirs. Although, you are allowed to be damn proud. One of the most expansive aspects of the shared queer space is the capacity for it to hold new forms of ‘owning yourself’. Be that around feelings of nervousness, excitement, curiosity, joy, pleasure, or how you want to build future dreams that rebel against the status quo.
Heteronormativity may be viewed as a ‘safe(r)’ social haven for many – but I ask you to personally sit with these questions:
For who? For how long? And who benefits from perpetuating this view?
Then I offer you to sit and reflect with this in your body:
How can this be disrupted?
How might that feel in the body?
The liberatory nature of queer relating is born from the radical act of finding spaces and people who accept you as who you authentically are. Accept how you live, and in whatever direction you choose to beam your love out. It is the body and heart’s opportunity to create and have access to spaces where the body feels equal parts free to express all of its pieces, and safe to feel all of its edges.
When you can fearlessly open your heart in this way, your world can open up to this colourful expansion and echo through you with a multiplicity of new possibilities.