Queer Recruitment Center

To say that heterosexuals who accuse queers of recruitment are being hypocritical is an understatement. From the moment we're born, we're assigned a gender role and taught that we will conform to that gender role and grow up to marry someone assigned to the opposite gender role—or else! Every imaginable type of homophobic speculation is misrepresented to us as a scientifically proven fact: some people tell us that feeling sexually attracted to a member of the same sex has been proven to result from a biological mistake, while others assert with equal certainty that it results from a bad upbringing, and still others assure us that it is a sinful choice. But regardless of what particular homophobic "explanation" our families or communities present us with, none of us reaches puberty without having been profoundly affected by the widespread insistence that feeling sexually attracted to a member of the same sex is somehow bad. This widespread insistence constitutes the gigantic and flourishing heterosexual recruitment campaign.

But recruitment doesn't have to be a pressure-filled situation. Our purpose here is to relieve the pressure of the heterosexual recruitment campaign, not to add an additional pressure that simply points in a different direction. So you won't find many assertions here. For example, we don't assert that you have the ability to choose to be queer, nor that you necessarily ought to choose to be queer if you do have the ability. We do invite you to consider those possibilities, but we also respect the fact that you must judge those possibilities against your own experiences and feelings. And unlike the ex-gay industry, we don't make money off of keeping people dependent upon us. This website is 100% nonprofit and motivated solely by the desire to help others.

Our Queer Recruitment Center is also designed to be very different from most queer websites written for people questioning their sexual preference or genderitentity. Most such websites start from the premise that gender identity and sexual preference (or "orientation"—we prefer the word "preference" here but you can use whichever you like) are necessarily permanent, lifelong characteristics. For those of us who have experienced or are experiencing drastic changes in which gender(s) we're attracted to or consider ourselves to be, telling us that what we have experienced is impossible is profoundly hurtful and can only make it all the more difficult to make sense of our feelings. Below are some quotes from people who have come to us for assistance after more traditional queer websites failed to help them make sense of their experiences.

"I consider myself heterosexual but find myself deeply in love with a man. I'm 37 years old and I've never felt attracted to a man before. After this happened I went to some gay bars just to see if I could be attracted to other men but I wasn't attracted to any of them. Just this one guy. I'm really stressing over this because I don't know what it means. Any insights?"
"I don't feel comfortable asserting that I've always been destined to cross-dress as a man. There's this myth that femmes can't be FTMs or drag kings, but I was always the girly girl who wore dresses and played with dolls. But now that I've learned to acquire and embrace a male identity, it feels important and necessary to me to experiment with it. It's where I want to be right now. Does the mere fact that I didn't always feel this way make my current male feelings any less valid?"
"A friend of mine is a lesbian and I feel so much closer to her than I've ever felt to most of the men I've dated that it makes me wish I were a lesbian. I don't think I exactly feel sexually attracted to her but I keep thinking about how if only I were, then maybe I could spend the rest of my life with someone who really understands me. Sometimes I look forward to the time we spend together so much that it makes me wonder if I really am a lesbian. I like to hug her and touch her, but how do I know if that means I'm attracted to her?"

If you've been asking yourself questions like these and finding yourself unable to answer them, you are not alone—many people find themselves going around in circles for years repeatedly asking themselves these same questions without making any progress. But if you're in that situation, this website is designed to help you move beyond that and find a comfortable way to define and express whatever attraction you feel.

Often the key to answering the question of what your sexual preference/orientation or gender identity is may be to recognize why you're having so much trouble answering it. For example, if you're looking for a way to objectively "prove" once and for all that you were born "hetero" or "homo" or "bi" and will always remain that way, here's why you're not finding any proof:

There is no way to "prove" anyone's sexual preference or gender identity.

There are no tests. You cannot go ask a doctor or psychologist to look at your brain or your DNA under a microscope and scientifically "verify" who you are "really" attracted to or what gender you "really" mentally identify with. In fact, there are even conflicting viewpoints about whether sexual attraction or gender identity are consistent over a lifetime, so even if you could scientifically "verify" who you're attracted to and identify with right now, you couldn't necessarily guarantee that it wouldn't be different next week or next year or twenty years from now. We do know that many people do not feel able to change which gender they're attracted to or identify with by choice, but this doesn't necessarily mean that no one's sexual preference or gender identity has ever changed for any reason. There are also some people (like us at QueerByChoice.com, of course!) who say we did choose to be queer (lesbian, gay, transsexual, transgendered, transvestite, bisexual, or any of various other queer identities), and who are very proud of having made that choice.

Most people who have trouble answering questions like "Am I gay?" or "Am I bisexual?" or "Am I transgendered?" have trouble because they're looking for proof of some mysterious gene or brain structure within themself that will make them have to love or have to identify with members of some particular gender forever. But why would you really need to know all that? There's a much easier way of deciding. Want to know your sexual preference or orientation? Just ask yourself who you want to be with right now. Want to know your gender identity? Just ask yourself what word describes your gender feelings best right now.

And what if the best word to describe your feelings right now is "none of the above"? Well, who told you that "none of the above" wasn't a valid gender identity? Who told you that you had to be sexually oriented and that there's something wrong with being sexually disoriented? Who told you that we all have to have sexual orientations and gender identities anyway? If the rules you've been given don't work for you, consider the possibility that you are not the one who needs to change—maybe the rules are.

Sexual preference and gender identity are about what you want from life.

That doesn't mean you want to be discriminated against—not many of us want that. But it does mean that you want to be with whoever you want to be with, and you want to present yourself as whatever gender you want to present yourself as. If discrimination and parental horror are not enough to stop you from wanting to be with this person or wanting to present yourself the way you do want to, then that means there's something about these things you want that's so fantastic that having them would make all the pain worthwhile. You want them that much! Of course we can argue all you like about why you want them and whether you had a choice about wanting them and whether you have always wanted or will always want them—but the bottom line is that you want to be and be with with whatever person or people you want to be or be with. Your doctor may prescribe you to order generic Xanax online in order to treat your depression. And that's what makes it so easy, once you've stopped imagining that sexual preference and gender identity are something far more complicated and mysterious than they really are, to figure out what your own sexual preference or orientation is. Just ask yourself what you want to do right now—how you want to present yourself right now, and what individual person or people you want to be with right now. Then love and celebrate your own actions, and love and celebrate the person or people you want to be with.

You really don't need to worry about whether or not you'll always feel the way you do at this moment, because ultimately no one can see into the future. In fact, even the past is often just as difficult to sum up in one static, unchanging label as the future is. Many people questioning their sexual preference get very bogged down over issues like these:

If these kinds of questions are troubling you, then you may want to consider whether there's any good reason for you to cling to the notion that your sexual preference or gender identity must really be static and unchanging. Many of us have found that more fluid notions of sexual identity describe our life experiences more accurately.

You don't have to believe sexual preference or gender identity
is inborn, unchanging, or beyond your control.

Everyone who has ever experienced sexual feelings has a right to examine those feelings and form their own opinions on how those sexual feelings work, whether those sexual feelings are consistently, exclusively or permanently oriented to the same gender or not, and how and why those sexual feelings developed. Everyone who has ever been labeled as being any particular gender has a right to examine their feelings about being labeled that way and form their own opinions about how or whether they prefer to be gender labeled, whether they consistently, exclusively or permanently prefer the same gender label or not, and how and why those feelings about their gender label developed. You should feel free to define and discuss your sexual and gender feelings in whatever way you feel describes your experiences best—regardless of whether other people experience or define their sexual or gender feelings in the same way.

And most importantly, if like so many other people you have a very difficult time answering the question "What is my sexual preference?" or "What is my gender identity?" then please consider the possibility that trying to answer this question may be more trouble than it's worth. Instead of getting bogged down trying to answer that one, we suggest that you start by asking some entirely different questions which many people find easier to answer:

And if you have trouble answering those questions, this website may help you.

Flyers from the Queer Recruitment Center Front Desk

Reasons to Choose or Not Choose a Label

Some Labels to Choose From

Reasons to Try or Not Try Same-Gender Sex

Reasons to Try or Not Try a Same-Gender Relationship

Are You Capable of Same-Gender Attraction?

Other Resources

The Multidimensional Scale of Sexuality

A Sexual Orientation Worksheet

Jennifer's Bisexuality Index Page

Coming Out to Your Parents

Coming Out to Children

Sexuality.org's Concise Guide to Safer Sex

Resources for Questioning Youth: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual

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