Hi, I'm a 33-year-old, assigned-female-at-birth mother to a three-year-old daughter and wife to an amazing cis man. I however question my sexuality. The only time I can ever remember being happy in my body was when I was pregnant. (The miracle my body created still astounds me.) In college I decided I was bi, but that never seemed to fit. I found women attractive, but was not aroused by them. I've always formed closer bonds with men than with women and came to realize that I was more aroused by a deep connection with people then physical attributes, except involving gay men.
I wrote this off as the wanting the forbidden fruit, but recently I have gotten back into writing fan fiction (slash stories) and I've started having gay dreams, i.e. I'm a guy and having sex with another guy or even just dreams about masturbating with a penis. And now I remember similar dreams I had in puberty that I had dismissed since it didn't make sense that I could be gay. (Transgender wasn't something I was aware of then.)
I googled all this and forms a list of gender non-conforming terms and got to "girlfag" and went, "Holy shit! That's me!" But I don't like the term. I was taught fag was a derogatory term or British cigarette. As much as it is exactly who I am, I'm not sure I like the label. Which brings me to my first question: "Is there another term then girlfag?"
My second question is harder. I'm happy with my life as a mother and wife, but I also know it is not everything I want. I'm not sure how to embrace my newfound identity. I've made a commitment to my husband and daughter that I do not want to break, but I also don't want to deny who I am. Any ideas or suggestions?
What To Call Myself?
"Guydykes" came up in the column last week and not everyone was thrilled with my handling of demigender in last Tuesday's SLLOTD. So rather than taking a stab at your question myself, WTCM, I'm just going to refer you (and everyone else) to a 2015 piece at Fair Observer by Janet Hardy titled "The Wonderful and Confusing World of Guydykes and Girlfags." I actually get name-checked in Hardy's piece...
The word “girlfag” was invented by Jill Nagle in a 2003 article in BUST Magazine (“Manly, Yes, But I Like It Too: The Life and Loves of a Girlfag”). Nobody knows who invented “guydyke,” but it seems to have been coined a year or two later. Most members of the English-speaking girlfag/guydyke community are less than thrilled with the terminologies, which began in an era when many minorities were actively seeking to reclaim potentially negative words (as in Dan Savage’s “Hey, Faggot!” [sic] column*). As of this writing, though, nobody has yet come up with a viable English synonym for “girlfag,” although “male lesbian” for “guydyke” has achieved some currency.
So it sounds like you're stuck with "girlfag," WTCM, and I would encourage to embrace the term in the ancient spirit of reclamation. And perhaps it will come as a comfort to know that lots of your fellow girlfags express their girlfagginess through slash fiction, according to Hardy; some do drag, some read hentai, and many have "masculine-of-center" gender presentations. And while many people might think girlfags are doomed to lives of romantic frustration, Hardy insists that's not the case:
Many readers, in learning about girlfag and guydyke identities, might feel some concern for the life path of a woman or man so identified—after all, what are the possibilities for a romantic future for someone whose lust object is, by definition, not interested in them? I’m happy to report that many of us do indeed settle into stable and happy arrangements—sometimes in a relationship (often non-monogamous)—with the gay man or lesbian of our dreams. Sometimes, like me, in a relationship with a bisexual whose affection and values are “gay enough” to meet our desires.
Seeking out a gay or "gay enough" man isn't an option for you, of course, since you've already made a commitment to (and started a family with) a straight cis man. But there's no reason you can't embrace and express your newly named identity—you can express it through fantasy, through your writing, and, if your husband is game, through sexual roleplay. But even if your husband isn't interested in roleplay scenarios, WTCM, you don't have to deny who you are to be with him, just as a bisexual man in a monogamous relationship with a female partner shouldn't have to deny who he is for the sake of the relationship. We can be our authentic selves while also accepting that we can't always have everything we want and that big life choices—particularly our choice of a romantic partner—always involves some degree of sacrifice. We all have to pay the price of admission.
* The column is "Savage Love" and always has been. For the first eight years "Hey, Faggot" was the salutation that opened every letter.