I co-created the Web series The Slope, a show about a superficial, homophobic lesbian couple. Desiree and I moved on from The Slope and each other, but I have a lot more to say, so I'm working to launch my new Web series, F to 7th, a show about my descent into the ever-elusive lesbian middle age. I realized that I'm at a crossroads: I'm not bored enough to be a Park Slope parent, and I'm not cool enough to go female-to-male.
I'm wandering around Prospect Park with my dog, drinking Gorilla Coffee and thinking about my next bicycle tune-up, when I notice a gaggle of white Park Slope moms in bad workout outfits lifting their babies in harmonious yoga moves. They're all so disturbingly happy. Even the kids are giggling and bobbing around like the well-adjusted tend to do.
Cut to a cute lesbian couple walking hand in hand, smiling into each other's eyes, quoting the Indigo Girls' 1200 Curfews: "You have to laugh at yourself sometimes, because you'd cry your eyes out if you didn't." One is wearing a button-down two sizes too big, and the other is strapped into mom jeans two sizes too small, and Jesus, they're happy, too.
Here I am, my middle-aged future stretched out before me: Either I get married and suddenly become one of those straight gay couples who take on me-man/you-woman roles, or I put all my energy into loving my equally co-dependent partner and, over the years, forget that a haircut doesn't just mean you tell a barber, "Short."
I'm in a lesbian lost generation. The old breed of lesbians who experienced hate crime before it was hate crime is, well, old. They can't stand the new gays, because young people get to reap the rewards of old people's loss and don't say "thank you." But the new breed is so much more interesting and smart and good-looking. They invent new words for themselves and "take back" old words; they are "pansexual," "trans," "genderqueer." They are just so goddamned diverse.
I want to be part of something, but I can't find lesbians like me: lesbians who don't like lesbians. Last night I was at an Obama fundraiser, and my straight male friend told me, "You are the most homophobic person I know." And he's right. I don't know who I am anymore. The last thing I want to do is make another secret Ani playlist I listen to when I'm lonely and need a feminism fix, but I also don't want to go to trans parties where I'm the oldest, bitterest person there.
Maybe if I think back to my roots, I can get some clues as to who I should become. But when I look, I see I'm just an old lesbo stereotype: a tomboy who hated to be called a tomboy. Better at sports than most boys. Trains, tools, bugs. Infatuated with G.I. Joe action figures. I really thought one day I would meet Storm Shadow, and we would run away together in white ninja outfits and have little ninja babies. I didn't care that he was evil or that I didn't want to be the one to carry the baby. He was my Cobra Kahn soulmate.
All my friends were boys until I started crushing on boys, and then I was always the best friend of the prettiest, most sought-after girl. In Palm Bay, Fla., "lesbian" was equivalent to having an STD. We threw around the word "dyke" like tiny hate daggers. So there I was, a tomboy who found that the only place she fit in was right in the middle of boys and girls.
Shit, that's me, jammed in the middle, a no one's land of gender and sexuality. I'm not bisexual; I'm not trans. I'm a woman comfortable in a woman's body who feels like a guy half the time. I'm fucked.
I remember reading Greek myths when I was younger. I was obsessed with hermaphrodites, not because I thought they were "freaks of nature" but the opposite: I wanted to be one. I could be the prettiest girl's best friend and date her. Awesome.
Turns out I'm not alone. There's a North American Intersex Society. It's not just my idea; it's a North American idea. Talk about cool; if trans people are the fashion industry of the queer world, intersex folks are the artists. They even say arty things like, "We can liken the sex spectrum to the color spectrum. The decision to distinguish, say, between orange and red-orange is made only when we need it -- like when we're asking for a particular paint color."
But does this mean I have to come out? Again? Over the years, I've had to tell my mother four times that I'm gay. Her skull is going to implode when I explain over the phone that I feel like an intersex person even though I'm biologically a chick. Hello? Mom?
And don't I risk being an intersex fraud? Will real intersex people rise up against me and make me stand in front of a panel of judges and tell me my parts aren't what I say they are (like people do when female athletes kick too much ass)? According to North America, "Nature doesn't decide where the category of 'male' ends and the category of 'intersex' begins, or where the category of 'intersex' ends and the category of 'female' begins. Humans decide."
But this human can't decide. Maybe I don't have to. Maybe there's a gaggle of old-fashioned lesbians waiting for me in the wings, ready to tell me they hate themselves, too. Maybe we'll have potlucks and watch Go Fish and throw fanny packs at the screen instead of rice.
I'll keep thinking about which road to take. In the meantime, I'm going to make a Web show about my struggles as a way to send a signal out to anyone who might feel like me: lost, judgmental and sort of intersex.
For more information on F to 7th, head to its official Kickstarter page.
Follow Ingrid Jungermann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Fto7th