My Experience Being a Lesbian on FOX’s Love Connection

Well, that’s a wrap and what a ride it has been!  A little over a week ago, FOX’s Love Connection with Andy Cohen aired an episode featuring lesbians looking for love featuring yours truly.  It was such an incredible and empowering experience.  The support I received from my friends and family was unreal and the reaction from the media and strangers (I received many awesome messages) was also overwhelmingly positive.  If you missed the episode, check it out here:

Episode #8 (second half):

Watch the Episode

Also, I wrote some words (AKA a Commentary) for The Advocate that was recently published and summarized my feelings about this entire experience.  Please take the time to read below.  Also, don’t miss the recap video that I made with Alison (if you are wondering who Alison is, WATCH THE DAMN EPISODE, YO!) at the end of this post.

My Words for the Advocate:

When I was asked to be a contestant on Love Connection’s first lesbian episode, I said, “No. Hell, no.”

I have a corporate job and a conservative family, and the thought of potentially embarrassing my family and my vulnerable self on national television wasn’t appealing. But after I weighed my potential connection to the show against the many opinions of family and friends, I had a revelation: This was bigger than me and more important than any concern or criticism.

I was 23 when I realized I was gay. Many people say they knew they were queer long before they identified as such, but this was not the case for me. Sometimes I wonder, If I had been more exposed to different types of queer women at an earlier age, would it have been different for me?

The L Word is arguably the most successful lesbian-focused show ever aired (and it’s coming back!) and set the bar high with its six-season run. I only wish that the show had been around sooner, so young women like me could have access to a world where there isn’t a singular definition of a lesbian.

I am only one small piece of an enormous community. The LGBTQ demographic, like any other, is created by people of diverse ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds, with countless interpretations of beauty. Yet human nature encourages the impulse to seek out films and television shows that mirror what we look and act like. The media routinely mirrors heterosexual norms, which breeds ignorance and trivializes those who do not identify with the mainstream. Exposure to the LGBTQ community gives a tiny morsel of knowledge to those who don’t experience out LGBTQ people in their everyday lives.

Commonalities are the ties that bind us. I am a kindhearted queer person who wants to love and be loved. How relatable is that? The Love Connection episode that focuses on single queer women lends the LGBTQ community a platform to be seen not as “other,” but as relatable people — just like a friendly neighbor.

Maybe a mom will see me and the other amazing women on the episode and realize we aren’t any different from her daughter or herself. Perhaps she’ll have her own revelation, seeing that the portrayals of lesbians in popular culture are skewed and inaccurate. Queer women are not going through “a phase.” Lesbians are not bored heterosexuals. Maybe a parent who has an LGBTQ child — who just came out or has yet to — will now have a more informed and hopeful perspective. And they’ll feel more at ease because they know there are other people out there like their child. A mom or dad will be comforted knowing their daughter or son is and will be OK. Maybe someone who is in the closet, struggling and suffering, will see this episode and no longer feel alone.

As I reflect on my hilarious experiences filming Love Connection, I feel nothing but gratitude to be on the first queer women episode of that show. A Fox prime-time dating show, based on one that produced over 2,100 heterosexual episodes, will have its first lesbian seeking love. It’is more important now than ever for television and the media at large to continue the normalization of all LGBTQ individuals. People relate to people, not labels.

Link to the Commentary: The Advocate

Check out the Recap Video I made with Alison:

Also, peep my other videos and follow my YouTube channel here: Liz Baxter YouTube

More to come, this is just the beginning for me. 🙂

XOXO

Liz Baxter

Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Today there will be Lesbians on Love Connection with Andy Cohen

Holy Cannoli, today is the day!  I am both nervous and excited!  Tonight at 9:00pm on FOX, the Love Connection with Andy Cohen will make history by airing the first ever gay or lesbian episode. I made a quick video yesterday about how I was feeling (spoiler, I was kind of freaking out):

Also, check out my media page to watch my live interview on KTLA from yesterday and listen to my radio appearance on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM Radio show (Channel 102) earlier this week: https://yourfriendlyneighborhoodlesbian.com/liz-baxter-lesbian-media-love-connection/

I seriously cannot thank everyone enough for all of the AMAZING support!  I have been feeling so much love from friends, family, and strangers…my heart is so full.  I hope that you all enjoy the episode and I will be writing more about the whole experience soon.  ALSO, I will be making a YouTube video with one of the amazing women that I met on the show so follow my YouTube Channel if you don’t already.

Love you all!! XO

Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Turns out…I’m Gay AF

Coming out – 9 years later

At 23 years old, I literally woke up one morning and thought, “Holy shit, I am gay.” Seriously, it was so clear in my head that I almost uttered those words out loud. The night before I met up with a friend from high school that I had fallen out of touch with, had a lot to drink, ended up at a gay bar for the first time in my life, and made out with a super cute blonde girl. I kissed a girl and I liked it…Yep, I’m gay.

Although the thought had briefly entered my mind before (but I quickly dismissed because I would not imagine myself sexually with another woman, ick – HA!), I really had not figured it out until this day. I always dated men and I liked a lot of them but there was always a missing element. Butterflies. You know!? I had never felt butterflies from a guy. I just thought I hadn’t met the right one yet. Turns out….
So many people say that they knew they were gay long before they identified as such but this was not the case with me. I had close relationships with other girls/women but nothing ever felt like a sexual connection. Until it did…and the fog immediately lifted.

It actually felt damn good because things finally made sense in my head. This moment of bliss ended quickly because I started to think about the reality of the situation. Telling my friends and family and the rest of the world…wahhhhhhh. Nope.

It was 2008, a year after I graduated college and I had figured out I was gay. Within about a day I had my first girlfriend (obvs). I started leading a double life from that moment.

In my new lesbian life, I had almost all lesbian friends and was out and proud! I went to gay and lezzie bars on the regular, marched in the Pride parade, and I COULD NOT GET ENOUGH. It was so much damn fun. It was a rebirth of sorts and it felt freaking amazing. My life the way it was before, continued as normal…sort of. I did not tell any of my family, friends, or colleagues about my revelation… For a really long time. I told one or 2 people about 6 months to a year later but it was not widely known that I was gay for another 3 to 4 years.  I was fearful and ashamed.  Ever heard of the term “self-loathing homophobe?”  That was me.  I didn’t like the label or what people might think of me so I just avoided telling people.  Which meant a lot of lies.  I can only imagine that the suspicions were alive and well as I started to change the way I dressed. I mean…I wore vests and a silver wallet chain on the regular.  And you remember Zumiez, the mall skater shop?  I was a regular. *Gay AF*

Examples A & B:

 

I distanced myself from previous friends and kept my new friends away from my family. It felt so much easier to be myself with my new friends instead of explaining to everyone who had known me for years that I had been lying to them for my entire life and that I am actually someone completely different from who I had sold them on…or at least this is how I felt. I didn’t necessarily feel that people would reject me, I just felt like people wouldn’t understand…that this would be so out of the blue for everyone. And that it would be a disappointment. I underestimated good people in my life because the fear and guilt was so freaking huge.

THANKS CATHOLIC UPBRINGING, THANKS A LOT. *insert sarcastic tone*

To this day, there are friendships that I have never recovered…not because they found out I was gay and didn’t want to be my friend but because I distanced myself for so long that our lives went on in different directions. I feel sad for those friendships and those years that I led a double life. I could not have imagined at the time how good things would be “on the other side.” Things are so ridiculously good right now and I have so many wonderful and supportive people in my life that I can’t imagine feeling any type of fear telling someone that I am gay. It definitely helps that I moved to Los Angeles from Indianapolis 4.5 years ago. When I moved here, no one knew me before so it was a clean slate and I was not afraid to fly the rainbow flag. Ain’t no way I was going to put myself in the awkward position of staying in the closet again. Being femme, people don’t know or assume that I am gay…so I have to tell them. So I quickly got a lot of practice at “coming out” to people. It wasn’t the first thing that I told/tell people but as a single, good looking (or at least I would like to think), girl in her late 20s, it didn’t take long for people to ask if I was married or have a boyfriend.

Them – “Are you married or do you have a boyfriend??”

Me – “Nope.”

Them – “Oh I should set you up with so and so.” or “what is your type in men?”

Me “Oh actually I don’t date men”….*Silence*

Them – “Oh. Well, do you have a girlfriend?” *exhale.*

That’s literally about how it went and still goes pretty much everytime I meet someone new.

Sometimes I forget about how hard the first few years were (thank you to my therapist for recently reminding me)…not because of how other people treated be but because of how much fear and shame ruled my life. Fear of disappointing people that I loved and and shame that I would never be the person that my family had dreamed I would be. In reality, none of my friends gave a shit and my family warmed up to the lesbian daughter idea quicker than I would have anticipated. I can’t say that my Mom was or is particularly thrilled but for the most part I believe that if I am happy, she is happy. And THANK YOU DAD for being amazing when I was scared shitless.
I am now out and proud, on the other side, and i’ll be damned but it did get better! So much better…

XO Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter