I really should have covered this topic a long time ago, and I appreciate Ka reminding me. I’ll tell you now, I am sure this will be in the top of my longest posts, because really, as concise as I try to be when I talk about politics, especially the politics of being alternatively affinity oriented I tend to ramble. My blood also tends to boil, so lets watch out for that as well, eh?
Right. First. I want to clear something up. I am not a lesbian. If you’re going to label me, don’t call me one of those. Because I am not. Not technically. Labels are hard for me, and I don’t really fall into a good category. And I think its unsound practice to label things. *But* for the sake of discussion, I call myself a lesbian because I am in a long term relationship with a woman. I primarily prefer women - not to say I don’t like men, just not as well or often. If I like a man, he tends to have an outstanding personality quality I will find myself attracted to. Since I have come out I have had more relationships with women than men. I do not date based on gender alone.
As far as vocabulary goes, if I refer to a lesbian, a dyke or any of those charming girly phrases they use for women who like women, I am referring to sexual practices only. Same goes for gay men or any term I might use for them [including fag - no I’m not being hateful, it’s a term widely used in my community]. When I refer to a bisexual I mean a person who has no gender preference or bias and does not date exclusively one way or the other. I also include Cross-dressing as a topic, because it seems to come up almost exclusively with topics of homosexuality.
If you want to go back to the second paragraph we’ll call me a Kinsey 5 Cross-Dressing Bisexual in a current Homosexual Relationship. If that’s a mouthful, you can call me a lesbian, alright?
Right, on to my first topic, which Ka, you will see in time, comes with the territory of being gay in the Midwest. Stereotypes. They’re everywhere, and it surprises me that even in a city with more than 5 colleges, and no matter how educated a person is, it seems that once you broach the subject of sexuality these stereotypes always come up.
I want to start with the males, simply because it’s a shorter list, and as I am not a homosexual male I haven’t got a list nearly as long, and I’ve not got nearly the peeves, I don’t think. Maybe I’ll have Sakura do me up a list of peeves, but for now, you’re stuck with mine.
Not all gay men are feminine. There’s actually quite a few who are very masculine. You’d be surprised to know some professional cowboys (i.e. rodeo) are gay. I’ve seen more than my share of brawls outside the most prominent gay bar in my town where the gay guy won because he was bigger, in better shape and a lot tougher. You can’t tell by looking.
Which brings me to peeves two and three - they don’t all speak with a lisp and they don’t all have good fashion sense. Fashion sense is a gift from god, I promise, and its just as rare among gay men as it is strait men, bless them, and all you need is to look at some of the train wrecks wandering the bar scene for proof of that. And as far as a lisp goes, I’ve never met a gay man who lisped who didn’t use it as a security blanket. They do this because, by and large, you think they should or will and because it makes them more comfortable because it wards off homophobes. Most of them talk quite normally.
Not all gay men are cross dressers either. Those are a completely separate category, and they are called "drag" performers, because most who do it do it for a living, not because they get sexual gratification from it, or because they wish they were women. There are some who do. I have not met them, and I won’t speak on their behalf, because I am ignorant, sadly, of their situation.
Women. Lesbians. I’ve got a million peeves about our stereotypes. Partially because I don’t think I fit a lot of these.
First. We don’t all hate men. I love men. A lot. They’re easy to get along with. They’re strait forward, for the most part. Most of the lesbians I know like guys and have guy friends. A lot of them have slept with men. There’s a big difference between a man hater and a lesbian. There are some that are both, but the two should never be confused.
Item two. We don’t all look like boys. Yes, there a some that wear men’s clothes. There are some that are more masculine looking. There are some that have short haircuts. But I wear men’s clothing, I have *shaved my head* in the past and I look nothing like a male. Nothing. Of course, the ones that are masculine looking, some try very hard to be feminine. It may not be in their nature. I knew of a female who played softball in our league and everyone thought she was gay because she had extremely masculine looks, but her husband was always in the stand cheering. I also have a friend who is often mistaken for a male, and she hates it. But it had nothing to do with her orientation, meaning, I suppose, she is gay whether she looks like a pixie or a bulldog, you see? But I despise the idea that someone either decides they must be gay because of their looks or decides to look like a man because she is gay. I don’t think that is the case for most women.
This also goes to the myth that we are all ugly. I am not ugly. I am not. And if you disagree, bugger off, you’re blind. I’m not, say, Natalie Portman, but I’m not scary. And I certainly am not going to waste my time and effort and sexual energy chasing unattractive women [or men for that matter] when I know I can find someone of the opposite sex who will have me that I am attracted to. Its an insult to me, and my instincts - any woman’s instincts - to say we are abandoning what is "normal" to go after some sort of freakish end of the gene pool.
Item the next. Not all lesbians wish they were men. Now, I will admit, on occasion I do get a bit of penis envy, but that’s for reasons entirely different than what this assumption implies: that a woman who wants to be with woman is acting out her need to be a man, which is patently untrue. I am with women because I think they are beautiful, they feel nice when you touch them, and they can make excellent companions. Same reasons men do. That, and you get that lovely draw in your stomach when you see them. However, I have no desire to be a man. If I were a man I would be gay anyway, since I like men as well. No, I have no desire to swap sexes. Most lesbians I know love the female form, and their own bodies very much.
Also, not all of us fall into the "butch" or "femme" category. There is not male/female dynamic to any lesbian relationship. There are two people with two personalities. And they are both women. There are some people who gravitate to a male/female dynamic, but not all of them. Not even most of them. For example. Most people would think my Beloved is a butch, but she isn’t. There’s really nothing tough about her other than her short hair. I am not a femme either. If you drop labels like that [which I object to, of course] I am termed "fag" because of my proclivity to things that are stereotypical gale male entertainments, such as cross dressing, and my form of dress, which is a combination of men’s and women’s clothing and other things that supposedly define me as a "fag" more than a "soft butch" or "femme" or whatever. I think the labels are complicated and I honestly don’t care what you call me. Still, I hate when people ask me who the "man" is in our relationship. In part because they expect it to be Beloved because of my looks and they somehow think less of her when they figure out she is a total femme. Its also because, if you did choose to define us from a male/female perspective I would be the more masculine of the two of us, and I don’t want to be seen as a "man" in any form. Because I am a woman. I like being a woman. And I in no way act "like a man" when I am in bed with Beloved or otherwise. If I were a "man" in bed I would have a penis. I don’t. I am not a man. My relationship with Beloved has a Beloved/Alecya dynamic, and that is all. I don’t ask strait couples who the man in their relationship is, and I don’t expect them to ask me the same. I would offend them, just as I become offended by that sort of ignorance.
A lot of people also assume that because I am a lesbian I have either been hurt by a man or had a poor relationship with my mother, and those are the things that I don’t think should be assumed about any female relationship. I do fit this stereotype, but I think this puts me into a unique position to clear things up. I can’t stand my mother. She has always been distant and irresponsible. However, I have had plenty of female support in my grandmother and my aunts. Even if I hadn’t I would find it more a reason to stick to men, because most of the women I have met in my life time have let me down. A large portion of them. And yes, I had a terrible relationship with Preacher Man [and all his buddies] and some of the other men I have dated. Still, I like men too. I just prefer to be with Beloved. Who is to say my next partner, if I have one, will not be a male? I won’t know, because I love indiscriminately, regardless of my preferences. There are some very fine men out there that any female would be lucky to be with, if she likes men. There are bad apples in any bunch.
This is what makes the difference between a man hater and a lesbian if you ask me. A lesbian who has had relationships, however good or bad, with a male and can still say that they are with women because they love women and not because they don’t have an alternative other than celibacy is a honest to god lesbian. A man hater is a woman who has been hurt and cannot get beyond her own suffering, however justified, to try and love again regardless of sex. These, I also find, tend to make bad girlfriends, because they have unsettled sexual and aggression issues that aren’t going to be solved by sleeping with a female. [that sounds like a broad statement, but I have met, and dated, women like this.]
Finally, and this one always gives me a good laugh, [I’m going to quote a Kevin Smith film] lesbians don’t need a "good deep dicking." I’ve been with men. They weren’t the reason I decided to be with females, and they aren’t going to change my mind about the issue. Of course, I still like men, so I may be biased. Still, if I go out and sleep with a man it is not going to effect my love of women any more than my current relationship prevents me from appreciating how truly beautiful men can be as well. A better example is my Beloved, who has only been with one man, and enjoyed the experience, but wouldn’t do it again. It wasn’t bad. He wasn’t mean to her. She had a good time. She just likes ladies. Nothing wrong with that. Not with me anyway. :)
Also, there are a few stereotypes I need to get out of the way that I am not going to refute with anecdotal evidence, instead, will just say that these are untrue, generally disgusting untruths that piss me off to no end when discussed by people who know nothing about the gay community.
We are not pedophiles. We are not derelicts. We don’t sleep with animals or children. We will not have sex with anything that offers. We are not more sexually adventurous or deviant than a strait person. We do not hate Christians. We are not all atheists. We were not abused as children. We do not hate strait people.
There is no end to the pathetic amount of lies that go on about our community, and I encourage you, if there is a stereotype you are curious about or want to ask me about, go for it, because its through discussion that these types of things are cleared up.
Right. I have to have lunch with Mystery now. So I’ll come back later and get on to the political things [sorry, Ka] but those needed to be put off first so that we are clear how I feel about things, and none of us are operating under any illusions.
Back in a few, loves.