As a lesbian, I tend to frequent gay/lesbian bars. (Shocking. I know.)
Logically speaking, you would think that frequenting these places of business–those geared specifically to my community–I would be free to go about my girly-gay business without the permeating stares that I get on a regular day out and about with my girlfriend. You would think that, right?
You see, because even in gay-centered businesses, bars, restaurants, and entire sections of city (Here’s looking at you, Gayborhood, Philadelphia!), I am still looked at as a spectacle amongst my peers. Why? Because, apparently, one can not be both a lesbian and feminine.
If you’re shocked, join the club. Maybe I missed Lesbian 101, but I was always under the impression that the short-hair-cut/flannel/tattoos/beanie/work boots thing was just a cliched stereotype. I always thought that just because I like lipstick, high heels, dresses, ponies, and the color purple, it was only my fervent enjoyment of the big V-word that qualified me as a lesbian.
I’ll be straight (ha!) with you here. I’m 22 freakin’ years old. I have had two boyfriends, and two girlfriends in my entire life. (And a handful of lesbian make-out-flings-in-dark-clubs, but who’s counting?) I’m sorry that I’m not perfect. I’m sorry that I struggled with my sexuality for a few years before the HomoFairy visited me in my dreams, smacked me roughly around the head, and instructed me to “get with the fucking program, you don’t like boys, you like girls”. I’m no Gold Star Lesbian, but I can say with certainty that while men are wonderful (I even have some of them as friends, shock and awe!), penises are icky, and I don’t ever want to see one again, thanks. I’m a lesbian. I promise. But apparently I’m not, according to my community.
If I had a dollar for every “you’re not gay, you’re straight” comment I’ve gotten from other lesbians, I’d quit my job with the little ones and open my own Cat House. I’ve been told that I’m not a “real” lesbian, because I dated a few (literally, only two) men in my life. I’m not a “real” lesbian because I like to dress up. I had a gay man in a unisex bathroom tell me that I “couldn’t be gay, because you’re too pretty to be gay.” I SHIT YOU NOT. HE SAID THOSE WORDS. Here I was, holding the stall door shut for my girlfriend whom, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve seen naked a few times or so, and BAM. This guy lays that on me.
I’m not a lesbian because I’m girly.
I’m not a lesbian because I’ve had boyfriends.
I’m not a lesbian because I’m “actually bisexual”.
I’m not a lesbian because it’s just a phase.
All of these things I’ve been told not by miscellaneous heterosexuals, family, or friends, but by random members of my own communityDespite all of the hardship, struggle, and judgement we face EVERY DAY by the Far Righties, Extreme Christian Agenda, and douchebags in general, here we are JUDGING OUR OWN PEOPLE. We are such a diverse group of beautiful and individual people. I don’t understand why we still feel the need to box others into what we feel they “should” be.
So, beautiful queer community, I will clear this up for you one last time:
I am girly. I like lipstick. I like lingerie. I like pink and things that sparkle. I like good books, and coffee, and intelligent conversation. And how much of this is relevant to the fact that I am also a huge, flaming lesbian? None of the above.