Growing up, I had never seen a lesbian.
I didn’t know how they looked, acted or what it was like to live as one. I had never even heard of the term lesbian or gay till some time in elementary school or high school. I grew up watching two channels, and reading books from the library. I did not grow up reading 50 Shades of Grey or other sexy books like those teens growing up now a days seem to, but there was the occasional heterosexual teen romance fiction novel that I bought. I did not have Ellen. I did not have Glee. I had no access to anything gay until I heard about a lesbian character in Friends and then Will and Grace came around just as I was going into high school. A few of my friends came out to me in high school and against the wishes of my family I continued to spend time and hang out with them. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, they were my friends after all. They’d been there in my childhood and as a teen that wasn’t going to change who they were.
Today I’m going to talk about 10 myths that gay women face. Some of these myths were things I once thought too until I realized that I was in fact gay as well. They are in no particular order.
My personal favourite:
1. Which one of you is the man in the relationship?
This is generally asked by heterosexual men but I have been asked by some heterosexual women as well. As Ellen DeGeneres puts it, “That’s like asking which one is the chopstick and which is the fork.” Both people in the relationship are of the same sex. There is no man in a lesbian relationship. But if you’re asking who “wears the pants”, well by this point, you should know that even in heterosexual relationships, gender does not imply ones ability to wear the pants or not wear the pants. Women or men can wear the pants. This isn’t the 50s. We don’t have to adhere to strict gender stereotypes.
2. You’re gay? You don’t look gay?
Oh… Maybe I should um work on that so people can tell? I don’t understand why people think I should adhere to a strict image of what they deem to look gay to appease them or fit the mold of what being gay “looks like”. Perhaps this question is born out of curiousity or plain ignorance but this needs some education to shine the lights on things that aren’t normally discussed. When this is discussed, I sometimes respond with sarcasm, and sometimes I ask them what gay looks like to them, then I work on breaking down the myths so that the one posing the question can open their mind a bit more and realize not all gay women fit stereotypes.
3. Lesbians uses dildos and other sex toys to fill the void of men. It’s not real sex unless there’s a penis.
FALSE. There are many ways to have sex, fuck and make love. Please get your brain out of your glutes. Not all sex needs to have a penis involved, sorry to burst your bubble.
4. Do butch lesbians always date femme lesbians? Why don’t femme lesbians date men?
Not all butch or more masculine lesbians date femme lesbians. Femme lesbians don’t always date butch women. They can be attracted to whoever takes their fancy, be it butch women, androgynous women, fellow femmes and even those lesbians that don’t categorize themselves into gender specific categories. Lesbians date lesbians; this means that sapphic women date other women who are also interested in women. Heterosexual women and some bisexual women date men.
5. Lesbians hate men.
Not all of us hate men. I know some nice gentlemen. I dislike how some men treat women and question me incessantly about things I do not wish to discuss regarding sexual orientation and that is when the bitchy lesbian rears her head from the recesses of my mind and gives him a word or two. But if a guy isn’t ignorant and sexually harassing me, and pushing my buttons, then I’m cool with him. Don’t be an asshole, it’s not a good look for you.
6. Lesbians are attracted to all women
This is a funny one that I discovered when I began coming out. Sometimes, when you come out to a fellow woman, they become uncomfortable. You can see how uncomfortable she is with the conversation in the way her eyes widen and search for the door, and the way she puts distance between you and tries to not make it look too obvious.
Yes, sometimes lesbians are attracted to women, but not all of them, just as you are not attracted to all members of the sex you are interested in. We have standards and our own likes and attractions. We won’t act on all of them obviously, but we are looking for love too, and generally bisexual and lesbian women fit the bill (at least for me). Even if we are attracted to you and let you know, be flattered and leave it at that, the same way you’d respond if a guy told you he was interested in you.
7. You’re just waiting for the right guy to come along. Lucky me!
Um… no. I am not gay for pay like the women in pornos. I am not gay to attract men who witness me holding my girlfriend’s hand, or giving her a bit of affection in public. We do not make out in public, but the odd kiss here and there is nice. If that is how you feel about trying to inject yourself into a lesbian relationship, maybe you should grow some real balls and go to a class teaching respect and morals. Lesbians truly fall in love and sleep with other women. Perhaps you have been watching too much heterosexual porn with the actresses in their sexy lingerie and long (eeek) finger nails where they get all excited for the man to come in and join their party.
8. All lesbians are fat and ugly.
Really? Do you know any lesbians? We do not always fit into certain boxes. Some of us are larger. Some of us are smaller. We fit every body shape and size just as anyone of any other sexual orientation. We are not ugly. Be more considerate of others. Everyone regardless of their race or sexual orientation fits every size and has different appearances.
9. Lesbians have short hair
Some do. Not all do, that’s a bit of an exaggerated generalization. I like my short hair. I consider myself to be a lesbian who identifies as slightly masculine but that’s more where I fall on the gender spectrum, not the sexual orientation spectrum. I do not usually wear button down plaid shirts and drive a pick up truck, but I wear graphic t-shirts, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, jeans, sneakers etc most of the time. You get the picture.
10. Lesbians just need to shove their lifestyle down our throats
Excuse me? Whoa… I do not want to shove my… wait, so by living my life openly and honestly that’s shoving it in your face? I have grown up seeing heterosexual relationships my entire life, people holding hands, falling in love, dating, etc and I do not consider that being shoved down my throat. I just want to live my life according to who I am sexually attracted to. Where is your mind anyway?
There are many more myths and stereotypes I could add, but I will leave that for another day.