missing: lesbians

SIM

8 november 2017

page 1

I think you’re the first person to make me think I could one day use the word lesbian without cringing.

 

The other day, these words were said to me by a lesbian my younger self knew. Let’s call her X. It prompted me to write more quickly than readily because:

  1. gay icon duties

  2. how overwhelmingly beautiful

  3. tears were bubbling

 

I haven’t stopped thinking about that since she said it, because it triggered an unconscious stress in me that I’ve actually noticed less recently as a result of growing acceptance, of myself and by friends and family. When I remember X I’m reminded of the way she’d label herself a “baby gay”, a label so charged with fear and shame and uncertainty. A slight sadness. 

 

This is so important to talk about that I feel like I’m literally running with my laptop through a straight dark alley with a time bomb attached to it and if I don’t release these feelings all the lesbians in the entire world will die. 

 

(I bet even then nobody will care to document it)

 

Seriously though, where are all my beautiful lesbians of colour? Other than those who don’t need the publicity right now, where are you hiding? Please find me. Because if we don’t start speaking up soon and claiming a rightful space to operate in nobody will want to find us either.

 

Not even the white lesbians have it good. 

 

Let’s probe some of the most damaging points and effects of missing lesbians:

 

Visibility

Tell me the last time you heard the words: “that other night when we went to _(insert lesbian-centric club name)_…” and it was followed by the words “do you wanna go again?” there isn’t a time is there. Because there isn’t a place!

 

Birmingham has The Fox, which has practically zero inclusivity credits I know of. Similarly, Manchester’s Vanilla has a surge of white plastered all over it’s walls and website and London’s  Candy was not so long ago replaced by a gentleman’s club of all things. The audacity. Click on SHE Soho’s website and you will find a bunch of Ruby Rose posers fakely pouting off into the distance. Right-click and quit, girl. 

 

Of course, people are making small waves but banding together can create tidals. 

lesbian furore (2016)

The L Word

I literally just typed exoticisationand auto-correct sex-taped over it with eroticisation. It really makes no difference, because the link between porn and lesbian is so rife. It’s to the point where you can’t search for lesbian in Google without “hot” in close proximity.

 

To whom it may concern, we are not your porn prize.

 

There is also essence of lesbians being made to feel that they have to look a certain way to be accepted or recognised by their own. Countless times I’ve been to gay clubs that have rejected me because on that occasion I didn’t appear homo enough. I used to have long blonde hair, which I thought would have given me race-translucency points, but alas the plight of long hair has to be the ultimate non-identifier of a true lesbian. 

 

The one day I wear a hat and a checked shirt with no make-up, I don’t get refused. 

 

Getting G-WOKE about G-WOC

Can someone tell me why I am one of literally two brown lesbians in the entire world on my creative radar?

 

I fully understand that being a gay woman of colour goes far beyond aligning with just one minority group. It’s intersectional madness and here I speak through daily experience. But for those who are comfortable enough with their outness, it must be accepted that visibility and representation is sparse.

 

I don’t always feel comfortable being me - for the most part this is actually quite occasional. At the same time, if we have reached a point of self-acceptance and self-celebration what’s stopping us from doing the most in support of others who haven’t? At the very least, make an effort to help the unlucky. 

 

Imagine you're at Ikea. They’ve put one hanger in a closet to make your experience seem realistic and massage your vision. You open the closet and the hanger swings back and forth, threatening to fall flat on the ground at any second. Will you close the door on it?

 

If yes, you help it to fall.