8 november 2017
There’s nothing wrong with straight up lesbian
Why is gay an umbrella term for everything: including lesbian?!
Gay-cis-men are unapologetically gay and cis and men, and for the most part they need not explain themselves to anyone. Everyone wants to go to a gay club, have a gay best friend, portray gay characters through tv or text, and generally have the wonder of gay in their life. Their trope has been morphed into the very idea of “fun”. If the term gay was an anime character it would look like two conjoined glitter balls in neon fur coats breaking into song and dance every two seconds for the entertainment of straight people.
Again though, the very notion of the fun, fabulous and fashion forward gay man is often enforced by the very man himself but at the same time taken too far. Let’s not forget that fools like Laganga Estranja go one step further in literally colonising even as little as hand gestures and sayings black women, lesbians and non-, have already mastered. This is not only intersectionally problematic on multiple levels but generally annoying to those who describe themselves as women.
Have a break, but don't steal the kit-kat.
Why can’t lesbians have that? Why can’t we be that? Why do gay men get a warm reception and we get revoked to either an unapproachable, moody and man-hating butch-bitch or too “feminine” to even be considered a lesbian at all?
Why is there barely any valuable commentary running through the veins of lesbian tv relationships or, pushing it now, lesbians of colour other than when Janina Gavankar’s brown skin was used to play a Latina lesbian lothario on The L Word?
I also find myself constantly worrying about using the correct terms, none of which I truly have a problem with, but my level of concern about why I’m concerned about this is troubling. This is not to say that lesbians needing their own things and own representation carelessly exclude non-binary, trans-femme, and/or any other LGBT+ non-cis-man self-description. There’s simply nothing wrong with lesbians having something for themselves in the way that gay men do. We have to understand and accept that while so many other terms are used and completely welcome within the community, there are common garden lesbians, like myself, who want to be celebrated as such.
gay superhero (2017)
Shame on shame
Until I was outed, I did the most to make sure I didn’t align or even appear to align with the term lesbian. Even though tonnes of people knew, I still couldn’t be a lesbian. I had to be gay. There’s an element of shame to that that I feel ashamed to admit. That’s how I knew instantly what X meant by associating lesbian with cringe.
I’m a culprit too, and I continue to be, but I also recognise that I’ve been made to feel that way. It’s absolutely fine to call yourself gay, but it would be nice not to feel forced into that out of self-consciousness and it feel like a logical choice.
We as a community need to begin to break away from the negativity and ignorance surrounding the (albeit) constructed lesbian identifier. We need to question where it comes from and what we can do to contribute towards lessening that feeling of shame for peers and future lesbians.
Awareness = Impact = Celebration
Ultimately, it boils down to this: if we don’t know about something how can we even begin to talk about it? Only once this is achieved, can we use impactive discourse, visibility and representation to reach a unanimous level of celebration in a more culture-positive way akin to the pride of the gay man. Everyone knows what a lesbian is supposed to be, sure, but we need to force dissection of the l word and it’s implications - fears every budding lesbian goes through during their pre-les* stage.
Then, in man-hating fashion, we kill it and do pride our way.
I have said a word in this article too many times for even my own comfort.
Don’t just get used to it, move over and make space for it.
Let’s make one dayright now.
*This occurs within early stages of the Am I Gay/I Am Gay complex, where fear of association with the lesbian label often leads to disassociation with the state of being LGBT+ in it’s entirety.