Gender Dysphoria: What It Is, What It Isn’t, And How To Feel Better About It

Note: This was written by my partner, spouse, and all-around sweetie-pie, Dirt, and originally posted here.  I wanted to post it here because it is so important to spread the word that what most people are mistaking for “dysphoria” is NOT actually dysphoria.  This post explains what it really is. 

Gender Dysphoria is a term/diagnosis professionals (wrongly) staggeringly overuse to identify and unnecessarily treat transgenders and a term astronomically used by pedestrians to self-diagnose.

As someone who has suffered true Gender Dysphoria to the severest degree, developing puberty related discomfort around age 12, then drastically intensifying a year later, I will discuss Gender Dysphoria from various angles; a first person account, secondary, as an long term lesbian community member and thirdly as an experienced reader/writer on transgender related issues.

I’m told by age two I refused to wear dresses or any clothing that was over the top girly. I can recall at three years of age choosing clothes either uni sex girls or boys clothing, the same was across the board for toys/friends/games/play etc. I also recall specifically at age three that random adult strangers began to ask me “Are you a boy or a girl?”. The question at first confused me, because it made no sense to me. I had long hair, so how couldnt they SEE I was a girl? Later this question or the flat out assumption that I was male, caused me a deep sense of shame. Not a shame in being a girl (that would come later) but shame from the disappointment held in the adult faces questioning my sex when I said “girl”. I kept wondering what was so wrong with being the girl I was and not the boy I was not?

Fortunately my Ma didnt give me any grief for the girl I was and my Dad seemed to take great pride in it. He even encouraged my interests with gifts like a baby blue battery operated motor bike when I was three or the maroon and black mini-bike when I was four, which he drilled holes in the bike’s frame to fashion training wheels till I was comfortable enough to ride without them a year later. I also received no fallout or weirdness from adult relatives or cousins, cousins of whom my closest allies were only boys. It was only strangers/non family adults that seemed genuinely uncomfortable and perplexed by me/my looks/my behaviour/my mannerisms.

I do recall upon entering kindergarten, some mild confusion/uncomfortableness from other kids. I remember specifically during bathroom lineups getting into the girls line and boys yanking me back into their line, whereupon the teacher placed me back into the girls line. I also remember being mortified when such situations occurred (and they occurred often-sometimes still) and filled me with embarrassment. But boys claiming me a their own would follow me all through school. Knowing I was a girl, but also knowing I wasnt like any girl they knew. I was one of them, without being them. Going back to the kindergarten bathroom situation, it was the teachers abrupt actions to physically guide me into the girl’s line (several times), it was her uncomfortableness that made me uncomfortable, not the other kids. And not my own differences, which by age five I was well aware.

Being allowed/accepted to simply be myself-Lynn-by peers, family and having a VERY athletic body that could do just about anything I required of it, as far as bodies go, I didnt give it a second thought till I was about twelve. This was the first time I became aware of my body when it reminded me I WAS my body. My breast began to grow, not much but enough I could no longer run around shirtless and within a year grew enough to warrant wearing the nightmare called a bra.

I don’t know if sports bra’s were available then, but had a plain black sports bra been available it would have made the transition to breast a GREAT deal easier. I may still have laid in my bed at night and beat them with my fists, hoping with everything that was within me to awake each morning and they’d be gone, but reality being reality and they wouldn’t be, a comfortable sports bra would have felt like a blessing. Yet even the severe degree of uncomfort I had when I developed breasts, it was just that, discomfort, NOT dysphoria. And being one who always wore baggy comfortable clothes, once I got over the bra ickiness, while it wasn’t something I loved wearing, I did acclimate to having to wear one. By my late teens I discovered sports bras and never looked back.

At age thirteen, while still dealing with the bra issues, the onset of my period began. The best way to describe my feelings of periods, particularly early on can best be summarized by the writer Janet Frame when she wrote of her feelings each time she was to receive shock treatment “each the equivalent, in degree of fear, to an execution“. That is the most honest description of my feelings whenever a period was due and the most honest during, was the execution itself.

Beginning from age thirteen and ending at age 46, I did feel some form of dysphoria/mental discomfort when a period was coming on/on. I did make a conscious choice in my teens to do my best to live/deal with it and as period products changed (huge pads to thin) it was mostly just discomfort/annoyance. Being a lesbian, most importantly being a Butch lesbian I obviously was NEVER going to get pregnant and give birth. Were it readily available at the time, I would have had ablation to reduce/stop my periods without interfering in my natural hormone processes.

Even purchasing period products gave me a certain amount of embarrassment/mental discomfort. I felt like EVERYONE knew, whereas I wanted NO ONE to know. Meaning, the uncomfortableness that occurred was in feeling like MY personal private business was suddenly on display for strangers. Strangers who saw period products in my shopping cart, strangers who rang my purchases up and the strangers who bagged them. Even when strategically hiding them in my cart, I still had to deal with the cashier and bagger. The times I had long term girlfriends, they would take care of buying period products, knowing as Femmes do, the process made me uncomfortable. I would liken buying period products to the feeling adults who need adult diapers must feel.

It may seem like there is little difference between dysphoria and discomfort, but there is a most critical difference. Just about everyone EVER has felt some sort of uncomfortableness with their body, especially females. That discomfort can be GREAT or it can be small, it can lead to exercising to feel better about yourself, eating healthy or it can lead to an eating disorder. Instilling a healthy self image and a healthy interior can prevent most developing body related issues and where/when body issues arise help to remove all or most body discomfort from them.

Dysphoria is rooted in function and control, specifically bodily functions and the inability to control them. This can be bodily functions tied to our sex or bodily functions independent of sex such as voiding. Some transitioned homosexual males have expressed disliking erections because they emphasized that they were male, but only felt displeasure AFTER they took pleasure in their erection. These feelings are akin to a dieter who cheats with a peace of cake, enjoys eating the cake then feels guilty/bad afterward-that is not dysphoria, that’s regret and self loathing.

Females who hate dealing with periods (every female who’s ever had even one), females complaining of the dreaded “shark week” or a visit from “Aunt Flo”, their discomfort/distress/annoyance in and of itself also doesnt qualify as dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria as it is defined, does not exist. Prior to its debut and the criteria that followed, no person or either sex met the GD criteria.

When Psychology sold its soul to Big Pharma, in its blind ambition for scientific legitimacy, it relaxed or tossed many of its former discerning practices. It is no secret that the young, the intellectually slow and emotionally damaged and fragile are dramatically susceptible to the POWER of suggestion. It is also no great mystery that the rise of Gender Dysphoria diagnoses, much like the rise in Bipolar, ADHD, Autism etc followed AFTER the criteria for these disorders were both broadened and wildly publicized, resulting in hundreds of thousands misdiagnosed and most certainly mistreated.

Body dysphoria is VERY real, VERY distressing and currently has no known clinically successful treatment/cure. Transgender transition is a mentally/physically VIOLENT form of treatment for Gender Dysphoria and since nearly all seeking help for Gender Dysphoria do not adequately meet GD criteria, the treatment is useless and unsuccessful. Transition as treatment/cure for Gender Dysphoria is akin to treating the common cold by way of leg amputation. The focus of the cold would be redirected toward the missing limb, but the cold itself while not the focus would still be present/uncured. And due to the missing leg, a host of other issues would then ensue.

And when those like myself, who would have met (and then some) or even have moments where we might still meet Gender (body) Dysphoria criteria, we found help in the form of common sense, maturity and lovers who didn’t shame us, who instead reminded us we were MORE than our periods and our periods didn’t make us disappear. But even were transition used as treatment/cure for the TRULY body dysphoric like myself, the treatment is an act of disappearing and burying problems has NEVER made problems go away. And once upon a time, uncovering problems was the root of psychology.

dirt

Shipwreck On Lesbo Island (Joannadeadwinter’s Response To Me)

Note: This is joannadeadwinter’s excellent & thought-provoking response to me originally posted on her blog here as part of our ongoing back-and-forth conversation about bisexuality. Please read and join the discussion!

You don’t get to puff yourself up that you’re building the future, then crow about choice when people challenge you on the future you’re building.

I guess that’s as good a place to start as any. Saye Bennett wrote on her blog that she is “still skeptical” on the topic of bisexuality. Well, the post, and particularly the comments, sent my mind abuzz and one post will not adequately address it. But Lao Tzu said that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Here is my first, single step, and that is to make sure we are even discussing the right questions.

Thus far, we have discussed whether bisexuality exists, and if so…why does it *seem* that they are all straight? Those questions still matter, especially to those who dodge critical examination by hiding behind nature (“Don’t judge me you mean old lesbians! I was born bi! I don’t control if I love a man or not!”) Upon reading and writing comments, however, I realized that wasn’t the crux of the matter.

The real question is: What purpose does it serve to have the B lumped in with the LG? How does it add to, or undermine, gay activism and culture?

On a superficial level, it makes sense. Unlike gender, bisexuality is about sexual minority status, or being not-straight in a straight-and-narrow world. Anyone and everyone, whether they are really homosexual or not, needs legal protection and cultural acceptance in the event that a) they are caught engaging in same-sex relations and/or b) are perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be homosexual. Laws that prevent discrimination don’t just protect oppressed classes, but also those perceived to be associated with oppressed classes. A good example is disability law: Just as an employer cannot deny reasonable accommodations on the job, they also cannot force you to use accommodations or alter your job descriptions and responsibilities because your boss *thinks* you have a disability that requires it. It’s the same with religion. If you are perceived to be Muslim and discriminated against because of that perception, the law protects you and employers cannot claim that the law doesn’t apply because it turns out you’re not really Muslim. I feel sexual orientation law can, and should, work in the same way.

Furthermore, I think the concept of bisexuality may have been helpful once upon a time when homosexual was scary, deviant, and criminal. The idea that even people straight as an arrow can and do have homoerotic desires and have same-sex encounters perhaps assisted society in seeing themselves in the gay/lesbian community and hence normalized same-sex attraction. Having more members of a minority in society, and having those minorities in the ranks of “normal” people, tends to have that effect.

Lastly, we may not have a choice as to whether L, G, and B are lumped together. Just as LG were lumped together by larger society during the AIDS crisis, aka the plague, the dying times (!), trans activism may well have the same effect on the LGB. Lesbians have been fighting transactivists for decades, as have gay men (although they have not been as viciously targeted). Bisexuals, though, are new to the fray. It has come to my attention in the past year that bisexuals are transphobic for defining their sexuality in terms of two (bi) biological sexes (sexual). At least one person in my circle calls herself queer and outright refuses the bisexual label because bisexual is “reductive” (“I love people, not body parts!”) and exclusionary (“Think of the trans!”) So I am forced to add bisexuals to the ever-growing list of people who aren’t allowed to say no to cross dressing creeps. If bisexuals ever got a clue and took a stand against this trend, LGB could work well together.

With that said, working well in a crisis involving a common enemy doesn’t necessary translate into working well as a matter of course. That brings us to today’s topic…the drawbacks of the B in LGB.

I don’t imagine that there’s much harm to lesbians when homo-leaning bisexuals (which I call violets) and homoflexible women align with the lesbian community (provided they’re honest) because these women have presumably committed themselves to women’s communities, women’s issues and also strongly prefer women sexually. I could be wrong on this, but they don’t seem to be the issue. Rather it’s hetero-leaning bisexuals (lavenders) who have a habit of crashing onto the shores of Lesbo Island, then leaving when the next male rescuer comes along, but leaving the remains of the shipwreck behind. In other words, they dominate lesbian time and space, marginalize lesbians, and yet don’t contribute to the movement or culture or accept the risks of being publicly visible as lesbian.

Saye and Dirt have talked at great length about straightbians and the damage they do to lesbian communities, as well as talking about what distinguishes later-in-life lesbians from straightbians. I will not belabor that here, in part because they do a better job and because I do not have the expertise in that area. I want to talk about lavenders (assuming that they really are bisexual-leaning-straight, and NOT straightbians) and their impact on lesbian communities. Here is where I question whether it makes sense to lump lesbians and bisexual women together.

Because let’s face it: Lavenders by definition are more straight in their romantic and sexual interest and relate far more to straight culture, and spend far more time in it, than lesbian culture. And lesbian IS a culture. Think of an ethnic group. They are ethnic in their genetics and their appearance, but also their language, their history, their traditions, their way of life. It’s a culture, an identity, and a biological link, all in one. Lesbian is the same way. Every time a lavender joins the lesbian community, then leaves it for a male partner, a marriage, children, and straight ambitions (aka the flat with the white picket fence and apple tree), she creates the impression that this is the proper trajectory for a lesbian. Lesbianism is a phase. Lesbians really want men, eventually, once they heal from whatever trauma or brainwashing they supposedly endured. Lesbians should aspire to get married, have children, or otherwise blend into the straight lifestyle. It normalizes straight culture and straight expectations in the ONE place it shouldn’t be happening.

When I came out, I knew I was different but didn’t know how. I never wanted to get pregnant or get married. I had fantasies early on of just magically creating a child or hatching a child. When I discovered adoption and fostering, I knew I found my place. I always wanted to work, to live independently, by my own rules. I never played at getting married, never really liked boys that much (and no, I wasn’t sexually abused as a child). Yet all I would ever hear was how “You never know, they all say that, you might change your mind!” (Curious how they never say that to little girls who dream of a princess wedding to a handsome prince and lots of little babies.) I have also heard, more than once, about so-and-so who was convinced she was a lesbian…until she met this amazing guy! When people who call themselves lesbians or bisexuals do this in large numbers, it leaves the rest of us in the dust, coerced, not believed. Where does it leave us? It leaves us in one of two places

The more time we spend focusing on the ways lesbians are Just Like Everyone Else, especially in family life and motherhood (a STRAIGHT priority, c’mon!), that is precious time and energy not spent on supporting lesbians who don’t fit the mold-childless lesbians, unmarried or domestically partnered lesbians, lesbians adopting or fostering, single lesbians, lesbians who want and NEED a safe, validating, and SEPARATE space to be lesbian their way…the way most lesbians were throughout most of history, both out of necessity and out of desire. How many people know that when adoption laws were first drawn up, not only were single parents allowed to adopt, they were among the first to adopt and many of these “single” parents were gay and lesbian parents going stealth. Gays and lesbians were instrumental in devising family structures outside of marriage and children and fighting for the rights of unmarried and non-straight people. How many people are aware of the fate of gay and lesbians teens in foster care or in religious cults (beyond the sensational Duggar headlines in tabloids of course?)

Note: Yes, lesbians and gays can get married now, and I feel they should enjoy the benefits available to any other couple. However, I don’t agree with legal rights being exclusive to married couples, straight or not. I hate the wedding industry and the wedding culture, which, like it or not, was built by and for heteropatriarchy, and no amount of “subversiveness” will change that to any significant degree. Get married if you like the symbolism, get married if you want, or need, the rights and privileges attached…but let’s not stop there. You shouldn’t have to get hitched to be set. It’s one step of many to get to our real goal. 

But not many people know this, and even fewer people care. There is, however, a lot of buzz about all the different ways to get pregnant and the details involved in each method. There is plenty of buzz about fancy lesbian weddings with the white wedding dresses, the huge cake, and who takes which partner’s last name. We talk about our houses, our school involvement, our thoroughly assimilated lives. We talk about issues mostly related to heterosexual married mothers because of lesbian assimilation and lavender infiltration, even though there is a whole world devoted to these very issues, and precious little space for those that don’t conform. No, straight people and lavenders must have attention on them at all times. Any little space or time not available to glorify them is a horrible assault on their rights.

What is left out are those who cannot or don’t want to assimilate. Anyone that wants to discuss the alternatives, anyone who criticizes the dominant cultural forces that affect lesbians and, by extension, violets and celibate women, is accused of being exclusionary, of interfering with their right to choose, of judging, etc. How, exactly, little old me and my curmudgeon alter ego have the power to stop two multi-billion dollar industries (wedding and artificial baby industries) and overwhelming cultural forces is not explained.

But mark my words, something WILL be explained, over and over, forcefully as needed, by yours truly, until the day I die…artificial reproduction favors men and undermines women and lesbians. Certain forms of artificial reproduction, in particular artificial insemination, drastically favors male babies. We damage our health and spend larges sums of money bearing and raising these male children. We spend time making sure they don’t grow up to be toxic masculinity personified (which is men’s issue, something men should solve, not women), instead of protecting women from said toxic masculinity. Even if artificial reproduction equally distributed the sex of babies, or even favored female babies…guess what? We don’t need more babies. There are plenty of FEMALE babies, young children, older children, teenagers, young adults in foster care, in institutions, on the streets and in shelters, in abusive households, worldwide, who NEED us. Yet while REAL, ALREADY LIVING women and girls suffer, get abused, die, and are ignored, we pour our resources into creating designer babies, families, lives…and we pretend that this benefits women or advances the lesbian cause. It’s pop culture feminism at its finest. We buy the right media, wear the right clothes, make the right statements…and utterly fail to change the real, material conditions in which women as a class live. More perverse, those that DO try to critique and change material reality are silence by the choosy choice brigade. I’m not buying it. I’ve spent too much of my young life being bullied into silence and acquiescence. I refuse to let my space, my life, be co-opted and dominated for that purpose anymore.

Remember back in the day of King Henry and his many wives? How he killed them for failing to bear sons? Lesbians are being damaged and the soul of lesbian culture is being slaughtered to bear and raise male babies by heteropatriarchal standards. Yes, it’s history repeating itself. Wake up.

When you fail to honor lesbian and woman-centered culture, when you abandon us, leave your shipwreck on our island…you destroy lesbian culture and thus lesbian lives. When you leave us for straight culture, you drag us with you without our consent or leave us to get figuratively beat up by the dominant culture. And I just won’t go, and I won’t take the blows.

Lesbo Island doesn’t care much for passing visitors, but immigrants and displaced members of the lesbo diaspora are always welcome. Think hard about which category you fall into. Enjoy your stay.

UnStraightening Lesbian-Removing the Heterosexual Lens (Part 2)

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Image: #PicsArt #FreeToEdit

Note:  This is another joint post with Dirt; originally posted here.

As our readers know, we have been doing a series of posts exposing some of the numerous offenders who have posed as “Lesbian Experts” but who are neither lesbian nor expert.

So far, we have covered: Susie Bright, Pat/rick Califia, Rachel Pepper, and JoAnn Loulan.

Our next group of wrongdoers share similarities with our first batch.  The main similarity they all share is the fact that each of them is guilty of widely broadcasting false information about lesbians while widely promoting themselves as having “expertise” regarding lesbian lives.

All of our perpetrators have all also profited from incorrectly speaking for and about real lesbians, gaining both money and fame by promoting their fabrications about lesbian lives.

Below, we will give a brief preview of why these individuals made our list of the infamous, and, as before, we will then follow-up with separate posts on each.

Without further ado, and in no particular order of offensiveness, here are the next 4 culprits of our “Dirty Dozen”:

1). Amber Hollibaugh:

Hollibaugh has been a well-known figure for many years, primarily known and quoted as a “Lesbian Expert“, although, as we will demonstrate in our future post, she is neither.

Hollibaugh has published books/articles, participated in many lectures/conversations/interviews, has been revered by many as an “expert” on lesbian matters, and has even been included in Smith College’s Voices In Feminism Oral History Project.

According to her publisher, Duke University Press:

“Amber L. Hollibaugh is a lesbian sex radical, ex-hooker, incest survivor, gypsy child, poor-white-trash, high femme dyke…She explores the concept of labeling and the associated issues of categories such as butch or femme, transgender, bisexual, top or bottom, drag queen, b-girl, or drag kingHaving informed many of the debates that have become central to gay and lesbian activism, Hollibaugh’s work challenges her readers…”

As an initial teaser to preview our more substantial post on Hollibaugh, let’s look at just a few quotes from Hollibaugh herself:

This quote is from her Smith College interview, talking about looking for a female partner since she decided to call herself a “lesbian”:  (Our comment to this quote: Huh??):

You’re not looking for girl…the signifier is a girl that’s a boy that’s a girl.” (pg. 50)

And another quote from the Smith College interview, talking about dating men (which is not very “lesbian” of her, now is it?):

I’d been very ruthless about men, didn’t really, I don’t know— I was in love with love…that period was a period where I started to have a lot of sex, I was either 16 or 17, and I wanted, I had started to believe in great love…” (pg.52)

One last teaser quote from Hollibaugh in the same Smith College interview, this time discussing her work as a prostitute while also calling herself a “lesbian“:

“…it is confusing when you are hooker, because you are doing it for work, and so you don’t know whether you would— how that’s affecting you— whether women look good because they aren’t men, or whether you are actually independently attracted to women. Uh, and I wasn’t quite sure how I thought about it. I wasn’t prepared to stop fucking men, I actually never had trouble having sex with men.” (pg.59)

It seems pretty clear that Hollibaugh isn’t a lesbian from these few quotes alone, but her true warped, confused, attention-seeking Straightbian nature will become increasingly clear in our future separate post on her.

2). Gayle Rubin:

Rubin, along with our previously featured offender Pat/rick Califia pooled their resources perversions into Samois, “the first lesbian BDSM organization” in 1978. According to this source,

“In June 1978, Califia and two friends, including author Gayle Rubin, decided to form a specifically lesbian SM support group.  By reaching out to their personal networks and hanging posters in the gay leather bars, the organizers attracted seventeen women to the first meeting.  They soon settled on dual foci of educational and political activities, and SM group sex parties in which members could participate.  Members hoped to support their own erotic lives while also responding to attacks on SM from the larger women’s movement.”

Rubin is hailed as “a pioneering theorist and activist in feminist, lesbian and gay, queer, and sexuality studies since the 1970s” (in the Amazon promo for her book, Deviations).

If “pioneering” equals “perverted“, then…um…sure, let’s go with that.

As just one teaser quote to lead into our upcoming post on Rubin, we will leave you with just this on statement regarding pedophilia (!!!) that should make any sane and thinking person’s hair stand up on the back of her neck:

Youth Liberation has argued for some time that young people should have the right to have sex as well as not to have it, and with whom they choose. The statutory structure of the sex laws has been identified as oppressive and insulting to young people. A range of sexual activities are legally defined as molestation, regardless of the quality of the relationship or the amount of consent involved. …

The recent career of boy-love in the public mind should serve as an alert that the self-interests of the feminist and gay movements are linked to simple justice for stigmatized sexual minorities. … We must not reject all sexual contact between adults and young people as inherently oppressive.

~ Gayle Rubin, lesbian feminist, in Leaping Lesbian, February, 1978

3). Shar Rednour:

Shar Rednour is yet another person who is widely viewed as a “lesbian sexpert“.  The following is from her Amazon bio:

“Shar wrote the empowering, hilarious whole-life anthem for Femmes of most ages and all genders: The Femme’s Guide to the Universe, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award…Shar Rednour worked at the original On Our Backs Magazine/Fatale Media both as an editor/writer and in video production. In 1998 she co-founded her own production company with her wife Jackie. Their explicit sex education films were best-selling and critically acclaimed and include the cult classic Bend Over Boyfriend.”

A couple of important notes on the above quote from her bio:

A).  A true Femme is a lesbian and therefore a female; thus the words “for Femmes of most ages and all genders” is a whole truckload of poppycock baloney bullshit malarkey.

B).  All of our offenders are intricately interconnected; our readers will recall Susie Bright‘s involvement with On Our Backs.

C).  Shar’s wife, Jackie, has now apparently been sucked into the quicksand of Straightbian‘s partners everywhere: the trans trend. Jack, as she now calls herself, currently describes herself as follows on her website: “They are a Trans-Butch singer/songwriter.”

D). Shar and Jackie’s “cult classic” sex education porn video, Bend Over Boyfriend, covered “the practice of a woman penetrating a man’s anus with a strap-on dildo (known as pegging)“; because…well, apparently, as (allegedly) lesbian filmmakers, they must have engaged in the following thought process: “Hmmm...Since we are lesbian filmmakers, what should we focus our energies on??  Oh!  I know!  Let’s make a video of how to bang your boyfriend in his butt!

As with our other offenders, the above information is almost all you need to know about Shar Rednour, but we will continue the exploration of her harmful messages in our follow-up post about her.

4). Joan Nestle:

Ah, Joan.  Where shall we start with you?  So much to say, so little space!

Let’s start with the fact that Nestle was the editor of the hideous lesbian anthology, The Persistent Desire, in which so much misinformation was crammed into one book that if you open it randomly to any page, cover your eyes, and randomly point, there is a 99.526746538% chance that the paragraph your finger falls upon is complete and utter foolishness.

Let’s also note that Nestle has a voluminous resume of lesbian publications and speaking engagements and is widely regarded as a “lesbian expert” who “is an award-winning author of lesbian literature, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the cofounder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.

Despite being highly lauded by multitudes as a “lesbian expert“, let’s examine a few Joan Nestle quotes, all taken from The Persistent Desire:

The first adult person I loved and lusted after was a gay man” (pg. 256)

“in graduate school, I even had a man as a mistress. I never let him fuck me, but I jerked him off, I went down on him, I did everything to play with this thing called a penis” (pg. 257)

I was dating a tough guy, Denny…Denny felt me up in the movies and gave me huge hickeys…It was so clear to me that there was a way to be sexual and I had to find it. All this has to do with how I came to my femmeness.” (pg. 260) 

“The first time I slept with a man, he masturbated me and I came.” (pg. 260)

“I was more attracted to men who were smooth operators.  They excited me.” (pg. 260) 

Let’s examine these quotes of Joan Nestle’s more closely:

What is obvious from these quotes is that Nestle is physically attracted to males, and, by her own admission, actively sought out and enjoyed sexual contact with males. This is NOT LESBIAN. (Even though later-in-life lesbians often have had previous relationships with men, they universally report that they were never truly attracted to them).

Although there is much more to say about Nestle, the above quotes are more than enough to reveal why she made our “Dirty Dozen” offender list.

The information above is just a very small sample of the huge amount of information that we found on this group of 4 offenders, proving that these women are neither lesbian nor expert.

We will delve more deeply into each of these women in future posts.  Stay tuned… 

A Day In The Life Of A Lesbian

This screencap is a direct message from a male stranger on Twitter. I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but sadly, this sort of thing happens ALL THE TIME.  I don’t usually take the time to screencap it, but today, I just felt like saying something. So many jerks, so little time…

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Ahhh…Twitter!  

Always A Lesbian

Twitter is a constant source of inspiration (or rather, consternation) regarding topics for posts.

Today’s post came about due to a battle that Dirt had last night with a purported “lesbian”. This purported “lesbian” claimed that nobody is a lesbian until we have had sex with a woman.

So, to give an example of this thinking (which closely corresponds to her own example):

To illustrate this woman’s idea, let’s say that a lesbian has sex for the very first time at on her 25th birthday.  So, in this woman’s mind, our example was NOT a lesbian from birth up though the age of 24 years, 11 months, and 28-31 days, depending on her month of birth.

Then poof!  On her 25th birthday she does the naughty deed and wow!, our example suddenly becomes a lesbian at that oh-so-magical moment.

Hogwash.

When confronted by Dirt on the obvious flaws in this thinking, and when even given examples that refute this bizarre idea, this woman, like so many people on Twitter, got upset, spouted a ton of nonsense about “compulsory heterosexuality” and said the assumption is always that everybody is straight, and finally refused to discuss it anymore.

So I will break it down here in case there is any confusion lurking about.

Lesbians do not “magically become lesbian” at the precise moment we have sex.  We were lesbian all along.

In fact, we don’t need to even have sex to be a lesbian; we could choose celibacy if we wanted to, and yet we would still be lesbians.

Same principle with gay men; same principle with EVERYBODY.

Let’s look at a similar example with a straight woman.  Let’s say our hypothetical straight woman has decided to “save herself for marriage” (as the saying goes), deciding to be celibate until her wedding night.

Our fictitious straight woman meets the man of her dreams and they become engaged, and sure enough, they do wait until their wedding night to consummate their relationship.

Was our example NOT STRAIGHT until her wedding night?  Did she have to have sex to “become straight”?

Of course not.  She was heterosexual all along.

As another hypothetical example, let’s say a young lesbian had not yet had sex, but she plans to seduce a special lady this coming weekend. Tragically, she gets hit in the head by a softball on Thursday evening, and sadly dies immediately. Since she died before ever having sex, does that make her any less of a lesbian?

Of course not.  She was a lesbian all along.

What about a lesbian who never, for whatever reason, dates?  Maybe she is too shy to get out into the dating world, maybe she is a workaholic and doesn’t take the time to meet a partner, but for whatever reason, this woman never has sex before she dies. Guess what?  She is still a lesbian.

One more hypothetical example to illustrate this point, and I will be done.

In our next example, let’s say a young straight male teenager (who has not yet had sex) is marooned on an island because he is the sole survivor in a horrific maritime accident.  He is stuck on this island, alone forever until he eventually croaks. Since he never had sex before becoming hopelessly isolated on the island by himself, does that make him any less straight?

Answer: of course not. He was straight until the day he died. He was just likely very frustrated.

Being a lesbian isn’t about having sex.  Our identities don’t spring up out of thin air on the day we first make love.  I was a lesbian when I was a virgin, and I would still be a lesbian if I had still to this day never had sex at all. Always a lesbian.

This is basic common sense, folks.

Unstraightening Lesbian: Removing the Heterosexual Lens: JoAnn Loulan

Note: This is another joint post with my spouse, partner, and all-around sweetiepie, Dirt; originally posted here.

This joint post is yet another in our series about so-called “Lesbian Experts” who are neither lesbian nor expert.

Today’s offender is JoAnn Loulan, who has been hailed as a “lesbian sexpert“. Loulan has published the following books: Lesbian Passion: Loving Ourselves and Each Other, The Lesbian Erotic Dance, and Lesbian Sex; which, according to Loulan’s own website, “have together sold over 75,000 copies worldwide“, which amounts to quite a huge chunk of lesbian change padding Loulan’s heterosexual pockets.

Loulan

In addition, Loulan has served as a so-called “lesbian expert“, while specifically calling herself a “lesbian“, on numerous panels, in addition to making appearances on television shows, including Oprah, Phil Donahue, and others, to peddle her phony wares.

However, there is a huge issue with calling JoAnn Loulan a “lesbian expert“:

JoAnn Loulan is straight.

Therefore, she is also, by definition, NOT an expert in lesbian matters.

After appropriating “lesbian” for her own purposes, misrepresenting lesbians, using lesbians, gaining fame from using the term “lesbian”, and profiting from lesbians, JoAnn Loulan finally showed her true colors to the world by marrying a man.

(Or, rather, technically, we should say she married another man, because she had been married previously to a different man, before deciding to hijack Lesbian).

Loulan flippantly wrote off her responsibility to the lesbian community when confronted about her defaulting to her true Straightbian nature: “I’m proud of myself for telling the truth“, she said…apparently too self-centered and myopic to realize that she has nothing to be proud of.  Her heterosexual “truth” confession is way too little and way too late.

JoAnn Loulan is much worse than the “sell-out” that she was accused of being at the time of her marriage to a man; rather, she is a shameless charlatan who seemingly does not even have the conscience to examine why what she has done to lesbians is wrong.

In fact, Loulan has not retracted her “lesbian” books despite her abandonment of lesbians; and she happily continues to list them on her website today.

As with our other offenders in this series, Loulan has published so very much erroneous drivel about lesbians that one post cannot possibly cover it all, so we will have to pick a few choice examples to illustrate Loulan’s ignorance.

All of today’s examples, below, of Loulan’s wisdom horse manure come from the book The Lesbian Erotic Dance.

Let’s start with Loulan’s own story of her “coming out” (deciding to use lesbians for fame and profit):

As for myself, I am grateful that some lesbians like to bring straight women out...Many lesbians avoid bringing someone out — in part for fear that she might go back to men” (pp. 127-128).

Ummm…HELFUCKINLO!

Well, Loulan’s own wording proves our point. Note that Loulan says “bring straight women out“; her subconscious is peeking through here, because the key word is STRAIGHT (as in straight back to a man!).

Gee, we wonder why lesbians might worry that STRAIGHT women might go back to men?? Hmmmm…perhaps it is because they are STRAIGHT and that they WILL go back to men.

Thanks for proving our point for us, JoAnn Loulan! Very helpful!

On to the next example of Loulan’s flapdoodle, this time regarding the question of what makes someone a lesbian:

“...some women choose to be lesbians…It’s a wonderful lifestyle...” (pg. 194)

Again, let’s examine this carefully. Of course, Loulan would say that women “choose to be lesbians“…because, for her, it was indeed a (temporary) choice to pretend to be one. Also her breezy statement (Jimmy Stewart-inspired, no doubt) that “It’s a wonderful lifestyle” is not only naive and incorrect, but also indicates copious amounts of straight privilege.

Being a lesbian is NOT a choice.  Being a lesbian is also NOT a “lifestyle“, and it certainly isn’t always a “wonderful” picnic in the park: sadly, even today, lesbians encounter discrimination, invisibility, oppression, misrepresentation, and violence.

Moving on to another example of Loulanesque truth-twisting and outright stupidity, this time with a quote involving Butches:

Sue Golding discusses the range of butch sexuality. ‘I think a lot of butches actually identify more with hermaphroditism.  They see themselves as being male and female…‘ ” (pg. 126)

Even though Loulan is quoting another idiot (Golding), this quote is significant because Loulan saw fit to publish it. This one quote is so ludicrous that it almost would be laughable, except for the alarming foreshadowing of so many lesbians transitioning today.

We have Loulan and her pathetic cohorts to thank, at least in part, for destroying so many lesbian lives with such absurd notions as those voiced in this quote.

In another part of the book, Loulan talks about problems with how Femmes are seen in the lesbian community. While we agree that there are indeed many misconceptions and problems with how Femmes are viewed/treated in the lesbian community, we wanted to specifically critique one of Loulan’s statements on the matter:

Some lesbians believe that femmes would be with men, except for some fluke, and that femme lesbians are women who have been lovers with men at different stages of their sexual lives. There is also the belief that these women are likely to go back to men at some point, betraying the lesbian sisterhood.” (pg. 86)

Sadly, Loulan is right about this incorrect perception of Femme lesbians. Femme lesbians face widespread lack of acceptance and understanding from both within the lesbian community and in the general population.

But what Loulan fails to see, understand, and/or address is that obvious fact that she, JoAnn Loulan, and other lying poser Straightbians like her, have directly contributed to the misrepresentation and prejudice Femme lesbians face.

By perpetrating the outright deceit that she, JoAnn Loulan, herself is a Femme lesbian, many people, apparently blindly and unthinkingly, accepted her word about that.

So then when Loulan (predictably!!) goes back to men, because she NEVER was a Femme lesbian to begin with, Femme lesbians then are left to deal with the anger, suspicion, and confusion caused by a Straightbian.

Our next selected Loulan quote is along the same lines, indicating that Loulan is no more a lesbian than she is a wombat, and interestingly, ties into another offender in our current series, Pat/rick Califia:

“When Pat Califia circulated a survey within the lesbian community in San Francisco…there was a rumor that she was straightI lecture to lesbians throughout the country, have been on television as an out lesbian, write articles and books in which I regularly talk about being a lesbian, and yet there is still a rumor that I am straight.” (pg. 23)

Based on this quote and the surrounding sentences in this passage, Loulan obviously has her panties in a wad in this section, and seems determined to prove she is a “lesbian” by listing her appearances and publications.

Sorry to burst the delusional little bubble of Loulan and her accomplices, but writing books/articles and appearing on television and lecturing to real lesbians does not make you a lesbian, just as obtaining a Ph.D. and writing/lecturing about the strange sexual behaviors of a newly discovered marsupial does not make Dr. Andrew Baker a black-tailed antechinus.

The rumors about Loulan and Califia persisted for one reason: because lesbian intuition and gaydar trumped their false claims.

In this book, Loulan uses many quotes gathered from her so-called “research” on the topic of lesbianism in general and Butch/Femme in particular. Of course, what she doesn’t seem to realize is that the “research” is only as good as the “researcher“, methodology, and subjects.

In Loulan’s “research“, questionnaires were distributed at various sites. These questionnaires measure only subjective self-report with absolutely no way to verify the accuracy of the subject’s perceptions (or even whether some people completed the questionnaires with bizarre answers as a complete joke).

To further complicate matters, even the questions being asked were not based on any sort of valid or even objective criteria; for instance, Loulan asked respondents to rate themselves and their lovers on a 9-point “butch/femme scale“.

Another unscientific question on this questionnaire asks subjects to rate themselves and their lovers as which of the following Goddesses: Artemis, Athena, Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Persephone, or Aphrodite. Because, well, apparently Loulan thought that Goddess information is certainly at the very top of the hierarchy of lesbian concerns.

So, remember, all results should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt shit.

But since these results are considered to be integral in what Loulan is preaching about lesbianism, let’s glance at a sample of the results:

1). According to Loulan on page 194, one-third of her sample “did choose their lesbianism”.

In other words, one-third of her alleged “lesbian” sample were not really lesbians.

2). According to Loulan on page 201, one-third of her sample “identified as either butch or femme”.  

Butch/Femme are incredibly rare in the lesbian community, so this high percentage automatically raises a huge red flag that these self-reported results are inaccurate.

3). According to Loulan on page 202, “the constructs for a butch lesbian and a femme lesbian are different to the point of being almost as separate as two genders.”

In case Loulan wasn’t aware of this, Butch lesbians and Femme lesbians and ALL lesbians are female. We may express female differently but we are all female in every way.

4). According to Loulan on page 203:

for three-fourths of the respondents, their ratings” (on the butch/femme scale) “changed according to different situations.

Sighing loudly.  Being Butch or Femme does not change according to an activity or what we are wearing, etc. If Loulan were actually a real Femme lesbian, or had she even bothered to get to know real lesbians, she would have known this, and she would have realized her subjects were clueless as well. But since she is not, she blithely spreads misinformation.

5). According to Loulan on page 205:

There is a good deal of speculation about what is a butch, femme or androgynous women. Many will say it is how she is built, how much she weighs. Some will say it has to do with how she walks or dresses. Still others believe that it has to do with an attitude in the world, and especially in lovemaking. When it comes to the sexual aspect of the discussion, there are pretty strong ideas that butches are aggressive and femmes are passive, while androgynous women believe in total equality.”

Again, Loulan is reporting the results of her survey, but these results only show her subjects’ deep ignorance and confusion about the topic, as well as Loulan’s own inability to understand even the basics of lesbian culture in general and Butch/Femme dynamics specifically.

6). For a final example amongst hundreds of potential examples, once again Loulan demonstrates that both her “research” and her knowledge of lesbian culture and B/F dynamics is severely impaired as demonstrated by the following quotes:

When I say that there are no differences in this survey between butch, femme, and androgynous women, I mean that:

  • there are no significant differences in bed (though femmes penetrate their lovers more frequently than anyone else!)–not in orgasms, enjoyment, initiation, or other practices;…
  • there are no body types specifically associated with any one identity;

  • there’s no correlation between motherhood and identity;…”

The truth about these “results” can be easily summarized as follows:  Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Loulan wouldn’t know a Butch or a Femme if one of us slapped her in the face, which is tempting, and her subjects apparently are equally uninformed.

In summary, JoAnn Loulan, like our other offenders in this series, is neither a lesbian nor an expert in lesbian matters.  She has no right to speak to, for, or about lesbians. The only place her lesbian books belong is in the garbage, where they can truly fester like the putrid refuse that they are, and the garbage is where both our copies ended up!

Mrs. Dirt and Dirt

Unstraightening Lesbian: Removing The Heterosexual Lens: Rachel Pepper

Note: This is a joint post with Dirt: original post is here. This post is one in a series which will expose some of the biggest culprits among the so-called “Lesbian Experts” who are neither lesbian nor expert.

Today’s subject, Rachel L. Pepper, is a longtime editor for the (allegedly) lesbian magazine Curve (which is rarely lesbian anymore), and a self-described “Blogger, award winning author, editor, and therapist”.

Pepper is also a known Straightbian who, it seems, “supported” her lesbian partner right into transition, and she is currently using her LGBT expertise propaganda to make money by Pied-Peppering gay and lesbian children into transition.

One of Pepper’s early lesbian contributions money-makers was her book The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians, because who better to tell lesbians how to make babies than a STRAIGHT woman?

Even in her pregnancy book, allegedly written for lesbians, Pepper’s true Straightbian trans-promoting colors were already peeking through.  She often mentions so-called “lesbian partnerships” in which one partner is transitioning: breezily, annoyingly, and repeatedly referring to an FtM partner as a “tranny pop”.

In chapter 2, in one passage, Pepper perkily exclaims that FtMs can get pregnant too; but without bothering to address the multiple health risks to the baby if testosterone is administered during the pregnancy.

By chapter 3, Rachel’s true heterosexuality is on full display, when she writes:

If you’re like me, and spent your teenage years trying not to get pregnant with your male partners…”

In addition to the truckload of Straightbian garbage, one reviewer noted some startling medical inaccuracies in Pepper’s pregnancy book:

“While Pepper’s support and encouragement are invaluable and her non-medical advice is excellent, there are some serious obstetrical inaccuracies here. For instance, Pepper describes the procedure of stripping the membranes to induce labor, as ‘pushing away the thin skin covering the cervix’ (p.188). There is no skin covering the cervix. The procedure involves inserting a finger through the internal os of the cervix and then gently pushing away the amniotic sac.  On the same page, Pepper recommends notifying your physician immediately ‘if you haven’t noticed any fetal movements in a few days.’ There is nothing ‘immediate’ about a few days and a few days will be too late for a baby experiencing problems in the womb.  After 32 weeks, ask your physician or midwife how to monitor your baby’s activity pattern.”

Several Goodreads reviewers noticed Pepper’s incessant self-congratulatory, egocentric tone; her Straightbian ways of conceptualizing lesbian relationships; and other issues.  Here is a sampling of the reviews:

“Whenever she mentions any choice a lesbian might have to make in their path towards motherhood, she just can’t resist interjecting what SHE did.”

“My favorite piece of Rachel Pepper extraneous information about her specific family wisdom is when she suggests that warm milk is a perfectly good substitute for coffee during pregnancy. It worked for her! And not only that, but her daughter Francis agrees, and still drinks it to this day! Seriously, Rachel Pepper, WHO CARES?!?”

“In the first chapter, her constant insertions of her own experiences are fine, but she literally cannot get through a single paragraph without talking about herself and her own experiences with motherhood. And this I believe is her unconscious intention in writing the book: she wanted the world to know about HER experiences as a mother. I mean, how could the landscape of lesbian pregnancy books possibly be complete without a book in which we see Rachel Pepper’s perspective.”

If I could give this book less than one star, I would. The fact that so many of us end up reading (and worse, buying!) a book that has such little detailed information — you could learn this much in 30 minutes online — and so much denigration of non-gestational mothers (who apparently shouldn’t breathe on the baby, lest nursing collapse, or consider themselves mothers — “dyke daddy” is okay, though) is a testament to how few good books there are about lesbian parenthood.”

You can tell what you’re in for from the cover, which is of the midriff of a beautiful, smooth-skinned, white pregnant woman with a bare stomach and a sarong around her hips. By the end of reading it, I felt like if I read the words ‘luscious pregnant body’ one more time I was going to kill something.”

“…there are some very annoying bits where she gives rather sententious and unwanted advice about finances (if you can’t afford to get pregnant how can you afford to have a child?!?!??!?! FUCK YOU LADY, POOR PEOPLE CAN HAVE BABIES) and age (younger people shouldn’t have babies! wait until you’re in your late twenties and you’re mature enough to be a parent! you might think you want to get pregnant but you don’t know what you want!).”

The book thinks it’s inclusive but is wildly middle class and also occasionally outdated/clueless.

In numerous places, she, apparently unconsciously, uses quite demeaning and subtly inappropriate words, turns of phrase, and entire perspectives to describe the permanent partnerships that exist between many women and the wife/partner’s role.

After reading copious reviews of Pepper’s Lesbian Pregger book, what lesbian reviewers make clear is that this book was written by a STRAIGHTBIAN who is/was in a relationship with a trans female. Pepper merely uses “Lesbian” to ensnare readers (like she did her trans female partners prior to transition).

After her foray into writing for lesbians in her true Straightbian fashion, Pepper’s perky nose quickly sniffed out a change in the winds of fortune and turned her contributions money-making efforts in the direction of the currently more profitable trans trend: writing books, making TV appearances, and Peppering (get it?) Curve Magazine (supposedly a lesbian publication, with “supposedly” being the key word) with her trans-related propaganda.

In summary, Rachel Pepper is not a lesbian, and she is certainly not an expert in lesbian affairs.   She is currently undermining lesbians, as well as gay/lesbian children, by pushing her clear trans agenda, and she is being enabled to do so by a magazine that purports to be for and about lesbians. 

When called out on her true agenda, in true Straightbian privileged fashion, Pepper passive-aggressively responds using the same “lesbian” magazine as her platform.

We see who and what you really are, Rachel Pepper. It is way past time that lesbians stop forking over our hard-earned cash to you, and to the publishers and magazines who support your agenda.  Get a new hobby, Rachel Pepper, because in the eloquent words of one reviewer of your lesbian work, Seriously, Rachel Pepper, WHO CARES?!?”