Definition of Lesbian: A Lesbian is a female who is exclusively romantically/sexually oriented to other females.
Seems simple, right?
Well, the definition of Lesbian is actually simple…but many people apparently want to believe otherwise, making it unnecessarily complicated, and then typically becoming quite adamant and irate in their misguided attempts to expand the definition of Lesbian.
This baffling but ongoing argument usually arises when people get peeved regarding the topic of Straightbians ~ otherwise known as straight women who, for a variety of reasons, will choose to partner with lesbians. Potential reasons that straight women might make the decision to partner with lesbians include, but are not limited to: political reasons, curiosity, trauma, simply being sick of dealing with men, mistaking closeness/friendship for love, thinking “the grass is greener on the other side”, rebellion, etc.
Lesbians, and others too, apparently want to believe that any woman can ~ POOF! ~ magically become a lesbian.
While the incorrect idea that any woman can magically “flip to the lesbian team” may seem to be a harmless fantasy on the surface, the reality is often far from benign.
Straightbians have a history of wreaking havoc on the hearts and lives of real lesbians in many ways ~ a topic that my spouse, partner, and all-around sweetiepie Dirt and I have written about several times, and which I am reiterating here.
Typically, in the best-case scenario, a lesbian will partner with a straight woman (who, by definition, literally cannot be truly and genuinely romantically/sexually interested in other women), leading to an unfulfilling, one-sided
relationship. If the lesbian gets “lucky”, such a unhealthy relationship will end quickly.
In less-fortunate scenarios, many lesbians have wasted many years of their precious lives.
The truth is that straight women cannot change their sexual orientation, just as lesbians cannot change our sexual orientation. The much-accepted but ultimately faulty idea that sexual orientation is “fluid” is the very slippery slope that led to idiotic ideas like conversion therapy.
If lesbians want to believe that straight women can change their orientation, how do they reconcile this with the simple fact that lesbians cannot?
How about considering this question, instead of getting defensive and assuming that I am being callous or exclusionary: Don’t we all want our romantic/sexual partners to want us for exactly who we are?
If a woman is not oriented as a lesbian, she can never experience the true desire, nor the depth of connection, with another woman that a lesbian can feel.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not trying to tell anyone what to do. Whatever floats your proverbial boat is fine by me, as long as it involves consenting adults. Everyone is completely responsible for her own life. If lesbians knowingly decide to partner with Straightbians, that is certainly their choice, and when both parties are honest with themselves and each other…more power to them! (It wouldn’t be my choice, but it is not my life).
Also, I am not saying that it is wrong to be straight, nor am I saying that I believe most Straightbians are intentionally trying to harm lesbians. In fact, I believe that most Straightbians are unaware of the inherent problems involved in this scenario, likely primarily due to straight privilege.
I am simply saying that is unhealthy for anyone to be dishonest with herself and/or her partner regarding true orientation.
I would hope that everyone would agree that informed consent in sexual relationships is imperative; but if a Straightbian is appropriating lesbianism for her own purposes without disclosing her true heterosexual orientation to her lesbian lover, then informed consent is not happening. We all deserve to know the motivations and orientation of those we are intimate with.
Bottom line: Just be honest. If you are a straight woman, and are curious about having a relationship with another woman, just say so. Then your potential lover can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Magical thinking may be fun for fantasy, but if you hope to solidify a relationship based upon it, don’t be surprised to find the (so-called) “magic” dissipate into the very thin air from which it arose.
**5/30/2016: Edited to Add: Please also see my partner’s companion piece about Straightbian Privilege: Heterocentricity and Dyke Vulnerability.