Since Dirt and I first started writing about the havoc that has been wreaked upon the lesbian community by Straightbians of all varieties and speaking out about the multitude of alleged “
lesbian experts” who are neither lesbian nor expert, the resistance (and sometimes outright hostility) to what we are saying has been appalling.
We have both been unfollowed/blocked by numerous lesbians/feminists (or, I should say: alleged “
lesbians“/” feminists“) on Twitter, which has prompted me to rethink my own previous position about blocking. We have both received numerous nasty comments and emails (most of which were deleted promptly). We have been subtweeted about relentlessly, because, apparently, some people want to gripe about us, but don’t have the nerve, or the courtesy, to address us directly.
We expected some disagreement, of course. After all, everyone has been spoon-fed lies about lesbianism for decades, and suddenly Dirt and I come along and call it out for what it is: complete and utter horse manure. So we naturally expected some disgruntlement, perhaps even some anger, but the histrionic reaction we have received is as over-the-top emotional that it is as if we told a bunch of preschoolers that Santa had been killed in a tragic mishap at the toy factory.
Why? I have been thinking about it a lot, and I think there are multiple reasons for this backlash. In fact, there are likely even more reasons I have not even thought of yet. But after much consideration, I think that there are 3 primary reasons that we have received so much hatred and anger:
1). People are highly invested in the erroneous myth that “any woman can become a lesbian”.
For straight women, this myth is a back-up plan if things go wrong with men. The myth is a way to feel special by asserting their straight privilege upon lesbians. This myth is an all-purpose fantasy of a sort of all-female Amazonian utopia, (purportedly) free from the damaging effects of patriarchy.
Re: Lesbians, this myth allows lesbians to falsely believe that the Straightbian we have fallen in love with (or the one we have a crush on) could truly fall in love with us. It increases our dating pool. The myth allows lesbians to feel inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of our straight sisters. Lesbians get approval and attention from straight women for buying into this myth; by perpetuating the falsehood that we all can live in an all-inclusive “
lesbian“-lala-land. Lesbians therefore often choose to ignore the obvious fact that sexual orientation is fixed in order to bolster straight women’s egos and fantasies.
Straight men love the thought of sexuality being “fluid”, because…HELLO! Hopes of a threesome! And although I don’t give a flying f**k about what straight men think, I mention this factor to illustrate one of the many reasons that this myth is so harmful to lesbians…because it implies that orientation is simply a choice. To incorrectly imply straight women can magically become lesbians also implies that being a lesbian is a choice, when the truth is that orientation is not changeable. Period.
2). Plenty of Straightbians have become famous and made fortunes/names for themselves by appropriating “
lesbian” with their straight-privileged nonsense. Many others, who have perhaps not become as famous/rich as those profiled in our series, have nevertheless carved out “ lesbian” niches for themselves, particularly on the internet, and they don’t want us spoiling their fun-and-games with simple facts.
3). Finally, and related to the points above, I think a major reason that the myth that “any woman can be a lesbian” has flourished is simple: straight privilege and lesbians not being privileged enough to see it happening nor to stop it from happening.
Real lesbians everywhere have been too busy living our own lives to see ~ or understand ~ the travesties perpetuated by Straightbians unfolding around us: we were too busy coming out, dealing with the fallout of coming out, working, going to school, falling in love, breaking up, having potluck dinners, going to the movies, marching in dyke marches, playing Scrabble, buying houses, selling houses, living, dying.
Sure, lesbians saw our friends, and sometimes even ourselves, getting hurt by Straightbians on an individual level, but we didn’t fully understand that lesbians as a whole were systematically being bulldozed by harmful myths and “
queer” (ugh!!) theory while we were busy barbecuing on the back porch on sultry summer nights.
When Straightbians, with their straight privilege, barged into our lesbian movie nights, we didn’t feel comfortable telling them that almost every movie ever made has been for straight people and that they needed to get their own damn movie night.
When Straightbians took over our women’s groups and tried to tell us what “Lesbian” means, we felt we had to be polite and listen to our feminist sisters.
While Straightbians of differing camps engaged in inappropriately-named “
lesbian sex wars“, fighting over what lesbians “should”, or “shouldn’t”, do in bed, real lesbians were too busy actually having sex.
In other words, while non-lesbians have been hard at work defining us, lesbians have been busy…being lesbians.
As I have said many times before, the definition of lesbian is actually very simple: we are females who are solely oriented toward other females. Be very wary of anybody who tries to make Lesbian theoretical or otherwise complicated. Lesbians don’t need a handbook. Lesbians don’t need academics with their complicated and long-winded jargon defining us. Lesbian don’t need Straightbians, or anybody else, telling us how to have sex nor how to live our lives.
What lesbians need is to stand up against all the horseshit about us that has been spread all around like fertilizer, which has allowed Straightbians to flourish. Lesbians need to start calling non-lesbians out for speaking for and about us. Lesbians need to speak out for and about ourselves. Lesbians need to keep asserting, and demonstrating, that lesbian is normal.
In short, after decades of lies about us, lesbians need truth. Bottom line: if you’re not completely with us in that quest, you’re against us.