Lesbians Are Different

2017-08-2-11-20-46

#PicsArt #FreeToEdit

Ever since my partner, spouse, and all-around sweetie-pie, Dirt, wrote a post entitled “Lesbian Children Are Not Girls: How Hetero-Society Ignores Lesbians“, she has received lots of feedback both publicly and privately: positive feedback from Lesbians and argumentative comments from hetsplainers.

One hetsplaining commenter in particular persists in insisting that any differences between the sexes, and/or differences between Lesbians and heterosexual females, is simply a matter of “socialization” and “gender stereotyping”.

While socialization and stereotyping are indeed real, they are not solely responsible for, nor do they sufficiently explain, the differences between Lesbians and heterosexual females that Dirt is writing about.

The other tactic the hetsplainers like to use is the “exception to the rule” argument. They will completely ignore most the information presented and go straight to the argument that they and/or someone they know don’t fit into what Dirt is saying in one way or another.

It should go without saying (but it obviously has to be said anyway!), that, when speaking in generalities about any topic, of course, there will always be “exceptions to the rule”. These expected exceptions to the rule, however, do not disprove the rule, and using this tactic as an argument is simply a way to try to minimize or deny what someone is saying.

My point is that (as usual!) heterosexuals are responding  to Lesbians by arguing, minimizing, and denying what we are saying (in this case, about our own existence!), rather than realizing that they do not know what the heck they are talking about, and therefore shutting up long enough to listen and learn.

Dirt’s posts (a 3-part series, here is part 2) will cover the topic of how Lesbians and straight females differ in depth, but I also wanted to write briefly about it.

When I wrote the guest post entitled “A Lesbian Psychologist Speaks Out“, I touched very briefly on this division between Lesbians and heterosexual females:

“Even though I am a so-called ‘feminine-presenting’ lesbian myself, there are still significant differences in how I process and approach the world in comparison to my heterosexual cohorts…

Because lesbians often don’t see others like ourselves in the world around us, we often feel we are different than other females.”

This difference is something that is difficult to fully understand, much less articulate clearly. However, despite struggling to put it into words, feeling “different” from an early age is something that every Lesbian I have ever spoken to (or read about) consistently reports.

I wanted to give a brief summary of a just a few of the ways in which I personally have perceived myself as “different” from my straight friends, acquaintances, and coworkers:

  • I am/was neither flattered by, nor bothered by, males. (Note that I am not talking about stalkers, perverts, rapists, or otherwise abusive males…everybody should be bothered by them! Rather, I am referring to “regular” males encountered on an everyday basis ~ fellow students, coworkers, neighbors, etc.).
  • I didn’t “lose myself” when adolescence hit, unlike my straight friends and fellow students (and most heterosexual adolescent girls!), who were suddenly (and overwhelmingly!) more interested in boys than in anything else. Grades, hobbies, interests, friends, family, pets, etc. are suddenly yesterday’s news for many straight female adolescents.
  • Even though I was already aware that I was a Lesbian as an adolescent, I didn’t go “girl crazy” like my cohorts went “boy crazy”. Even when I met my first partner at age 17, I still made A’s in college, worked 2 jobs, volunteered, worked out, and still maintained my friendships and family relationships. My world didn’t simply stop to revolve around my romantic relationship; yet, time and time again, I have seen (otherwise intelligent) straight females seemingly sucked straight into a black hole
  • As Dirt said in her post, “Lesbian children are not culturally groomed to have our bodies change (develop) for the purpose of pleasing other (teen/adult) Lesbians as/when we mature.” Most heterosexual parents are not even aware they are doing it, but girls are groomed and reinforced from a young age to welcome sexual maturity and the heterosexual assumption/privilege that goes along with it. Girls are reinforced for physically attractiveness (“You’re such a pretty girl! You’re going to break lots of boys’ hearts one day!” and similar comments). Therefore heterosexual girls are often proud of the new curves that appear in adolescence. In contrast, I was extremely uncomfortable about the changes in my body at adolescence, and made every effort to cover up (still do!). Instead of welcoming the sudden attention I got for my looks, I dreaded it. (Although I did not have true dysphoria myself, I can easily understand how many young Lesbians might mistake such acute bodily discomfort for dysphoria).
  • Because I am not straight (therefore, I am an outsider), I could/can usually see clearly what’s going on (and what is going to happen) in my straight friends’ love lives, to the point where many have said I am “psychic”. Being on the outside allows me to view heterosexual relationships/culture/behavior with detachment, and makes me typically able to observe and understand male behavior more clearly than my straight female friends.
  • I didn’t/don’t understand the hints, innuendos, and vague language often used by my straight female cohorts. I didn’t/don’t understand the desire to speak indirectly rather than simply stating what is wanted or needed. For example, if you want something specific for your birthday, why not just say so, rather than assuming your partner “should” magically know (and then being disappointed when you don’t get what you want)?  I don’t understand it; I never will. But my straight friends say they find such directness “inappropriate” (or unimaginable!). (Note that I am not referring to “good/bad manners” here, but rather simply directness versus indirectness of communication).
  • It wouldn’t have occurred to me to break plans with a friend because I suddenly got a date, yet doing so seems to be often both accepted and expected amongst straight female friends.
  • As a child, adolescent, and adult, I have never completely “fit in” with straight people, male or female, although I get along well with both. I have personality characteristics that are considered to be “stereotypically female” as well as personality characteristics that are considered to be “stereotypically male”. It’s like I live in a middle world, which is separate from both, but also like both, in various ways. Thus, Dirt’s assertion that “Lesbians are not girls”.
  • When I comment online, either anonymously or using a gender-neutral username, I am often accused of “mansplaining”. Straight females often seem to mistake directness for male behavior. No, it’s Lesbian behavior!

These are just a few examples. Of course, every Lesbian’s experience is unique, and I am not speaking for all (nor do I want to).  (Similarly, every straight woman’s experience is unique as well, and, as I said above, of course, there are always exceptions).

I will say, though, that I have heard of numerous similar experiences in the stories of Lesbians. Enough to ascertain that there is indeed a definite pattern of difference between Lesbians and straight females. And all the hetsplainers in the universe cannot explain away this truth.

39 thoughts on “Lesbians Are Different

  1. I am gay, and I am fully aware of the prejudice the LGBT+ community still face, however we need to progress. Views like this just cause further divide between the LGBT+ and heterosexual community by highlighting our differences which is the opposite of what the LGBT+ community need. Personality is not always affected by sexuality; I’m very similar to many of my straight friends and I don’t feel the need to constantly define myself as a lesbian because I would still be the same person regardless of my sexuality. We are all unique and we cannot be labelled, and the last thing we need is more segregation

    Like

    • Obviously, I disagree.

      Starting with: Lesbian is the actual correct term for female homosexual, not “gay” (and not “queer” or “LGBT+” etc. either).

      Lesbian is NOT something you can “define yourself” as: you either are a Lesbian…or you’re not. Period.

      Personality is something totally different too, and not the topic of the post.

      Furthermore, to deny Lesbian existence is both counterproductive and naive.

      To say “everybody is the same” is not only incorrect, it is damaging to real Lesbians because it contributes to our invisibility and feeds into the ridiculous nonsense that “any woman can be a lesbian”.

      Of course, there are similarities between gays/lesbians and heterosexuals. (Obviously). I have never said otherwise.

      To be different, and to note these differences, is not to “segregate” ourselves. Clearly, I have straight friends (as I clearly stated in the post numerous times).

      Everybody is NOT alike, nor should we be.

      What you are saying is offensive to Lesbians in the same way that saying “but ALL lives matter” is offensive to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

      To be proud of who we are is not wrong, and assimilationists like yourself are harming lesbians.

      (Edited).

      Liked by 7 people

      • We are all people, move on from your old fashioned ideals and realize that. And no decent person would question another member of the LGBT+ community on their own sexuality.

        Like

        • LOL at “we are all people”. No shit, Sherlock! I didn’t realize we were debating about whether we were human or not.

          Your ridiculous & ageist comment “move on from your old fashioned ideals” shows how pitifully little you know about actual Lesbian culture/history. To sum it up for you since you cannot be bothered to give a shit, Lesbians have historically been made invisible and hetsplained by know-it-all people like you since forever. So to say that Lesbians are different is NOT “old fashioned”, it is long overdue.

          And: Lesbian orientation is not something that anyone can just claim by simply saying it, so yes, smart Lesbians SHOULD question claims that “any woman can be a Lesbian”. They can’t, and actual Lesbians know that. The fact that you would describe Lesbian self-preservation as not being “decent” further illustrates that you do NOT care about actual Lesbian lives.

          In summary: bye-bye and don’t bother commenting again, because it won’t get published. I am not going to waste any more time arguing with someone who not only doesn’t know WHY what she is saying is problematic, but much more importantly, obviously doesn’t CARE.

          Liked by 6 people

      • SMH. WTF is wrong with people? The commenter Rachel doesn’t feel the need to define herself as a lesbian, huh? We’re all just alike, huh? LGBT+, huh? Segregation, huh?

        Bullshit. Dead giveaway for liberal special snowflake hetsplaining. Get back to us in 20 years when you are married to a man, sweetie.

        Liked by 6 people

    • Hi Rachel. I’m gay too, but unlike yourself, do not regard myself as part of the “LGBT+ community”. I find that “+” particularly disturbing: it’s like an open door to each and every variant sexuality, which we are supposed to accept uncritically under our multicolored umbrella – and no doubt that is precisely the intention of the “queer” movement, with their rainbow-flaggotry.

      I try not to be too nit-picky about terminology. After all, if I meet a woman and she tells me “I’m a lesbian”, I can comfortably reply “Great! Me too.” without us getting enmired in a discussion of exactly what I mean by that. But since your opening statement about yourself is “I am gay”, I am forced to wonder why you chose that word, rather than say “I am (a) lesbian”.

      I’m uncomfortably aware that you are younger than my own son, and don’t feel I can address you as robustly as I might an older person. If you or others here interpret that as “patronizing”, I’ll be forced to plead “no contest”. The upside (a good “+” now) is that you have youth on your side: read a lot, talk a lot with older and younger people, re-think everything many times. Thank you for contributing to our discussion here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can relate to this post, thanks. Judging from the comments, I feel the need to chime in and say that I agree with Saye that it is important to recognize that there are some differences.

    To say that there are not any differences shows that either the commenter is completely unfamiliar with lesbian culture (is not a lesbian) or is so desperate to please that she would throw lesbians under the bus in an misguided attempt to fit in with LBGTQQIIAAwhateverblahblahblah.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Sounds very familiar. Weird, because I just thinking about this in regard to my sister who is straight. We have a lot in common and we even look a lot alike but we think and react very differently in similar ways to what you are talking about in this post.

    To the commenter above who is criticizing, if you really were a lesbian, you would have noticed examples like this yourself. We are confronted with living in heterosexual society all day, every day.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thanks Meaghan! 🙂 That is interesting that you were just thinking about it due to your observations about your sister, and I know what you mean, both about noticing the differences, and also about the differences being obvious to us because we are constantly living in a heterosexually-dominated world.

      Liked by 6 people

    • I’m male, so our situations are not parallel, but I too have a straight sister. We love each other, and struggle to understand each other. She is (or was) “functionally blind” to many things that are glaringly obvious to me, and without any doubt to you. Because I love and value her, I would like to say that that process was reciprocal, but in all honesty I cannot. While I value and exaggerate the little insights she has given me, I think by and large lesbians and gay men already know plenty (too much?) about heterosexuality.

      We argue constantly about big and little things, the way sisters and brothers do, but I’m thankful that she is confidently and uncompromisingly heterosexual, and is therefore able to recognize me as confidently and uncompromisingly homosexual.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve always felt different from straight girls. It’s difficult to explain what the difference is without sounding like you are trying to negatively stereotype or generalize about straights. When I try to explain it myself, I come up with the same generalizations. Here’s some things I have found baffling about straight women: why do they say “I hate men” every five seconds but continue to date them? Why do they think they need to reapply nail polish in order to go out to dinner? Why do they go outside in the coldest part of winter with a skirt on with either bare legs or just nylons and freeze to death? Why do they wear shoes that are impossible to walk in? Why are they so excited about purses and handbags and scarves? (These things are boring to me). Why do teenage girls squeal and shriek so much? (There is a high school near me, and I regularly hear teen girls screeching like parrots. I have never had a desire to screech like that.) Why do they always talk about how much they hate their husbands? I don’t hate my partner, I love her, and I don’t know why I’d stay with someone if I hated her! I could go on…
    Certainly not all straights are the same, and not all lesbians are the same. I’ve met straight women who are practical and unfeminine and who would be just as baffled about the above behaviors as I am.
    I read Dirt’s post before I read yours, and I strongly disagreed with the idea that lesbian children should not be called girls. All young human females are girls, regardless of sexual orientation. In fact, I think that when we suggest that lesbians aren’t “girls” that reinforces the idea that lesbians are so different that they are not women at all, which is the same ideology that leads to transition. Now that I’ve read your post it makes a bit more sense to me. I think Dirt is using the word “girl” as a social category in this case, and saying that lesbians don’t fit in that social category. If that is the case, then I think I get it now.
    You two regularly talk about things that are very hard to describe, and that’s probably why people misunderstand. We just don’t have the right language for this stuff.
    It’s taken me a while to understand that even though my femininity doesn’t look like straight femininity, I am feminine in lesbian terms. I hate all things that straights consider “feminine,” but I am not butch and would have no idea how to even pretend to be butch.
    Re: the “LGBT” community– this acronym has become very misleading. It has an L in it but this is a community that actively hates lesbians and certainly doesn’t include our concerns in its activism. “LGBT” is mostly about the T, and is positive toward bisexuals, but considers homosexual orientation to be a “phobia.” The best thing lesbians can do is drop out of LGBT and stop caring about any of the other members of the alphabet soup, especially the special snowflakes who want to deny the facts of biology. We are our own allies and our only allies, as none of the other letters in the acronym care about us, and yet, it’s only lesbians who are told to be “positive” toward the other identities. The other identities are never told to be positive toward lesbians! In fact, in “queer” circles I think they actually give out cool points for hating lesbians, judging by all the gleeful hatred they fling our way. Fuck that!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi & thanks for your comments!

      I can relate to your examples, and I have wondered the same things!

      Yes, I totally agree that we are trying to describe things that are very difficult to put into available language. That does lead to consternation and misunderstandings.

      I also worried about attempting to describe my own experiences because I don’t want to sound like I am negatively stereotyping straight women, and I don’t mean it that way. There are differences, but that doesn’t mean one is “better” than the other!

      I think your interpretation of what we are trying to say is correct.

      We are NOT saying that lesbians aren’t biologically female because we are, but rather, lesbians don’t fit into the category of how “girl” is perceived or how “girl” operates.

      And I 100++ percent agree with all you said about the “LGBT community”. Lesbians are constantly admonished to “be nice” and “get along”, while other letters are NOT given the same pressure to be positive toward us.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. I’m in to way trying to hetsplain here, I just wonder. I’m really trying to understand some of your points because right now I feel like you are putting heterosexual women in a box as if we were all the same just because we feel attracted to men (despite not having chosen to). I have experienced many of the things that you listed in your post as “lesbian experiences (with exceptions)” although I am 100% heterosexual. Does having those experiences really have to do with being a lesbian? Up to now I had always thought my dread of becoming a teenager as a child,my never fitting in and my attitude towards men had more to do with my views on womanhood and myself than my heterosexuality. I acknowledge the differences between lesbians and heterosexual women in the way we experience the world but in my opinion we share a great deal. As a feminist I would like to see lesbians as sisters not as another force to reckon with, because I share the same fight, partly as a fellow woman and partly as an ally to lesbians. I hope this doesn’t insult you in the least.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi & thanks for your comment, and no, you didn’t insult me…but thanks for caring!

      As I said in the post and in an earlier comment, yes, there is, of course, going to be overlap between lesbians & straight women, plus there are always exceptions to every “rule”.

      Also, there are individual variations with lesbians as well as with straight women; so: every person is different and therefore, we all will have different experiences, perceptions, etc.

      Additionally, as mentioned earlier in the comments, these observations that I and other lesbians have noticed aren’t meant to say we are “better” than straight women — just that we are different. The observations I made in this post (as well as similar observations I have heard from numerous other lesbians) are not based on criticism.

      Anyway, regardless of similarities and individual variations, I still assert that there are indeed differences between straight women and lesbians (beyond the obvious sexual orientation difference).

      To point out that there are differences is not a bad thing, nor does it make lesbians “another force to reckon with”. Lesbians have always supported straight women in causes that do NOT in the slightest way benefit us (abortion rights, birth control rights), but the favor is very often NOT returned.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Why are straight women (regular hets and STRAIGHTBIANS) so damn resistant to this idea? I have seen them arguing with Dirt too. The fact that they are arguing with us about our own lives shows their straight privilege.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think it’s because people are taken aback by what we are saying, because we all have been misled in various ways by the so-called “lesbian experts” (who are neither lesbian nor expert!). The assimilationists just want us to “be nice” and “get along”. Not going to happen…

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not resistant, I’m trying to understand and I am definitely not arguing about your lives or invalidating your experience or thoughts. What concerns me is that when a heterosexual woman (me) has had those kinds of experiences (not due to sexual orientation) they are just dismissed implying that I’m probably the exception. I’m sorry if I offend you but I can’t see how I’m doing it just asking a question about my own experience as a woman.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hi, sorry, I just saw this (for some reason, I didn’t get an email notification).

          You’re not offending me, but please understand that lesbians who speak about our own experiences (either in person or on the internet) often do get a lot of argumentative and/or dismissive comments from straight people, so it’s truly difficult to not get defensive and/or frustrated sometimes.

          (Note that I’m not saying YOU are being argumentative, I am just speaking in general to try to explain. Also, by mentioning assimilationists, I wasn’t referring to you; I was referring to another commenter).

          I am not dismissing your own personal experiences. But when trying to explain about the very general experiences/perceptions that I have personally had (and have heard about in similar stories from other lesbians), there is no way to include the perceptions or experiences of all straight women nor all lesbians.

          Yes, there are individual variations in people. Some people will have different experiences than others. It is difficult to speak in generalities about any topic without some people disagreeing because _____ (whatever the topic is) didn’t happen to them.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Lesbianism has been hi-jacked by straight women who are pissed off with straight men. Well here’s news for those honeys, we’re ALL pissed off with straight men. They impinge, disgustingly, on all our lives, though (ironically) probably least of all on those of real lesbians.

    We are not insensitive to your difficult situation as heterosexual women fighting “The Man”, but your solution cannot lie either in ‘declaring’ yourselves lesbian, nor in seeking to seduce gay men. We welcome your solidarity, if genuinely offered, but wish you to know that neither lesbian nor gay identity is “up for grabs” to the politically motivated.

    Liked by 2 people

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