The following are just a small sample of recent responses to Dirt’s and my Lesbian pride-type and Straightbian-type tweets/comments/posts:
- “I don’t see the need to label myself/anybody.”
- “We’re all just people.”
- “Surely ALL lives matter…”
- “I’m just me; I don’t label myself as a Lesbian and don’t think you should limit/label yourself either.”
- “People are more alike than different.”
- “Views like this just cause further divide…”
- “I’m very similar to many of my straight friends; why label myself?”
- “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.”
- “Labels hurt people.”
- “Why does who I’m attracted to have to make me ‘different’?”
- “We should all move forward together. Not back into the dark ages of in-fighting” (in reference to in-fighting within the so-called
- “I’m just me. I’m more than my sexual orientation.”
- “The only difference between me and my neighbor is I sleep next to a woman…”
- “Sexuality is fluid; people can’t/shouldn’t be labelled.”
- “I don’t want to label myself…I’m human.”
There are many, many more examples, but I think you get the idea.
There’s just one problem with this line of thinking: It’s utterly ridiculous.
Well, technically, maybe it’s not completely wrong. After all, it is not wrong in the sense that we all are indeed human; because (of course…well, um…duh!!) we are. That fact has never been in question. Lesbians, like everybody else, have much in common with our fellow humans: we eat, we work, we try to stay healthy, we have friends and family and furry companions we care deeply about, we feel love and loss and hope and fear and every other emotion known to humankind, and we are mortal; just to name a few universally human traits.
Instead, what I mean is that this line of thinking is wrong (and ridiculous) in the sense of any attempt to lump all humans together into one huge amorphous blob is not only incorrect, it is damaging to everyone, including Lesbians.
And since Lesbians are my only focus, this post will cover how this “Surely All Lives Matter — We Are All One — We Are Just Like Everyone Else (Etc.)” mentality harms us specifically.
This pathetic attempt at forced assimilation denies our Lesbian uniqueness, encourages us to deny our own true nature in order to attempt to “blend in” with society, and further contributes to Lesbian invisibility.
Saying “but surely ALL lives matter” when Dirt and I are specifically trying to stand up for Lesbian rights and attempting to address uniquely Lesbian issues is just as offensive to Lesbians as tweeting #AllLivesMatter is to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Sure, it’s true that all lives do matter, but by saying that in response to our specific points/concerns regarding Lesbian lives, is a transparent way to minimize and deny what we are saying. It is a way to try to shut us up. It is a way to attempt to make us feel guilty for prioritizing Lesbian needs before anyone else’s. It’s a way of saying “Lesbians Be NICE!”
Whenever any group expresses concerns which are specific to them, it is both obnoxious and dismissive to immediately jump to a “but all lives matter/we’re all just alike” attitude.
It is especially offensive when people are replying “But ALL Lives Matter!” in regard to Straightbians. Straightbians have a long history of messing up Lesbian lives, in a myriad of ways ranging from breaking our hearts to spreading misinformation about us to even encouraging us to transition, and they continue to do so every single day.
Dirt and I are not advocating for harm or denial of rights to anyone, including Straightbians, but we sure as heck aren’t going to put Lesbian lives on the back burner in order to kiss Straightbian butt either. (That’s already being done by almost everyone else). Plus, Straightbians already have straight privilege, and they wield it like the weapon it is against Lesbians all the time. So they are on their own, they are not our circus.
Here’s the thing: Lesbians are different. We are still persecuted for this fact, each and every day. Anyone who is a Lesbian, or even anyone who knows Lesbians well, knows this fact, and those who are denying it are clearly not Lesbians or allies themselves.
Stop denying Lesbian existence. Stop minimizing our valid concerns. Stop trying to shut us up. Stop trying to force us to assimilate. Just…stop.