I Used To Be So Nice (Or: Why I Cannot Walk Away From A Battle With Lesbophobes)

As anybody who has read even a couple of my recent posts will likely already know, I have been angry lately at all of the faux allies and hetsplainers ~ very angry, in fact, but I must admit that underlying that anger is disappointment, frustration, puzzlement, and sadness.

I won’t rehash all of the drama….if anyone is interested, feel free go back through my tweets and replies to get a just a small taste of the brouhahas. I have also done several recent posts which mentioned the drama.

Anyway, someone on Twitter who also knows me in real life (and has known me for over 20 years), recently said something to the effect of being shocked that so many people were being so rude to me.

I actually laughed out loud when I saw that, because I immediately knew exactly what she meant:

In real life, I am, in fact, what most people would consider “nice”.  Meaning: I am typically polite, kind, considerate, giving, etc.; in other words, I get along well with others. (I am always direct and assertive in real life…but I am not aggressive/rude unless it becomes absolutely necessary).

But on Twitter (and to a lesser extent, on this blog), I am quite outspoken…sometimes even outright rude (which occurs, lately with shocking regularity, when I finally reach my maximum frustration tolerance level).

The problem is not just that Twitter is online interaction (meaning: versus in-person), either. I participate regularly on Facebook and LinkedIn and on other various websites/forums/etc., and I get along just fine with people on those, just like I do in real life.

No, I really think it’s specific to Twitter. Somehow, Twitter seems to bring out the worst in me. Actually, perhaps Twitter brings out the worst in everybody, based on my recent observations of various assorted brouhahas that I have NOT been involved in.

I think it’s the combination of the limited characters available to make important points, the fast paced environment, and the discontinuity in threads when multiple people are responding at the same time (which makes it difficult to follow the order of the conversation) that makes Twitter the perfect storm for misunderstandings, anger, hostility, drama, and trouble.

Combine that perfect storm of Twitter with my temperament (I am unwilling to back down — when dealing with a topic which matters to me greatly) and BOOM, it’s Armageddon.

Recently, I have been wondering whether I should just let an ongoing fight with a specific group of mean-girl lesbophobic feminists go…whether I should just walk away and let them stew in their own putrid, poisonous juices.

After all, I do actually believe in karma. People who are mean-spirited and vicious are obviously not happy people.

Also, I truly believe on-going anger and conflict is unhealthy…mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And these individuals are certainly not worth my health or my time.

So, I have been wondering:

Why am I having such a hard time letting this particular fight go? 

It’s not just my ego from being personally and viciously insulted by the ringleader, although I am sure that is indeed a part of it.

And it’s not just their shocking lesbophobia and appalling ignorance about Lesbians, although I am sure that is a HUGE part of it also. After all, utter obtuseness appears in many guises, including some very unexpected sources.

After much consideration, I think that (in addition to the above-noted factors) I am reluctant to stand down for 2 reasons:

First, I am truly horrified at the support that these individuals are getting from other straight feminists, so a big part of me wants EVERYBODY to see who these people really are. So, by calling them out and posting screencaps of their copious bigoted nonsense, I have been hoping that the proverbial aha! lightbulb would suddenly and magically appear above somebody’s head…anybody’s head! (I am afraid, though, that this wish is just a pipe dream).

Secondly, and much more importantly, I, Dirt, and the other Lesbians on Twitter who have been standing up to these individuals are all assertive, secure adults with a strong sense of self and a healthy acceptance of ourselves as Lesbians. So we can take their nastiness with a grain of salt. But: what if we were different? What if we were young dykes, just coming out, currently being rejected by family, friends, and society? What if we were vulnerable, scared, alone, confused, maybe even suicidal? What if we were struggling with self-hatred, dysphoria, and/or internalized homophobia? Would the horrid lesbophobic venom directed at us as Lesbians potentially be the last straw for someone like that? I honestly don’t know, and I sincerely hope not, but I cannot in good conscience allow these people to say such horrible, lesbophobic things without calling them out on it.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and if these individuals would say such repulsive, vile, hurtful, homophobic things to us, it is a fact that they have the capacity to do it to others.

My crusade may not do any good. I may, at some point, decide to lay down my metaphorical sword and walk away from this riDICKulous battle…

But not today.


Image: Pixabay: azboomer: Creative Commons CC0

47 thoughts on “I Used To Be So Nice (Or: Why I Cannot Walk Away From A Battle With Lesbophobes)

  1. I think they all are complete homophobic bitches myself, so please don’t misunderstand my question. My question is how do you know the difference between somebody who is being a jerk and somebody who is lesbophobic?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Anon, and no worries, that is actually an excellent question. There are differences between “just” being a jerk versus someone who is a LESBOPHOBIC jerk, but probably too many to cover in this reply.

      Basically, the answer can be found in the comments that people make. With these particular individuals I am referencing in this post, particularly the ringleader, the comments were BOTH generally insulting AND lesbophobic.

      Generally insulting comments would be insults to my intelligence, appearance, educational level, writing ability…etc.

      But lesbophobic comments are specifically directed at us as LESBIANS (not just us as PEOPLE). Examples of lesbophobic comments against us included: making fun of our relationship; minimizing our marriage by putting the words “marriage” and “wife” in quotation marks; stating that we were heterosexual wannabes; saying Dirt was pretending to be a man & I was playing the role of the “straight-wannabe weak little woman”; making disparaging remarks about lesbian relationships in general; making a big deal out of the fact that I use the Twitter handle “Mrs. Dirt” (They are trying to make it sound like I am stupid, backwards, uninformed, etc. without being smart enough to realize that it is a TWITTER NAME, not my real name. Most people do not use their real names on Twitter anyway…and besides, SO WHAT if I had decided to take Dirt’s name in real life?? Straight people do it ALL THE TIME and our marriage is just a valid as theirs): etc.

      In other words, these folks are BOTH jerks and lesbophobes. I believe that a person can be a jerk without being a lesbophobic one; but lesbophobes are, by definition, jerks.

      I may do a later post to address the key differences, because that is an great question that others may be wondering about ~ especially since H. is now trying to make it sound like she is not lesbophobic, but rather just hates Dirt and me specifically. (She thinks that we can’t see what she and her pack of mean girls say because they all have us blocked and H. has gone private…but we know). Anyway, I have no doubt that she hates us, but if that were the entire story, she would have stuck with only personal insults, rather than adding outright lesbophobic insults, so…I call BULLSHIT!

      Thanks for the question…:-)


        • This has been pointed out before, I’m sure, but when straight women use “mimicking heterosexuality” and “playing the straight woman” as insults it really belies their own self hatred. And if you think the whole social meaning attached to “straight woman” is worthy of contempt, wouldn’t you be invested in the myth of lesbian-is-a-fun-choice-anyone-can-make? And wouldn’t you be enraged when somebody takes away your favorite security blanket/crutch for your fragile ego/ fake solution to patriarchy? I can almost understand their logic. Still gross and pathetic, though.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, it is interesting that they are actively putting me down by falsely comparing me to…wait for it…themselves!?!?!? Ironic! And bizarre.

          But when I step back and look at it in the way you describe, it does make an odd sort of “sense”.


    • That IS a good question, and despite Saye’s excellent answer, I’m still thinking about it. Because it’s one of those questions which, mutatis mutandum, are “transferable” to us too (I mean faggots, of course). I don’t have much to add at this stage, except that we should try to be kind to people who don’t have English as their first language, and may be too easily scared off by us taking offence.

      A little bête noire of mine is that I do get frustrated by contributions from Anonymi/Anonymae. How can we possibly have a discussion with you if you have no identifying label other than “Anonymous”? We could be talking with any number of other anonymatata.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would like your input when you have had a chance to think about the question. It was too much to try to explain in a post but I have a few more thoughts that have not fully gestated yet…


        • I really think the best thing is to send you “raw data”. I was thinking anyway of sending this to you or Dirt, for opinion, but since you open up the opportunity…

          Received from an old friend (in intero):

          “Salut Peter
          How are you man!
          J’espere que tout va bien.
          How do you spend your time as a retired man do not get bored?
          You’ve been traveling in these last few years maybe you’ve been also în românia!
          Well…about me what to say.. I live in the country(la tara) for several years now but lately I m thinking of moving back to bucharest, here I do not have much to do.
          You still live in Spain you settled down forever there?
          I hope to hear some news about you!
          Toate cele bune

          I am an experienced enough translator to see the hand of GoogleTranslate in this, and bear no ill-will toward the original author, though I have explained to him that “Man!” is not a justifiable vocative either for me, nor for the kind of heterosexual he is. I dare say I may be wrong , but the word seems to me to be a very poor translation of “tovarish” or “comrade”, or as we still say in Spain “colega”, whether or not you are strictly speaking a “colleague” of the person who claims collegiality.

          But I know nothing about how you hear that in North America. Tell me!

          Liked by 1 person

        • I have learned the hard way that sometimes translations are tricky, as you mentioned. I realize things “sound” different when translated from another language to English; so it may sound “off” to us when perhaps not intended the way we took it. (I am thinking of my own misinterpreting the meaning of a comment from someone in Poland; oops!). So, all that is to say I will reread it and give it some thought, because I am not sure either. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • At least you get what I’m getting at. I don’t care at all that a non-English speaker addresses me as “man”. But I’m interested in how s/he acquired that usage. Of course, I suspect North America, as I always do, but that’s not specifically helpful.

          Liked by 1 person

        • As a linguist, part of my “job” is to figure out why people say things the way they say them, and why others hear them the way they hear them. You’re a psychologist, and it’s inevitable, in practice, that we trespass enormously on each others’ territory.
          I suppose “real people” are not entirely wrong to be suspicious of talking to me (us?), but I hope our professions don’t entirely disable us from engaging in a free expression of ideas and opinions.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Saye, I’ve been reading some of what has been happening to you and Dirt on Twitter today. I’m truly sorry that you’ve both been subject to that behaviour. But I’m not surprised.

    Even just reading it and no longer participating in it all, I find my blood boiling at all of those heterosexual women belittling and devaluing the Lesbians that have disagreed with them and have defended you and Dirt from the blatant homophobic attacks. So many of those heterosexual women, especially the one who made the comment about you referring to yourself as ‘Mrs Dirt’, I found her particularly to be arrogant, she is doing nothing more than judging a relationship that she has no obvious ability to understand through her ‘feminist’ and ‘heterosexual’ lens. And she doesn’t even realise it, she’s judging you through the prism of her own sexuality and attempting to impose standards of behaviour upon the Lesbian community via that heterosexual lens. And many of them do that.

    And this is the reason why I think Lesbians have no place in the Rad Fem community. Our needs and our lives are fundamentally different on so many levels.

    As for Twitter, it’s a horrible environment. It’s detrimental to emotional well being on so many levels. But I understand completely your anger and your frustration.

    But please look after yourself Saye. Because whilst you’re sitting there feeling that, they’re just continuing upon their merry way posting their outrage at the Trans community. As mentioned previously, Lesbians only become visible to them when they want to use us as weapons against the Trans community. How we live, how we love, who we are… well that comes secondary to that agenda and it always has.

    F*ck them and f*ck their feminism.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Back at home now and feel much better. Being hungry really does not help my patience level (note to self, LOL!).

      Thanks again for your understanding and support — greatly appreciated! I try to not let them get to me, but good grief, there are so many more of them that it makes it daunting.

      You’re right — mostly what they tweet about in general can be summed up with the ridiculous comment “Trans women aren’t women” (if that is what they believe, why did they just call them women?).

      I also agree that they are (mis)judging me through their narrow het lens.

      The Mrs. brouhaha is actually bizarrely funny for a couple reasons: they keep saying I “took Dirt’s name” which is not true. IRL, we go by our real (birth) names. Plus, MOST of us have an “internet name” — is H’s REAL name Golden Harpy? I think not. So why freak out about it? I could call myself something like CatMama1234 and it would not mean I gave birth to 1234 kittens, now would it? So they are being stupidly literal. But: more importantly, so the fuck what if I did take Dirt’s name IRL, or if she took mine? We are legally married, and plenty of hets take their husband’s name. Of course, they don’t think our marriage is worthy like theirs, but wake up and smell the coffee, assholes, because it is. In fact, the Mrs. brouhaha further reinforces the fact that they are lesbophobic.

      I agree. Fuck them and their so-called “feminism”.


    • I agree completely with your points about the way radfems use lesbians as a tool in their campaign against trans males. Recently, I’ve been wondering what lesbian participation in feminism (going back some 50 years) has actually done for us. On one hand, many prominent radfems have been and are “lesbians” and claim to represent our interests. When I was first learning about radical feminism I thought this meant that their ideas would actually reflect my reality and that their political goals would benefit us. And on the surface, there’s a lot of lip-service paid to political lesbianism, and there’s some space given to lesbian issues and voices.
      However, as this blog has written about extensively, many lesbian feminist and queer-theory figures are not actual lesbians. What they have done is hold the door open for full-scale straightbian co-optation of whatever lesbian community had ever existed. If you read about Lesbian history in the US, there used to be bars and shops and other lesbian meeting places. But in my lifetime, every event I go to is filled with “queer” (straight) women and transitioners. Everything is about gender roles and sexual “fluidity”. I think a big factor in the way things are is the huge influx of women with straight mindsets and perspectives, who feel completely entitled in forcing everyone to assimilate to their worldview. Radfems do claim to be opposed to queer theory and trans ideology, but when it comes to manipulating lesbians for their own ends, I don’t see much of a difference between those two groups.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…etc. I agree with ALL you said. I am actually old enough (yikes!) to remember actual dyke bars. I am sure some Straightbians infiltrated even then, but they were few and far between. It was a different world then, before the dreadful and horrid queer theory took hold.


        • Saye, I would really like to hear your perspective on why so many dykes, past and present, have been so willing to support this take-over. I’m not sure if you’ve already covered this in a post?
          When I talk to other lesbians about this, many of them don’t even seem to comprehend that there is a problem and are incapable of imagining things being any other way. Thought-stopping cliches like “everyone has a right to identify as whatever they want!” and “sexuality is a spectrum, you can’t put people in boxes” are common responses. The feminist ones say that straight women should have the “choice” to become lesbians because patriarchy is awful, etc. At the same time, it’s clear that these same people are suffering the consequences (health-wise from hormones, relationship-wise from attachments to straighbians).

          Liked by 2 people

        • That is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? I wonder the very same things ALL THE TIME, and am struggling to figure out the answer myself.

          My general thoughts are: most dykes are too busy simply living our lives to put the effort into thoroughly thinking it through (there’s not much time/energy left over after work, dating/marriage, house, friends, chores, family commitments, sports/hobbies, pets, etc.). So part of it, I think, is being unaware of the problem and not seeing outside their own everyday lives to look at the overall problem. In fact, I think this is one big reason all of this “snuck up” on us; most of us were too busy BEING Lesbians while the Straightbians/radfems/queers/etc. were gradually erasing us, piece by piece.

          I think another factor is related: this queer theory nonsense started in academia, and many “average” Lesbians (most of whom are outside academia) simply blew it off because it seems so “out there” and far removed from our actual lives, it seemed unbelievable that such craziness might actually take hold. I have heard numerous Lesbians just laugh and say something like “that’s crazy” (without realizing that it is having insidious effects EVEN THOUGH it is indeed crazy).

          I believe another factor is simply the desire to be good “sisters” to het females which makes many dykes put inordinate effort into supporting het women’s causes to the point that they never even realize that the effort is not reciprocal.

          Also, as you mentioned, many seem to believe the faulty notion that, as Lesbians, we “should” or “must” be accepting of everybody else (trans, queer, etc.) since we are a marginalized group ourselves, not understanding that this good-hearted intention is actually harming us.

          Also, I think some dykes WANT TO BELIEVE that any woman can be a Lesbian because it increases their dating pool; again, without awareness of the issues. Or maybe they are already in love with a Straightbian so they are invested and feel they HAVE to believe.

          I am sure that there are likely many other factors…have you noticed any others?

          Liked by 1 person

        • I agree with you that all of these factors played a role. I really don’t know where queer activists or radfems find the time to disseminate so much nonsense online, but I’m sure most regular lesbians can’t afford to do that. Even when there is honest content about lesbians, I suspect there is too little interest and too much hostility for it to become popular.

          To the factors you mention, I would only add one. I suspect that lesbians are so willing to adopt beliefs that harm our interests because those supposedly novel/ “radical” queer-theory concepts are just repackaged homophobia. Looking back at my own experiences, I think my conservative upbringing made me psychologically susceptible to ideas like “lesbians just want to be men”, “lesbians are just straight women who are fed up with males”, “butch/femme couples are just trying to mimic heterosexuality”, “if you like butch women, why don’t you go for the ‘real thing'”, etc. Instead of calling out these homophobic lies, the so-called community encourages you to take a “yeah, and so what?” approach – wearing your self-hatred like a badge of pride.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Thanks, MintLeaf — great points! I wasn’t raised in a conservative environment (thank goodness, right?) so I hadn’t thought of that point — meaning, in terms of being susceptible or even “primed” to buying into queer theory concepts due to them being a weird sort of repackaged homophobia.

          Purplesagefem made a comment the other day about how liberals were weirdly or sneakily homophobic and that relates to your point about the repackaging of homophobia into “new” concepts.

          Also great point about the badge of pride too.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. My sweetheart,
    I am just about old enough to remember the old Gateways Club in London, to which (accompanied) men were admitted on a Sunday lunchtime. I remember many fist-fights between “butches”,
    I give up now on whayrver pony I WAS TRYIMNG TTO MSLR

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gathering dust and moths at the bottom of one of my many drawers is a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “I LOVE LESBIANS”. Yes, of course, it’s from the 1970s, and was only ever intended to be worn by gay men. Something we used to call “solidarity”.

    Of course, if I wore it now (supposing hyperoptimistically that I could still fit it) , it wouldn’t declare solidarity at all, rather some disgusting paraphilia. Whatever happened to destroy not just our mutual solidarity, but also our simple PRIDE. As men, the AIDS thing kinda blindsighted us, but women?

    Just be proud to be LESBIANS, and if that involves us in any way at all, as FAGGOTS, so much the better. But if not, don’t lose any sleep over it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The more I read MintLeaf’s comments, the more I like her (leaving aside my wicked jealousy because she writes better English than I do).

    I miss good old-fashioned dyke bars too. Typically (in England at least) they had an “open day” when you could bring your male (in practice faggot) friends – Monday or Tuesday, usually, one of those dull days. More pragmatically, I could “drop off” my friends there, and meet up again at the end of the evening (or not, if it had gone well for them).

    BUT my mother was a hotelière, as was my partners dad. Our (his, biological) son will soon graduate from catering college. Any one of those people would tell you that opening a lesbian bar is financial suicide. You dykes just don’t spend enough money, compared to gay men or even straights. That’s the real reason Gateways in London closed, despite having some heavy (in every sense) butch drinkers.

    The “any woman can be a lesbian” meme WAS invented by (real) lesbians, not (altogether) cynically to enlarge their dating pool, but in order to tell women trapped in socially-expected heterosexual relationships that they did in fact have other possibilities. I agree that it was (deliberately?) ambiguous, just like “any man can be a rapist” and “we all have the right to determine our own sexuality”.

    That’s all. If MintLeaf hates me, my whole world will crash around me, which is just a faggoty way of saying I’d be a bit disappointed. Don’t mess with us, pseudo-lezzers: you don’t get your drama-queen diploma from Arizona State.

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what Dirt and I have uncovered in our research for the “straightbian” series, it seems like it was mostly non-Lesbians (who claimed to be Lesbians, of course) who invented/promoted (and still are promoting) the “any woman can be a Lesbian” nonsense…BUT that is certainly NOT to say that many Lesbians haven’t fallen for it and/or promoted it too, of course…so yes, I know what you mean.

      Lesbians, like any group, can be gullible to BS for a variety of reasons, and lots of Lesbians have fallen into the the trap of believing and/or even promoting the notion that straight women can “escape from heterosexuality” and “choose lesbianism.”

      And I also agree about MintLeaf’s writing…very impressive! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I defer to your scholarship on the “any woman can…” issue, which has to trump my personal recollections of the 1970s. It was a seething cauldron of a time, and we DID love a good, provocative slogan. It’s when those got turned into some kind of fundamentalist lespol gospel that they became problematic. If not invented by them, the “any woman can…” meme was certainly embraced by very many real lesbians who simply couldn’t imagine why anybody could be straight except as the result of intense social conditioning, and of course it was flattering to think of themselves as brave resistance fighters against such conditioning. Pragmatically, it DID help free more than a few lesbians who were living as straights in accordance with social expectation.

        The power of those slogans resided to an extent in their ambiguity. “The right to determine one’s own sexuality”. Does that mean “determine” as in “determine the value of pi to five decimal places” or “determine”, i.e. decide, the way a parliament “determines” what prison term you will serve for petty larceny? Similarly, “Any man can be a rapist” can be taken, if you’re gloomy enough, to mean that it’s only lack of opportunity that stops every man you meet or pass in the street from jumping on you and abusing you, or it can simply be interpreted as sensible advice that the man you choose to be alone with MIGHT turn out to be a violator.

        There was a sort of male equivalent of “Any woman can…”, now long and justly forgotten: “All Men Have Homosexual Tendencies: Why Persecute Yourself?”, proudly displayed in pink paint on one of the windows of our squat right between “Any Woman Can Be A Lesbian” and “No Socialism Without Women’s Liberation.” Probably truer, but we must all admit less catchy,

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the compliment. You’ve reminded me how easy it is to falsely romanticize the past, especially a past one didn’t experience. I would like to know more about the history of how things became the way they are, but find that a lot of sources are biased by contemporary neoliberal/gender-identity rhetoric. The revision of Stonewall as some sort of showcase for trans-special-snowflake bravery is a typical example.
      I think the disappearance of dyke bars has several dimensions. Lesbians as a group still have limited disposable income and other things they probably prefer to spend it on. It seems like many of these bars, cafes and bookstores opened during the heyday of the feminist movement, which makes me wonder if their funding and clientele dried up as that movement subsided. Did they overestimate demand because of the proliferation of political lesbianism (and the eventual return of those women to straight wife-and-motherhood)? Maybe it’s just a matter of maintaining our boundaries and accepting that the community is a lot smaller than many people probably thought.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. MintLeaf, I’m guilty of romanticizing a past I did actually live through. I know my “testimony” of the 1970s is very partial, but I will still defend it against the revisionists. The only book, in my whole life, that I deliberately, physically destroyed was a so-called history of the gay liberation movement, written by a straight woman. She was upfront about that, not pretending to be a lesbian, so a grudging plus point for that, though “mind your own business” might have been our second thought. The book was total rubbish, not incomprehensible but rather “incomprehending”.

    I know that Stonewall, whether we like it or not is, is kind of our “year zero”, but there has been so much mythologizing that it’s become almost impossible to contest the revisionism around it.

    Lesbian meeting-places in London were heavily subsidized by local government in the 1980s. When our son graduates next year, he and his Dad plan to open a bar here (Tenerife). Sentimentally (remember I still have that T-shirt in my closet) I would love it to be a real proper dyke bar, but that would be economically disastrous. I take it on trust from you that lesbians still have less disposable income than gay men, but don’t need your validation to know that they are much less willing to dispose it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In the context in which we’ve been talking, I guess it’s inevitable that the terms “lesbophobia” and “homophobia” have been used more or less synonymously. But that leaves out of account the phenomenon of gay male lesbophobia. I guess it falls to me to raise the matter, unwilling and incompetent as I am to do so.
    The hostility of (some) gay men toward lesbians is a real thing, and it’s not just that I don’t share it, but I also have no “handle” to grasp on where it comes from. I’m sure many of you may have experienced it, and I welcome any insight you may have, because I have none.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for mentioning that. We (Dirt & I) recently witnessed gay male lesbophobia when we got into a bit of a brouhaha with Mary Beard and numerous gay males took Mary Beard’s side, even though MB outright stated that she believes homosexuality is a choice!I wonder: Do the gay men who took her side truly believe that their gayness is a choice…or perhaps they are just stupid simpering sycophants of MB??? I don’t know, but it was clear that they were NOT on the side of Lesbians. Grrrr.


      • Mary Beard is a very competent scholar of classical Roman history, whom I respect as such. I didn’t know she had weighed in to modern-day debates about lesbianism, and am surprised to hear it. If you want a good Graeco-Roman historian, I put my money on Bettany Hughes, who is at least as good an historian as Beard and (dare I admit it as a gayman?) is charming and sexy enough to draw me in to hear her account of the Spartans or the Athenians.

        If gay men siding with Mary Beard is the full extent of malegay lesbophobia that you have suffered, you have been very lucky. If you have the opportunity, DO watch/listen to Bettany Hughes. She is both very smart and very sexy, a combination which can (almost) make me cross my sex/sexuality boundaries.


        • Oh, yes, it was enough of a brouhaha that I had tabloids contacting me wanting to talk about Mary Beard denying homosexual existence. I declined, of course. MB is sadly and grossly misinformed about homosexuality, which doesn’t stop her from haughtily pontificating about it…which calls into question her “expertise” in other areas as well, I think. Professor N. Taleb also recently called her out regarding another topic. I will look Bettany Hughes up…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Saye, I’m genuinely surprised to hear of Beard stepping so far out of her acknowledged field. If you have any specific references, I would be grateful to receive them, either here or privately.

          I guess Hughes would also say that “lesbian” and “gay” are not terms that can be reasonably used (without a great deal of qualification) when speaking of the historical period that she and Beard both deal with.

          They are both respected, and respectable, scholars in their chosen field, though if I were a betting person (my dad was, so I am not), my money would still be on Hughes. Though it’s not “my period”, I’m just talking about their scholarship now. I’m sorry if I appeared to trivialize Hughes before by emphasizing her sexiness, but even for me, really…

          I don’t expect to hear much about Bettany Hughues, but any dirt on Mary Beard will be gratefully received.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’ve informed myself a little now about the Beard/Taleb dispute, apparently about ethnicity in the Roman Empire (or the Mediterranean area). Either of them could be right, I have no basis whatsoever on which to form an opinion. That doesn’t mean I don’t care, just I don’t know.

        More germane to our real discussion, in the 1970s/80s for gay men, “not having enough information to form an opinion” was regarded as the worst kind of fence-sitting, and I wish now that I had sat longer on that fence. I was seduced by the radfem arguments of the time into betraying many of my real lesbian friends. A confession, if you like, but I don’t expect absolution, just recognition that some of you may have fallen into the same trap.

        I hope this thread continues. It has really made me think a lot (mostly uncomfortably).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for sharing! Glad you found some information! I’m sorry that I haven’t had time to find you any links…since I said I would, our wonderful cat Ari has been seriously ill and everything else has taken a backseat. She is still alive, thank goodness, and hopefully she is stable now, but I am still having difficulty focusing on anything but Ari for more than a few minutes at a time.


        • We do get attached to our cats, don’t we? My own Benny had severe kidney failure, and rather than see her suffer more, I had her vet “put her to sleep”, as they say. He came and did it on our kitchen table, which at least saved her the anxiety of going to the vet’s surgery. Even he shed a tear or two, even while telling me it was “the only way” (which it was).

          Of course, I hope that Art recovers from her illness, and goes on to live a long catty life.

          Liked by 1 person

        • How is Art? My candle is almost burnt out, but I can light another, if still appropriate. Candles are very cheap, weighed against the lives of our feline friends, and one must assume that the Blessed Gertrude has infinite (I expect I mean “eternal”) time on her hands.

          I’m not very good at sincerity, as you’re a good enough ling and psych to know already, but I DO understand how much you love her, as I loved Benny. I hope it turns out well for her. My fellow-feeling to Dirt too, if she shares our sentimentality in such matters.

          Liked by 1 person

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