We all know what an overt lesbophobe is: He/she will just say what they feel very directly: “I hate Lesbians!”; “You’re evil”; “You’re going to HELL!”; “You’re an abomination to the Good Lord Jesus!”; “You need a man!”; “Marriage is for a man and a woman!”; “You need to be TAUGHT A LESSON!”; “No, I won’t rent to/hire you!”; “Your kind isn’t welcome here!” etc. etc. etc. They are obvious. They are obnoxious. They are our visible enemies.
But what about the covert lesbophobes? They are our friends, our acquaintances, our coworkers, our family members, our neighbors. They are subtle. They smile to our faces. They shake our hands. They bake us cookies. They say that they love us, like us, support us, and would fight for us ~ and they probably even truly believe that they mean it.
They say that they would NEVER, EVER tolerate lesbophobia/homophobia.
And we believe them, and will continue to believe them…until one day we find the proverbial knife between the shoulder blades and realize who put it there.
“If only there were a way to know“, you may be thinking.
Well, there is a way to know, but only if we are completely willing to keep our eyes and ears wide open, and only if we are willing to put aside our own wishful thinking long enough to accept the cold hard truth.
So, without further ado, here is a handy-dandy little lesbo checklist to see whether your Aunt Susie, or your neighbor Gladys, or, I don’t know, let’s say, um, the president of an international creative organization is a covert lesbophobe:
Does he/she do any of the following (or anything similar)?:
- Refer to being a Lesbian as “a lifestyle”;
- Refer to being a Lesbian as “a sexual preference”;
- Refer to being a Lesbian as a “choice”;
- Refer to being a Lesbian as a “behavior”;
- Refer to your partner as “your friend” or “your roommate” when he/she knows better;
- Say anything like “sexuality is fluid”;
- Say anything like “sexuality is on a spectrum”;
- Say anything like “anybody can become/be a Lesbian”;
- Say anything like “I am all for you people having rights, but why do you have to call it marriage?”;
- Say anything like “I am fine with you being a Lesbian, but why do you have to TELL everybody?”;
- Say anything like “Why do you have to put Lesbian on your social media profile?”;
- Say anything like “I don’t care who you have sex with, I just don’t want to know about it!”;
- Say anything like “Who’s the man one?”;
- Say anything like “Maybe you just haven’t met the right man yet!”;
- Say anything like “But how do you know you wouldn’t like it if you haven’t tried having sex with a man?”
- Say anything like “You and your friend can’t share a bedroom in my house!”;
- Blame you in any way for the lesbophobia you encounter;
- Punish, shame, or penalize you in any way for the lesbophobia you encounter;
- Defend, befriend, or take the side of lesbophobes in any way;
- Support you in private — but not in public;
- Refuse to let you (or in any way support/defend the premise that you shouldn’t be allowed to): get married, adopt an animal, get hired for a job, buy a wedding cake, rent an apartment, patronize a business, buy a house, have benefits, inherit from your partner, file taxes together, travel together, visit your partner in the hospital, etc. etc. etc. etc. (This list consists of anything and everything that straight people can do without question);
- Encourage you in any way to be nice, be quiet, remain silent, be invisible, and/or get along with lesbophobes (or in order to avoid being attacked by lesbophobes);
- Treat you and your partner differently that they would routinely be treated with their spouse (Examples: when traveling together, walking into your hotel room without knocking; or putting you and your partner in twin beds or on the floor when you visit their house, while straight couples are given the double, queen, or king beds);
- Ask that you not tell someone/anyone/everyone you are a Lesbian. (“Granny doesn’t need to know, it will kill her!”);
- Support and/or vote for a candidate/politician that is known to be against Gay/Lesbian rights;
- Does not even recognize blatant lesbophobia in others (does not even understand what was wrong with what was said!).
- (Update: Added because of suggestions from 2 readers — thanks!): Minimizes, belittles, and/or denies the existence of lesbophobia itself (and minimizes, belittles, and/or denies the consequences of lesbophobia on Lesbian lives).
It’s important to note that before jumping to conclusions, it’s always best to verify our perceptions. I believe that some people can be covertly lesbophobic and aren’t even aware of it themselves. So, I always try to explain why _______ was lesbophobic, and then watch to see how the person responds. Does he/she listen and attempt to change? Or does he/she barrel right along and then do something similar immediately afterword? If you start to notice their actual behavior, without denying or sugar-coating it, sadly, you will likely learn quite quickly that covert lesbophobia lurks in the psyches of many who mistakenly think they are our allies.