Monday, January 16, 2012

10 Things NOT to Say To A Lesbian

I realize many, if not most, people are trying to be sensitive. The majority of these questions come from what I call 'the innocently clueless.' But that said, there are several things I'm tired of explaining, and a number of questions I'm tired of hearing. Genuine attempts to connect and honest efforts to understand are welcome; outmoded (ie, 1950s) expectations and outright asshattery are not. Clip this out and put it in your wallet or stick it on your fridge as a reference. So, in no particular order:
1. But you don't LOOK like a lesbian! Yeah, I had the giant 'Lez' tattoo zapped off my forehead didn't go with my glasses. All right, just kidding. I know what you mean: I don't look like a pre-op Chastity Bono. I have long hair, wear skirts on occasion, and have been known to keep lipstick and mascara in my bag (though it's a backpack and not a purse). Lesbians, just like straight and bi women, run the gamut from Portia-deRossi-femme to kd lang butch. Take-home message? Don't make assumptions. If you could tell just by looking, I wouldn't have such a hard time finding dates.
2. (In regards to a relationship): So which one of you is the man? -See also the next question. Um. Neither of us is 'the man.' That's what makes us lesbians, actually: the fact that both of us are ladies. Some women identify as butch (more masculine) and femme (more feminine) but if that's what you mean, then those are the terms you should use. There are also plenty of folks who don't subscribe to the whole butch/femme thing. Do you mean who's the dominant personality? Who opens doors and pulls out chairs? Who usually initiates sex? Quite possibly both or neither. Just like, y'know, lots of heterosexual relationships.
3. So how can two women have sex? With finesse and skill. As most people living in this century are aware, there are lots of things people can do in bed (or on the kitchen table, or in a secluded park) besides 'sticking it in.' There are, in fact--please sit down as I break this to you--many, many sex acts that do not depend on the presence of a penis. Though if we want a penis, we can generally drop by a novelty shop and pick one up in exactly the dimensions, textures and colors we want.

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