GLAAD ACTION ALERT: Transadvocate.com Is Worse than Randi Rhodes and Michael Savage Combined!
July 16, 2007
Transactivism, For Your Eyes Only
July 23, 2007

Don’t Call Me A Lesbian

A question recent posted on Lesbian Life at About.com asked

“Question: I am at the very early stages of being a transsexual, and I want to be a woman. I also love women. Could I consider myself a lesbian?”

I’ve struggled to define my own sexuality, so this question has been ever present in my mind.

Kathy Belge, of Curve’s “Lipstick and Dipstick” fame, responded by saying:

“Yes, transsexuals can be homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things. Gender identity is the sex you believe yourself to be, regardless of what body you were born into.

Sexual orientation describes the gender of the people you are attracted to. Your sexual orientation can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight.”

For the longest time I self identified as bisexual, but I’ve come to realize that my primary attraction is to women. I’ve never had the type of intimacy with a man that I’ve had women, and that’s at the center of what I want from a partner.

But, I’d never identify myself as a lesbian. There is too much drama that is involved with doing so. The words of a friend in the comments of my post “Is The Radical Feminist Movement Our Enemy?” sums it up best:

Sadly I’ve had too many recent encounters with lesbian women that have made me realize that most of the “acceptance” I thought I’d felt from them, including my best friend of two years, was fake. More like being politically correct so you don’t minimize the poor trannys’ plight. They’ll let you hang with them, but more as a freaky mascot or something. You are not getting admission into their world. In my personal experience, the biggest heap of prejudice I get is from gays and lesbians. They just seem incapable or unwilling to ever let you be anything beyond that T.

I’m not condemning everyone in the lesbian community. The attitudes are changing with time. The younger set of gays and lesbians seem to understand gender and sexual fluidity much easier than the older crowd does. But by the culture of lesbians that are around my age (I’m 39), I’m conditionally accepted.

I’m not going to fight to wear a label. When asked about my sexual orientation, I’ll just say that I’m a woman that loves other women.

  • LOL, I know you will Steph, you’re cool like that.

    Isn’t the definition of a label, a short definition? Whatever you want to call it, a label or description, I don’t find it’s worth the fight to use that descriptor. Levels of acceptance vary, but I won’t put up a battle for it.

    Honestly, this isn’t a very polite society, as a whole. But you’re definitely one of the awesome people in this society that give me hope.

  • LOL, I know you will Steph, you’re cool like that.

    Isn’t the definition of a label, a short definition? Whatever you want to call it, a label or description, I don’t find it’s worth the fight to use that descriptor. Levels of acceptance vary, but I won’t put up a battle for it.

    Honestly, this isn’t a very polite society, as a whole. But you’re definitely one of the awesome people in this society that give me hope.

  • I vote you should call yourself whatever you’d like. I’ll go along with it. 🙂

    It bugs me when people call the words for sexual orientation and gender identity “labels” because I think of them as “descriptions.”

    I don’t think that the word lesbian should define who someone is, but rather describe who they are, and if the description isn’t accurate as applied to some folks, then they could supply more words to make it clear what their orientation or identity is.

    But I’m all for letting other people tell me who they are, rather than imposing my ideas about who someone is on them. That strikes me as, well, polite.

  • I vote you should call yourself whatever you’d like. I’ll go along with it. 🙂

    It bugs me when people call the words for sexual orientation and gender identity “labels” because I think of them as “descriptions.”

    I don’t think that the word lesbian should define who someone is, but rather describe who they are, and if the description isn’t accurate as applied to some folks, then they could supply more words to make it clear what their orientation or identity is.

    But I’m all for letting other people tell me who they are, rather than imposing my ideas about who someone is on them. That strikes me as, well, polite.

  • “There are 3.6 billion (or something) women in the world. It’s not like the label is going out of business anytime soon; really not having a problem sharing it. And, if you’re a woman whose erotic affiliation is with other women, well, by golly, in my book, you’re a lesbian.”

    Agreed. But frankly, I’m tired and don’t feel like wrestling someone for a label. I’m just going to love, and just be me. I don’t have time for much else and I’m not going to defend myself to anyone.

  • I really, really hate the Star-bellied Sneetches thing, I have to say. I call myself lesbian or queer; frankly, if I were annoyed at anyone for co-opting it, it’d be the “political” lesbians who don’t actually consider the whole y’know sexually desiring other women part important, and, worse, promptly start trying to police everyone else.

    There are 3.6 billion (or something) women in the world. It’s not like the label is going out of business anytime soon; really not having a problem sharing it. And, if you’re a woman whose erotic affiliation is with other women, well, by golly, in my book, you’re a lesbian.

    I’m 33, btw. yeah, there does seem to be an age gap about this shit, although i’m not sure exactly where it falls.

  • I really, really hate the Star-bellied Sneetches thing, I have to say. I call myself lesbian or queer; frankly, if I were annoyed at anyone for co-opting it, it’d be the “political” lesbians who don’t actually consider the whole y’know sexually desiring other women part important, and, worse, promptly start trying to police everyone else.

    There are 3.6 billion (or something) women in the world. It’s not like the label is going out of business anytime soon; really not having a problem sharing it. And, if you’re a woman whose erotic affiliation is with other women, well, by golly, in my book, you’re a lesbian.

    I’m 33, btw. yeah, there does seem to be an age gap about this shit, although i’m not sure exactly where it falls.

  • Bella

    That is actually how I feel about the lesbian community as a whole. I self- identify as lesbian, and I am accepted as a lesbian within the community until someone find out that I was married to a man. And that we had sex. And that I liked it!

    At that point I suddenly become one of those girls who is just trying things out on the lesbian side of the fence before I head back to boystown. Even though my husband was as gay as I am, if not more! And, to the lesbian community bisexual means “straight girl experimenting”, which isn’t necessarily true.

    I just think that the lines between gay and straight and bisexual are just drawn too heavily. Yes, I had sex with my husband, and yes I enjoyed it, but I overwhelmingly prefer women, and in fact, he was the only man I’ve every seriously been with. I find those lines in sexual orientation, and, in fact, in gender to be highly frustrating. Sexuality is not an issue that is black or white. Instead, there is a teeny tiny little amount of black and white at the ends of the scale and then hundreds of different and individual shades of gray inbetween.

    I’ll shup up now.

  • Bella

    That is actually how I feel about the lesbian community as a whole. I self- identify as lesbian, and I am accepted as a lesbian within the community until someone find out that I was married to a man. And that we had sex. And that I liked it!

    At that point I suddenly become one of those girls who is just trying things out on the lesbian side of the fence before I head back to boystown. Even though my husband was as gay as I am, if not more! And, to the lesbian community bisexual means “straight girl experimenting”, which isn’t necessarily true.

    I just think that the lines between gay and straight and bisexual are just drawn too heavily. Yes, I had sex with my husband, and yes I enjoyed it, but I overwhelmingly prefer women, and in fact, he was the only man I’ve every seriously been with. I find those lines in sexual orientation, and, in fact, in gender to be highly frustrating. Sexuality is not an issue that is black or white. Instead, there is a teeny tiny little amount of black and white at the ends of the scale and then hundreds of different and individual shades of gray inbetween.

    I’ll shup up now.

  • yeah, i’m defininately basing my experiences in the older trans and gay crowds – i’m 51 and many of the trans women i know are also about that age. the gay bars and clubs i frequent never are a problem, though again, most of the gay men are also around my age.

  • yeah, i’m defininately basing my experiences in the older trans and gay crowds – i’m 51 and many of the trans women i know are also about that age. the gay bars and clubs i frequent never are a problem, though again, most of the gay men are also around my age.

  • I think there’s a definite generation thing going on – I have a quite different experience from you nexy. I find a lot of gay guys I know are just completely bewildered by my transwomany self. Maybe there’s isn’t the same visceral disdain as some rad-fems have but the whole turn towards “straight looking straight acting” homonormativity isn’t so trans friendly. Whereas a lot of the queer women I know are pretty clued up on trans* stuff, albeit mostly in relation to FTMs.

    BUT I suppose I don’t really meet many lesbian-feminists, I’m very much more in the whole genderqueer/transgender side of things.

  • I think there’s a definite generation thing going on – I have a quite different experience from you nexy. I find a lot of gay guys I know are just completely bewildered by my transwomany self. Maybe there’s isn’t the same visceral disdain as some rad-fems have but the whole turn towards “straight looking straight acting” homonormativity isn’t so trans friendly. Whereas a lot of the queer women I know are pretty clued up on trans* stuff, albeit mostly in relation to FTMs.

    BUT I suppose I don’t really meet many lesbian-feminists, I’m very much more in the whole genderqueer/transgender side of things.

  • i’ll be honest – i rather glad that i don’t have to deal with your, and other “woman that loves other women” issue regarding your orientation. i’ve always liked men, and lesbians all over the world can thank my ex, who put me off to women as sexual partners.

    i think trans women have it easier in the gay community, who at worst, see me as a drag queen. or a drag queen who “took it too far”. they’re used to us being among them, at least every friday and saturday nights during the infamous “drag shows” they hold pretty much every week. at worst, they tolerate us, and many even seem quite accepting.

    i call myself “heterosexual”, but have no issues being seen as gay. or a person who prefers men.

  • i’ll be honest – i rather glad that i don’t have to deal with your, and other “woman that loves other women” issue regarding your orientation. i’ve always liked men, and lesbians all over the world can thank my ex, who put me off to women as sexual partners.

    i think trans women have it easier in the gay community, who at worst, see me as a drag queen. or a drag queen who “took it too far”. they’re used to us being among them, at least every friday and saturday nights during the infamous “drag shows” they hold pretty much every week. at worst, they tolerate us, and many even seem quite accepting.

    i call myself “heterosexual”, but have no issues being seen as gay. or a person who prefers men.

  • i’ll be honest – i rather glad that i don’t have to deal with your, and other “woman that loves other women” issue regarding your orientation. i’ve always liked men, and lesbians all over the world can thank my ex, who put me off to women as sexual partners.

    i think trans women have it easier in the gay community, who at worst, see me as a drag queen. or a drag queen who “took it too far”. they’re used to us being among them, at least every friday and saturday nights during the infamous “drag shows” they hold pretty much every week. at worst, they tolerate us, and many even seem quite accepting.

    i call myself “heterosexual”, but have no issues being seen as gay. or a person who prefers men.

  • Rebecca

    I think it’s really sad that it has come to this for some transfolks. I guess I’ve been lucky, being in something of a younger generation – in my case, I’ve found that people in the lesbian community have been nothing but supportive.

  • Rebecca

    I think it’s really sad that it has come to this for some transfolks. I guess I’ve been lucky, being in something of a younger generation – in my case, I’ve found that people in the lesbian community have been nothing but supportive.

  • Of course not. But you’re in the minority, doncha think?

  • Patti your queer friend

    Ummmm
    I hope you don’t feel that way towards me and my family. Since we have adopted you into our family….as kooky as we are…
    I love women, but not all that fond of “radical separatist” types…
    I am my own freak show and if someone doesn’t like it – thier loss!0-i
    Patti

  • Patti your queer friend

    Ummmm
    I hope you don’t feel that way towards me and my family. Since we have adopted you into our family….as kooky as we are…
    I love women, but not all that fond of “radical separatist” types…
    I am my own freak show and if someone doesn’t like it – thier loss!0-i
    Patti

  • Misty

    I’ve blessedly not had much of that, but then, my social interactions are mostly online and with people I like and trust a lot. Brisbane is, sadly, lacking in anything like ‘community’ to begin with, so there’s no real worry about the community rejecting me. It would have to /exist/ for that. 😉

  • Misty

    I’ve blessedly not had much of that, but then, my social interactions are mostly online and with people I like and trust a lot. Brisbane is, sadly, lacking in anything like ‘community’ to begin with, so there’s no real worry about the community rejecting me. It would have to /exist/ for that. 😉