You know what is easily the most annoying part of dating as a queer woman? Straight women.
Whatever your sexuality, dating can be a slog. That feeling of being tired of the dating game—falling for emotionally unavailable hotties, surviving terrible first dates, and sacrificing time to comb dating apps—is one of the few dating experiences I shared with my straight friends. However, I’ve noticed that one particular response to that feeling angers me every time I hear it.
There is a subset of straight women who like to declare they are so “over men” that they want to try their hand at dating women—not because they’re attracted to women or identify as queer, but because it beats being alone.
Sexuality is fluid, and I love the bisexual, pansexual, and otherwise queer women in our communities who date between genders. I respect women exploring their sexuality and continuing the journey to learn where their attraction lies. This isn’t about them. My grievance is solely with women who loudly and proudly wear the badge of heterosexuality while chalking up their past or current experiences with women to needing a sabbatical from men. Aside from the obvious problems with choosing to dip a toe in sapphic waters as a vacation from Heterosexualville (it makes sexuality seem like a choice, it furthers the “your sexuality is just a phase” myth, it perpetuates the belief that relationships with women occur because of the actions of men rather than the love of women), it also puts an unfair responsibility on us as queer women to do the emotional labor of helping unhappy straight women temporarily escape their straight realities.
I’ve watched as lesbian friends poured their hearts and souls into straight women who never took their relationships seriously. Every time, the lesbian is hurt when the union comes to an end, heartbroken and surprised to learn that her newly minted ex doesn’t identify as queer, but instead as a straight woman who’s had her fill of time without men.
In a truly obnoxious video, YouTuber Jaclyn Glenn talks to straight women who’ve slept with lesbians and they explain why. The women’s answers about why they wouldn’t have serious relationships with lesbians verge on misogynistic, inferring that women are unstable, harder to get along with, and make for more dramatic relationships. These women position lesbians as sexual flings (“she was really good with her fingers!”), but not serious relationship material… Which is, ironically, the mindset many straight women accuse men of having towards them.
The lack of respect exhibited by this group of straight women towards not only the lesbians they date but also the larger LGBTQ+ community is jaw-dropping. I’ve personally also watched as straight women leave their relationships with women only to actively work against the LGBTQ+ community in political and social spaces.
I hope that this essay lands in the inbox and DMs of every straight woman who claims to sleep with women as a means of recovering from less than stellar men and makes them reconsider using us and throwing us away. I hope you use your healing time away from men to reconnect with friends, seek therapy, or examine your past relationships instead of hooking up with queer women as if we don’t have feelings. You may be exhausted by your past, but lesbians and other queer women don’t exist to serve as your flashy trip to Vegas, healing journey out to nature, or rehab from the World of Men. We are people and we deserve to be treated as such.