Who’s the man? Why don’t you guys just call it something besides marriage? Did you have a crush on me in high school?
Being gay, being a lesbian, and being a woman can all be the best experiences in the world. However, they can also be the most exhausting. Between hometown friends, Facebook comment sections, lovers and family, this week we list off all the things we lesbians are just plain tired of explaining.
1. Why we have no intention of moving back to our hometown. Yes, friends from high school, we do miss you. But we would miss being open, comfortable, having the option to marry, not getting fired, and staying safe much, much more.
2. Whether or not we’ve ever been with a man. This is just none of your business. Ever. But sometimes when you are close with a friend, it will naturally come up. We get that, but if we have been, we have to explain this entire back-story of our lives. If we have not been, we have to explain how a gold star lesbian does not mean virgin. Seriously?
Stranger, it’s none of your business. Friend, it’s an exhausting and awkward question.
3. Why we forgot to call you personally and tell you we were gay even though we have not talked to each other in 10 years. Very sorry that we did not send out a memo or invite you to join our, “Hey guys, I’m gay” Facebook group. There are very few people we usually come out to. Those are parents, siblings, and close friends…and only if we choose. Everyone else, we love you but you can figure it out through the grapevine or by stalking us on social media like any normal 21st century human being.
4. Whether or not we are bisexual. Being with a man before we came out or being femme does not mean that we are “going back to men” or are bisexual. Also, yes, bisexuality is real but every time you ask it’s like saying, “Are you sure you’re really gay?” or “Are you sure this isn’t just a phase?” You are pitting lesbians and bisexual women against each other and that is not cool.
5. No, we are not all vegetarians. We are not all yoga instructors. We do not all go camping or hiking. Please stop learning about us only from movies and please give me the steak option at your wedding.
6. No, we did not have a crush on you in high school/college. Just because you are a female and you were my friend, does not mean you were my type. Heck, we may not have even realized we were gay yet. Remember that awesome road trip we went on to the beach at 1 a.m.? That was just a fun road trip. Remember that time we went to dinner? We were just hungry. Remember that time we stayed up all night watching movies and cuddling…okay, maybe you, we had a crush on.
7. Why businesses refusing to serve us is discrimination and why that is not okay. If you are serving the public, you are taking on the responsibility to leave your personal views out of it. Yes, the civil rights movement is different in a myriad of ways, but it does help if you imagine these laws and ideas in reference to race.
Should a business owner be able to refuse service to someone based on race? No, that is blatant discrimination against something that is not illegal and is not a choice. Based on this simple logic, they should not be allowed to refuse service based on sexuality either.
8. “But I am refusing service based on my religion.”/What separation of church and state means. Yes, you are allowed to practice your religion freely, but that does not mean you get to decide how other people live their lives. The government is not required to give you free range to be a bigot.
9. “I am just following what the Bible says.”(Religious scripture). This is an entirely different article topic that I refuse to tackle here, but there are a multitude of reasons you quoting Bible scripture to condemn us loving our girlfriend is not okay.
A good source for this is the film “Fish Out of Water” but still, we are tired of spending hours explaining why misinterpretations and cherry-picking should not stop us from eating a damn sandwich.
10. All gender roles and stereotypes. From the dreaded “Who’s the guy?” question to who is paying for dinner or proposing. We are two women; that is kind of the point. We may be butch, but we do not all own saws and hammers. We may be femme, but we do not all wear makeup. We get to decide what roles we want free from the social structure. Fun fact: so do you.
11. Why we are not pregnant. “Ugh. I feel nauseous.” “Heh. Maybe you’re pregnant.” Why is this even a statement? No, we are not pregnant. Yes, we know for sure. No, we do not need to explain to you how we know that. Neither do straight women. All around, it is just a weird thing to say, guys.
12. Our form of birth control. Hmm..I am not a gynecologist so I do not know why this is a necessary question, but I would like to imagine there are a lot of valid reasons. However, that does not make it any less awkward for us to have to tell you that we are gay and THAT is our form of birth control.
I am out and proud, but I am also not immune to discrimination so I try to keep my sexuality out of professional environments and conversations where you are in charge of giving me potentially life-altering information about my body.
13. Anything about gay marriage. Why it is important. Why it is only one of many issues. Why no, we do not just want to call it something else. How did that separate but equal thing work out for us before? Not too great.
Maybe we want to get married and maybe we do not, but it is not about that. It is about equality and rights and being considered “human” enough to be next to our wife’s hospital bed or adopt a child together or heck, even just get a tax break.
14. It’s not a choice. Could you just choose to go have sex with someone of the same-sex right now? No? Oh, then it is not a choice. Yes? Maybe that is something you need to explore because congratulations, you are on the spectrum.
15. What feminism is and why feminists do not hate men. Chances are, if you are a woman and you are a lesbian, you are a feminist, whether you realize it or not. Feminism is all about equality. It is about seeing gender inequality everywhere you turn that comes from centuries of systemic oppression. It also means seeing a high level of violence against women that comes from women being treated as objects and thus having their humanity overlooked. We are also tired of explaining that feminism does not mean that we hate men. We know that teaching this hyper-masculinity to young males is also an issue with a lot of lingering consequences. Women’s rights are similar to gay rights in that we are simply striving for equality and basic human rights.
16. Why we belong in this bathroom. This may be geared more toward butch, genderqueer, and transgender men and women. We know better than you what bathroom we choose to use. If someone is in a bathroom, they read the sign just fine and they are where they are comfortable, then chance are we are in the right bathroom! Society needs to take a lesson from LGBTQ clubs and bars in this respect and stop the bathroom division. Same goes for dressing rooms. We should not have to hold it the entire time we are running errands just to make you feel more comfortable.
17. Anything about our marriage/children/life timelines. As lesbians, we get the opportunity to truly re-evaluate what is important to us. If you have always been able to get married and have children, and are told that you should, you may rush into those life choices earlier than you are ready for. Lesbians are able to stop and take a look and truly decide if marriage and children are right for us. We do not have to explain that timeline to anyone. Maybe we do not live together after five years. Maybe we are in our thirties and not discussing children. That is our right and gay or straight, no one should be worried about anyone else’s choices when it comes to major life decisions.
18. “When did you first know?” I will admit, as a femme, I am more used to the “Are you sure?” question, but another popular question lesbians are tired of explaining is how or when we first knew we were gay. How did you know you were straight? What if as a straight person, random strangers went around asking you to pinpoint the exact moment you remember first feeling attracted to someone of the opposite sex? Across the board, we get used to answering it, but it is a very intimate and unnecessary question. We would be happy to provide you with a list of more appropriate questions to get to know us better.
19. “Are you trying to be a man?” Just because we are dressed in clothes from the men’s section, does not mean that we are trying to be men. It means that the store needs to stop labeling clothing to be men or women’s clothing based on such specific archetypes of men and women. There are many people in our community that are in the middle of the gender spectrum or are transgender and we love them, but we are happy to be women and a short haircut does not change that.
20. Lastly, why we are tired of explaining these things. We are people. We are just like anyone else. And sometimes, like anyone else, we get tired. We turn on the TV every day to some new controversy surrounding who we are. We see old friends post ignorant statements on social media. We see our basic humanity used as political points. Sometimes, we have a conversation and have to take a deep breath and decide whether or not we have enough energy to defend our humanity today.
We need our allies to continue to step up and sometimes we have days where we just need a break. This does not mean we have checked out. We will be back tomorrow, stronger than ever. However, from time to time, we are going to need the rest of the world to read an article, open a book, watch a video and meet us half way.