I started out wanting to write a post about my search for funny lesbian blogs on WordPress – I’m nothing if not a humor whore. I didn’t intend to say such blogs don’t exist, ButchOnTap and Miss N Corner are proof that they do. I was just going to ask the funny lesbians to step forward and identify themselves so I could join their followers (and I’d still appreciate knowing who and where you are). But when I went to my Reader to look for lesbians to whom I could give a shout-out, I began to realize that I’m living in a bubble of ease and good-fortune.
Blogs devoted to epic poems about slow, sensuous Sapphic love and graphic tale of hot girl-on-girl action abound, but so many more are about discrimination, confusion, fear, cultural bias, lesbians in straight marriages, women ostracized by their families, conflict with religion and core beliefs, so many women struggling with so many issues …
And none of them apply to me.
Here are the “bad” things that have happened to me because I’m a lesbian:
- Between junior high, when I came to understand the lesbian = outcast equation, and when I graduated from high school, I was afraid people would find out. No one ever did. But I drank too much because I felt different (who didn’t feel different as a teenager?) and slept with too many boys to prove that I wasn’t something that no one suspected I was anyway.
- When I first came out, my über-Catholic best-friend stopped being friends with me. Her’s was the only friendship I lost as a direct result of someone learning I was gay. It sucked and it hurt. But we’re friends on Facebook now, so all is well.
- My mom had a hard time accepting it at first and didn’t go to the commitment ceremony I shared with my first girlfriend. But my mom has a hard time accepting a lot of things, such as the necessity of using words like fuck and cock to make a point in my writing, that dang and penis don’t convey the same message. Anyway, she ended up being the matron of honor at my wedding to my (now ex) wife, so that issue moot as well.
- When my hair was short and I wore cargo shorts, little kids often thought I was a boy. Which, much to the embarrassment of their parents, they’d question openly – “Mommy, is she a boy or a girl?” Much to the annoyance of said parents, my answer was usually, “I’m a little of both, honey.” But, now that my hair in long and I wear girlier clothes, that no longer happens.
- In 2008 when same-sex marriage was briefly legal in California, I married my long-time girlfriend, which was good. Then Prop 8 passed and same-sex marriage became illegal, which was bad. But those of us who were married before the election were allowed to retain our marital status, which was good. Then my wife dumped me for someone else and we got divorced, which was bad. But I was same-sex married and same-sex divorced before the whole striking down of DOMA thing even happened, which kind of makes me a pioneer! So I’m calling the who shebang a wash.
- Some random drunk guy at a gas station called me and my friend rug-munchers once.
- I found out I suck at softball.
And that’s about it. I’ve never been fired or not hired (that I know of) because I’m gay, I’ve never been beaten up, never bullied,my family didn’t reject me, my friends accept me, no one has ever recoiled in horror and disgust from me. My life as a lesbian has been essentially uneventful.
The area in which I live certainly plays a role in making lesbian life easier – Southern California is not the worst place to be gay. Although there are more conservative places, in some of which I’ve lived, they’re not tiny and isolated, so there’s still an overall balance. My home may have been a quarter-mile from Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, in what I liked to call the Orange County Bible Belt, but still the villagers never stormed my house carrying torches and pitch forks.
My appearance probably doesn’t hurt, either. I’m openly gay, but I’m not obviously gay. I used to “look like a lesbian,” with my short, spiky hair and preference for shopping in the boy’s department at Old Navy. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve softened, I guess; or, maybe I just needed a change. Either way, my hair is long, my clothes are more feminine (can’t seem to give up the Chuck Taylor’s, though) and I’m usually wearing make-up. So while I was never bullied or harassed beforek, the chances of it happening now because some asshole decides he’s going to play fuck with the lesbian, are greatly diminished.
And since I used to be mistaken for a teenage boy, and now I look like a straight woman 10 years younger than me (what?? I look good!), I can sense a subtle difference in the reaction of people when they first find out I’m a lesbian. Maybe it’s just that previously they were pretending they couldn’t tell just by looking at me, and now they really are surprised – but there’s definitely a difference. I think for some, because my appearance doesn’t make them uncomfortable by threatening their gender stereotype of what a woman looks like, they don’t get flustered and start over-compensating by telling me about every gay person with whom they’ve ever come in contact and assuring me that they love Ellen.
Note to straight people: We’re not all in direct contact with Ellen DeGeneres. An awful lot of you tell us how much you like her, how funny she is and that you love her show, but we have no way of conveying that information to her. The ‘Lesbian Rules & Regulation Manual’ clearly states that we are not to speak to her unless spoken to.
But of all the reasons, the most significant and the one I most appreciate is the people in my life, my family and friends. It’s probably also the one I take most for granted. I expect people to accept me, and to accept me for who I am. After not seeing any one from high school since graduating, when I opened my Facebook account and indicated that I was into women and posted pics of me and my then-wife, the response I got was a collective “Meh.” No one cared. Okay, I was teensy bit bummed. No one wants to be hurt, scorned, rejected (seriously, listen to Love Child, it’s not a good thing), but I was hoping my revelation would have carried at least a smidgen of shock value.
I’m so comfortable with myself and my sexuality that it never occurs to me that one day I might run across someone who isn’t. At least, not someone who matters to me. That hasn’t happened in twenty-five years and I’m not sure how I’d react or handle it today. I’d hope with grace and dignity, but I might cry.
I feel like I need to apologize to all the women who struggle every day with their sexuality and the issues surrounding it. I feel guilty for things being so easy for me. I don’t know what it’s like for you and I won’t pretend to. Sure, I was afraid growing up. But I wasn’t afraid with rigid parents in a small Southern Baptist town. Maybe if I’d come out back then, my mom would have cried (like she did when I came out after high school), I would have been teased or bullied and lost some friends. Then again people liked me as a kid, I might have been something of a novelty – the token lesbian! Things might have worked out just fine, kind of like they have my whole life. My mom says I have a knack for falling in shit and getting up smelling like roses.
I wish that was something I could share.