If I had a nickel for every time someone called me a lesbian, I think I would have enough money to buy every album Rihanna has ever released. Maybe it’s my bushy hair, or affinity for dress shirts that makes people think “lesbian” whenever they see me. I’m not entirely sure why people call me it- I mean plenty of boys preppy boys have bushy hair and they aren’t called lesbians. But I don’t get upset when people call me a lesbian- because that means I’m one step closer to Ellen Degeneres.
This article, however, is not about how I look like a lesbian. But it is about lesbians. Let me start by saying I know a fair amount of lesbians. Growing up, I had a lesbian relative (shout out to Cousin Trish!) and now that I am the Vice President of NU Pride, the LGBTQ club on campus, it’s safe to say I interact with them on a weekly basis. And while I get along with most of the lesbians I know, I’ve realized that there exists a divide, at least in my own personal life, between gay men and lesbians.
To put it bluntly, gays and lesbians don’t coexist well. I’ve seen many of the gay guys I know roll their eyes when someone mentions the word “lesbian” and I’ve been told by more “experienced” gays… and by more experienced I simply mean older and sluttier gays… that gays and lesbians simply don’t get along. Whenever I ask why, I never get a straight forward answer. I’ve wondered if these negative feelings toward lesbians are reactionary. Perhaps gays don’t like lesbians simply because they feel lesbians don’t like them. And I’m sure lesbians feel the same way at times. But what it seems to come down to unfortunately is that both groups feel the need, to an extent, to prove that they are the more valid, sexual minority.
I know that what I’m saying is just a theory with little evidence or empirical data. But this is a blog so just bare with me. What I’m saying is that both groups attempt to undermine each other because they feel the other discredits or tarnishes their reputation indirectly just by existing. Maybe lesbians don’t like gays because they believe they send society a message that all same sex oriented people are nonmonogamous, superficial or sexually promiscuous. I’ve heard some lesbians say things of this nature. One lesbian I know once said that gays are “loud, gossipy, superficial and sex obsessed”. Lesbians are not the sole ones to blame for this, however, as gays do the same thing. It seems gays believe lesbians send society an unwanted message that same sex oriented people are aggressive, overly feminist and stubborn.
Maybe gays and lesbians have difficulty existing because people unjustly lump the two together. Gays and lesbians don’t want the same thing. Gays want men, lesbians want women. Maybe that’s why gay men and straight women get along so well. Gays and straight women can spend their time gossipping about the hot guy at the office or at the club, which is something they can’t do with lesbians and vice versa. Maybe gays and lesbians don’t get along because there’s some sense of self loathing involved regarding gender roles. In society there exists the stereotype that people of same sex orientation tend to act like the opposite gender. What I mean is that people believe that gay men are more feminine while lesbians are seen to be more masculine. And while I believe this is a gross stereotype, I can say that it is true at least for me. I consider myself to be a feminine person. I love traditionally female things and I’ve always gotten along with straight women more than any other group people. But I possess masculine qualities as well. Maybe gays and lesbians have difficulty coexisting because they are upset that the other group is performing their gender roles better than they are.
It is possible that no such rivalry exists. I personally don’t feud with any of the lesbians I know but I have heard enough about this issue to wonder if it is a legitimate thing. Maybe it is not fair to lump gays and lesbians in the same category. Maybe sexual orientation and gay pride is much more than just being same sex oriented. I don’t really have an answer on this issue. But I think these two groups should strive to coexist. Both groups are equally valid and they shouldn’t waste their time or energy trying to undermine the other. For those of you who do believe such a feud exists, realize that you are contributing to the thing you probably hate most. You are determining how you feel about someone solely based on their sexual orientation, which seems to be somewhat hypocritical. And let’s face it- no one likes a hypocrite.