There is an excellent comment from fightingunreality on Fourth Wave Now that talks about how a lesbian’s first love is often a straight woman and romantic rejection is based on the lesbian’s wrong body. I wanted to write about this because this is another one of the reasons why young lesbians conclude that they must be men. Commenter fightingunreality writes:
“Coming out” and achieving self-acceptance for lesbians has never been easy –even when there was a viable “LGB” community and system of support which was, with some effort, accessible. “First love” (and even second) are most often directed towards heterosexual “best friends” whose romantic rejection is based on possessing the *wrong body,* alone. (Hell, my first –and ridiculously intense –love told me that if I were a man, she would have married me. This did not lessen the pain) Imagine what it’s like for girls who have not fully overcome their own socially induced homophobia having to experience that rejection on the basis of their body AND the loss of friendship by a “love” who chooses to make the professed love *public*as the subject of gossip among their peers. It happens all the time. I’ve witnessed it. The betrayal and humiliation would be unbearable.
How easy it would be to expect that “transitioning” her body would “correct” all that was amiss. In her imagination, she wouldn’t have to resolve her discomfort with the idea of lesbian sex or of not conforming to the heterosexist social norm. She could conjure the illusion that she would no longer face the rejections that come with being a sexual minority. She might even “pass” to the outside world as a heterosexual man, and that’s a comfortable idea however little that has to do with intimate sexual relations. She can “identify” all she wants, but people have sex with their bodies, not their identities, and hers will never be or function sexually as that of a male. Better to face that reality now than to find out after “transition” that sex does not change. Barring a testosterone-induced alteration of her sexual orientation, the truth is that she will never engage in anything other than lesbian sex.”
How terribly true this is. I also used to love a straight woman, and we had a very close and intense friendship that was different from any friendship I’d had before. It was very painful to have to make a decision to stop focusing my energy on her and go out and meet other people. Your first love is very intense and hard to handle. You feel like your sweetheart is the most important thing in the whole world, and perhaps the only thing in the whole world, nothing else seems to really matter compared to how much your sweetheart matters to you. You would do anything for her, and her very existence brightens your life. Losing her feels like dying. When you are a lesbian and your first love is a straight woman, there is an added difficulty because she does love you, in a way, because you are her dear friend, but she does not love you the way you love her. No matter how wonderful a friend you are to her, she does not see you as a romantic relationship, and no matter how badly you want to make love to her, she is not interested. Seeing her interested in men will break your heart. You will wonder why on Earth she would bother with those pathetic losers when she could be with you. But she is straight and that is what she desires, and you have to respect that.
There is no official “break-up” when you stop focusing your attention on a straight woman, because there was never a real relationship so there is no official ending. You have to decide on your own that it won’t do to keep on focusing your life on her and you have to step away, even though there is no official “ending” to this situation because she still likes you as a friend, as she always has.
It may feel like the end of the world to cut your sweetheart out of your life. It may feel like cutting off your own limbs. This is because learning how to deal with feelings of love and heartbreak is very hard. But you will get through it and someday there will be a new sweetheart, and you will feel this way again. And trust me, lesbians, no matter how much you love your straight friend, it does not compare to loving another lesbian. It is very, very worth it to get over the straight friend and find someone who is actually capable of loving you the way you love her. Loving a lesbian is different—when both of you are each other’s sweetheart, you are in a real relationship. That’s what you want to have—a mutual relationship, not one-sided longing.
You might think that becoming a man is a solution to this problem. She’d love you as a man, so obviously you should become one! But no, that will not work. Straight women do not want to date women who pretend to be men, they want to date actual men. Even if you look like a man you are not what a straight woman wants. It’s not fair to straight women to trick them into thinking you are male when you’re not. You are still a lesbian, as you have always been. The way to have a real relationship is to have a relationship with another woman who loves women the way you do. This will be made more difficult if you look and sound like a man.
The best possible future for a woman-loving woman is self-acceptance and healthy relationships with other woman-loving women.