The small announcement is that I have deleted my blog posts about political lesbianism. I wrote them when I first started this blog because I wanted to engage with a concept that is important to Lesbian Feminism. I felt that if I was calling myself a Lesbian Feminist then I needed to have an awareness of what has historically been called Lesbian Feminism and the body of work that came out of that movement. I’m glad that I studied this theory and really digested it, and I’m glad that I have discussed it on Facebook with many smart women.
At first I liked the concept of political lesbianism, because I think it’s possible to have some choice over one’s sexuality and I think it’s a great idea for women to decide not to devote their energy to men. However, the concept of political lesbianism is a flawed concept. The political strategy of rejecting relationships with men in order to focus one’s time on women should be called political celibacy. It’s not female homosexuality. We don’t have total choice over our sexuality, we only have the choice of which of our desires we act upon.
Whenever a radical feminist claims that all or most radical feminists are lesbians, I get angry, because this implies that (a) the movement is only open to lesbians, which would greatly diminish the size of the movement if it were true, and (b) feminists are supposed to choose to be lesbians in order to follow the party line. This claim that radfem = lesbian is directly coming from the theory of political lesbianism. It was increasingly uncomfortable to argue against the idea that most radical feminists are lesbians when I had posts on my blog promoting political lesbianism.
I used to consider the idea that I was a political lesbian because I was bisexual as an adolescent and lost interest in dating men as I was becoming a radical feminist. If I try to, I can write about my past in a way that fits a political lesbian narrative. But I can also write about my past in a way that fits other narratives. I can fit my past into a narrative of a lesbian who was coerced into trying heterosexuality by heteronormativity and porn culture. The thing about writing your history is you can pick and choose what details to include and you can present them from certain perspectives. Those perspectives change over time as you learn more. I try to present myself as factually as possible.
Over the past year I’ve lost interest in trying to follow any party lines. There are people who claim that radical feminists are X, Y, and Z and I don’t always fit the criteria, although I usually do. However when you engage in feminist discussion around the clock like I do you realize that there is truly no such thing as a party line—even people who think they have it all figured out disagree with other people who also think they have it all figured out. The best thing to do is just stick to the facts and do your best to fight for all women, regardless of what you call yourself. I consider myself part of an international gender critical community and I don’t think we have a party line either. I don’t agree with everyone in the GC community and a few of them I can’t stand. Some of them can’t stand me.
I’m rambling now.
I guess what I’m saying is I don’t have to agree with a concept just because it’s a part of the feminist tradition that I happen to have wandered into. It’s okay to disagree civilly with other feminists. It’s okay to let go of concepts that came up in the 1970s, before I was born, and not engage with them further. It’s okay to follow what makes sense to me and not worry about whether or not it aligns with a certain body of knowledge. I can only deal with the situation that is before me here and now: women’s rights are being removed by a neo-liberal, identity-driven agenda that prioritizes anyone with a penis. Dealing with this is more important than lining myself up with any theoretical framework.