Please read this post by Crash, and also follow her blog. She is an incredibly gifted writer and very intelligent and insightful. This particular post is really long but very much worth reading. I am going to highlight a few of her points here but do go and read her whole post.
On being subject to sexism:
“I couldn’t call myself a woman because woman meant nothing I was or wanted to be. It meant the girls wearing make-up and clothes that felt like drag on me, talking and acting in ways strange to me, incomprehensible creatures who were sometimes cruel, asking me if I had a dick, throwing up their repulsion as another barrier between us. It meant the women I found on the screen and the page who I could not see myself in, the descriptions of female life that left me out, didn’t even consider my existence a possibility. It meant I was disgusting, not right, not enough of a boy or a girl to belong to either group, left out, on my own, living in my head and talking to myself for lack of actual friends, being one of the school scapegoats, never able to rise above my position no matter how hard I tried, as a girl I was not what others respected or wanted to be close to.”
Women are all expected to live up to a cultural narrative of femininity that presents women as sex objects for men, wives for men, and baby incubators. Women who cannot fit this limited definition of womanhood are seen as wrong or disgusting and punished accordingly. In actual fact, women who do not meet society’s sexist definition of what a woman is are fantastic, powerful, and beautiful. Women’s natural personalities and looks aren’t a problem: the problem is sexism and homophobia.
Regarding internalized homophobia:
“I started sleeping with a woman, someone I’d been friends with for years, my first serious relationship in a long time. We got together while I was still living as a genderqueer/man but sometimes when we had sex I felt like we were two women, and I felt aroused by how our bodies were the same. And I found that I worried that what we did together wasn’t real because neither of us had a dick, that we weren’t really having sex. Most of her previous partners had been male and I found that part of the satisfaction I got from pleasuring her was that it gave me proof that I was as sexually potent as a man. Taking all these feelings together and examining them, I saw I had taken in the idea that sex between two female bodies wasn’t real, was weak and not as good as het sex and that I was uncomfortable when I felt like a woman having sex with another woman but also desired it. I was shocked. I’d been having relationships with women since my teens and had been part of a radical queer scene that trumpeted “sex positivity” for most of my adult life and yet I found deep inside that I hated and had contempt for myself for being a lesbian.”
Internalized homophobia isn’t always an obvious thing. I would guess that more often than not it’s a subconscious thing that is not at all visible. I wrote in this post about how I didn’t realize I had internalized homophobia until I dug deeply into some of the more surface feelings I was having. Internalized homophobia can take various forms:
- Believing that you are not a real woman or a failed woman because of your lesbian personality
- Believing that you need a penis to make love to a woman
- Believing that your desire to make love to a woman makes you inherently male
- Believing that sex between two women isn’t really sex
- Believing that lesbians are a threat or a danger to straight women
Of course, if someone straight thinks these things about lesbians, that is homophobia. A lesbian internalizing these beliefs has internalized homophobia. The cure for internalized homophobia is not to agree with the bullies and declare oneself to be something other than a woman, it’s to recognize the sexism and homophobia for what they are and accept one’s lesbian self as good, acceptable, and fabulous. It’s also to realize that lesbian sex is fulfilling, beautiful, and ‘real’ and doesn’t require a penis nor a prosthetic penis.
This beautiful paragraph about Michfest:
“At Michfest I found the radical lesbian feminist culture I’d been obsessively reading about manifesting all around me, becoming a physical, living, changing reality I could interact with. I could talk to the women who’d helped build it, hear their stories and find out that they wanted to hear mine too. I realized that what I’d been told about these women, that they didn’t matter, were foolishly set in outdated ways, that it’d be great when they all finally died out, hateful, narrow, naive, bigoted, all this had cut me off and barred me from a culture built by women like me, that centered women like me. To meet these women and find out how glad they were to see me and hear them say that I and my friends were the women they’d been fighting for and they’d waited all these years for us to show up brought me alive in ways I’d never known before. Not being able to accept or even see myself as a lesbian was one kind of wound, being cut off from other dykes, especially from the dykes who came before me who spent their lives making a meaningful and life-sustaining culture that centers our many experiences, that was whole other catastrophe, one I’m still absorbing.”
The “queer” community is straight-up harmful to lesbians. The queer agenda is about the performance of multiple “genders” as a way to obscure the reality of human sexual dimorphism and it’s also about the “transgression” of repressive moral codes by performing radical sex acts (which are usually abusive.) For a radical queer, homosexual behavior is just another way to perform transgression for the sake of transgression. Homosexuality isn’t respected as a sexual orientation; in fact, queers disappear the existence of biological sex and sexual orientation altogether and expect lesbian women to consider men in dresses as potential sexual partners. Queer culture is pro-prostitution, pro-pornography, pro-BDSM, and anti-feminist, which makes it a patriarchal culture that is harmful to all women. Lesbians who join queer culture are assumed to be some “gender” other than “woman,” are encouraged to modify their bodies and identify outside of womanhood, and are turned away from the feminism that they need. Real feminism, not the pro-patriarchy kind, celebrates all women as women, doesn’t try to disappear nonconforming women by turning them into artificially created men, and helps women heal from sexism and homophobia, so they can accept themselves as lesbian women. Queers are against Michfest and its values because they want to uphold gender, that is, masculinity and femininity, so they can continue to “perform” gender. This is not in the interests of women. Gender universally harms women. Masculinity causes violence against women and femininity imposes harmful expectations on women. What we need is an end to gender (social roles of masculinity and femininity) so that we can express ourselves without being told we are doing woman wrong or are not acceptable women.
Lesbians are acceptable, good, and fantastic women, and we need a strong community of women who know that sexism and homophobia are the problem—not us.