I finally came out a couple of months ago to my family. So now I am in the exploration phrase and trying to understand the community. As a Black lesbian, I did notice the whole labels and roles thing. So I mentioned this subject to a white lesbian friend of mines and she stopped me and said that it is a thing in the lesbian community including the white one. She has to deal with it also.
I mean look into the gay community and all you see is tops and bottoms, the masculines vs the feminines. Within, heterosexual love-making, fucking, whatever you want to call it, positions are more fluid then it seem to be with the gays/lesbians. I was with one lesbian and she did not want to receive. However, being with *straight women, I see they give, take, whatever. I am not into straight girls but we can work things out*.
Again, I am trying to understand the lesbian community. If I can have a label, I would label how I think as a ‘stud’ but people say I am a femme for one reason or the other. I found this to be ironic because when I was assumed to be heterosexual, I was called a tomboy. As a doctoral student, I just can not dress nor do I want to dress like the black stud: gangsta rapper look…..puh please.
So yeah, this whole label thing is a problem. I just do not agree that it is a black thing. I mean, what about the black professional lesbians like me who may be politicians, activist, religious leaders, professors etc. How we express ourselves is a little different….sometimes.
KK, what do you think?
So I will be honest… I was a little at a loss for words when I read this comment. Me a loss for words??? Yes it does happen, mainly because I am sick as a dog. Also as one that easily passes in the heterosexual world, there were some issues I didn’t think I could honestly address. So I reached out to one of my favorite non-skirt wearers for her thoughts.
Here’s what she had to say
No really. They are short sighted and limiting, and often bear little resemblance to the person to whom they are being attached. Labels are for those that don’t like to think. You are new to the lesbian community: Congratulations!! Your U-Haul coupon and Me’Shell N’degeocello collection are in the mail. Now all those trite labels that people assign to themselves and each other are nothing but artificial restrictions-femmes don’t…bois only…yadda, yadda, yadda. Its all bullshit, lies, and deceit. Don’t model your life and your actions on other’s expectations; do what you feel is right for you. As ageist as it sounds, the older you get, the less you and your dating pool will concern yourself about labels and what they entail. That’s a baby dyke’s game. Express yourself in ways only YOU can-because YOU must love what you see when you look in the mirror.”
I’m sure you can see why she and I are buddies!
I will address one part of your comments quickly (and maybe in a future post in more depth). I really don’t believe heterosexual love-making is more fluid at all. I do think it is more instinctive which could be misconstrued as fluid. Gender roles are embedded in children from birth and reinforced through adulthood. If you are following those gender roles then of course it is easier to “go with the flow”. Even in my dalliances with straight women, their roles didn’t change, though mine did. I was the dominant one by virtue of being the lesbian, “the other”. It’s easier to work things out with them because you are not asking them to be anything other than the submissive creatures they have been conditioned to be.
And I will not dismiss your white friend’s comments about labels because that honestly might be her experience. But I stand firm and steadfast that this issue is more prevalent in the Black lesbian community…. *shrugs*
And with that I am taking another shot of NyQuil.
I would looooooooove to get some more thoughts. Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting.
I will definitely be opening comments on all future posts.
31 thoughts on “From The Comments: A Response to Label Whores: Black Lesbians’ Obsessions with Label”
First, I would like to say thanks for responding to the post. (Secondly, I want to acknowledge that I reply quickly because I am always by technology and ALWAYS need a break from researching, writing and statistics. This is my outlet).
Going on. Since I am a gayby/baby dyke, etc I will agree that you know more than I; Accepting your claim that Blacks are more into labels.
Of course sex is an interesting subject so I want to further explain.
So I have had experience in (straight sex) (lesbian sex) & (lesbian sex with a straight girl) which will be addressed below.
*sparing the graphic details:
Hey, I agree with you that gender roles play into it. In fact, gender roles play into sex in all forms except with straight women. For sex with men, you can give and receive oral; Be on top or at bottom; Dominate or be *submissive all with the same partner.
*Disclaimer, I only been with Blacks so it may be a cultural issue.
They tell you up front that they only do this, they want to be top/bottom, etc. Blah and blah. Makes no sense. I used the term lack of fluidity as a way to explain the restrictiveness that lesbians seem to impose in the bedroom. (Let me know if there is a better term/concept). Like, wtheck is a pillow princess. More surprisingly was with my first, which I mentioned before that she didn’t want to receive oral. (Blasphemy)
Lesbian sex with straight girls-
I have had experiences from the messing around playfully to the 4 hours 3 different rooms plus *** and ***. Yeah. I was shock that this *straight girl not only dominated but gave more than me. Very aggressive. No rules given to me before hand. Only lesbians do that. smh.
I honestly would prefer Lesbians to not be This vs That in the bedroom.
And after writing this, I want to acknowledge that I am not a slut, I just have lived long enough. Additionally, if I based my experience with those to shows like Between Women, L word, the Real L Word, etc than I am a *virgin.
Okay. That is it. It is refreshing to be able to express my thoughts on this subject. Again, I just came out AND I just relocated to a new State where I know no one in order to start a doctoral program. ALL I DO IS STUDY, READ, WRITE and do STATISTICS. I think I will have to pencil in socializing and learning the “community” for the summer.
Also. One more question. Like you, people (surprisingly) can not tell that I am gay. What should I do? Often, people play the staring game. I think it is weird but if you tell me that it is some secret signal to let people know that you are gay than I will become more comfortable with doing it. ***Staring game meaning some type of eye holding with a stranger for over 4 seconds.***
Sorry that I am so “unaccustomed”. Also, I do not want to take much of your time, so I will let you breathe and go back to your routine, making this my last long post.
I have WordPress on my phone so I reply quickly as well. I hope our replies didn’t seem patronizing it was supposed to be more “you are the creator of your own lez-tiny”. And keep in mind we all have different experiences that shape our ways of thinking, no one knows everything ever. Congrats on your move darlin. I am going back to sleep now as I have the Ebola virus.
Oh and long comment away!
No you did not come off as patronizing nor did your friend. I really appreciated the feedback and will reflect more on it when I have more experiences.
I understand that the tone of written words are sometimes hard to understand so I would like to assure you of a few things: 1) I give people the benefit of the doubt that what they say is well-intended. I do this because I grew up in a big city and went to a large university. From those experiences, I have befriended people from every background whom express themselves in a variety of ways. Some are frank, some are personal, some are indirect, some project how they feel on you. I just try to understand what people are saying not how they said it. Again, even outside of that I did not find what you said patronizing. 2) I can not understand indirect comments and I assume that others can not either. So I communicate with a frankness and appreciate it when others are candor. So DO NOT bite your tongue. If you do, I will not understand anything you are trying to imply. 3) Weirdly enough, I verbally speak as oddly as I write. So I actually say phrases like “I agree that you know more than I”. I analyze and reflect amongst myself. If I have something to add, I do. If not, I may formally acknowledge that someone is right or acknowledge their credibility. I am not trying to come off as condescending.
So feel free to speak. My explanation is not completely a response to what you said. It is more so to address my communication style.
Call me naive, but the word “Gay” stil means “Happy” to me. The lifestyle, to me, is just that… a lifestyle. Why people choose it or feel that this is the way they want to live really doesn’t matter to me.
Labels are funny to me. I really do find it to be something to laugh about. But it’s a different story when it comes to the person.
For the individual, their NAME is the ONLY label they should have to wear. It is one of the few things they will carry with them on to the next life.
As for the individual’s lifestyle? Do what you do. I respect you for your pride and honesty.
It will be nice to see when the human race gets beyond all this petty ISH…. ijs
The choice of homosexuality can only be seen as a choice on how you express it or identify with it.
Trust me, I am very gay. Gay enough to be open about it despite the risk of discrimination and harm.
As with my other identities, I have to choose how I express them or identify them as.
So as I Black person, I have to decide whether to internalize stereotypes and limit myself OR empower myself by educating myself on Blacks’ rich history which includes numerous contributions OR not acknowledge race has a role and take the post-racial perspective, never really connecting discriminatory patterns as such.
As with my gender as a women, I can choose how I understand myself as female and how my gender affect me.
With my gay identity, I can choose how I feel about it and express it. I can suppress it, marry and procreate with the opposite sex OR I can acknowledge it and try to change it through ex-gay therapy and the such OR I can acknowledge it, accept it as a part of myself, choose how I want to engage with society as a lesbian.
With all of these identity, regardless of how I allow it to “affect my lifestyle”, it does not negate that I am a black lesbian. So even if I do not ever acknowledge my race, gender and suppress my gayness. I am still a black lesbian. Trust me, I have been a lesbian even before the Zena series and I am not that old. I was a child and never really had the same feelings other females had for males. BUT I tried for so long to date men as an adult and finally I could no longer. It has been a relief to be honest and come out. I agree with the person who says “No one would choose a lifestyle of oppression”. It is more so people are gay and have to deal with oppression and severance of relationships. I also do acknowledge that heterosexual can engage in homosexual activities which is probably why people feel like it is a choice with everyone. But trust me, dating men in past was the choice and now I am happy and no longer live that “lifestyle”.
Thanks for your feedback Steveron!
Hi Steve. First thanks for checking out the blog. Second I think that labels (whether they are regarding sexual identity, race, or socioeconomic status) are ways people use to help them define themselves and others in a unfamiliar world. I hope one day they aren’t needed either. Until then…
Gay will always have a double meaning of happy for me too. I am a TCM/AMC kind of gal.
Hello – I’m not even sure at this point how I stumbled onto this conversation, which now seems more an intimate discussion between friends, but I feel compelled to leave my two cents!
First, some background – I am a bi-racial mascufemme born and raised in OH, living in the DC area now. I’ve been out for ten years, and left OH because, in part, I didn’t feel comfortable being me.
Now, for my take on this topic – I definitely feel this is a Black issue. Seriously Black, not minority, but so intense in the Black community specifically. My childhood best friend, who is white, came out shortly after I did, and though we grew up blocks from one another, the acceptance of her in our community was so much more fluid than it was for me. I was labeled a “tweener” when I wore bermuda shorts and graphic tees that actually fit. Every other Black stud had Timberland boots, boxers that could be seen below their baggy jeans, beaters and hoodies with fitteds covering their low fades. Although my personality is very masculine, I always wanted to be with women who loved women, and in that, I wanted to expose my feminine body without being judged as “soft” or being called names like tweener! Being a bi-racial kid all my life, I’m used to being in the middle and discriminated against by both sides, but sheesh…you’d like to think that in an already discriminated against sub-society, I could live my life openly! Back to my best friend – I sat down with her once and opened a discussion on this topic, and she said not once had anyone said anything negative to her about her look, even though her girlfriend dressed exactly the same way! In the Black community, if I dated a bow-tie wearing lesbian like myself, wooh! I don’t think I have to elaborate on the looks we would get from EVERYONE…smh. Even in the DC area, I don’t think this would fly.
Regarding my comment on other minorities – my other minority lesbian friends (Korean, Filipina, etc) just wear what they wear, and claim they have never chosen a label nor felt pressured to do so. Now, they’re younger than I, which may account for a bit of that, but I stand by my original feeling that this is really just something that happens in the Black community.
Yet another way that we create even more division within our own minority society 😦 Actually saddens me quite a bit, having dealt with the light-skinned/dark-skinned, good hair/bad hair, “why you talk like that” issues since I was a small child…it would be really nice to at least be accepted as myself in the Black lesbian community.
Glad to join the discussion!
I am (in part) glad the thread looked like one among friends because I really want any conversation to be one that people feel comfortable to be in as they would with friends. I think we have a like understanding as far as the labels in our community go. I found myself nodding in agreement (only slightly as this NyQuil has me loopy) with everything you touched upon.
I wonder if the reason the black aggressive lesbian experience is so different, is because the black male experience is. Is it merely black aggressive lesbians mirroring black males, pick up their varying style of dress? Maybe labels aren’t just a black lesbian thing… Maybe it is a black thing. From pretty boy to roughneck etc., is this just what “we” do?
I apologize in advance if I am all over the place. *cough*
Good point! Now you got me thinking.
Thanks for joining the conversation and letting me know some things I may encounter. Since you have been out for 10 years, I wonder if you can share with me how labeling has change throughout the ages. As mentioned before, I recently came out and have not really got involved with the lesbian community yet. The lesbian scene which I am more familiar with is within the college setting (Undergrad and Grads) and this label thing really does not rear its head here. However, I have been pushed into labeling myself with those I encounter outside the academic area.
I will not compromise my dress, simply, to ensure that people understand that I identify with a particular role more so than the other. (So I say now…). Someone once told me, that once people see who you date than they would understand better who you are. Thus, how one dress no longer is needed to signify your preference.
Speaking on other things you mentioned. I have already learn about the lack of acceptance people have for S4S. When you describe the dress as baggy clothes, etc it made me think that you were mainly speaking on a subgroup of black lesbians. Or are you saying that even within the tad bit older population, where people may be administrators and etc and have to dress a certain way for work, that labels and dress code still exist but dress becomes a more “suit and bow” look for studs. Let me know what you think.
Man – over the weekend I typed out a long response on my phone, and got an error when I hit submit! Let’s try this again now that I’m back in front of my computer, AND see if I can roll all my responses into one!
You’re so right about the coming out lies!!! It’s a constant process, and even someone like me – out for 10 years, dress like I dress – has to come out to different audiences at different times. Surprisingly, when I’m in uniform and look just like every other female, I get called out more than I have to come out. Guys will ALWAYS interpret a female speaking to them as flirtation. IDK what it is, but I have literally ended up in a bar with basketball shorts and a tee shirt on and been hit on because I stuck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. It gets old. Hopefully you’ll find that the guys who are seriously interested in being your friend will stop with the flirtation and be happy about the opportunity to be your friend. It takes some time, but generally it’s worth it. Also, gay guys make great friends because you can get the “guy” part, but not the “flirt” part…and sometimes you can share clothes. 😉
I haven’t worn a skirt since I was 10, and my family still had a hard time believing it wasn’t a phase when I came out. Well, really it was just my parents. It’s interesting to me that you feel the need to be super flamboyant around them though, because that’s almost contradictory to the “nothing has changed about me – I’m still your daughter…” tactic that so many of us take with family. I wonder if they are more inclined to think of it as a phase if you go so totally a different direction than you have in the past?
Keep doing what you’re doing…it took you some time to be able to come out, right? Now some patience on your part is required while you wait for everyone else to deal with it in their own way. We can’t expect that something we ourselves took time to come to terms with is going to be something that our friends and family accept immediately, you know?
Changes in labels throughout the years (btw, I turned to my girlfriend when I read “throughout the ages” and told her I felt like a village elder all of a sudden! I’m 31, so I guess I should get used to it, huh?) – I haven’t seen many of the old labels go away, but new ones come about. This coincides with KK’s point on black lesbians/black men – everyone will always know what a pretty boy or a bulldagger is, but new terms hit the scene without the old ones going away (i.e. “hundred-footer”). What I have noticed is that the newer labels seem to be more fluid, more toward the middle, not so black and white, if that makes sense. Stemme, soft stud, masu-femme. More recently it seems lesbians are defining themselves more by their bedroom personality than by their style of dress – dominant femme, etc. – if they are defining themselves at all. I definitely think that we pick up our mannerisms from black males though – we go through the same phases of braids to the back, fades, and locks as the black male disapora, as well as our comfort with the pretty boi look and being okay with our own metrosexuality (again – tweener).
BKim – you mentioned a “dress code” even amongst the older black lesbian population. I discussed this with my girlfriend, as we both have professional jobs and I wanted to get her take on it. I was reminded that there was a time I would somewhat girl it up for interviews (think Express Editors vs. Producers), assuming that potential employers would judge me and it would possibly affect my employment, then show up for the first day of work in a shirt and tie (I’m an accountant). She would never do the same kind of thing, but then, she isn’t comfortable in the same clothes that I am. Separately, I recall a conversation I had with friends after my brother asked me to be in his wedding, and asked me to wear a dress. I accepted his stipulation, not because I wanted to wear a dress, but because his wedding is HIS day, not mine. If he didn’t want to stir the pot, then that’s his prerogative, and since I was not just a guest, he had the right to determine what all his wedding party was wearing. I had many friends tell me that they would have turned him down or told him that they would be wearing a tux no matter what his preference was. As it pertains to your comment – I didn’t think there was a dress code for lesbians, but apparently everyone else thought there was. *shrug*
Sorry for the delays in responding – looking forward to your feedback and further conversation!
I would like to start off with this awesome song I found on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXKBV8KcT_k
Ok. Now back to kword.com.
Thanks so much AJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For answering it… for taking me seriously… for reflecting and for not judging.
I will response to your comment in reverse starting with dress.
I almost always dress midway for the situation. (half for me, half for what I am expecting to wear -unless it is formal, then I wear everything, make up and all minus the dress). Like, you I adjust for interviews. However, I only wear femme suit with jewelry. Well, thanks for asking. It is my hair. So when I decided to come back to school, I cut off my locs. I knew the deal and since then my hair has grown. When pressed, it looked perm and it is long. When natural, it is a thick curly afro. Either way, I receive compliments but I know that one hairstyle is viewed as more ‘professional’ over the other. I mean I know folks with locs with Phds, a Fulbright fellowship, 15+ years of work experience and they still have to find a way to hide their locs for interviews.
Outside of class, I am a t-shirt, jeans and 100$ footwear type of girl but I enjoy looking nice too. Once I am done being a broke student, I want to be somewhat like ‘Bette Porter’ from the L word or ‘Olivia Pope’ from Scandal. I.Love.It. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sorry, I was daydreaming about those two. Back to dress code. Why is it a stud-femme dynamic? Now, that I am out I need to either stop being so awkward or ‘man up’ and make the first move. I am sorry but before with men, I was use to hearing the “hey shorty” and “can I get yo number”. As mentioned in another post, I am so bad with getting the hint of indirect comments, flirting, whatever. I don’t have a gaydar. SMH… my life. And this eye contact thing……While, I am realizing more and more that I just don’t give strangers eye contact. I wonder if this has to do with growing up in the inner-city. Or maybe it is this —> I think I have a fear and it is based on always hearing comments starting from when I was younger of how straight girls’ have the (so call) fear of finding out that one of their friends is gay and then being paranoid that they may have been looking at them in the locker. 😦 This is actually a funny story bc this came up once before. This lesbian was talking with me about working at a clothing store and these two straight girls were flashing each other. The lesbian laughed as she mentioned this because us gays just don’t do this because of the fear of their fear. So while every straight girl do the MOST HOMOEROTIC thing, I stay uptight. I need someone to be super bold and forthcoming with me about their motive because I really cant tell the difference. I get invites from both ways with different meanings. cuddling vs spooning. *shrugs*. But maybe I am overanalyzing. Or maybe this is gayby issues.
Girl, I still do not know what label I am. Also, I am coming out late…. SUPER LATE, I was only referring to you for being out for 10 years. I assumed that we were around the same age. I am 5 years your junior. (Does that reference make sense? haha… that phrase is the only thing I got from the book “To Kill a Mockingbird”). Any who. I want to attract femmes and I do. But I want to clarify… *cough cough* I want to attract femme who I can date and be serious with. Also, if there is someone who I know that is gay in a social group I sometimes go to, am I obligated to ‘out’ myself for camaraderie? Somewhat like if it is two (insert some other minority here) and you have to speak….
AJ, I really wanted to come out one person at a time until someone debated with me about that, convincing me to just let it come up when it comes up. To be honest, I thought I had gay tattooed on my forehead. This whole people acting like they are shock this is surprising. But like you mentioned before: I took time, now it is time for me to be patience with them.
Back on the flamboyant thing. I make sure I say something gay and provocative every time I come around my family. Ha. My mom can talk and within one sentence give me permission to be gay and send me her blessings for *my future husband. No lie. I think it more so them getting over whatever stereotype they had about those who are gay. Within my family, I am the ‘perfect one’ (not to be confused with the favorite). Along with that image, they want me to procreate and find a husband (and it actually could be in that order).
Riddle me this: When playing the guessing game as a way to “come out”, what are the two things people always guess before they say that you are gay? And in what order? ha
I love the dialogue you guys have going on here. At first I felt kind of guilty, but now I am more intrigued by the fact that though I can be a part of the conversation to an extent I really can’t. I am fleshing around a blog post to explain it further but it appears that I am a recipient of Femme Privilege, very similar (for the sociology majors among us) to Peggy McIntosh’s concept of White Privilege. As a “lesbian you wears skirts”, I am allowed to exist without breaking any norms (outside of the bedroom) or ruffling any feathers. I can empathize and intellectually understand the “plight” of the modern boi/stud/domme etc, but am I really less of an outsider merely because I too enjoy the intimacies of women?
Even in the context of my profession, I have it “easy”, I work for a international fashion line. From ballet shoes to bow ties, I could and do wear it all because that is the environment of our business….. *gears turning in my head*
I’ll leave you guys to it and I can’t wait to hear more.
KK and AJ!
Maybe you can address this. Since coming out, I had to deal with several unanticipated things.
1) I was under the impression that you only had to “come out” once. Liesssss
2) Surprisingly, I became more feminine (now that I am going for the right audience). I also, became more playful around guys and I will explain this more. With men, before things were less relax because I did not want to send the wrong message. But now, I say I am a lesbian and they say they understand. smh. So I think nothing of wrestling. Unfortunately, they still interpret it as flirting which it is not.
3) I feel like there were so many signs that I was gay so it comes as a surprise that my family is in denial that I am gay even after the announcement. So sometimes I feel like being really flamboyant around them.
4) Again, I really enjoy the conversation of men, bc the guys I choose to socialize with are like the jokers, jerks, bad boys. I have no problem with saying something rude to them or punching them (for fun). I do not have to consider (or at least I do not) if what I am saying is hurting their feelings. But with women, I think before I talk. I talk things out for however looooooong the would like to and I would feel bad if I wrestled with a girl and she ended up hurt somehow.
For now the solution is when there is an opportunity to come out, do so. So correcting pronouns and such. Not having guy friends for awhile. Continuing to be flamboyant and remind my family that I am gay. Buy a rainbow bracelet?.
You have a lot of cool stuff going on here. I have to read it all and comment. Awesome though!
SO I put these two symbols (<<>>) between a question and it made it disappear so my post is a little off. SO CORRECTION for better flow. In the first large paragraph it should have included what I know put in all caps.
“Like, you I adjust for interviews. However, I only wear femme suit with jewelry. SO WHAT DO YOU COMPROMISE ON????Well, thanks for asking. It is my hair. So when I decided to come back to school, I cut off my locs. I knew the deal and since then my hair has grown…”
Now does it make sense? Thanks for your patience.
Oooooo Femme Privilege just got my gears turning…this is a topic I discuss frequently, and reference White Privilege along with it, from the point of view of the biracial tomboy that I am. Wooh! But first I’ll address BKim…
I should clarify that the compromise is something I USED to do when it came to interviews. For the past few years I haven’t had any “girl” clothes in my wardrobe, so at this point I haven’t a care in the world. Sometimes I wonder if my bosses get nervous when they send me to client meetings, knowing good and well that I will have on an argyle sweater vest, but I have to stay true to myself, and I have the confidence that I’m really good at my job, so what I wear is neither here nor there. The biggest hold-up for me was Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (I’m in the Reserves) because every time we had civilian-attire events I felt like I was outing myself. Now, of course, it’s no big deal.
The Fear. This comes up all the time, especially in the military. Here’s my line – do you WANT me to be looking at you?! At some point we all become comfortable enough with our bodies and our parts to not care who’s looking AND to know that not everyone is. It’s not necessarily gayby issues, but based on your past experiences. I’ve been an athlete since I was 4, so I’m used to locker rooms and, as you so well put, homoerotic situations. Everybody’s looking and no one’s looking, all at the same time. We compare body parts without looking at them in a sexual way, and we also make sexual comments when that’s really what we’re thinking. The problem is not finding a straight girl attractive, hoping that she’s a lesbian, it’s that women don’t compliment each other nearly enough, so when we (the gays), tell them (the breeders) that they’re pretty, they automatically think we want to bang, and not that we’re just honest and paying a compliment. Caveat: If that turns into something more, then yay! A simple compliment is a good feeler – the response you get can go a long way towards letting you know what team she’s playing for 😉 Start approaching women, homegirl!! The worst answer you can get is “no” as long as you’re being respectful, and it’s not like we’ve never heard that before.
I’ve always loved the phrase “x years her junior,” so I appreciate you using it. I have friends in their 30s and 40s who have recently came out, and I still feel like the village elder. Obligated to out ourselves to others…my immediate answer is Yes, buttttt as I think about it, I think I’ve outed more people than I’ve outed myself to. For instance, I look how I look, so I assume people know. But women in the femme category – those who are “passing” (told you I’d come back to it) – I’ve approached many with “what’s up, fam?” or “so you play for my team?” or (and this one is only used some places) “do you go to my church?” We also do the same thing that hetero black folks do when they meet someone from the same state/city and play LGBT geography, i.e. “Have you ever been to Rehoboth? P-town? Sweetheat/Aquagirl? *insert gay mecca here*” It might not be an obligation, but it certainly makes for a different kind of camaraderie, IMO.
Has your family ever met anyone that you’re dating? I think moms especially hold out until they meet someone who is making you happy, then they start to come around little by little. Keep doin you…
Guessing game? I don’t think this has applied to me in my recent memory. I started my current job 4 years ago, and one of my coworkers (and now good friends) guessed I was gay before she even guessed I am Black/biracial.
And now on to Femme Privilege!! BOYYYYYYYY!!! Sometimes I think when I have kids I don’t want them to be gay, because I don’t want them to be oppressed, and then I think, well, if they are gay, I at least hope they dress like the rest of the world so that they can choose to hide it if they want to. And THEN I wonder if my grandparents had similar thoughts about my Dad/aunts/uncles who came out varying shades of brown, with the hope that one or some of them could just fit in to mainstream society. There’s always another side though, so I have the following questions for you, KK:
1) Do you find people’s jaws dropping if/when you talk about your weekend and say “my girlfriend and I…”? I feel like people expect that from me, but with the lipstick lesbians, maybe it’s more of a shock? At which point I imagine they either start talking about you or come right out and start asking you questions.
2) Hopefully this will help BKim – how do you let a female know that you want her to come talk to you? I know from experience that it gets old always being the one who has to approach others, but if you look like the straight girls, what hints do you give off to the bois to let them know you taste the rainbow too? (seriously, not a vulgar expression in this context, though I recognize it seems like it) Or, do you only meet potential dates at LGBT events to avoid any confusion?
AND ANOTHER THING!! Why is it that a femme can wear a tie to work, and it’s “modern” and “hip,” but when a stud does it, she’s “trying to look like a man…”?????? Just had to get that out of my system…
Ok. I am 9 to 5ing right now so I can’t comment MUCH right now BUT Yes the pink paper bag test is alive and well in 2013! But I’m not commenting more on Femme Privilege until I can formulate an actual post. I am never thorough enough in these blog comments for my own taste. Alright let me answer some of these questions…
1. Re: “The Jaw Drop”… Ok I had to rewrite my answer because I didn’t want to lie to myself or you lol. Okay at work, I think I get a pregnant pause at most (Keep in mind this in Miami, and I work in the fashion industry). If I talk about “the little lady”, which I rarely do, I say it so matter of factly that there is no question who I am talking about. There is no “Your girlfriend? or your giiiiiirl friend?” foolishness, you know good and well who I am talking about. Now if there are rumblings after I put my headphones back on, I’m not sure. When I was younger there were more of those idiotic 20 questions conversations. But by now I’m no one’s first lesbian lol.
2. Now about my “come hither stare”: I am really really gay lol. I go to lesbian events, I am part of lesbian organizations… hell we are having this conversation on my lesbian blog. Any woman that has any interest in knowing if I am a lesbian doesn’t have very hard to look. I’m not really in stealth mode. Also most of my lasting relationships have been ones that began as friendships and were co-signed by mutual friends… well except that unfortunate downelink situation o_O… fine judge me.
3. I am not going to fall for the trap that is the conversation about the bow ties… but I will say that it probably has to do with the fact that I personally pair them with stilettos and/or REALLY BRIGHT red lipstick *shrugs*.
Oh and I just had to scan up and yes EVERY LESBIAN IN BLACK AMERICA HAS 4 NOT 7 DEGREES OF SEPARATION (virtual or otherwise)… wait let me qualify that and say EVERY PROFESSIONAL LESBIAN IN BLACK AMERICA… Blame the internet. Better yet blame twitter.
Now back to work I go.
I literally laughed through my reading of your reply, KK…thanks for that. I’m a tax accountant, so it gets pretty dry around here, but “I’m no one’s first lesbian” had me rollin. Awaiting your next post…
Hi AJ it’s up. Love to hear your thoughts!!
AJ and KK!!
Since reading the last two post, I joined every single LGBT facebook group related to my city. I am still a busy student but I want to be like you KK and one day say ” I am part of lesbian organizations… Any woman that has any interest in knowing if I am a lesbian doesn’t have very hard to look..”. I also had to order a new backpack so I decided to order a rainbow heart pin to attach to it. I will be talking to my graduate research advisor/mentor asking her whether my program is homophobic or if there is anything I should consider.
A group of girls in the doctoral program started a prayer group which I am active in and I came out to one of them to ease the thought of coming out to this group. She is a ‘New Testament’ type of girl, so the whole Leviticus book doesn’t phase her. I mean she eats shrimp…so. Yeah, I haven’t had a bad experience yet with coming out.
SO lets go back to homophobia. I am a black Christian and everyone knows that. I say that to mean that I hear all the social conservative views even in inappropriate situations. I worked at an University and I heard homophobic remarks from employee about students and others. I hear the remarks in church and every other place.
Anyways, when I first came out I spoke to the young adult minister of my current church in the city I just moved to and he gave me a new perspective on it. We talked about Leviticus, Jude, Sodom and Gomorrah and others. Long story short, he concluded that being gay is not a sin. He gave me a book about homosexuality and Christianity. AND he forwarded me a sermon given in the past that dealt with the issue the following ways : Biblical study & interpretation (hermeneutics), History, An understanding of present cultural norms, Church Polity, Politics, Economics, Personal attitudes, experiences, fears, hopes, beliefs).
At the end of the day, I am gay and I am a Christian. Being gay will not keep me away from serving God and being a Christian will not make me suppress my homosexuality. I decided to come out for a couple of reasons that included the fact that my life had just become extremely hard in this doctoral program and with moving. I know that I will become a leader and do great works. I do not want to put anything in the way. Suppressing myself and living a life that was a lie, negatively affected my life making it harder and less happy which caused problems especially when I needed a little boost to continue with my work. I honestly do not have the time. It is just too much to live a lie. I need to focus on school.
With the additional things that I will have to deal with like homophobia at some point, I say this: I will never go back into the closet because, for me, that would be equivalent to asking me to go back to something like ‘depression’ or go back to ‘jail’. I rather be free and be ‘poor’ than rich and imprisoned.
You are taking the world by storm BK! I can dig it.
O M G … you are all super beings … goddesses … love you all! (sweet kisses and tight hugs)
I spoke about this kind of thing on my blog before. I completely agree with your friend. When I was a baby-dyke I played into the label thing too. Now? Ugh, I can’t stand it. I didn’t know better back then though. I think labels really restrict people. There have been women, I have been attracted to, but could not date because of how strongly they relied on their label. The “studs don’t do this and fems must do that” mess. I need an equal and if you are going to live your life like that, I won’t be able to fit in. I don’t live a label.
I will check out your blog!
Thanks KK and AB (annabayes)!!!
Can you open “Dyke Club: The Other “Secret Society”” up for commenting? Thanks. I will talk about the online lesbian community there. I have been invited into one of those groups locally already. Things are fast. But I really want to talk about the online lesbian community in general.
Hi love. It’s open