Saturday, January 5, 2013
When FTM's disparage the term Lesbian-From Gallus Mag's blog Gender Trender: My response
When I came out, and I was a hardcore tomboy who NEVER fit in with feminine roles, I did not like the word “Lesbian” because I was called “Lezzie” in school for liking to kiss girls on the head. When I was in an all girls school it was ok, but once I went to mixed sex schools, it was not.
So, the Lesbian community at the time was reclaiming the word “Dyke”. Since nobody ever called me a Dyke derogatorily, I claimed the word fully. It still fits for me better than Lesbian in that I’m an out loud and proud Butch Dyke….but back then there WERE strong Lesbian communities, so I began to take that term on too.
In certain communities, women were differentiating between Dyke and Lesbian, but they are REALLY the same term for the same thing…..so that’s bullshit to separate the two. Both mean women loving women…Dyke just happens to seem more outlaw, in your face, harsher and more associated with Butches…some Femme types won’t use the word for themselves at all, others like it who are more out and in your face. I think the ‘passing’ types don’t like Dyke at all..the more in your face types, do….in any way, it fits me.
But ‘gay’ is so generic, so bland, so associated with ‘gay male’ that those Lesbians who use it tend to want to identify more with the gay male community and less with the politicized Lesbian one. Sometimes the politics and the fences created have been our own undoing. I am all for accepting ALL our Lesbian/Dyke Sisters(born female of course), and bringing them ALL into the fold, so NONE feel left out.
This includes those questioning their ‘genders’ who feel too Butch, too ‘manly’ to be considered Lesbian…they have a place too, and always have had. Though I’m not much for the Stone Butch phenomena, it mostly seeming to me to be a denial of one’s FEMALE body and recieving female pleasure IN that female body, I know many Butch/nonfeminine females ect. feel distanced from their female bodies, because like me, they have never been feminine, never ‘fit into’ female roles, and were told ‘you’re a nasty lesbian/dyke’ ‘you just want to be a man’, ‘you’re a freak and a weirdo’ ect. ect. ect….so FOR THEM to identify as male, can have as much to do with their Lesbianism as it does with their identification with bio males.
It’s also the ‘gendering’ from such a young age with the toys, the clothes, the department stores, the religions, the media, the schools, the parents, the videos, the movies, the t.v. shows etc, in other words the BRAINWASHING of what things girls are allowed to do(very proscribed generally, either in the domestic or sexual sphere or caretaking of others) and what things boys are allowed to (go on adventures, conquer the world, go out into space, be President of the United States, ect. ect.).
The same goes for little boys. Except add sexism for little girls. And little boys get ‘beat up’ for being too feminine by other boys. Us little tomboy girls, if we can fight, can find a grudging respect, SOMETIMES from boys, but still derision and shaming from the more feminine girls. The same can be said, like the IT women mentioned above. I have experienced ALL of what they speak of in the nontraditional construction trades. They don’t want us around, and will find ways to get us out! Sometimes explicitly, sometimes subtly. And not to include us. This goes back to the playground of ‘gender conformity’ and roles learned from childhood that from children to adults, impose on each other.
If either sex DOES NOT CONFORM to their ‘gender roles’ then all kinds of pressure are put on them TO COMPLY. And the basis of MUCH of that fear is that the children will end up homosexual. The worst thing anybody could be. In my mind being a rapist, murderer, serial killer, thief(like Bernie Maddow stealing billions) ect is much much worse a thing someone could be than homosexual. But the Pope makes homosexuality equivalent to any of the horrible aforementioned criminals. And too many people believe in these conservative woman hating and homosexual hating religions. Including homosexuals and Lesbians themselves.
SO it’s not surprising these teen or 20 somethings HATE the term Lesbian. It’s not used as a term of pride. There are no longer STRONG AND POWERFUL Lesbian communities, bookstores, coffeeshops, businesses of all types. Oh sure, a few, but not what we once had. Our own printing presses, so many things we’ve had and lost! AND most of all OUR OWN SPACES which weren’t gate crashed.
And what this woman said above: “I think wanting to be special, combined with self-hatred and wanting to escape slave-caste female status probably all play into it. After all, girls are routinely ignored, told they don’t matter, that they’re not good for anything other than being sex objects, and any achievement that they do manage to make is still ignored, or else attributed to the nearest male relative ”
Yes, slave-caste is a big reason I wanted to escape femaleness as a kid, and wanted so desperately to be a boy. Not till I came out into a strong Lesbian community did I LEARN TO FEEL PRIDE IN MY FEMALENESS! When I saw other Butches and met and talked to them, women who LOOKED LIKE ME, had some similar proclivities and sensibilities, but WERE STILL PROUD TO BE FEMALE! Going to my first Lesbian Conference, of ALL Lesbians..no men, no trans! And my first Lesbian concert. (Meg Christian). It TAUGHT me Lesbian pride, and power! But we don’t have anything focussed on just dykes anymore, OR the remaining social institutions. They have all either been coopted or failed….
So I mourn for these fucked up kids who think they are ‘men’ either ‘straight’ or ‘gay’, but they aren’t either…and they HATE Lesbians, who REMIND them of their femaleness…that they are trying so hard to run away from. We gotta keep on keeping on…and reach out to those who would hear our message….and be compassionate WITHOUT being codependent or compromising boundaries we feel strongly about. We have given away too much already.