One of my favourite pastimes (when I’m not smashing the patriarchy with my long-suffering girlfriend) is watching the look of pure confusion and/or terror spread across strangers’ faces as they slowly comprehend my sexuality. For whatever reason, most people’s go-to stock image of a lesbian is pretty much that of a female lumberjack – flannel shirt, shaved head, dirty nailbeds. As much as I wish I could pull off that look (imagine how much time it would save in the morning) it’s safe to say that both me and my partner fall under the category of a ‘femme’ lesbian.
This in itself seems to totally dumbfound most people, as I often receive the responses ‘But you don’t LOOK like a lesbian’ or ‘you’re too pretty to be gay!’ as soon as I explain just how rainbow-filled I really am. Once we struggle past the initial shock of me somehow not looking like Ellen DeGeneres, the onslaught of totally illogical and just plain homophobic assumptions begin. Here are some of my favourites:
- I hate men. Or, at the very least, I’m a radical, sign-wielding, anti-bra feminist.
Men, I assure you that I do not hate you. But this does not mean I want to have a threesome with you. Ever.
Just because I’m a lesbian doesn’t mean I have a complete loss of appreciation for male beauty. I mean, a lot of you are just so But again, no threesomes. Sorry.
As for the feminist thing, I know a lot of lesbians who hold strong feminist principles simply because they feel oppressed as a minority group and they, like anyone else, deserve the right to protest and be heard. But I know an equal amount who couldn’t care less about equality and objectify women just as much as straight men do. And I really love bras.
- I’m attracted to every girl on this planet and will prey on them.
I get that there is a huge stereotype of lesbians falling in love at the drop of a hat – but really, you don’t have to lock up your sisters and other female family members. Straight girls, it’s safe to be semi-naked around me. I will try my absolute hardest to control the throbbing homosexual urges that consume me.
For real, I’m not a vampire. I have sexual preferences just like everyone else and I’ve never understood the weird awkwardness that arises when I make friends with a straight girl.
I’m really really not hitting on you.
- I’m allergic to the colour pink and just want to shop in the men’s section.
This links back to the good ol’ feminine lesbian dress code confusion, although this time my parents are the main culprits. My sister is getting married in a few months’ time and a bizarre moment in the middle of bridesmaid shopping saw my Dad ask if I would rather go and look for a nice matching suit to wear instead.
This is hilarious to me, as never in my life have I expressed the desire to wear anything even remotely masculine, so where he got the idea of me being uncomfortable in a dress I’ll never know. My Mum is just as bad, giving totally OTT reactions whenever I wear something pink or floaty – LESBIANS WANT TO BE PRINCESSES TOO.
- That my girlfriend is my sister or best friend…awkward.
It’s important to note that I’m not really a ‘PDA’ type of gal – sweaty hand-holding does nothing for me – so innocent eyes can be forgiven for thinking those two insanely hot girls on the street are just the best of friends. My hairdresser recently made this error of judgment, and you could literally see her entire face burn up in a fire of embarrassment and regret as I explained I’m actually dating my ‘sister’.
I have no issue with people assuming I’m straight – they’re not psychic, after all – but it quickly gets awkward during nights out in town. I assure you nothing is more uncomfortable than watching your girlfriend get hit on by a guy right before your eyes – especially when his wingman comes over to try and sweep you up as well. Usually, ordering two Strawberry Dykeuiri cocktails gets the message across pretty fast.
- That I’m any different from anyone else.
The worst assumption you can make of anyone within the LGBT umbrella is that they are any different from you or I. We are all equals.
This quote from Liz Feldman sums it up pretty well: “It’s very dear to me, the issue of ‘gay marriage’. Or, as I like to call it, marriage. You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not ‘gay lunch’. I parked my car outside, I didn’t ‘gay park’ it.”