What to not say to Lesbians

By Gemma Murphy

“But you don’t look gay?” is just one of the many derogatory phrases that has been thrown at me since I came out just over a year ago. Yes, I am a baby gay, but I already have a lot to say.

Although identifying as lesbian is something that’s somewhat new for me, the concept of women loving women is something that has always existed and always will. Lesbianism has been around since the times of ancient Greece, with iconic poet Sappho of Lesbos writing erotic poetry about women way back in around 612 B.C. 

So why is it still so hard for some people to understand? 

I have never understood why straight men specifically struggle so much to understand the concept of women who are strictly attracted to other women. I mean you fancy them too, if anything we should bond over our shared attraction to women, rather than ask me who the man in the relationship is. Which, by the way spoiler alert, there isn’t one, that’s the whole point. 

Sometimes I think you guys just don’t want to share. 

Lesbians are constantly having to justify our sexuality. Especially if you are feminine presenting like myself, a femme as some would say. Just because I don’t fit into your stereotype of what a lesbian looks like doesn’t make me any less gay. Ask my friends, we laugh at the mere thought of me identifying as straight as I used to. Looking the way, I do, I often get told that me being gay is a “waste”. People tell me “you’re too pretty to be gay”, this one has never made sense to me. Yes, I am biased, but lesbians are beautiful. That is why we can’t have babies. A baby made by two women would simply hold too much power for this world to handle. 

But seriously, don’t say this to us. It is not a compliment and we won’t say thank you. 

Actually, while I am here, also don’t ask us how we have sex or if you can watch. That’s just weird, I can’t believe I even have to tell people not to say that. It is also not that we just having been with the right guy yet. Please don’t say that either.

You also are not any less gay if you exclusively attracted to masculine presenting women. All variations of women loving women are valid, and this extends to bisexual women as well, who also have to endure their attraction to women being hyper-sexualised. 

So, in light of LGBT history month, this is your reminder that the word lesbian is not a bad thing. I know so many other lesbians that are uncomfortable with even the word itself and refer to themselves as queer or gay instead, which is totally okay if that feels better for you. But being a lesbian is an absolutely beautiful thing and is not something you should be ashamed of. If you ask me it’s pretty badass. In a patriarchal society, men control so many aspects of our lives but our love lives, it’s a no thank you from us. 

And no, I won’t ever stop talking about being a lesbian. Not until people take us seriously and stop viewing my sexuality as a challenge for them to overcome, or some sort of kink. 

Plus, lesbians just love talking about lesbianism because a lot of us, including myself, had to supress that part of ourselves for a long period of time before we got to this point where we can talk about it openly and freely. So no, being a lesbian isn’t my only personality trait, it’s just a big one. One that I am extremely proud of.