7 MORE Questions I Get Asked As a Lesbian

This is dedicated to two of my good friends, one in England, one in Ireland, who ask me many questions, almost all of which are welcomed and answered properly, and who occasionally ask some of these questions! Love yis.

11.“Do you check out girls when they’re changing?”
No, not generally. I’ve been changing with other girls since I was tiny, it’s not a sexual thing, generally I don’t even notice, unless I have a massive crush on someone, in which case I’m generally too shy to change in front of them.

12. “How do you know you’re gay if you’ve never slept with a guy?”
I should not need to explain the stupidity of this. How does someone know they’re straight if they’ve never slept with someone of the same sex?
Often leading into…

13. “And you’re sure you don’t fancy me? (Guys)”
Often followed directly by me laughing while they list their attractive body features I am missing out on.

“You don’t even find my ass a little bit attractive?” No, not even slightly.

14. “I want to go to a gay bar to see what it’s like, will you come with me and pretend to be my girlfriend if I get hit on?”
This always just seemed a bit of a teasing move to me, just say you’re straight, surely?! That’s what I’d say if a man was hitting on me.

15. “Was that your sister? Your… Friend?”
Quite often, that was the girl you saw me kissing a minute ago. Frankly I’m pretty disturbed that you thought that was my sister, it should have been pretty obvious she was not my sister! Or people try to ask if she was my partner or girlfriend but without saying those words, in case they offend me? I don’t know…

16. “I have this friend, she also likes girls, do you want her number?”
I’ve only had this a few times but it was always a bit weird that people would try and match make me with someone based purely on sexuality, but then, I’ve never taken anyone up on this so I don’t know, maybe we would bond over a mutual love of cats, wolf t-shirts and Indigo Girls?

17.“Which of you is the man in the relationship”” Alternatively “Who wears the pants?”
The second ones makes a nice lead in to my favourite ever retaliation to this question. “Sometimes I wear the pants, sometimes she wears the pants, sometimes neither of us wear pants at all.”
As a lesbian, I think that should make it clear that we are both always the women in the relationship. What you’re really asking is who tops, and I won’t answer that either, not matter how often you ask.

Attempts At Playwriting

This is an open letter to anyone who is out there and reading this.
I am in the process of trying to come up with ideas for a play. I don’t have much of a plot yet, but I know I want it to be based in traditional fairy tales but with an emphasis on self esteem and body image. Because this is a fairly big project I would love to hear from other people about self esteem and their experiences with body image.
So if you want to help me with this please leave a comment and/or email me at theladyssanctuary@gmail.com.

I’ll probably write more about this when I can.

Thanks a million!
xx

On The B and The T: A Response To GCN’s LGBT Soup

We have a bit of a problem.
And when I say “we” I mean the LGBT community, otherwise known to some people as the LGBTLMFAO. Recently Ireland’s longest-running national gay publication GCN published an article that has raised a lot of comment and heckles- LGBT Soup

Now before I dive into this, there are two clarifications I want to make. Firstly that I usually really enjoy GCN and it’s writings, it’s interesting, relevant even if I find it focuses a bit too much on the G in LGBT sometimes, this is not an attack on GCN that I’m writing, but an article published by GCN and written by the deputy editor was the catalyst. Secondly, I’m majorly focusing on writing about bisexual and trans* issues and marginalization here, and being neither bi nor trans* I am admitting now that I may screw up on something somewhere, but if I’ve messed up, please tell me what I’ve gotten wrong or if I’m inadvertently offensive because I am happy to learn and be corrected.

There are masses and masses of issues I take with this piece, majorly the marginalization of bi-sexual, trans*, and asexual people, all of which I will get to in a minute.

While I do agree with the basic premise as put forth by GCN in their The Editor Responds, to write more opinion pieces and create and facilitate discussion, which I believe is the first step to changing any social opinion or feeling, and to comment on the use of LGBT and the extended abbreviations that are also added on (A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that the letters often used are LGBTQQUCITTSAPSHOFP) I do not agree with the way Ciara McGrattan has chosen to phrase her views.

Let’s start with the thorn-bush-like issue of the acronym. I think practically everyone can agree that it is too long and fairly damn confusing, but right now we don’t have anything better. Since I came out I’ve been involved occasionally with a few official LGBT groups and I really love the feeling of community that I’ve found there, a community majorly built on acceptance and openness to individuality, so it upsets me to hear other people saying that some people don’t belong in the movement. We need an umbrella term, a really big and lovely umbrella term to describe ourselves, and the community that we’re building but until then let’s stick with what we’ve got and let people add on what they need as they need? Yes it’s sometimes a bit off putting, and quite unwieldy, but is that the worst thing in the world?

Now we get into the section where I start quoting… When talking about trans* people and their place in the LGBT movement she says “By including an identity not specifically referring to same-sex attraction (T), the flood gates were opened.” “But as big a fan as I am of sensitivity to marginalised individuals, I am more concerned with accuracy of language.“. I understand that the trans* community has issues that are not always mirrored by the issues of the L, G and B, as gender and sexuality are often separate issues, but there’s still the major point that draws us all together and means these conversations are even an issue in the first place, the fact that we all face marginalization and discrimination, and we can fight that together.

“Even the current LGBT mouthful is unnecessarily long, when ‘gay’ suffices for all same-sex attractions. This doesn’t cover bisexuals, you might argue. It doesn’t need to: ‘bisexual’ is only a description of what someone is doing when they’re not same-sexing it up.”

“I propose it’s time to simplify and perhaps employ a modicum of moderation to the unwieldy beast of LGBTLMFAO initials. Do you sleep with people of the same sex? Welcome to Gay Club. In a relationship with someone of the same-sex? Welcome to Gay Club. Trans and exclusively attracted to people of your gender? Welcome to Gay Club. Attracted to both sexes? Good for you, but unless you’re with someone of the same-sex, you aren’t part of Gay Club.”

That’s Ciara McGrattan’s view on both bisexuality and what we should use instead of our current, lovely umbrella term. And I disagree heartily with both. Isn’t the whole reason we banded together because straight cisgender people didn’t want us in their club? Now is not the time to get all cliquey!

Now, there seems to be over whelming belief from all sides of the ring, heterosexual and homosexual that bi-sexuality is not a true sexual orientation and instead is the name that people have chosen to describe themselves when they can’t pick a side, are sexually thrill seeking and therefore exploiting the feelings of the people who are “genuinely homosexual”, or are just plain greedy. When I was 14 I read a novel a friend had about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality and in the novel a friend of his who was already out warned him not to date bisexuals as they were fickle and would break his heart. Now maybe it’s just me but I don’t think that’s on.
I think bisexuals possibly even have more issues to face within themselves when coming out because they face both the stigma placed on homosexuality and and the stigma placed on bisexuality. I know bisexuals who have had a massively hard time coming out and some who haven’t come out at all because of these stigmas and articles like LGBT Soup just help continue these.

And the idea that your issues only matter when you’re in a same-sex relationship? That’s just insane. It’s saying that when I’m not in a relationship or as it was so nicely put “same-sexing it up” my issues don’t count? Is everyone asexual when they’re not getting laid in her worldview? She seems to be saying that sexual attraction is only an issue when you’re acting on it, something I massively disagree with. The whole point is that we all have a place here, anyone who has had issues along the way because of gender identity or sexuality, and personally I whole-heartedly welcome allies too. Come in from the rain under our umbrella, we’ve got soup!

Somewhat Related Links- (Mostly stolen from Consider The Tea Cosy)

Other responses to LGBT Soup-

We Are Not Your Afterthought – Responding To LGBT Soup

LGBT Soup for a Reason

Further Reading on B, T and Acronyms-

Wikipedia on LGBT

STAD- Stop Transgender Abuse and Discrimination

The Case of the Missing Bisexual

The Case of the Missing Bisexual

What Does A Lesbian Look Like

Last Thursday, I became a proper lesbian.
Now, understand. I came out as gay in 2009, but that didn’t really count.
I’ve had girlfriends, but as everyone knows, any girl can snog another girl and not be a “dyke”.

No. To be a real lesbian, you must own a plaid flannel shirt. And so it came to be, that after a quick shop in Oxfam, I became a proper lesbian.

Now, properly and unsarcastically, I call bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my new plaid shirt, it’s actually really comfy and I think it looks good. But I’m not wearing this shirt because I love women, and wearing it does not make me gay either.
When I came out there were a few people who were confused because I “looked straight” which I’ve always found strange, I suppose I’d technically be termed as a “lipstick lesbian”, or “femme lesbian”? I can’t keep up with all the hip new terms the kids are coming up with.
I’m just a woman, a woman who likes women, and dresses. I’m not more attracted to “butch” women or “dykes” because I feel there needs to be a gender binary balance to our relationship. I just feel that my sexuality and attraction to women have no connection to the clothes I wear. And it frustrates me when I try to come out to someone and they can’t comprehend my lesbianism due to my wearing of long floaty skirts, or when I buy clothing and my friends give out to me for looking “dykey” and playing into stereotypes. It seems I just can’t win!
So what do you do? What can you do in the face of all these stereotypes and lose-lose situations?
Confuse the hell out of people back. Wander around in flouncy dresses and Doc Martins, plaid shirt with hippy skirts.
Wear the clothes I want to wear, that make me feel happy, comfortable and like the person I really am.

Anyway…
Plaid shirt now bought and worn in, I must make a hair cut appointment to get a buzzcut… Or maybe a mullet.

I Am Rising

I’d never heard of the V-Day Movement until last summer when I found a copy of the Vagina Monologues while on a college trip. I’d heard of them and I’d heard of Eve Ensler, but madly enough for the circles I moved in I had never heard of V-Day.

This year is the 15th V-Day held, a day to take the messages of love given on Valentine’s day and turn them to messages of love and support for any survivors or rape, violence or abuse. But this year there was a very particular call, a call for 1 Billion Rising.

The statistics say that 1 Billion women in the world are survivors of abuse, about 1 in 3 women abused, and the call went out for 1 billion people around the world to leave what they were doing, forget how they looked and rise together in a revolution of dancing.

The website says

ONE BILLION RISING IS:

A global strike
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being.”

And today I joined a tiny group of women, men and children in the town where I live and we danced, through the streets and in the square. We danced and sang and we rose, with all the other people who joined us, rising around the world.

It’s a start, it’s a beginning, it’s a change, and we will all rise.

“Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.” – Maya Angelou

10 Common Questions I Get Asked About Being A Lesbian

1. “But what do lesbians do?”  Entertaining because everyone seems to assume that there is some magical sex secret I seem to possess as a lesbian. But if there is one I certainly didn’t get told it.

2. “But what happens when you want babies?” Annoyingly enough very few people ever think that A. this might be a personal question, which I feel it kind of is, or B. that maybe, possibly I might (heaven forbid) not want to procreate. Even worse is when people follow me saying I don’t want kids up with saying “Oh but you’d make a great mum!”

3. “Let me get this right, you don’t like men?” Surprisingly enough a lot of the people I know get their heads around the idea of liking women, particularly my male friends, but most of them do not get that that means I don’t like dudes. Often followed with a plaintive “Not even me?” look or, in some cases, actual question.

4. “Do you get turned on by your own tits?” (Mostly asked by guys) Seriously? No. The best retaliation I ever made was saying really seriously “No, do you get turned on by yours?”

5a. “But isn’t it kind of gross?” OR 5b. “Does it not weird you out?” I can see why you as a presumably straight woman would find it so, but generally, no, I’m pretty okay with it!

6. “Are you like, some kind of man hater?” Not really no, I dislike certain people, but generally I’m in favour of gender equality across the board, I’m not going to start screaming or attacking men or anything. :p

7. “But you don’t look like a lesbian…” (Often phrased as a question) Astonishingly I don’t “Look like a proper lesbian”, probably because there is no such thing. Trust me, if there was it would make picking up girls lots easier.

8. (Always men) “Can I watch?” No.

9. (Always women) Do you fancy me now? I find this question quite weird and very self centered, I don’t assume all straight men fancy me, I wouldn’t assume all lesbians or bi girls do either, so why when I say I’m a lesbian do you get all freaked thinking I fancy you? And why when I reassure you that I do not fancy you, do you look all sad and disappointed and sometimes even ask “Why not?”? Really, I’d love to know.

10. “But what do you do in bed?” My most common answer to this is “Look on wikipedia”. After all it’s what I had to do!

Savita and our National Shame.

Savita Halappanava was a 31 year old woman who died on the 28th of October. Her death was unnecessary and could have been avoided.
But she was in Ireland, and therefore things were more complicated.

When she went into hospital it was found she was miscarrying, and when she begged them to abort a definitely in-viable and dead fetus they refused on the grounds that “this was Ireland, a Catholic country”. Three days later she died of septicaemia.

I’m assuming you know the story, it’s been the big viral news story of the last twenty four hours or so.
What I’m here to say is that I am ashamed and disgusted and depressed by this.

I have always been proud to be Irish, it’s a fact I’ve taken joy in all my life. But there have always been niggling and annoying things about my country that I haven’t been happy with, the lack of legal abortion being one. And now it’s turned into a world-wide scandel. I’m ashamed my country let this happen.

It’s time for another referendum.

 

 

[For further reading or more information –

http://studentstandard.ie/story-of-savita-goes-viral/

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2012/1114/1224326575203.html%5D