Labels are important. They help us to organize and understand things, but all things have a shadow side, including labels. A single label can’t fully articulate the person it’s attached to.
I identify as a lesbian, but my self-identification as a lesbian can have a completely different meaning for me compared to my lesbian friends and the strangers across the world who attach that word to their identity. I’ve never been attracted to a man, romantically or sexually, that doesn’t mean that other lesbians haven’t. I have lesbian and queer friends who have been romantically and sexually involved with men, and two of them are married to a man. In my mind’s eye and in theirs, that relationship with a man doesn’t strip them of their identity and how they feel about women. It doesn’t suddenly erase their sexual identity.
Sexuality exists on a spectrum. Just because someone identifies as straight, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be attracted to the same-sex. I’m sure many of us in the queer community have been involved with or have friends who have been involved with non-queer, heteronormative identifying women and men in same-sex relationships.
Words are just words. They have black and white definitions attached to them that aren’t applicable as is in the real world. Yes, to some extent, they may be fitting.
On the spectrum of sexual orientation, I believe the extremes exist, those who are exclusively attracted to the oppositie or same-sex. I am exclusively attracted to the same-sex. Would I then fit the “golden definition” of a lesbian?
What is that all-encompassing definition that is perfectly fitted to every lesbian?
According to Merriam-Webster it’s a woman who is a homosexual.
I am a woman, as well as a homosexual.
When you think of the word lesbian, what comes to mind? Do you think of a butch woman, with short hair and in man’s clothes? Are there lesbians who look like that? Yes. Do all lesbians look like that? No. Do all lesbians who look boyish act macho? No. Do some? Yes.
We’re of every race. We’re of every religion, or lack there of. We’re of every height and weight. We’re blonds, brunettes and redheads. Some of us dye our hair, and some of us are bald. We exist across all geographies. We’re femme. We’re butch. We’re androgynous. We’re cisgender. We’re trans*. We make up an infinite form of gender identities. We love sports. We hate sports. We’re indifferent about sports. Our passions span from nature, to altruism, to spending time with our families and friends to collecting antique books.
Every variation of a human being that exists, the total sum of our human population, this is who we are.
No two people are identical. No two lesbians are identical. No two straight people are identical. No two bisexuals are identical. No two trans* people are identical. No two pansexuals are identical. No two asexuals are identical. No two San Francisco Giant’s fans are identical. Not even identical twins are identical. Their genes, yes. Their personalities? Their style? Who they are? No.
Outside of the LGBTQ community, there’s a lot of judgement towards us, but there’s a lot of judgement and ignorance within the queer community as well.
How can someone, who isn’t you, tell you how you identify as a human being? They can’t. How can we then do the same to others? We shouldn’t.