if you think the world is a machine with one cog

Hey, here's something I can't believe I have to talk about in 2010*.

I'm really, really, really tired of straight people ignorantly joking about wishing they could be gay- ie 'Men suck, I wish I was a lesbian', sexual comments aimed at women by women who'd never actually have sex with a woman, and the like.

I'm just going to go ahead and repost something I wrote elsewhere in response to a comment like the above: being a queer woman is cool until you have to deal with realities like bigotry, hatred, tokenization, harassment, cultural invisibility, a lack of civil rights, not being able to display affection in public, being treated like a joke, having your sexuality appropriated by straight men while simultaneously being told that your sexuality must be a last resort born of your inability to land a man, not having a cohesive community, discrimination in every arena, and little things like straight people telling you that you have it easy and joking about wishing they could be gay.

One thing I declined to mention in that laundry list is dealing with internalized homophobia and misogyny, which is something I've felt really uncomfortable discussing in general. I've been struggling a lot with the pressure to live up to Model Minority Standards. Being a Model Minority means not complaining about your oppression or pointing out other people's privilege when it would make them uncomfortable. It means letting your concerns take a back seat until it is convenient for everyone else, and then being grateful and gracious when you are permitted a chance to speak out. It means being convenient, period. It means being invisible. If you dare to grumble, you're just bitter, and you're too angry and too sensitive, and you won't have earned the right to be heard. If you dare to like yourself too much, you're self-absorbed or myopic; if you dare to not like yourself enough or have quarrels with members of your community, you're a sellout, or you're someone to be pitied and there's something wrong with you.

These pressures are partly why I haven't been writing here as much as I'd like to. I have to contend with each of them every time I speak. It's a lot of effort to expend, especially considering that what I have to say tends not to be terribly crowd-pleasing.

*just kidding, of course I can believe it


  1. I heard this yet again last week from a stranger (community project of getting excessively drunk passed-out man to hospital) and I just said, "It's not actually easier" -- I have now been on both sides and it's remarkably not easier, actually, just because of all the externals alone (and internals, too). She didn't bother looking at me or replying to me when I said that.

    I think it's the same reasoning people have where they think every lesbian loves every other lesbian - so they can fix you up with any queer woman they know, because she's GAY. And you're GAY! So when you date, you have so much in common and wow, how simple! Your whole relationship centers around liking women and not having any other concerns or issues, ever, since you're not a "real" couple with "real" relationship.

    Even with how others perceive you around kids. My ex-gf and me around a bunch of kids in a non-Park Slope park? Weirdos. My bf and me? Probably seen as expecting parents scoping the park for our potential kids.

  2. "Your whole relationship centers around liking women and not having any other concerns or issues, ever, since you're not a "real" couple with "real" relationship."

    Yup, exactly. Like your whole life boils down to your sexuality, and also all women are totally interchangeable. And people seem to think queer relationships between women are either supercute nonthreatening affairs (you can't have like REAL SEX without a dick after all!) orrrrrrr ALL ABOUT SEX ALL THE TIME SO SEXY. instead of, you know a complex, involved relationship between two humans that includes plans and emotions and thoughts and the like.