Last night, I found and was reading a post on Facebook from several days ago that was a discussion between several women who identified either as political lesbians or born this way lesbians.
First, some quick definitions so we all know where we’re at on this:
A lesbian is an adult female who is attracted to other women physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, and intimately. There are no penises on lesbians or in lesbian relationships (so no men or males).
A born this way lesbian is a lesbian who feels she was born gay, that being a lesbian was not a choice for her.
A political lesbian is a little trickier, because there is more than one definition. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, a political lesbian was a heterosexual woman who was tired of men personally and politically, so she became celibate and called herself a lesbian. But she was a lesbian in name only for political reasons.
A few years ago, the definition morphed into a woman who came to her lesbianism through her politics, but she was a lesbian in every way.
Now, the definition of a political lesbian is that a woman chooses to be gay because of her politics. Through her work in politics and activism, she realized that heterosexuality was a learned behavior to further oppress women and instead of continuing in that, she decided to make the conscious decision to become a lesbian, but she is a lesbian in every way. Quite a few political lesbians under this definition are late in life lesbians, becoming so after one or several relationships with men and maybe even some children.
I think that covers it. I am sure that if I am wrong on any point that someone will come along and correct me (well, except for the definition of a lesbian)!
Anyway, on to my post. As I was saying, I observed a post between some born this way and political lesbians and almost all of them were being respectful of each other and not arguing against each other’s beliefs, simply arguing for their own beliefs. It was a nice discussion. At first.
Then came a couple of political lesbians who so strongly believed that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are choices that women make, they were convinced that they were right, they were convinced that born this way lesbians were not only wrong, but ignorant for holding their beliefs.
Of course, what I failed to talk about when I was laying out definitions of both born this way lesbians and political lesbians is that neither can prove that they are right or that the other is wrong. These are feelings, you see, beliefs based on how women feel. So while one can believe strongly that they are right, they cannot prove that they are right because, well, it’s kind of like religion: they have faith that they are who they are based on their internal feelings as women and lesbians.
So I was kind of shocked to be reading this, not only the part about the political lesbians thinking they were right and born this way lesbians were ignorant, but the blatant disrespect from these couple of political lesbians toward the born this way lesbians was something I have seen, but that I had hoped we were passed by now.
It was like watching the bad parts of religion, the “my religion is the only right religion and you all are going to hell!” kind of thing; and it was very, very sad to watch.
It made me wonder why we battle so much over this. Why aren’t we just a bunch of lesbians who believe that we arrived at lesbianism in different ways, but that we were all here now and working together?
Based on some of what the one or two disrespectful political lesbians said in that thread, I suppose they would say that by believing one is born a lesbian, one must also submit that others are born straight women and if a woman is born straight then she is born into a life of sub servitude and sex, whether she likes it or not, whether it is painful or not, whether she wants it or not. So by believing one is born a lesbian instead of it being a choice that one makes, one is then buying into and supporting women’s oppression.
That seems kind of harsh, doesn’t it? That because a woman believes she was born a lesbian, she is supporting, ignorantly, women’s oppression?
I don’t believe that for one second. As you may remember from the last post that I did on this subject, I a one of the lesbians who considers herself born a lesbian. I didn’t make the choice to become a lesbian, it was not my choice. It was not my choice to be bullied, bashed, and harassed for being who I am. It was not my choice to be left out in the civil rights department simply because I love women. It was not my choice to not be able to get married simply because I was born a lesbian. Knowing all that we know, I find it difficult that ANY woman would choose this. Even later in life lesbians. I believe they were born lesbians, but they were just in denial for a while and now they are realizing their true selves.
BUT, even though I believe all of that, I still respect political lesbians enough to support them as lesbians, as sisters. I am of the “live and let live” model when it comes to other lesbians. So, I support political lesbian’s right to not only believe whatever they wish, but to also express those beliefs. I support their fight against women’s oppression in any way they can fight it; because, after all, isn’t that what we are ALL fighting for here?
Remember that, sisters. Because yes, we may have come to lesbianism in different ways, on different paths, but we are both discriminated against. We are both denied rights. We are both harassed. We are both bashed. We are both beaten. We are both killed. For being lesbian women. And as lesbian women, we are both fighting for the same thing: to end women’s oppression by liberating women from men and this patriarchy.
Let’s end this battle, sisters!