My first few months back in NYC after spending four slightly stifling years in the Bible Belt were refreshing in so many ways — there was so much diversity…of race, religion, sexual preference. There was so much acceptance…of race, religion, sexual preference. But then I had a conversation with a bisexual friend and she made me feel the refreshing nature of much of what I had experienced was slightly tainted.
She articulated that so many of the lesbians she had met had expressed disdain at the lifestyle she had chosen. Wait, what? The words “disdain” and “chosen” should never be used by one LGBTQIA+ group in reference to another. Pot. Kettle. Black. And also…wrong. I didn’t understand. What she explained was that many of these women felt that by being attracted to people across the spectrum of sex, my friend was not living authentically, was leading them on, was taking the easy way out.
I felt sad. Actually sad. Which is rare for me. I was sad for my friend who felt like she couldn’t fully follow her rainbow (pun intended); I felt sad for all bisexuals who, in my opinion, are admirable for their self-awareness. But I also felt anger. Even more rare for me. How dare one discriminated-against group project onto another? How dare one group, of which I am a part so I can say this with a bit of confidence, that spends a lot of time talking about sexual fluidity and gender, ignore the fact that sexuality isn’t binary?
I believed every word she said, but for some reason, it didn’t really sink in until I had the exact same conversation with two other friends. When I expressed my viewpoint that the lesbian vs. bisexual woman “feud” is disappointing and wrong, they were relieved (excited and thankful, too). And to me…that’s even sadder. It’s a sad day when someone who is living their truth feels relief when someone else “allows” them to do so. It’s a sad day when one group who has lived in fear overtly or subconsciously puts a twist on that fear and makes another group feel that same, awful feeling.
We, lesbians, or at least THIS lesbian, don’t want straight men or straight women telling us that we are not living authentically, are leading them on, are taking the easy way out…so why do we get to use that argument against anyone else?