Ah, homosexuality. My least favorite word for my most favorite thing. Queerness, gayness, lesbianism, bisexuality, fluid sexuality, not straight, whatever, etc. I’ve been an out dyke for over a decade, and still encounter ignorance from straight folks on the daily.
I have a lot of privilege as a middle-class white woman living in the queer hub that is the Bay Area. And yet, I am still asked dumbass questions a few times a week. It’s mostly from straight dudes, who have never heard of a femme dyke and can’t wrap their head around the fact that I wear lipstick but don’t suck dick. As a femme who is often read as straight, I am forced to come out every day. When people learn that I am a big homo, I get to deal with questions like these. Queers: I feel your pain, and here is some advice on how to respond to ignorance. Non-queers: stop asking us crap like this.
1.Which one of you is the man?
Whichever one of us isn’t currently on her period.
This is one of the oldest and most offensive questions in the illustrious history of lesbianism. There is no man, no matter who wears the strap-on.
2. Have you ever slept with a man?
Have you ever slept with a man?
This question’s actual answer is irrelevant. Some lesbians have never slept with men, some lesbians have, some lesbians occasionally still sleep with men. Life is complicated, sexuality is fluid, blah blah blah, you get it. It’s easy enough to turn this question around on straight dudes; they tend to get flabbergasted when you ask them the same question. Flummoxing hetero dudes is a cherished pastime of mine. Fucking them is not.
3. How can you know you’re gay if you’ve never slept with a man?
How can you know you’re straight if you’ve never slept with a man?
This is similar to the response to the similarly stupid question above. Just turn it around on them, watch their mouth gape like a fish and continue being your fabulous self.
4. Why don’t you shave your armpits/legs/whatever?
To men: Why don’t you shave your armpits/legs/whatever?
To women: Why do you shave your armpits/legs/whatever?
Many folks have strong reactions to my body hair. My male family members are particularly uncomfortable with my hairy armpits and legs. Each disparaging remark makes me more committed to my hair. Body hair phobia runs deep: I’ve slept with and dated some queers who are turned off by my hairy pits. Different [razor] strokes for different folks. Not all queer women are hairy, but I wish we could all stop judging each other. For some of us, body hair is a political statement. It began that way for me, and now I find it sexy and am very attracted to armpit hair on other women. Hairy armpits and shaved legs are what work for my gender identity right now, but tomorrow I might change my mind. Fun fact: I saw an OkCupid profile once and wasn’t sure whether to message the person until I saw their statement, “I like armpit hair.” We were together for a year and a half. GAY.
Related: Top 5 Lesbian Myths
5. How can you be a lesbian? You’re so pretty!
How can you still be alive? You’re so moronic!
That’s a stupid response to a stupid comment because I still don’t know a good way to respond to this. It’s shockingly homophobic. It assumes all lesbians are ugly and um, you guys? A lot of us are hot. And a lot of us have a different definition of hot than straight dudes. Hot butches don’t care that men find them gross. Lesbianism is not a backup option when you can’t attract a man. Sadly, homophobia is internalized in us all: two gay men in the past three months have been incredulous of my lesbianism because I’m somewhat conventionally attractive. At least, I get to derive sadistic pleasure from the fact that the straight men who want to have sex with me will never get to.