Don’t Assume I’m Lesbian Just Because I’m A Feminist And Support Gay RightsSeptember 16, 2011 1 Comment
Last week my roommate went out for dinner with her lesbian feminist activist friends. They began quizzing her about my sexual persuasion. She insisted I am straight but they wouldn’t hear a bar of it, suggesting I was probably a lesbian and just didn’t know it yet.
I know it’s wrong, but the fact that even lesbian, feminist women would make judgements about the sexuality of a person they barely know based purely on their vaguely non-conformist, unfeminine behaviours really bothered me. Obviously lesbian feminists have just as much right to be socially conditioned and swayed by stereotypes as anyone else, but it got me wondering if there’s any hope of the average Joe Blow having a progressive approach to the distinction between sexuality, gender and political worldviews, if even these enlightened women couldn’t.
I’m sure some of you are probably secretly thinking this is simply a defensive knee-jerk reaction to people thinking I’m gay.
I studied gender studies at university and write for a feminist website; I wear Birkenstocks, drive a Subaru, wholeheartedly support LGBT rights, attend rallies, reprimand people for using the word “faggot” or throwing around “gay” as an insult. I refuse to giggle at things men say that aren’t funny. Sometimes I make a conscious decision not to wear high-heels and makeup when I go out, and yes, I live with a lesbian…so this is hardly the first time someone has made the assumption.
Logic tells me that anyone who advocates for gay rights but takes offence if people ask them if they’re gay is, quite frankly, a hypocrite. So recently when my dad sheepishly said, “If you want to bring a boy home, or a girl for that matter,” I didn’t correct him or even register that he’d said anything out of the ordinary. If he thinks I’m gay, I don’t mind.
What I do mind is the fact that preferring comfortable shoes and advocating for women’s rights is synonymous with homosexuality… and what really pisses me off is the fact that this doesn’t look like it’s changing any time soon. Even some of my friends, who have seen me with men, still admit they’re expecting me to have an epiphany and jump dramatically out of the closet at any moment.
It seems a bit silly that a straight women can’t be invested in feminism and gay rights without being assumed to be gay herself.
Maybe I shouldn’t speak out against racism in case people think I’m black.
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