Don’t Call Me A Lesbian

in Opinion

A question recent posted on Lesbian Life at About.com asked

“Question: I am at the very early stages of being a transsexual, and I want to be a woman. I also love women. Could I consider myself a lesbian?”

I’ve struggled to define my own sexuality, so this question has been ever present in my mind.

Kathy Belge, of Curve’s “Lipstick and Dipstick” fame, responded by saying:

“Yes, transsexuals can be homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things. Gender identity is the sex you believe yourself to be, regardless of what body you were born into.

Sexual orientation describes the gender of the people you are attracted to. Your sexual orientation can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight.”

For the longest time I self identified as bisexual, but I’ve come to realize that my primary attraction is to women. I’ve never had the type of intimacy with a man that I’ve had women, and that’s at the center of what I want from a partner.

But, I’d never identify myself as a lesbian. There is too much drama that is involved with doing so. The words of a friend in the comments of my post “Is The Radical Feminist Movement Our Enemy?” sums it up best:

Sadly I’ve had too many recent encounters with lesbian women that have made me realize that most of the “acceptance” I thought I’d felt from them, including my best friend of two years, was fake. More like being politically correct so you don’t minimize the poor trannys’ plight. They’ll let you hang with them, but more as a freaky mascot or something. You are not getting admission into their world. In my personal experience, the biggest heap of prejudice I get is from gays and lesbians. They just seem incapable or unwilling to ever let you be anything beyond that T.

I’m not condemning everyone in the lesbian community. The attitudes are changing with time. The younger set of gays and lesbians seem to understand gender and sexual fluidity much easier than the older crowd does. But by the culture of lesbians that are around my age (I’m 39), I’m conditionally accepted.

I’m not going to fight to wear a label. When asked about my sexual orientation, I’ll just say that I’m a woman that loves other women.

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.

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