by Lesego Tlhwale
I recently read a status update on facebook, supposedly written by a “femme lesbian”. The status had a lot of likes and comments concurring what the lady was saying. But to me this was a rather judgmental post and it had me wondering if we as Lesbians do we understand the diversity that is in the community we claim we belong in?
I wonder really…
The diversity I speak about is the understanding that each individual is unique and also recognizing our individual differences. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance, to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
Lesbianism is defined as a sexual and romantic attraction between females, with that said, the lesbian community has diverse types of lesbians who act and behave differently. Below is a list of defining different types of lesbians:
- Dyke or Butch – A lesbian who dresses and behaves in a masculine fashion.
- Femme, Lipstick Lesbian, or Girly Girl – A lesbian who dresses and behaves in a feminine fashion.
- Futch – A lesbian who is both femme and butch.
- Stone Butch – A lesbian who is strongly masculine in character and dress, who tops her partners sexually (and sometimes emotionally), and who does not wish to be touched genitally.
- Pillow Queens – A lesbian who is femme, who is the receiver in sexual interactions, and who does not wish to give back sexually.
- A soft butch — also known as a chapstick lesbian — is a woman who exhibits some stereotypical butch lesbian traits without fitting the masculine stereotype associated with butch lesbians.
- Baby Dyke – A young, inexperienced and/or boyish lesbian; also sometimes called a Baby Butch.
- Tomboi – A submissive butch.
Now going back to the post I read, which started by saying, “to all Butches ladies please slow down you not man just because Femmes tend to accept all your stupid demands that doesn’t make you man or close to one for that record”.
She further says that, “I don’t care if ya’ll hate me for this I’m just passing my message, just because you chose… to fake your voice, wear men clothes and act like man doesn’t make you one”.
Now if you are a butch lesbian such as myself, you might find these statements offensive, you might want to be on a defence and state over and over again that you’re not trying to be a man, and you acting in that manner is merely expressing the person you were born to be.
I also recently posted on my facebook timeline, reasserting that, “I don’t look like a man, I don’t act like a man, and I don’t want to be a man. I’m a woman, and the way I look, acts, live, and love, are all the ways of a woman too. I’m different from many women, and many women are different from me, yes, I recognize this, and I celebrate these differences when I call myself butch”.
I didn’t choose to be masculine, I don’t fake my voice and me wearing men clothes certainly doesn’t make me a man.
I don’t know if our fellow lesbian sisters suffer from ignorance or lack the ability to accept, celebrate, embrace and respect the differences that are encompassed by individuals. I find that in the lesbian community there is a lot of ignorance and often intolerance of people who are interested in exploring the more masculine side of themselves.
The status raised a lot of issues that I felt the lesbian community neglect to discuss but tend to bash if they don’t relate. We find it easy to paint a negative picture about something that we don’t understand rather than asking the next person to explain it.
The poster further said,
“And to those who don’t want to take their clothes off during love making bitch take them off what are you hiding?
a magical penis?
I mean what you got that she doesn’t?
and to those who don’t wanna be fucked back by femmes
Yini ndaba are you getting it from man maybe and now you don’t want her to feel it?”
After reading the above paragraph, I seriously felt that the poster had insulted stone butches, I mean the fact that she insinuated that the reason they don’t want to be on a receiving end might be because they are sleeping with men is disrespectful to lesbians who don’t prefer to be touched genitally.
I battle to understand why it is someone’s business how other people prefer to engage sexually. I mean just like any other human being, we all have preferences and ways we chose to express ourselves sexually. If someone choses to be the pleaser and get off from pleasing their partner without them being pleased what is it to you?
Who are we to dictate how some people should have sex?
And who said the way you have sex is the right way to do it?
You know the more I think about these issues, the more I realise how we as the LGBTI community get consumed into tackling issues of homophobia, hate crime and societal acceptance and in the meantime neglect to address the diversities and dimension that are in our community. The concerns raised by the lady on facebook might be a way of saying, ‘I don’t understand such behaviours, so am going to interpret them in my own way’. Unless we speak about these issues openly, we are still going to come across such stereotypes in our very own community.
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