I learned something today that I think you will all be interested to know. Lesbians don't exist. They don't. These women who crave the attention and lusts of other women are simply a myth made up by straight men who wanted to sell more pornographic magazines. (Feel free to wipe the sarcasm off your screen now.)
I am a lesbian. Yes, I know that this is absurd, since apparently, I don't exist, but I am and I do. I have been in relationships with women and I have done enough time in the world of heterosexuality to know that it is not the place for me. I have recently been told that I am not a lesbian. That I am as straight and boy-crazy as they come and that I should stop telling lies to people. I do not appreciate this.
Here I feel that an introduction is in order for those of you who don't know me. I am 18 years old and I live in the Texas panhandle. I am smack-dab in the center of the Bible-belt. It is the land of the free and home of the straight. I am not out of the closet to the world as of yet, however, recently, I have made an effort to tell at least one person a day. I started small. My best friend, who is gay, was first. He had been calling me lessie for weeks, so it was no surprise to him. Then I told some other close friends, and was met only with the occasional "since when?" That I can handle. I even went out on a limb, telling my high school and college theatre teachers and my Freshman English teacher, with whom I have maybe exchanged 50 real words with in the past month. I have met nothing but kindness and support for the most part...until Wednesday.
On Wednesday, I was in my stagecraft class with a girl who has been known to be pretty homophobic. She admits it, and we get along fine for the most part. In a moment of insanity, I decided to let go and just tell her flat out about my sexuality. I did it casually, as if we were talking about the weather or stock reports. "By the way, you know I'm a lesbian right?" The girl looked at me, blinked and said, clear as day "no you're not." So I corrected her and once again, got the same reply. The thing is, she wasn't saying "no you're not" as in "Oh, not YOU!" she was saying it as if I was confused. As if I had put her hand on my forehead and asked if I was feverish. My first thought was "what is wrong with you?" My second thought was "Yes I am, and if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were too, Miss I-Know-how-to-Use-a-Power-Saw."
Later in the evening, I began to think about this phenomenon, and realized that Judith isn't the only person who doesn't believe in lesbians. Not "I don't believe in lesbians" as in, "I don't believe it is right," but "I don't believe in lesbians" as in "there's no such thing." In the town where I live, I hear endless homophobic slurs..."faggot" "queer" and "fag" are the words my best friend hears on a regular basis. However, I have never faced any abuse. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking anyone to throw rocks at me, and I haven't been out long, so a majority of people just don't know. Hell, I haven't even known for long, but come on this isn't something I'm working hard to conceal. If someone asks me, I tell them. What ever happened to the town gossip?! There are girls at the high school just waiting to be called dyke. They can't wait to beat someone into the ground...and yet, there is nothing. People assume they don't have boyfriends because they aren't cute and feminine...nope, sorry...better luck next time. These girls like girls!! I am not one of them. I don't wear heavy black combat boots and "boys suck" tank tops with camouflage. I don't have a crew cut or a thousand tattoos...but I don't have a boyfriend either...and rarely do I say "wow he's cute." (Note: when I do say "he's cute" it is usually for the benefit for my gay friends.) However, it is not unusual to hear me mutter "wow, she has a great body."
I don't like that a giant group of women can be forgotten. If a man isn't married, he is called queer, regardless of his true sexual orientation. If a woman is single, people feel sorry for her because she hasn't found the right man...of course he is out there. You just keep believing that. As for me, I don't want to be forgotten. I want people to know who I am...whether they can deal with it or not. And to tell you the truth, I'd rather be shunned than considered a work of fiction.
Susan is an 18 year old lesbian in a small town in Texas. She loves theatre and politics and would welcome your questions and comments. You can find her via e-mail at Butrfly10@hotmail.com.