So a feminine lesbian walks into a lesbian bar

by CynthiaYockey on April 19, 2009

When I ran a group in Silver Spring, Maryland, for feminine lesbians called the Lesbian Ladies Society in the late 1980’s, practically every woman who attended in good faith — some came in order to destroy the group because that’s how the lesbian community rolls — had a story about getting all dressed up for a night out with other lesbians and when she walked into a lesbian bar, invariably she’d get mobbed by hostile dykes telling her to leave because she looked feminine.

This story was the most common among black women. And after I noticed that, I started counting the percentage of black women at MY meetings versus the percentage in other lesbian groups and gatherings. The percentage of black women in the Lesbian Ladies Society was 20 percent. For all the other lesbian groups I observed, the percentage was five to 10 percent — in Washington, D.C., which is 90 percent black (that’s the number I remember reading — I haven’t checked it for this post).

When I spoke about the Lesbian Ladies Society at meetings of the Gay Women’s Alternative, which met at the Washington Ethical Society in Washington, D.C., and usually had about 80 – 100 lesbians at each meeting, I would see women who happily wore skirts or dresses when they had attended the Lesbian Ladies Society at GWA dressed in dyke drag — flannel shirts and blue jeans. (When George Will made a fool of himself this week by denouncing blue jeans and demanding that we all dress up like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, I considered a post about how everyone dresses like a dyke these days. Ialso thought about checking YouTube to see if anyone has posted the Saturday Night Live jeans ad parody featuring the late Gilda Radner in “Jewess” jeans. Darn — I just checked — it’s not there.) Where was I? Oh, right. The crowd at GWA was ready to lynch me for the heresy of saying some lesbian are feminine by nature AND NOT NECESSARILY FEMMES because they want a feminine lesbian partner, not a butch one. Also, they were convinced that we were somehow lying and were trying to pass as straight. Anathema! Also, none of them judged anyone by their clothes. Not no how. Not no way.

Uh-huh.

I am convinced that the vicious and discriminatory treatment that feminine lesbians receive from the conglomerated victim identity groups of non-feminine lesbians is why polls find that the number of lesbians in the U.S. population is half the number of gay men (two percent versus four percent). I think the number of lesbians is really four percent, the same as the number of gay men, but half of us are treated so badly in the lesbian community that we just don’t go there any more.

All of that is to explain why I don’t consider the black lesbian, Pam, of Pam’s House Blend to be a hero of free speech, equal treatment, truth, justice and the American Way — pretty much all the time, not just when she is bashing the Tea Parties.

Little Miss Attila has the background and excellent observations here, which she picked up from dear Dan Collins of Protein Wisdom here. My thanks to her for bringing this to my attention.

Oh, and FYI — the nice young gay men at HillBuzz have published a number of posts of the trashings and physical assaults they’ve endured for supporting McCain/Palin in their predominantly gay area of Chicago called Boystown. Samples: “Calling out the crazies wherever we see them,” and “How can someone be conservative and gay?” Bonus: “What will Obama do for same-sex federal health benefits?” I do urge other conservatives to keep up with their blog and consider them worthy friends and stalwart allies in our quest to take this country back from a president and Congress hellbent on destroying it.

P.S.

My, my, my, I just noticed I linked HillBuzz and not Pam’s House Blend. Must have been an oversight.

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  • Cynthia and I absolutely enthralled with your insight. I have always heard about the stereotypes within the lesbian community. Dykes vs. lipstick lesbians. I always thought it was a myth until I read your story. In my class there is an article that I assign to the students on the creation of MIX and the Gay Film Festival in NYC. They are two very different film festivals because one organization is “mainstream gays” the other was the transgendered crowd.

    Good post.

    • Afrocity,

      Thank you! Dykes bullying feminine lesbians is not a myth and in my observation it is particularly hard on black lesbians.

      Cynthia

  • Janie

    I agree Cynthia. I’m a feminine lesbian who only loves other feminine women and I don’t hang out in the lesbian community anymore. I’m not black but I’m sick and tired of dykes telling me I’m not really gay because I’m feminine. Since when did being a lesbian mean you have to look like a man? I don’t get it. Thanks for your article.

    • Janie,

      Thanks for writing! I believe that if the lesbian community lived up to its stated ideals of inclusion that polls would show the number of lesbians is twice the current number. The unwillingness of masculine lesbians to accept that there really are feminine lesbians who are NOT femmes and NOT open to a butch female partner literally drives feminine lesbians out of the lesbian community.

      Cynthia

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