Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Lesbian-Identified-Whatever


I was talking to Kit last night about The L Word and the whole 'lesbian-identified male' thing came up. She wanted to know what that was, so while she was on the phone, I did a little online research.

Personally, as someone who grew up in CA, I was already assuming the term had been made up by the writers of the show to poke fun at the overly tolerant California mentality.. like, in most of CA, you're pretty free to be whatever or whoever you want, and if there's no term for it, well, just make one up and run with it. I tried to explain this to Kit because I think it's difficult for someone who hasn't spent a significant time in CA to understand just how quirky and bizarre things can be in the state. And the fact that Californians generally are aware of how silly some things get, so we often poke fun at ourselves.. this is why I was expecting 'lesbian-identified male' to be one of those kinds of jokes.

Well, much to my surprise, I did find a source that uses the term. It appears to be an exerpt from a book called Shyness & Love: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment by Dr. Brian G. Gilmartin.

What is a lesbian-identified male?

Specifically, a "male lesbian" is a heterosexual man who wishes
that he had been born a woman, but who (even if he had been a woman)
could only make love to another woman and never to a man. Unlike
the transsexual, the "male lesbian" does not feel himself to be "a woman
trapped inside the body of a man". Moreover, none of the love-shy men
studied for this research entertained any wishes or fantasies of any kind
pertinent to the idea of obtaining a sex change operation. All wanted to
keep their male genitalia; all wanted to remain as males. However, all
deeply envied the perogatives of the female gender and truly believed
that these perogatives fitted their own inborn temperaments far more
harmoniously than the pattern of behavioral expectations to which males
are required to adhere...

...Male lesbians differ from both transsexuals and homosexuals in that
they cannot conceive of themselves making love to a man. For example,
after sex change surgery the male transsexual almost always wants to
begin making love to a man AS A WOMAN. The male homosexual wants
to make love AS A MAN to a man. The male lesbian, on the other hand,
wishes that he had been born a woman. But he always makes it clear
that if he indeed had been born a woman he would be a full-fledged
lesbian. In other words, he would want to socialize exclusively with
women and he would choose female partners exclusively for love-mak-
ing and for sexmaking activity. In short, a secret fantasy of many love-
shy men is to be a beautiful woman who lives with and makes love with
another beautiful woman....



So there we have it. On one hand, it kind of makes sense to me. Recently, I've had more than a couple of guys joke around with me that they're lesbians, and the thought occurred to me: No, you're a hetero male. Yes, you like women, but mentally you are nothing like a lesbian.

So male lesbians? Are there female gay men???

I also was reading a lot of the stuff on AfterEllen.com (be careful, it's addictive), and came across this article, entitled Karen Walker and the Bisexual Straight Woman. I was a little intrigued, particularly since I learned about the Kinsey scale of sexuality in Sociology yesterday. I mean, I've always recognized that most people are not only one category or another; my personal sexual philosophy is very close to Shane's on The L Word. Her speech about sexuality being fluid? Yeah, that's my speech, too.

The Kinsey scale is numbered from 1-6, with 1 being exclusively heterosexual, 6 being exclusively homosexual. Now, the scale assigns 1 and 6 to those who are completely unable to find beauty in the same sex (1), and in the opposite sex (6). This means, if you're a lesbian and you look at men, you never, ever are able to honestly see how he might be cute or attractive -- not necessarily want to sleep with, just a basis of judging the beauty of another person.

Kinsey said that only 10% of the population falls into 1, and 10% falls into 6. That means 80% of us fall somewhere between 2 and 5. This interests me because I'm not what you might call your average lesbian. I occasionally (about once every few years) engage in activities that cause people to joyfully slap the 'bisexual' label all over me, but I honestly do not identify as a bisexual. It's not even so much the stigma of bisexuality, because if that's what I felt I was, I would identify that way regardless.

It's simply that I'm kind of like Karen Walker, only I'm on the homo end of things. I'm more opportunistically bi. I do NOT go searching for guys to boink. Never. Only every once in a while I'll be in a really serious drought, and the opportunity might come up. And I'm a Scorpio, which means I'm highly sexual, and if I haven't been touched for a couple years or whatever, I might go for it.

I could never see myself dating a man. I can't see myself pursuing men. In fact, I find men tremendously boring and gross, and I am not even really that attracted to them. It's just the sex thing.. cause I'm like a guy in that regard -- if I had a penis, I would think with it more than I should. And once I sleep with a guy, I'm really done with him. As in, it ain't ever gonna happen again, don't want you to hang around, drop-kick to the curb, bye.

People just don't understand this, and so it's something I basically keep to myself. I'm well aware of the stigma against bisexuals, because I've been guilty of it myself. And yeah, the sociopath ex went back and forth between me and this other guy, and it killed me.

But the Kinsey scale is much more my idea of what sexuality is. You can't pigeon-hole people, and you can't force them to live in limited little boxes. If you want to call me bi even though I really dislike men in general, go ahead, but it's not correct. Tristan Taormino understands, she's the same way. I don't think I'm bi because men do very little for me, and I know that if ever I were in a relationship with a guy (which is about as likely to happen as hell freezing over), I would, the entire time, be longing to be with a woman. So on the scale, I'd say I'm probably a 4.5-5.

So.. the Bisexual Straight Woman. The definition fits me pretty well, if you change the wording a little to reflect my orientation. Bisexual Lesbian Woman? Maybe.

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