In Conversation: What I've Learned About Lesbians
In a world full of “10 Ways to Please a Man” and “What His Text Really Means” articles, it’s easy to forget that not all girls care what “he” thinks, or what “he” wants. Whether you’re running a major magazine or writing a personal blog, it’s can be hard to break away from the habit of assuming that every female reader can relate to all this he-based advice. Even here at Spire & Co, where we make it our mission to have a place for every girl, we often use exclusive terms like boyfriend rather than partner or “significant other.”
When I stepped up to the plate to take over the relationships column, one of the first things I said to our editor-in-chief was that I’d need to remember to be respectful of all sexual preferences. While trying to decide how to go about this, it dawned on me; why not dive head first into the topic?
As girls, we owe it to each other to learn about and respect the happiness of other women all over the world. We should not shy away from what is considered to be “different” or unknown. And “lesbihonest” with ourselves, if we’re not talking about it then we’re not thinking about it, and if we’re not thinking about it then we’re not doing anything to make a positive change.
What I Knew
Once I got the okay to discuss this important topic, there was only one problem: I don’t know anything about lesbians. I myself am not a lesbian, nor do I know anyone personally who is a lesbian, so my understanding was completely limited to what could be read in magazines and blogs, or seen on TV. But being heterosexual doesn’t mean being restricted from understanding. I quickly realized that if I was going to do right by this subject, I was going to need some help.
Instead of scouring the Internet for information, which our generation has become accustomed to, I decided to do my own research. I reached out to a girl over Facebook who kindly agreed to share her thoughts with me. Let’s call her Jill. Jill and her girlfriend (we’ll call her Jacqueline), sat down together to answer my questions about their relationship. From only ten questions with Jacqueline and Jill I learned so much; I often found myself thinking, “wow, I never thought of that,” and “that’s so true!” Without further ado, here is what I learned about girls dating girls.
What I Wanted To Know
By the time I started talking to Jacqueline and Jill I hadn’t decided what angle to take-- I really only had a working title going for this article. But within minutes of starting our conversation, it hit me. It’s time to break the stigma that lesbians, and girl-girl relationships, are different.
What I know now
There are a lot of misconceptions about being a lesbian. For one thing, lesbian couples don’t consist of a “girl who is the girl” and a “girl who is the boy.” As Jill says, “It’s hard for straight people to understand that nobody’s the boy. That’s the point. That’s why we’re lesbians we don’t want a boy.”
Speaking of boys, another outrageous myth is that girls who are lesbians have had bad experiences with boys, and therefore have turned to dating girls. Wrong. There are no rules of attraction. You may be attracted to boys, or girls, all your life until suddenly someone comes along who is so charismatic that no matter what gender, you develop feelings for him or her. Also, if bad experiences had that much influence over our lives, no one would watch Pretty Little Liars or go to the DMV.
In any relationship, whether it is with a girl or a guy, there are still those awkward road bumps. You still have to meet someone’s parents, family, and friends. You still have to worry about “what does this text mean?” And you definitely still have to worry about sharing time between your friends and your significant other. Just because your girlfriend and your friends are all females, that doesn’t mean she’ll want to hangout with them all the time, and vice versa.
To argue that there is no physical difference would be impossible; even Jacqueline and Jill say that dating someone who understands what it’s like to be on your period is kind of a plus. However, on an emotional level, it’s hard to notice any differences at all.
So why is it that lesbian relationships are still viewed as different? Why is it that we still don’t know as much as we could if we just asked? One of my favorite things about Jacqueline and Jill is that when asked about their stance on LGBTQ issues they say they support them, but “We’re just trying to live out our lives the way we want it. We don’t feel like we’re harming anyone, we don’t want to be activists because we don’t want to push any buttons. We’re hoping that just one day there won’t be such a thing as LGBTQ activism. That it will just be normal…”
If we all take a minute to reconsider, this can happen. Instead of thinking “I don’t understand, how can you like a girl?” we can think, “it must be nice to have a connection like that with someone.” Who you choose to share your life with does not define who you are or what you are capable of. Whether you are gay or straight, love is about bringing people together, not dividing them into groups with labels.