Recently I’ve been reading some radical feminist theory. Silly me, right? Well, as I was about two thirds of the way through it, I came to a realization – I’m a lesbian!
Mike Adams had a similar awakening a while back, which he described in his article “Freeing My Inner Lesbian”
Years ago, I admitted publically that I had been struggling with a unique disorder that has yet to be recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, or APA. My disorder centers on the fact that I have a natural, inborn desire to be a lesbian but I am unable to fulfill it because I am trapped inside a man’s body. Believe me, I didn’t choose to be this way. It just comes natural!
Also, for many years I have been arguing that the LGBTQIA Office is discriminatory because there are so many letters in the alphabet that it doesn’t recognize. Adding my lesbian in a man’s body orientation, hereafter LIMBO, to the alphabet soup of victimhood would allow us to expand and rename the LGBTQIA Office. In fact, its new name could be the GTQA-LIMBO Office.
As for my story, it’s somewhat different. I’m a little over six feet tall, and built like a linebacker. Actually, I was one. Even though I’m past my prime, I could become a champion in women’s wrestling. (You know, that sounds like a pretty good idea.) I also have long blond hair. It’s real, and I’m proud of my hairitage, so I grow it out and show it off.
Therefore, if viewed from the back, I might appear like an especially butch and burly Brunnhilda. From the front, my femininity doesn’t show, due to my unaccountable lack of tits (the Boob Fairy never blessed me) and this strange fuzz that keeps growing on my face despite my best efforts to shave it off. Don’t even get me started on the cameltoe; it looks like I have a kielbasa down there. You have no idea what it’s like with all these creepy women checking me out like I’m a piece of meat!
Occasionally someone will walk up from behind and call me “Ma’am”. Well, gosh, what an atrocity; it’s the Current Year! After this horror, I’ll laugh it off. Still, now that I’ve become a lesbian, I guess I wasn’t being misgendered after all.
Some of you still might be wondering how I can become a lesbian since I was designated as male at birth. Well, Kathy Rudy explained all that in her article about “Radical Feminism, Lesbian Separatism, and Queer Theory“. She really straightened me out about all that.
What was her story? She realized she was a lesbian after listening to Holly Near records. (Yes, really!) As she put it, “Her resistance to heterosexual norms, her presence as a strong independent woman who loved other women, the fierceness of her politics-these things called to me, pulled me out of my cloud of unknowing, and helped me identify my true self.” Well, heck, maybe I’d better get some of her music too, now that I’m a lesbian.
Then she moved away from Detroit (good idea) to Durham and became involved in the lesbian scene there. As she explained, though, there are two kinds of lesbians. The first are women who like to bang women, like her. Then there are those who do so as a political fashion statement. (That would sort of be like a hardcore MGTOW who calls himself gay but doesn’t actually bang dudes, except that I’ve never heard of MGTOWs doing anything as silly as that.) As she put it:
Definite tensions existed between those who choose lesbian life for reasons of desire and those who choose it for feminist politics; each group imagined the other was inauthentic.
However, if I’m reading between the lines correctly, Lesbotopia wasn’t quite a bower of bliss. Then when the intersectionality idea got around, things really turned to shit:
Not surprisingly, then, the first site of fracture in Durham occurred primarily over race. By 1984, my particular friend group which at that time included two Black women-was locked in struggle over racial issues. As long as Dee and Sandy identified themselves primarily as women, we all were in harmony. When, however, they began to use race as a category of political analysis, when they declared that they-as Black lesbian women-were more oppressed than the rest of us, things began to deteriorate.
Paragraph after paragraph of hand-wringing follows. (Kathy, as a fellow lesbian, let me give you a tip: joy is better than guilt.) Then she made her escape into academia:
It is at this point in my narrative that I enter graduate school, in part because the unified community I had sought was dissolving and in part because I myself was experiencing wider identifications than the narrowly defined lesbian community allowed.
The she got hip to postmodernism and radical gender theory:
In graduate school, however, I found new friends and newly emerging theories in postmodern feminism that reflected for me the serious limitations of a politics based solely on racial, ethnic, gender, sexual preference, or class characteristics.
She found that this tied up all the loose ends and settled all the quarrels she had experienced in Lesbotopia. This is hardly surprising. Postmodernism is an anti-reality movement; with it, you even could prove the epistemological existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. As for radical gender theory, it instructs us with the collective hallowed wisdom of academia that you are whatever you think you are.
A complete review of the works of Butler, Fuss, Sedgwick and others is both impossible and unnecessary here. Instead, I want to summarize a few points primarily as they relate to radical feminist ideology. These antiessentialist queer theorists argued in short that biological sex and gender are socially constructed. They noted that the system of gender construction that inhabited us wrongly presumed that everyone has either an obvious penis or vagina, that every person has an uncomplicated relationship to that biological entity, and that owning that piece of equipment necessarily correlated to certain ontological characteristics. The concept of gender, they suggested instead, exists on an unstable background of tacit assumptions and fantasies about both “women” and “men.”
Yeah, the concepts of “male” and “female” are totally complicated and hard to figure out, and they kind of don’t exist anyway, right?
These queer theorists reminded us that there are no fool-proof scientific tests for gender; there is no hormonal, chromosomal, or anatomical test that can be administered which in every case guarantees that the subject being tested is either a woman or a man. If gender does not equate or reduce to chromosomes, genes, genitals, or hormones, it can only be “produced,” they suggest, by a wide variety of social events, strategies, and fantasies: who makes more money, who wears a dress, and so forth, all work to help us organize all people into these two tracks.
Well, shucks, if I’d forked over even more money to go to grad school too, maybe I wouldn’t be just a dumb blond from Flyover Country.
These feminist theorists prodded us to question our attachment to radical feminism’s stable category of woman. To think of women’s liberation as an event involving “women only,” they said, was not only to miss the complexities of oppression, but it was also to assume and posit the very category that itself perpetuates injustice. The lines should not be drawn between women and men, they said but, rather between those who espouse progressive politics, especially around the issues of sexuality, and those who don’t.
It’s impossible to argue with that, now isn’t it? When I was two years old and my parents told me I was a boy, they lied to me. After that, whenever I took a leak, I only saw a conceptual socially constructed penis, not the real thing, because there is no such thing, because there is no reality. Dig?
Without a binary system of gender, we could experience neither sexism (how could we know what a woman is?) nor homophobia (how could we imagine partners of the “same sex” if there were an unlimited number of options?).
Imagine there’s no gender, it’s easy if you try, ooh ooh oohoohooh…
Moreover, this conversation about multiple and fragmented identities helped to further clarify dissatisfactions with the ideology of the radical feminist community. For me, it wasn’t only the fact that our politics were based solely on essentialized womanhood that was troubling. It was also the related fact that by the mid-1980s my community had become dangerous in its narrowness and policing. The role of a radical feminist was scripted in such a way that many of my own pleasures were denied. Watching detective shows on TV, going to church, eating meat, wearing polyester or high heels, shopping, feeling feminine-these and many other activities had to be hidden from the larger group in order to maintain membership in good standing in the lesbian community.
In all seriousness for once, find better friends.
Thus, rather than the closed, policed lesbian communities many of us created in the early 1980s, Probyn would have us open these worlds, widening ourselves to include anyone who experiences-even temporarily or only imaginatively-lesbian desire.
Ah, so here’s the kicker. Again, one of the possible definitions (and basically the dictionary definition) of lesbian is a woman who bangs women. I must say, I love women, and I love making sweet love with them. Since I’m a woman – or might be, or kinda sorta, or who can tell these days – this is what makes me a lesbian, QED.