Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Dyke factor in the Queer Equation

Equality Means Recognizing Difference
Yes, I want unity, I want solidarity with my leftist constituency and for the underdogs to fight and win against the powers that be. But I also want to be accepted for who I am in the context of that struggle. I remember the first time I saw an open lesbian in a performance where the audience was mixed, queer and straight. It was a Lily Tomlin show, "The search for signs of intelligent life in the universe," and oh, I was searching. I enjoyed the show but what surprised me was a homophobically charged encounter with some upper crust type of straight women seated behind us. I don't even recall exactly what transpired but the thing that confounded and amazed me was their homophobic atitudes in spite of the fact that they were watching an "out" dyke, Lily Tomlin, perform.  I'm sure that this kind of thing happens with African-Americans all the time. You know, the famous ones are ok but the regular ones...

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area so, if you are of an optomistic bent, you would think that the people I work with, run into etc. have arrived at a state beyond homophobia. You would be wrong. Although some perceptive and intelligent folks have LGBT people in their conciousness, and in thier FGs (friendship groups), many do not. Some folks are friends with gay men but have never encountered a lesbian. To assume that being cognizant of the issues affecting lesbian, gay bisexual and trans folks by schmoozing with charming and powerful gay men just doesn't cut it. It would be like saying that I'm aware of the issues Muslims face because I know Tariq, Mohammed and Suleman. But until you speak to Fatima, Aisha and Yasmine you don't know squat.

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