Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Newsflash! Lesbians are Women

In this day and age the title of this post seems ridiculous to have to justify. Of course lesbians are women. You would think this bit of information is quite obvious but, reading the articles about women and their/our issues, this point gets lost. It would be impossible to itemize the deluge of writing about "women's issues," that pours out from keyboard across the country, which excludes queer women, placing us outside their purview.

As a current example, examine the sections of that ever-popular leftist online news source, The Huffington Post which, quite recently, added the section, "Gay Voices." They had a "Women" category but everybody knows that "women's issues" involve men: dating them, marrying them, making babies with them, looking attractive for them, conversing with them, you get my drift. Articles about females very rarely include any references to those of that gender who are queer. In "Gay Voices" finally we see some articles about lesbians specifically. We take it for granted that those could never be applicable to any kind of universal human condition. After all what could we possibly extrapolate from a bunch of queers about life in the USA?

Alternet approaches the situation a bit differently. Under their Rights category they have separate sections for Civil Liberties and Gender. Queer rights pieces can and do occupy either of these classifications. But when the article is specifically about "women" the issues of lesbians are not dealt with. Smaller online news sites don't have categories at all. But that decision, which, depending on how it's approached, can be viewed either as a glaring absence or a window onto a less discriminatory future, doesn't seem to help much with inclusivity.

The film industry has a similar take. In "Women's Films," that particular genre that feature a group of women, the writers will sometimes install a token dyke, much in the same way they insert a woman of color. But you can be assured that the lesbian's character development and personal issues will get short shrift compared to the other characters in these movies.

What the world has yet to come to terms with is that lesbians are women. Perhaps the fear of the queer that was instilled in my generation will be carried within each member until death. But, on the bright side, there are girls being born every minute. Hopefully they will grow up in a society with fewer limitations on all their decisions including those regarding gender.