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Amy,
As a feminist, people are constantly assuming or accusing me of being a lesbian. I want to know how I should react to these questions and accusations.

If someone mistook me for a lesbian, I would not be insulted because I do not think there is anything wrong or insulting about homosexuality. However, I know some people call me a lesbian to put me down and make me feel bad about belonging to feminist organizations.

I feel conflicted because I am insulted by their stereotyping and rudeness, but I don't want to perpetuate the idea that homosexuality is an insult. While I think it is unfair to judge me based on the stereotype of a feminist, at the same time, I do not wish to reject or deny the contributions of lesbian feminists to the movement.

Given all of these complications, how should I respond when, on my way to a meeting of a feminist organization, my friends ask me if I am going to "lesbian club"?

Thank you!

I can totally relate to your situation. It's a hard accusation to respond to without sounding/feeling homophobic. I usually try to take it on a situation by situation basis -- but for the most part just try to be specific. It's of course hard when it comes from friends who know that I am not a lesbian or that I have a boyfriend, because then it does feel entirely spiteful. I think that the best you can do is to assess each situation and certainly don't feed their assumptions.

Humor helps - or at least some clarity -- "why
do you say that/think that?" or "I wish..." or something that can lead to a conversation.

As for the "lesbian club" comment -- perhaps reverse it -- no it's my man hating club -- again just trying to get them to realize how limited they are and what they are saying. I think that you should also try to talk go you friends one on one -- it's usually group think that perpetuates that and when you talk to people one on one and break it down -- something along the lines of "it's insulting to me that you don't understand my commitment" or why don't you just come and see for yourself" or "why are you so threatened."

I hope that helps -- it's certainly not one answer.

Good luck,

- Amy