Gender Identity in the Gay and Lesbian Community

I am so glad to see a video like this done by a lesbian couple on a mainstream LGBT web site like AfterEllen. I think this is a very important topic even outside of the transgender community. Please watch it and see the comments being posted on the website. My comment is also posted after the video.
Lesbian Love: Gender Identity (Episode 12)
by Trish Bendix
This week, Lacey and Jessica discuss how we as women choose to define ourselves within the LGBT community and to the wider world — and whether it is a desirable thing to do.

Lesbian Love ep 112 Gender Identity from lacey stone on Vimeo.

This is really a great video for a several reasons. As a femme lesbian I find it frustrating and a challenge at times that people automatically assume I a straight. I don’t fit the stereotypes. I like to be a tomboy some days. I like to be very feminine on other days. It just depends on my mood and if I have not done laundry in a week. I am an amazon, tall and strong but gentle when I want to be. I like motorcycles and fast cars. I also love to get all dressed up in heels and a slinky dress and be pampered at the spa.

Stereotypes really do more harm than good in the entire LGBT community. Gender identity is especially difficult because our society has done everything possible to enforce a gender binary. The rules are changing but in general you are either a boy or a girl and there can be no middle ground. I think this not only applies to the transgender community and the struggles they face, but it also greatly affects the gay and lesbian community just as harshly.

Gender and gender identity is very fluid. And sexuality has nothing to do with your gender identity. The stereotypical butch lesbian fitting in all the male roles. They hyper-femme gay man fitting in to more female stereotypes. Throw in the transsexual male or female and you quickly see all these gender and sexual stereotypes vaporize. Yes a more femme woman can be a lesbian. And they do “fit” into society more because you cannot look at her and say oh she is a lesbian. She is not testing the boundaries of typically conservative society and the stereotypes we have all been taught all our lives as she appears to fit a certain gender binary.

The underlying point your video makes on purpose or not is that many of the stereotypical ideas society has tried to enforce about gender, being masculine or feminine are simply not valid. they are not valid in nature so why should humankind be exempt? There is a spectrum of being masculine or feminine that goes way beyond what society has taught us in the past.  Men do like sports and fast cars and drinking beer with their buds. So do women. This dose not make them gay. And Men love fashion and art and pretty things. But this does not make them gay. A transsexual woman may be very femme and pass through society unquestioned. But this does not mean she likes men. The same is true for TransMen. Stereotypes just do not fit in the LGBT community and in the rest of society to many degrees.

We are all beautifully unique and it is OK to be different. It is OK to live outside the box. Yeah that little tiny colorless box that some people try to fit all of humanity into. You know the one where there is only man and woman and they can only love each other and act like a man or a woman and only do the things that a man or a woman “should” do. It’s all so preposterous.

I live outside that box in a life of full color. And I am very happy to do so. Exploring and evolving your gender or even sexual identity is natural. It is a good and healthy thing. As we mature we hold on to bits a pieces of what we learn and like about being male or female or any number of infinite pieces of both. It is what makes us who we are and makes us such amazing creatures.

One thought on “Gender Identity in the Gay and Lesbian Community

  1. Well, some of us just are just naturally Femmes or Butches or Bois, or Aggressives. That is, these are not genders that we choose, they are naturally particular ways of being female. However, gender doesn’t necessarily equate sexuality. So, not all Femmes are attracted to Butches and vice-versa. Just as not all Butch, Boi, or Aggressives are attracted to Femmes. Plus, in a situation in which one sees a Femme and Butch together, one cannot assume that the Femme is the passive one and the Butch is the aggressive one.

    I’m quite High Femme, but as an older Second Wave feminist I don’t do the uber sexual style of dressing or wear super high heels. I do wear makeup, get my hair colored, paint my nails, and wear heels but they are only about 2″ and likely to be some style of Dansko;-) However, I am only sexually attracted to very Butch women. Its just the way I’m wired. My choice in the matter was how do I get comfortable with myself as a High Femme, and how do I express my High Femme self according to what I like, not what is expected.

    It is true that we Lesbians are very diverse and there isn’t any way of being Lesbian that is more true or real than any other. One can just look around to see that many Lesbians are neither Butch or Femme, so obviously being that isn’t a requirement to be Lesbian.

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