To The Gay Man Who Told Me “I Don’t Get Lesbians”


Thank you.

Thank you for your bravery and candor. Your willingness to ask the tough questions, to delve deep into the unrelenting paradox that is female same-sex attraction, is nothing less than inspiring. There was a time when I, too, felt increasingly isolated over my inability to “get” the “whole lesbian thing,” a phrase you threw around in such a nuanced and intellectually capable way, but now I don’t feel quite so alone. In fact, you’ve convinced me of my membership in a thriving community of gay men that, despite our myriad differences, is united by a deep befuddlement as to why, and how, two girls do sex at one another.

After all, what is up with that? Why would two individuals, two infinitely complex amalgams of biology and psychology and desire, ever seek out romantic or sexual intimacy with a person of the same sex who’s a girl?

My head spins at the thought. I’ve been made so dizzy from attempting to mentally sort it all out in the past that one day I chose to stop ruminating on girl-on-girl stuff altogether. It simply became too taxing. I’m ashamed to say it, but I threw in the towel.

But not you, sir. You’ve put yourself on the line, risking severe cerebral distress all for the sake of maybe, just maybe, gaining some insight into the lesbian psyche. (Dyche?) Your psychological endurance is formidable, that’s clear, and I wonder if anyone else is even capable of the mental dexterity you exhibited so effortlessly. If that’s the case, you must feel greatly burdened by this responsibility. The hope of ever truly understanding what would drive a woman to lez out with her college roommate or second cousin rests solely, heavily, on your shoulders.

The shoulders accentuated by the tasteful neon tank top you’re wearing. What color would you call that? Chartreuse, huh? Remarkable.

Unfortunately I don’t own any tank tops, and I could never imagine how lonely you must feel sometimes. Isolated by a truth no one else can see, by a great and terrible knowledge that escapes every other person at this parade—the depth of your sorrow is unfathomable. True geniuses always feel alienated by their own intellects, and you seem fated to that same solitary life.

But you wouldn’t have it any other way, would you? Even if it assuaged your monumental suffering, you would never feign understanding, never concede a modicum of acceptance, toward a woman who loves women. You are steadfast in a way men no longer are. Your unwavering attitudes toward people and movements you don’t immediately understand are a throwback to the nobler generations that came before us. I fear you were born a century too late, you virtuous, proud-burning spark.
But that’s not all I fear.

Because it is not just the lesbians who are trying to infiltrate and dilute our community. There are countless others with equally confusing and hard-to-keep-track-of identities who seek to include themselves in our campaign for equal treatment. Transgender and transsexual people, the intersex, asexuals, bisexuals, the genderqueer and gender-nonconforming—these are individuals foaming at the mouth to jump on the bandwagon onto which we gay men have spent so many years gluing glitter and peacock feathers. If we don’t take a stand now, there’s no telling how much queerer the queer community will become. And if you’ve taught me anything today, sir, it’s this: if we don’t want to watch you have sex, you can’t be included in our acronyms.

So I ask you—no, I implore you—to keep fighting the good fight. Keep dismissing human beings outright whose bodies and desires are unlike yours. Keep prioritizing a homogenous fraternity over a diverse and rich collective. Keep trying to “get” why certain people love certain other people instead of being heart-achingly grateful that an architecture of meat and bone can love anything at all. Look to the flag you wave so proudly and keep undermining the meaning of its brilliant spectrum. Simply put, just keep on keeping on.

Oh, and happy pride to you, too, sir. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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