Everyone wants to be a lesbian

15 06 2011

So what’s going on with all these men pretending to be lesbians online? Like we don’t have enough trials of our own to be going on with, now we have to spend time trying to figure out if that increasingly interesting online chat is being conducted by some hairy fat man in a vest with a good line in conversation and nothing better to do with his time.

Like we’re not all paranoid and defended enough as it is. It’s enough to make one want to give up on the internet altogether, I tell you. After all, there are loads of us, who like many in the mainstream world of online chat, have much deeper and more intimate relationships with our online lovers than any we do in ‘real’ life. It’s one of the few spaces we can feel alone, intimate and unobserved, especially if you’re queer and live in this particularly bigoted region of the world.

So what the fuck? Last week we followed with increasing interest, the story of a blog that we carry on our links which seemed to reflect many of our own anxieties and fears – the story of a young, lesbian activist being threatened and finally kidnapped in Syria. The discovery that the blog was written by a ‘middle-aged, married American man’ aroused varying emotions across the homosexual world, ranging from outraged fury and paranoia, to amusement.

Later the same week, Paula Brooks, executive editor of the US-based lesbian and gay news site LezGetReal, was exposed as being a fake identity created by Bill Graber, who now says he is a 58-year-old from Dayton, Ohio.

Eek.

So who else is out there, (presumably) hiding from his wife, scratching his balls and busily typing away?

And why? What is it about our poor persecuted demographic that makes men want to BE us? We already know that most straight men’s top fantasy is to watch and/or participate in a lesbian encounter and we find that creepy and humiliating enough. And while we’re all for freedom of speech and would be the first to support great fiction writing, this weird and deliberate deceit of gullible women (never mind the general public and the damage done to the queer cause everywhere), ends up being just another sample of male arrogance and entitlement .

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porn today – gone tomorrow!!

6 11 2010

The Daily Mirror reported that the Colombo Fort Magistrate has ordered police headquarters to publish in the newspaper photos of local men and women appearing in Web based porn sites. According to the Magistrate, they want to track these people and identify and punish them!

Bull shit!

What will the lives of these people be like once they are identified? The court punishment is one thing, but what about the ostracism they will receive from the wider community? Can they ever safely live in Sri Lanka again? What will their livelihoods be? How will the consequences for women be greater than those for men?

Furthermore, have they no realization that doing such a thing is not going to deter the making of porn, the demand for porn or from other people entering porn films? This is all assuming that those who are featured in the newspapers are willing participants in the movies. But we all know that there are many young people who are forced into such things, black mailed, and coerced. Some are even trafficked into the sex trade. And many are underage. Some are filmed without their knowledge. So basically what we are doing here is re-victimizing the victims. Is this the best way to address the problem? The government’s approach will only make it more difficult to help those who were coerced into the porn industry. A more productive policy would seek to reduce stigma to assure that those who are willing participants have proper access to medical care and those who were forced to participate could access resources that would help them reintegrate into their communities and rebuild their lives.

In Uganda, some 100 photos of gay men were published in a newspaper – apparently to shame them – so we are going the Uganda way or what?





And I thought only lesbians merged

29 05 2010

I come from two people you would never think of putting in one planet. No exaggeration. I promise. When they met, one was fresh out of a cloistered and stifling but comfortable home and the other was on an adventure in the backwaters of beyond trying to bring about a revolution. One has the temper of lightening and thunder, the other has the temper of rain falling ceaselessly through the day. He reads words to feed his brain, she reads stories to fill her heart. Growing up, I looked at my parents and thought I would never be with someone if I couldn’t share my laughs.

That part turned out to be true. I always laughed with my girlfriends. But the one thing you couldn’t say about me was that I loved women who were like me. They didn’t look like me, they didn’t talk like me, they enjoyed life differently and I loved them for that. No fear of merging. That thing that lesbians are so afraid of. Lesbian Merging. Imagine dressing like each other in a few weeks or months! We are worried that we will pick up our lover’s expressions. We make sure we use different endearments on each other. Or else we’ll merge and then where is that other person who so excited you when you first met?

No such worries for me. Why worry about Lesbian Merging when I go for women who are so different that it would take plate tectonics to effect Lesbian Merging? I could afford to laugh at the others. And then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that my father said some thing the same way, that my mother does. A few days later, my mother did something else the same way he did.

My father and mother were merging.

It wasn’t only lesbians who merged.

I am not sure if I should be upset about it or not.

If my parents can merge, anyone can merge.

Does that mean there is no getting away from Lesbian Merging?





Starting over

26 05 2010

It’s like starting over.

Like being born again.

Not like an evangelical Christian, although I have heard that many lesbians are Christians too. Seems like a paradox to me, considering all the ways in which a lesbian just is, all the ways in which you find yourself defying, denying and redefining what it is to be a woman, most of which are surely contrary to any christian teaching? I couldn’t imagine going into church and lining up good and proper, ready to join in the singing with all the other straightfaced, straightlaced, straightpeople – husbands leading, wives following, children and pets bringing up the rear. After fucking a woman you love, can you really imagine straightening yourself like that?

I couldn’t.

All that mad lust and abandonment. And that’s besides the abandonment of practically everything we’ve been taught to honor, respect and obey; all those lessons we spend practically our entire lifetimes unlearning?

But anyway. As I was saying.

Oh yeah. The starting over thing. It’s kind of like when you realize finally, or maybe like some of us, very slowly and hesitantly over a very long period of time – that that’s what it was all about. That all those years you spent trailing around the schoolyard behind that one, to-your-dazzled-eyes abso-fucking-lutely beautiful girl – just watching, (stalking probably,) actually meant something? When you actually start thinking – I like, no maybe I love.

Her.

Agh.

Better not share this information with my mother or sister. Not when I’m twelve and all they’re hoping for is that I’ll win the English prize this year too.

I remember spending every single break at school, munching on a Chinese roll and following the adored one and her noisy gang of friends, everywhere they went. I would watch their games, trail along the edge of the wall as they galloped along, absorbed in their own pursuits and never noticing me. Which was a very good thing too. They would have crucified me if they had guessed what I was doing. But I didn’t really know what I was doing myself, so how could they?

Or maybe like some of my friends who shall remain nameless for now- maybe you had all these furtive but delicious boarding school experiences that put you on the right track since you were six…?

O lucky, lucky.

Falling in love with the little girl in the next bed. Or next desk in class. Meeting behind the rosebushes at the corner of Block C. Exchanging notes. Whispering ‘I love you!’ Holding sweaty hands and feeling terrified but not really knowing why. Kissing.

It just feels so good it has to be wrong.

But as I was saying.

Like starting over. From like, zero. You have to re-learn everything. Everything. The clothes, the shoes, the hair, (Oh the hair!), the whole look. Then there’s the stuff inside your head. All the anxiety. The guilt, the rage, the fear… and maybe hardest of all – the becoming aware. Your eyes open, your body changes, your skin feels different. And all this takes years to get used to. Years of fears. And tears.

And everyone around you behaves differently. Didn’t they?

No? Well maybe you had a smooth transition! Maybe you’re from London or San Francisco or Sydney or some other superfucking cool, self-consciously liberated city like that. Mardi gras and dykes on bikes and everyone out and proud and free. Maybe you grew up with queer parents even. Maybe it was easier to be queer than straight in your neighbourhood. Maybe it was all sharp haircuts, tattoos and piercings everywhere you looked, and lots of great footwear. And everybody fucking absolutely everybody else since they were practically twelve.

O boy.

(Or maybe you’re just too smart to let on to us brown, timid, south asian girls that your experience was pretty much and awkwardly the same. White people/brown people living in white places….must be cool above all, after all. Ha.)

But we’re no hothead paisans…not me, and not my friends. We had to claw our way into the space we have made and a small fucking space it is too. And that’s what I’m writing about, I think. Our space and how we got here. In this third world, war torn, poverty stricken, uneducated, nationalistic, moralistic, feudal, homophobic, chauvinistic, self-righteous, corrupt, militarized, paradoxical, sad and crumbling beautiful city, we huddle together, hoping that no one of us has to leave for any reason, yet unable to withhold support from any one of us who’s lucky enough to go.

This is our life. We chose it, we live it. This is our country. We complain about everything. The people, the politics, the war, the foreigners, the locals, the food, the cost of living, the war, the roads, the men, the women, the neighbours, the schools, the war the war the war. But we love it. Like our horrible Siamese twin, we are attached to it and would miss it if we lost it. You could offer us any city in the world and we might even go. Some of our merry little band now live in Australia, after all. Freezing their asses off, working like slaves and missing home – but loving the law and order, the freedom and anonymity of life in a first world city.

We, on the other hand, are the stay-at-homes who would always want to rush back.

Now we have peace. And here we all still are.

Starting over. At home.





The romance of single life

19 05 2010

When you are one half of a couple for a long time, you forget what it is like to be with yourself. Only with yourself. When you start off, you are caught up with being a couple, spending time with the new girlfriend, the romance, the passion, the dreams.

Then you settle into the groove of being one half of a couple and enjoy the routine, the stability and the togetherness. Even the arguments and making up. Even the little separations, as long as you don’t stay apart too long.

And when you break up, you miss the shared laughter and the inside jokes. You miss the other part of yourself. You miss her weight next to you in bed and your life has a gap.

It’s like silence. Everyone rushes to fill silence in, just the way we want to fill that gap, find someone to laugh and spend time with. But hold on long enough, and one day you blink and realise that being alone is not that bad.

Actually, what a relief it is to be able to suddenly meet a friend and decide to spend the whole day with her. No rushing back home because you think tenderly of your girlfriend waiting for you. No phone calls to reassure her that you haven’t disappeared or had an accident, you just thought you would watch a film with your cousins. And how nice to not have to get out of bed, read as much as you want and not feel selfish about spending your time with yourself. How nice.

It’s not sour grapes. It’s just that I had forgotten how much I love spending time with myself as much as I love being with a woman I love.





Are you a good liar?

20 03 2010

Write to us!





Guilt by association

10 03 2010

Recently I met a young woman who was questioning her sexuality. (Read: ‘extremely closeted’). We met through a mutual friend who felt it would be good if the three of us got together so her friend could talk to another queer person in friendly company. I suggested meeting in a cafe in Colombo but was told it was too public. So then I suggested a more obscure, quieter place that I knew would be deserted on a Saturday afternoon. And so we met and chatted and actually had a lovely time. I was really pleased to have met her. She reminded me of myself in some ways.. a younger me. I tried to reach out to her and reassure her that it was perfectly normal to be going through the feelings and experiences she was but I am not sure I made any sense at all.

Later, I wondered – why was she so afraid to be seen with me in public? What was it? What if people saw us together? Would they wonder how we knew each other? Would they think – how come we were friends? Or was she afraid that people would see her with me – someone who is very publicly out as a lesbian, and start thinking – Oh, so maybe she’s a lesbian too?

Was this feeling of ‘guilt by association’ so strong that she had to hide? Should I feel offended that she was ashamed or guilty to be seen with me in public? Do I look that dykey? (No, I was not wearing my “I love my girlfriend” t-shirt) or should I just try to be understanding and remember how it was for me all those years ago, when I was coming out?