Monday, February 29, 2016

What I Love About Being Lesbian

It had been a while, and although it was unwanted it was also kinda nice.

I took a walk to Rite-Aid for cigarettes earlier and on the way home a man tried to pick me up. I politely avoided his inquiry if I had a boyfriend (a question from a man that has no good answer for a lesbian), and then he asked for my phone number. Again I politely dodged then made a quick turn off Market St. to avoid continuing the "conversation".

On the one hand, I suppose it's nice to know that at least some straight guys find me objectively attractive, even if I don't share their interest. On the other hand, dealing with this sort of attention is something I haven't to do in a long time and I find myself somewhat out of practice.

Of course, there's also the other part. I'm a trans woman living alone in Philadelphia. It's impossible to know how a man would react if he discovered that the woman he just propositioned turned out to be lesbian, much less trans. Therefore, when I find myself in that situation I have to be ultra-careful. After all, I live here now. I use that store regularly. Chances are, I'll encounter him again and probably others like him.

Women are so much easier to deal with, not to mention lightyears more attractive to me. Hell, I'd welcome some interest there. No fragile male egos to bruise and far less fear of a violent reaction, not to mention the possibility of some actual romantic and sexual attraction and interest. Just a better situation every which way around.

In all honesty, I'm glad I'm not straight or even bi. I have many good platonic friends who are guys, but a lot of my friends who are trans women have reported all kinds of awful situations they've had to deal with as the result of a relationship gone bad with a man. That's not to say that lesbian relationships work out so much better, mind you. I've had a few that just didn't work out, but the difference is that when that happens between women we tend to go our separate ways, no harm, no foul, and sometimes we even manage to stay friends afterward.

Men, on the other hand, are much more likely to indulge in trashing their exes publicly, I guess to recoup their dignity in their own eyes if no one else's, and going out of their way to damage the personal relationships they once shared. I can't count how many times I've heard stories of men trashing their exes to people they once socialized with as a couple, to the point where it's the former wife or girlfriend who becomes ostracized from the social group, as it's the men who have the friendship that drives the relationship.

It's so much different with lesbians. Women get it, we understand relationships in ways that many men, particularly straight men, never will. If we run into each other in social situations after the relationship has ended we don't feel the need to act to act like childish assholes to save face.

It's a popular meme to say that women are more evolved than men and I believe that in some ways that's probably true, at least in large part. There are always exceptions to every rule, sometimes many, but I believe it has something to do with estrogen versus testosterone and how they impact one's psyche.

There's also another element in lesbian relationships I've become acutely aware of since I transitioned and began being accepted as a woman as opposed to a trans woman. Beyonce notwithstanding, women are keenly aware that, in fact, men run the world and that in many ways we are second class citizens. There may be lip service given to gender equality but the reality is that women are not seen as equal to men in modern America. In the workforce, we make less than men and we have less opportunity to advance in our careers than men. In short, women are seen as less valuable.

It's because women know and understand this truth and face it every day of our lives that while men tend to be highly competitive with other men, women tend to be more likely to see each other as friends and allies. We'll rally to another woman's side when she's in trouble, whereas a man is much more likely to take advantage of such a situation to further his own goals.

Nothing exemplifies this reality better than a well-known quote by Madeline Albright, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." It's true. In so many cases it's our fellow women who will ultimately be the people who we can truly rely on when things get rough, particularly if there'a a man involved.

So does this mean all women are wonderful and all men are assholes? No, not at all. It just means that women tend to ally with and support other women much more than men do the same with other men or with women because women know that we're all fighting the same patriarchal system that keeps us down. It's a basic truth of being a woman that makes our relationships stronger and longer lasting as well as, at least in my opinion, more satisfying as well.

So yes, I feel blessed by the Goddess, the universe, the moon, you name it, that I am lesbian. I've been on the other side and I like myself so much better this way.

More than once, I considered turning my back on my female gender identity and eventual transition to further a romantic or potentially romantic relationship with a straight woman I love or loved, but knowing what I know about myself now, I'm glad I didn't. The emotional cost was and continues to be steep, but I've discovered that ultimately living my truth is worth almost any price.

I love being lesbian and I wouldn't have it any other way.