Ms. Behavior®: Lesbian Hostility and Forced Bisexuality


Dear Ms. Behavior:

I am very curious and disturbed by the overt hostility exhibited by lesbian women! I am a gay male, active in the community, and have had multiple opportunities to interact with all manner of people. As a gay man, I pose no threat to gay or bi women. I have also been told by straight male friends that lesbian hostility is the rule, not the exception. These straight male friends are liberal non-judgmental, cool guys (otherwise they wouldn’t befriend me, a gay guy). To hate and be hostile to half of the population of our planet makes no sense. I have been on the receiving end of this anger, hostility, and very overt prejudice.

On the other hand, the intimately close relationship between gay men and straight women is legendary. What the hell is the problem here?


Dear Mystified:

Some lesbians who appear to be frowning are actually smiling. Other lesbians may have GERD from eating a big lunch, so they can’t give you the big warm greeting you deserve. Some wear heavy shoes that make them feel chronically annoyed. Others have hairballs from living with cats or going down on their girlfriends. Straight women don’t have to deal with these problems, so they’re pleasant all the time. They love their gay male friends, who have way more interest in their lives than their husbands or boyfriends do. It doesn’t mean that straight women are better; it just means that their lives are less fraught with irritation.

Men who read hostility into the behavior of all lesbians may have a little misogyny problem. Perhaps you should Google the words “feminism” and “oppression” and see what you can learn.


Dear Ms. Behavior,

My ex boyfriend of a year dumped me last March. Most of my family didn’t know about him, which was okay until I needed a shoulder to cry on. Then my grandmother died. At the same time, all the responsibilities I had taken on at work came to a head. Nobody offered me any real support.

A few years ago, I decided to explore my interest in guys more. It’s been an interesting and fun five years. But recent losses in my personal life, coupled with the depressing squabbles for equality on the state and national levels make me yearn for a heterosexual relationship; a “normal” relationship that I don’t have to worry about. I’m not afraid of dating guys; I just prefer to be low-key.

My problem is, I have yet to meet a girl who I’m interested in dating. They prefer to count me as their gay friend, though I remind them I’m not gay. More to the point, I don’t want to go out and have sex. It just seems to me that all the girls my age either have a boyfriend or only want sex. I’m out of practice dating girls (not that I had lots of practice to begin with) and it seems I only know how to attract guys. Yet, I KNOW I like girls, even though I’m a heterosexual virgin. I keep thinking that if I could get a girlfriend, I could verify to everyone, including myself, that I’m bi. Can you help me?

–Bitten and Not Smitten

Dear Bitten and Not Smitten:

It sounds like you’d like to be bisexual. Perhaps you’d also like to be the Prime Minister of Italy or a back-up dancer in Madonna’s next feature film, but it doesn’t mean you will be.

It sounds like you don’t really want to have sex with women and they don’t believe you when you say you’re not gay.  Bisexual men actually like sex with both men and women. You don’t, or you wouldn’t still be a heterosexual virgin. (Straight or bisexual men don’t actually mind women who “just want sex.”) Do you really want to force yourself to be with a woman just to prove that you’re bisexual? If you haven’t had heterosexual sex yet, you’re probably permanently not in the mood.

It’s sad to hear about the lack of support you received last year after your relationship ended, but your family might have been there for you if you hadn’t kept the relationship a secret. How could your family have known to be there for you when you didn’t tell them that you were heartbroken?  It’s not clear why you think dating women would make you more “normal.” If anything, you need a big dose of self-acceptance, not some internal pressure to become a different person who you think would earn your family’s approval.

© 2013 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to [email protected].

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