Recently, some friends and I were discussing our personal take on the concept of “lesbian Identity.” Needless to say, the concepts shared were fascinating, but what I found even more of interest was the underlying thoughts of identity. Some women responded with their feelings of why they identify as a lesbian. Others responded with a more global approach on living as a lesbian. The different approaches signal to me that identity truly has more meaning to each individual than any of us realized.
Before you read on, ask yourself … is your idea of lesbian identity about yourself or about your relationships?
For me, “lesbian identity” is about defining our life and the spirit within that motivates and guides us.
There are some folks who hold the belief that “lesbian identity” is women who lust after women, promiscuous and indiscriminately involved with any woman. These folks identify lesbians as sexual predators, aggressively pursuing sex with every woman (or girl) encountered. This narrow definition effectively strips us of our humanity, leaving us nothing more than sexual beings.
I believe that we reinforce this narrow view of the lesbian identity when we define ourselves by our sexuality, excusing our not coming out as “no one’s business.” How many times have you hidden behind (or heard), “I don’t come out to so-and-so because what I do in my bedroom is no one’s business.” Do we stop to consider the message we are sending? And if so, perhaps it is time for us to seriously consider if our lesbian identity begins and ends in the bedroom.
By defining ourselves by our sexual activity – as only that which happens in the bedroom – we become one-dimensional. In a world filled with three-dimensional relationships, we allow our relationships to become hollow and meaningless, or at best, something that only exists hidden away from public view – in the bedroom.
In the same breath, there are circumstances where it is in a woman’s best interest to not come out. Personal safety – be it physical, family or financial – must be considered above all else. The risk factors must be weighed by each individual, and because of certain bigotries, there are some who must carry the heavy burden of hiding their lesbian identity.
Our strength comes from being honest about our reasoning – honest about our identity within ourselves. It is empowering to accept that it may not be safe to come out, as long as we are able to privately acknowledge and honor our lesbian identities and relationships.
Finally, in case you were wondering, my definition of “lesbian identity,” is about affirmation. Lesbian identity is a positive action – loving and honoring women – not a negative or avoidance – the rejection of men – as many unknowing assume. Lesbian identity is about creating a life-bond with a woman, which in turn creates love, pride and strength within every aspect of our lives – not just what we share in the bedroom.
How do you define your lesbian identity?
Until next time…