You don’t look like a lesbian

Hey,you’re pretty cute. Do you give out your phone number?” he asked.

No, I have a girlfriend,” I replied flatly, hoping he would leave me alone.

Oh, you’re a lesbian? That’s cool. I couldn’t even tell. You don’t look like a lesbian”. End of conversation.

Apparently this isn't what lesbians look like.

Apparently this isn’t what girls who date girls look like.

There are so many things that I wanted to say in reply to this well-intentioned, though obviously misinformed person. My gut reaction was: “Your blatant ignorance is very annoying, please leave me alone,” but that felt rude. He clearly had no ill intentions, and this issue goes deeper than one dude hitting on me at a bus station, doesn’t it? Yes it does.

As a stereotypically feminine woman in a serious monogamous relationship with another stereotypically feminine woman, this was not the first time I’ve encountered an inappropriate reaction to my sexual orientation or my relationship. Here are the most common ones:

Oooh, what a hot couple”. Flattering.

Would you be interested in a three-way?” Not flattering.

I’m cool with lesbian. Lesbians are hot. Gay dudes weird me out though”. Not OK.

What we don’t get often at all are outwardly negative responses to our relationship. Even in the more conservative places in the metro area. I have deduced that this is caused by two things:

1. We live in Portland, and seeing two girls holding hands and kissing isn’t that rare.

2. We are both stereotypically feminine.

What’s wrong with the fact that it’s easier for us than other women in relationships with women? We shouldn’t be accepted just because men can still imagine enjoying having sex with us!!

I don’t fault anyone for finding my girlfriend or myself attractive. What I do fault them for is finding my more masculine presenting friends who are women dating women “repulsive” or even just “off-putting” because they “look like lesbians”. People are people are people are people. The privilege I experience as a feminine woman dating a feminine woman does not make me think or feel anything other than that I fit in with the ideals of our patriarchal society better than someone else, and only because of my gender expression. Queer comes in all sorts of colors, all are valid, all are beautiful, and all should be viewed as equal.

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