The first time I got that strange feeling, I was ten years old and enrolled in a typical elementary school in small town USA. I was sitting in a class full of noisy boys and girls. I turned around to talk to my friend Sandy who had on the shortest mini dress I had ever seen. Sandy had yet to acquire the skills of sitting with her legs closed and probably should not have been allowed to wear such a short dress. Every time I turned to talk to her I could see her bare legs, her inner thighs, her underwear, and I dared not look any further. I would turn away quickly and feel this unbearable ache.
For several months I looked in encyclopedias and dictionaries for an explanation of what I was feeling. Everything I read was about unnatural acts of perversion. Going to hell was often mentioned. Library books and adults said that women turned into lesbians because men had hurt them. They all agreed that lesbians were not normal.
I didn’t think about lesbians again until I was fifteen. While the family was sleeping, I would sneak out of bed and watch Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow Show. It was broadcast from New York City in the late 70s and showed everything my innocent eyes should never see. I saw women that looked like they’d just stepped out of a horror movie. They were rough, half naked and weird looking. They said they had sex with each other. The unbearable ache returned. A few months later I told a friend about the weirdness of the Tom Snyder Show. She invited me to sleep over the following Friday so we could talk more. We drank her mom’s wine and discussed the fact that neither one of us could figure out what those women do to each other. Later, we drunkenly tried a few dismal maneuvers. The next morning I was sure I was a lesbian. The next night she went out with her boyfriend.
What we learn as children helps to form our ideas of what it means to be a lesbian. Negation of women and of lesbianism is often accepted as factual, natural and scientifically proven. I no longer accept the negations as facts. I no longer accept lesbians repeating the negations.
Being a lesbian is about loving women. It is not about how one may or may not connect with men. It is not necessary to announce that you don’t hate men. It is only necessary to say that you love women. Being a lesbian has nothing to do with being hurt by men, and not being able to trust them because men have failed you. Being a lesbian is because you think women are wonderful. Being a lesbian is not about mere sex. Being a lesbian is about loving all aspects of female energy. Being a lesbian is not about your inability to have emotional attachments to men. Being a lesbian is about your ability to have emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual, and mental attachments to women.
There is something divinely beautiful about women and I accept that lesbians are women that love women. How we speak of our lesbianism should always be a reflection of that love.