From Across the Great Divide

Good-Luck-Finding-A-Lesbian-Bar-In-Portland-«-The-DishI’m posting this for anyone who believes that we’re past the decades-old stereotypes of lesbians as ugly man-hating brutes that roam the streets just waiting to cut off male genitalia at every opportunity.

EXHIBIT A

Andrew Sullivan re-blogged a couple of quotes from June Thomas’ interview with me about the project for Slate. Shortly after posting the piece, he chose to update it with a quote from a male reader. In that update the male reader posits the following:

I think that there are fewer lesbian bars because lesbians are much less at war, or at least high tension with straight men.

If you just look at the logic of that statement, it would imply the following:

  1. the only reason lesbians created bars for themselves was their “war” with straight men, no other reason; and
  2. the “war” with straight men ending is the only reason the bars are closing, not economics, not demographics, not dramatic shifts in the landscape of LGBTQ identities, not political shifts within the US, no, straight men. STRAIGHT MEN are the reason that lesbians bars are closing and they are also the reason they opened in the first place. [Pause so I can enter that into my research log.]

But it doesn’t stop there:

In the ’70s through ’90s, the tough-ass-dyke-man-hater was a local fixture. At some point there was a shift, and the poster person for the lesbian community became much younger and less confrontive [sic]. Still tough, but not defined by anger towards males. This new model is also happy to show off her beauty, and less likely to buy into butch/femme sterotypes [sic]. I think that this generation doesn’t want to be beholden to a way that they are “supposed” to act.

I can’t even with this… I can’t even. Not only are straight men the reason for lesbian bars, but it’s better now because lesbians are hotter to this guy. FUUUUCCCCKKKK YOOOUUUUUUUUUU!!!!

This is where we’re at.

In the face of this we work to create images of ourselves. There’s a long and important history of that work. I hope this project is one tiny drop in that very big bucket.

Sincerely,
Alexis “tough-ass-dyke-man-hater” “the war has barely begun” Clements

CONTEXT NOTE: Andrew Sullivan is a writer who has been given a lot of time, space, and resources from many major media companies to discuss his particular viewpoint on certain issues impacting LGBTQ people. He’s often been treated as a kind of spokesperson for LGBTQ folks, despite many LGBTQ disagreeing vociferously with his politics and viewpoints. As is regularly the case with such circumstances, regardless of the group in question, this wouldn’t really be an issue if there were also lots of women and trans* folks and people of color who got the same platform and resources as Sullivan, but they don’t. Hence the problem.

Download PDF of the piece as it appears on The Dish here.

UPDATE: There was a follow-up post made to The Dish that also includes not a single positive word about lesbians anywhere in it. Read it here or download a PDF of the post here. In addition, that update links to an interview with a longtime employee of Phase 1, now the oldest continuously operating lesbian bar in the US, located in Washington, DC. Read the interview here or download a PDF of the article here.