Lesbian Stereotypes

As I said a few weeks ago, I will be doing a series addressing stereotypes for LGBTQ+ people—talking about people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, as well as people who are intersex and asexual. I look forward to continuing through this series.

As the “l” (for “lesbian) is the first word in the LGBTQ acronym (or LGBTQIA), I think that it would be good for me to start this post (and LGBT Pride Month) by talking about what it means to be lesbian and stereotypes associated with friends, fellow writers, celebrities and others who are lesbian.

A lesbian is a woman who is only sexually attracted to other women. If a woman is attracted to men and to women, she is bisexual, not lesbian.

Now that we’ve defined what it means to be lesbian, we can start to understand what sort of stereotypes are associated with being lesbian. Well, in addition to the general stereotypes that are associated with people with same-sex attraction and relationships (link to previous post), here are some additional stereotypes often associated specifically with lesbians:

  1. Lesbians hate men. No, lesbians do not necessarily hate men. They’re just not sexually attracted to men. And just because one is not sexually attracted to someone else doesn’t mean that they hate the person.
  2. Lesbians have just never found the “right man.” In terms of finding a man for marriage, this is true—lesbians haven’t found the right man. The caveat I would add, however, is that since lesbians are attracted to other women and not to men, people who are lesbian will never find the “right man”; however, maybe people who identify as lesbian will be able to find the “right woman” (if they haven’t already found her).
  3. Lesbians aren’t feminine. There is this idea that lesbians like sports, are butches (which would basically be women dressed in a more masculine way), and like other things that men do. While there are some lesbians who are into those sorts of things, doing a Google search for “lesbians” will help you discover that there are also many lesbians into feminine things too, and that does not make “feminine” lesbians any less valid or lesbian than anyone who is a “masculine” lesbian.
  4. In a household with two lesbian parents, one person has to be the “dad.” Please, let’s not apply heterosexual standards to a homosexual relationship. A mom is a female parent, so both parents in a household led by two lesbians are both moms. If a lesbian couple decides that one of them should take more of the dad-like roles while the other one should take more of the mom-like roles, that’s the couple’s decision. However, once again, we should not force heterosexual ideas onto a homosexual relationship of any kind.
  5. Lesbians like all women. No. Just as heterosexual people have standards and aren’t attracted to everyone of the opposite sex, lesbians have standards and aren’t attracted to everyone of the same sex.

These, of course, are just a few of the harmful stereotypes associated with lesbians. If anyone feels that there were other lesbian stereotypes I neglected to mention, or if anyone wants to expand upon the lesbian stereotypes I discussed in this post, feel free to talk about that in the comments section below!

This is the main Lesbian Pride Flag I see, though I do see other flags labeled as “Lesbian Pride Flags.”

Stereotypes Associated with People with Same-Sex Relationships

As I said a few weeks ago, I will be doing a series addressing stereotypes for LGBTQ+ people—talking about people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, as well as people who are intersex and asexual. I look forward to continuing through this series.

However, before going into stereotypes associated with being lesbian, gay, or bisexual, I feel that I should address stereotypes associated with same-sex attraction that I’ve heard from LGBTQ+ friends, writers, celebrities, and others; as all three identities can (in the case of being bisexual) or do (in the case of being lesbian or gay) involve same-sex attraction and feelings, I felt that it was important to address stereotypes associated with people in same-sex relationships in general.

Stereotypes related to same-sex attraction and relationships include, but are not limited, to:

  1. The thought that people who are in same-sex relationships are living out the “homosexual lifestyle.” Yes, people with same-sex relationships are indeed homosexual, just as people attracted to the opposite sex are heterosexual. But people with same-sex relationships aren’t living the “homosexual lifestyle” any more than people in opposite-sex relationships are living the “heterosexual lifestyle.” And yet, the term homosexual lifestyle is used in a negative way and as if it’s a choice that could be easily opted out of.
  2. People with same-sex relationships can’t be Christian. This stereotype, I think, is the result of two things: a) the belief among some Christians that homosexuality is a sin worthy of kicking people out of a congregation and b) the fact that this attitude of rejection pushes many people in same-sex relationships away from a belief in Christ (or at least away from church attendance). The reality, however, is that a Christian is a believer in Christ as Messiah, and is someone who tries to follow Christ in all one is and all one does. Those two requirements for being a Christian are not limited to people who identify as heterosexual.
  3. Same-sex couples “destroy the fabric of families.” This statement begs the question of what makes up the fabric of a family in the first place. Is that fabric a heterosexual couple, or is it something else? Speaking from the experience of being in a loving family, what makes the fabric of families is love, not heterosexuality.

These, of course, are just a few of many unjust stereotypes associated with people in same-sex relationships. If any readers are aware of other stereotypes about same-sex relationships/people with same-sex attraction, or have anything to add about the stereotypes I have discussed above, please feel free to comment below!

Hafuboti [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

Introducing a Series on LGBTQ+ Stereotypes

Sometimes, this blog is a smorgasbord of social justice issues, and I’m fine with that. However, given this time in history with LGBTQ+ issues, I want to spend a bit more time on LGBTQ+ issues, and particularly stereotypes that go with being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer,[1] intersex, and asexual. 

To elaborate on the time in history we are at right now (just to give a quick summary for those who aren’t fully aware), here are some important LGBTQ+ events going on, all at the same time:

  • The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is coming up at the end of June. For those who don’t know about this piece of LGBTQ+ history, these riots were a series of violent confrontations between the police and gay people at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. To read more, read this Encyclopedia Britannica piece.
  • Numerous governments across the world, including the federal government and some state governments in the United States, have tried to undermine or take away LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Several religious institutions, most notably the Methodist Church, are grappling with LGBTQ+ issues.
  • The United States Supreme Court is considering a case on whether current federal law bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Given all these events, as well as the fact that so many of the bad things that happen are the result of some of these LGBTQ+ stereotypes, it’s important to address those stereotypes here and now.

So, my plan is to dedicate a post a month (or so) to stereotypes with regards to a major group in the LGBTQ+ community. Many of the stereotypes discussed will be ones I’m aware of, but I would definitely encourage my readers (and especially people with firsthand experience of being LGBTQ+) to let me know of stereotypes that I should cover, as well.

This way, by the time the series is done, probably around December by my calculations, we are hopefully all ready to confront some of those harmful stereotypes, both within ourselves and others.


[1] The “q” in LGBTQ could also stand for “questioning.”

Hafuboti [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

On the Acceptance of LGBTQ+ People in Families

In my Christian denomination, which is Catholicism, there is significant emphasis on protecting all human life, from conception to a natural death. However, some of us only talk about abortion, while in the process ignoring a variety of other pro-life issues.

With LGBT Pride Month drawing to a close at the end of June, I want to put a spotlight on a pro-life issue that rarely gets discussed among many pro-lifers: the treatment of LGBTQ+ people. How is this a pro-life issue? I’ll tell you.

The statistics on LGBTQ+ people and suicide are absolutely staggering. According to The Trevor Project, LGB youth are three times as likely to contemplate suicide, and five times as likely to actually attempt suicide, as heterosexual youth. 40% of transgender adults also attempt suicide.

It is no coincidence that suicide attempts and rates are so high among LGBTQ+ people, because this population experiences high levels of rejection. This rejection makes a major difference in suicide rates—”LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.”[1] The same goes for transgender individuals: rejection from family is one reason why somewhere between 32% and 50% of transgender individuals in various countries attempt suicide.[2]

On the other hand, people within the LGBTQ+ community who experience little or no rejection from their families often have much better outcomes. According to the National Institute of Health, “Social support from family is found to be a general protective factor which is associated with reduced risk for lifetime suicide attempts among transgender persons.”[3] Many other organizations, including The Trevor Project (which I cited earlier), note that low or no family rejection significantly reduces suicide risk for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.[4]

I could cite even more statistics and quotes, but my point is that the treatment of LGBTQ+ people could save (or take away) many lives.

While being accepting and even affirming of someone who’s not “straight male” or “straight female” may go against some people’s personal or religious beliefs, such affirmation is extremely important.

I understand that there is a conflict-of-values here with LGBTQ+ issues for many individuals: supporting “right to life, from conception to natural death,” on one hand, and the moral difficulty of someone identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or some other identity, on the other hand. This conflict may make some of us feel uncomfortable. However, I challenge us to break through this discomfort and uphold the dignity of all individuals, including people who identify as LGBTQ+.


[1] https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/#sm.0001yyaiwhn8gds8r6z2r9ksp1fyj
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5178031/
[3] Ibid.
[4] https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/#sm.0001yyaiwhn8gds8r6z2r9ksp1fyj

On the Aziz Ansari Sexual Misconduct Story

I have to admit that I knew very little about actor, comedian, and filmmaker Aziz Ansari before I heard about the sexual misconduct allegation against him.

In the wake of the babe.com story detailing Ansari’s sexual abuse, I learned about his career, his apparently being a feminist, and his committing actions that go against his supposed values.

Now that I know some about him, and now that I’ve read the article detailing the sexual misconduct allegation against him, I think that it’s time to say a few things that are relevant to this case and the theme of exposing blind injustices on this blog:

  1. We must listen to accusers. I feel the need to emphasize this because many people haven’t listened to Ansari’s accuser, who goes by the name of “Grace.” Doing anything less than listening completely and wholeheartedly to Grace would go against the very notion of listening to and empowering victims—something that #MeToo is supposed to be all about. In the spirit of #MeToo, and of human decency in general, we must listen to her.
  2. We need to learn about consent if we haven’t already. Unless both people say “yes” to kissing, advances, and sex, the answer is “no”! If one person says “no,” like what the woman said in the piece, the answer is “no”! If someone doesn’t specifically say “no” but makes body motions or verbal cues indicating that the answer is “no,” the answer is “no”! And silence means “no” unless you’re told “yes”! I just feel that this review of consent needs to be made painfully clear in the aftermath of how some of the talking heads handled Aziz Ansari and the issue of consent.
  3. We must also stop trying to justify actions that cross others’ boundaries. In the case between Grace and Ansari, people on social and even some news media tried to find ways to justify what she said Ansari did to her. Honestly, there is no defense for kissing, going at her breasts, or anything semi-sexual or sexual he did when there is no consent! We should stop defending such non-consensual actions as a society, because if we do, we’re frankly starting to become part of the problem that led to #MeToo.
  4. We should remember that the Ansari story is a cautionary tale of how advocating against injustice doesn’t make us immune to being unjust. Ansari shows that you can be a feminist (which was how he described himself) yet still do something to a woman that you regret. If I’m honest with myself, there have been multiple times when I too have advocated against an injustice only to commit the injustice I’m trying to advocate against. If one man could be a feminist who assaulted a woman, and if I could be a racial justice advocate who has advocated for things that hurt people of color,[1] then you could certainly be, say, an LGBTQ+ supporter who has said or done homophobic things.
  5. Finally, the Ansari case should be a call for all of us to examine our own actions. Some of us may shock ourselves by committing the very injustices that we advocate against. However, unless we carefully look at our own actions, both good and bad, we will repeatedly commit wrongful actions and never do anything to correct our wrongs. May we not make this mistake.

For some of us, maybe even most of us, following all five of these suggestions will be difficult at best. However, it is in our own best interests, and the interests of those around us, to start acting on these suggestions.

[1] I once advocated that my college would not ban an anonymous social media application called Yik Yak, even though it was clear that some of the things on Yik Yak were repeatedly hurting students of color. It wasn’t one of my better moments, to say the least.