Lesbians 101

Shakira Sison
This is just one lesbian's list, but it echoes all lesbians' bottom line

The opposite of ignorance is enlightenment, and we fear what we don’t know. Here are 101 things to know. Be informed.

  1. Lesbians are women who love women.
  2. We are not replacement men.
  3. We’re not trying to be men, even if some of us dress like them.
  4. We’re not trying to steal your girlfriend, but that’s no reason to treat her poorly.
  5. We’re not just really good friends or roommates.
  1. We do have sex. And we like it.
  2. We don’t want to have a penis.
  3. Just because there’s no penis involved doesn’t mean it’s not “real sex.”
  4. We’re not waiting for a man to barge in to show us how to do it, no matter how many times you’ve watched it in porn.
  5. We don’t appreciate being told our sex lives turn you on.
  6. We don’t appreciate being told our sex lives are disgusting. (Yours is too, FYI, but we’re polite enough not to bring it up.)
  7. We don’t appreciate being given tips on how to pleasure our partners. It’s called the Home Court Advantage.
  8. A man giving a lesbian sex tips is like a woman teaching a man how to masturbate.
  9. We’re not lesbians because we were hurt by men or were molested or abused.
  10. We’re not lesbians because we only have brothers, or because we were daddy’s girls.
  11. We’re not lesbians because we had bad mothers.
  12. We’re not lesbians because there weren’t enough dolls and princess outfits in our house.
  13. We’re not lesbians because we played with toy cars.
  14. We’re not lesbians because we played sports in school.
  15. We are just lesbians, we were born this way, and we love ourselves.
  16. We are beautiful, and yes, sometimes we are handsome too.
  17. Sometimes it takes a while to realize our path, or to admit it to ourselves and others.
  18. We’re not perpetually heartbroken, lonely, or single.
  19. We’re not all pining for a straight girl, or being left by one for man.
  20. We have partners who love us.
  21. Some of us are actually married by law, or in the eyes of our God or our families.
  22. Some of us just live married lives anyway.
  23. Our marriages and relationships are just like yours.
  24. It’s not all about sex.
  25. It’s not just about love.
  26. Our relationships are partnerships and friendships, just like yours.
  27. We have good and bad times, just like you.
  28. We can have families, and we can have children.
  29. We make good mothers, especially times two!
  30. Just because there is no “father” in our families doesn’t mean there are no father figures for our children.
  31. We will not “make” our children gay.
  32. We will not “make” our children straight.
  33. We will just love them no matter what, like we hope you will too.
  34. The children we have are like your children, they are entitled to the same protections of law.
  35. They are entitled to the same respect accorded to your kids, no matter who their parents are.
  36. Not all lesbians are masculine.
  37. Feminine lesbians exist, they are just less visible.
  38. Lesbians aren’t waiting for a man to “change their ways.”
  39. Those who swing both ways are called bisexuals, and lesbians are not bisexuals.
  40. We can wear a suit today and a dress tomorrow, because we can.
  41. We don’t want to be called “he” or “him.”
  42. Those are transgenders or transexuals, and lesbians are not transgenders or transexuals.
  43. We do not hate men. We just don’t need them. There is a difference.
  44. We’re not all feminists and activists.
  45. We’re not all out, or willing to discuss our sexuality with you.
  46. We value our exclusive spaces as places where we can be ourselves without fear. Please respect that.
  47. We like sensible footwear. Don’t you?
  48. Don’t think the feminine girl beside you is automatically straight.
  49. Don’t think the boyish girl beside you is automatically gay.

  1. We come in all shapes, sizes, and gender expressions. Don’t be presumptuous.
  2. If you’re confused, just ask. If we say it’s personal, respect that.
  3. If you’re uncomfortable, ask yourself why you are bothered, instead of asking us to change.
  4. If you have a lesbian daughter and you’d rather she be straight, ask yourself how you would feel if she’d rather you be gay.
  5. Rejection hurts. Even the silent kind.
  6. Asking someone to change their deepest and most basic nature hurts.
  7. Asking a lesbian to “please try men” hurts. Ask yourself if you’d try homosexual sex just to prove to someone else that you don’t like it.
  8. Telling a lesbian she “just needs dick” hurts.
  9. Telling a girl nobody will like her if she’s boyish is cruel and misinformed.
  10. Telling a child her life will be difficult just because of her early actions teaches her to fear herself.
  11. We don’t all like sports, or cars, or power tools.
  12. We don’t all have short hair. 
  13. We don’t all hate makeup. 
  14. We don’t all wear men’s clothes.
  15. Some of us wear bikinis (I do.)
  16. Some of us have extensive beauty regimens.
  17. Some of us are obsessed with our hairstyle.
  18. Some of us don’t care about our looks.
  19. Some of us classify ourselves as “butch” (more masculine) or “femme” (more feminine).
  20. Butch-femme relationships do not necessarily copy male-female dynamics.
  21. A manly appearance does not equate to a masculine identification or gender role.
  22. Butch-butch and femme-femme relationships exist, and they are still relationships between two women.
  23. We’re just like you, but sometimes we look and act differently.
  24. Being different is no reason to hurt us.
  25. Being different is no reason to deny us jobs or entry in schools and organizations.
  26. Being different is no reason to deny us hospital visitation by our spouses.
  27. Being different is no reason to deny us legal protections for our children and joint properties.
  28. Being different from you doesn’t mean our love is less meaningful than yours.
  29. Being different doesn’t mean our needs are different from yours.
  30. We have the same hopes and dreams for ourselves, our partners and our children.
  31. We work alongside you in jobs, or study with you in schools.
  32. We pay the same taxes and follow the same laws.
  33. But we have vastly different rights and benefits.
  34. We are denied countless things because of who we love, and how our families look different.
  35. Not all lesbians are political, or care to ask for equal treatment. Some just want to live quietly.
  36. There’s nothing wrong with being under the radar.
  37. In the end, the inequities of laws and society affect all gay people, no matter how much or how little they care.
  38. So don’t begrudge those who are brave enough to speak on your behalf.
  39. And don’t begrudge those whose families and careers make it risky to come out.
  40. Don’t malign the misinformed, the closeted, the apolitical, and those who don’t have the right words for their own identity and sexuality.
  41. With the diversity in who or how we love, the only important thing is that we actually do.
  42. We love well. We hurt well too.
  43. A love between two women does not spare them the pain, betrayal, dishonesty and infidelity that exists in all relationships.
  44. Some lesbians will love this list.
  45. Some lesbians will hate this list.
  46. This is just one lesbian’s list, but it echoes all lesbians’ bottom line:
  47. We’re your sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins, colleagues and friends. Regardless of whether or not you can see us, we’re all around you. Please be kind – Rappler.com


Shakira Andrea Sison currently works in the financial industry while dabbling in several unrelated projects and interests. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002. Follow her on Twitter: @shakirasison (link: http://twitter.com/shakirasison)