Originally uploaded by Fotografiar
A genocide is occurring and is a direct a result of Lesbophobia. I am not talking about the horrors in Darfur, or referring to the tragedy in Rwanda. Genocide does not have to include murder, though many times that is what ultimately occurs. According to Wikipedia, genocide is the “deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious, or national group”. I believe this is what is happening for homosexuals everywhere. Our group has been consistently targeted and portrayed as immoral sexual deviants with little regard for family values, and the ‘moral-majority’ continuously tries to break our spirit. Though major advancements in gay and lesbian rights have been made around the world, homophobia is still running rampant. Gay men and women everywhere are still being held back from that promotion, kept in the dark about their partner’s health status, and getting eye-balled every time they are in public; in places that claim to be tolerant no less!
…the Lesbophobia Committee of the association decided to undertake a survey of lesbians in France and gathered almost 1800 responses from November 2003 to January 2004. The preliminary results are already available and are significant: 57% of the lesbians who responded related having been victims of lesbophobia. For almost half of these responders, 45%, the discrimination occurred in their daily lives - on the street, in public transportation, in public places - as well as in their families (44%). One woman in four encountered lesbophobia on the part of her friends. The same proportion mention having experienced it at work. Equally worrying is the fact that 10% of the responders reported lesbophobia in the medical field, and 4% during gynecological consultations. This situation has been confirmed by similar studies in Belgium, Canada and Moldavia that indicate a medical corps badly adapted - even hostile - towards LGBT people. - sourceLesbophobia takes homophobia to a new level, because it is also composed of old fashioned sexism.
On top of discrimination for being gay, lesbians have the added pressures of being discriminated against for being a woman. Even though we’ve made major strides in women’s rights, and more recently in gay rights, the general mindset that people have has not really changed all that much. Women are still seen as the non-dominant gender and this helps to foster a special kind of hate towards lesbians. I’ve experienced Lesbophobia first hand, and I can feel the disgust from people who are less than gay friendly. Some hetero-sexual men are insulted to think that a woman would choose to not marry a man. Some women fear emotions they have towards other women, and feel that lesbianism might be ‘contagious’. In both cases, the person is put in a frame of mind that creates an aversion towards lesbians.
If you read my post about My Broken Gaydar, you know that I was married to my children’s father before becoming a lesbian.
Some people who knew me when I was straight don’t like me now that I am gay. Some people who don’t know I am gay when they meet me, will stop being friends once they find out I am gay. At first this confused me, because I know I am the same person. The only thing I’ve changed is who I lay next to at night, but apparently this is enough of a reason for some people to dislike and even hate me. I live my life like a normal woman even though I’m not straight. I still pay my taxes and eat food, and my blood is still red too. I wave to my neighbors and pass out candy on Halloween, take my kids to the park to play and shop at the same stores as everybody else. But still, the Lesbophobia is there; and unfortunately I know that it really ticks some people off that I even exist.
Honestly though, I am fortunate to live in a country and state where the open-minded run free – California, USA.
Regardless of how people eyeball me and my wife when we are buying groceries, it’s nothing compared to the hardships other lesbians have faced and ARE facing around the world. It is a hard issue to face, but Lesbophobia puts a whole new twist on homophobia in that aggressors feel that they can make their point against lesbianism by dominating us as women. Physical violence is common and can include rape of one or both partners, and sometimes ends in murder. In a recent case in early 2007, a woman and her daughter were sexually assaulted because the mother was a lesbian. The mother was murdered and the daughter left with her legs broken. (article – it’s horrible) Just a few months later also in South Africa where equality rights have already been established, two lesbian women, Sizakele and Salome, were executed alongside the road. One of them was a well known lesbian rights activist and the news of the crime hit hard. (photo memorial banner) Lesbian aversion can escalate into lesbian hatred quite rapidly under certain circumstances, and this is where Lesbophobia gets dangerous.
Gay rights reform is forcing many people to simply accept something that they have been raised to shun, rather than educating people on tolerance and equality.
Many times frustrations and aggressions of heterosexuals are increased, because of religious beliefs and an attitude of righteousness that doesn't allow acceptance when it comes to homosexuality. An added lack of respect is presented if you are a lesbian woman, and physical domination is usually the chosen weapon against us. Having lived a safe hetero life, it sickens me to know that because I am now a lesbian I am somehow imposing on another person’s sense of self and should now worry for my own safety as well as that of my children. At this point aversion to heteros comes to mind, and then a small bubble of hatred starts to brew inside of me as well. Then I remember that I am not like them. I am not a hateful person, and no matter what anybody says or does, they cannot take my love for my wife away from me.
Lesbian women have fought and even died for this – for my right to love my wife.
And you know what? That’s exactly what I am going to do. I will not let women like Sizakele and Salome die in vain. And I will not resort to the tools of hatred to end our suffering. The most positive thing that I can do towards ending this genocide of the hope of a happy lesbian existence is to protest from a place of love, and ask that you do the same. If you are a lesbian, I encourage you to become a visible positive role model in society. Do not hide in the closet afraid of what is out there! Stand up and stand together with the rest of us united against hatred and connected by love. Even if you’re not gay you can help our fight! Every dollar you spend, every website you click on, every radio station or TV channel you tune into lines somebody’s pockets. BE CONSCIOUS of whose pockets you are lining! Avoid endorsing media networks, websites, products, radio shows, and anything else that is produced by people or companies known for gay-bashing or otherwise supporting anyone or anything that is anti-gay. When musical artists like JaRule make negative statements towards the gay lifestyle (article), I refuse to further support their music. Companies like Gannett and General Electric offer health insurance for domestic partners of their employees and I will purchase and endorse their products as long as they continue to do so.
Women are dying everywhere because of who they love at the hands of people who hate them. We all have to be conscious of Lesbophobia and what it can mean for our society. Innocent bystanders are really just bystanders.
About the Author: Julie Phineas is a work at home mom of 2 who lives in Southern California. You can find out more about her by visiting her website at www.juliephineas.com.