I was shocked by a friend today, someone who I thought respected me for what, and who, I am. It was all sparked by a discussion about facebook and privacy and my keenness to post photos on the web. My friend doesn't use facebook or post photos to the web, as who knows who sees your information, and that's a very valid point, but the example given hit me for six.
If she is seen in a photo with a lesbian, people may think she is one also and this has ramifications that she can't control and may cause problems in her life. But why does an intelligent woman who believes in justice, equality, anti-discrimination, la. la. la, fear being labeled a lesbian and why is it a problem to be thought a lesbian in 2009, in the first world? Who cares, people often think I'm straight but that doesn't bother me.
I was (and still am, hence this rant) extremely upset and of course I cried and there were heartfelt apologies and expressions of love and care, but how can this be true when my very presence in a photo could be an issue?
Where does this leave me, it leaves me realising yet again that who I am, my essential lesbian me, is still really too different for most people, the bit that non-lesbians would prefer I hide or try to forget and that I am a liability in some cases. I can be accepted as long as I conform or be a tame 'gay lady', but there is really limited acceptance for what I am, except in my queer ghetto.
I am a dyke, not a 'gay lady' mind, but a dyke, and once, admitting that would have meant my death or being locked in a mental institution to be re-educated or forced into a loveless marriage and, in many parts of our world, these things still happen and, even as I type this, right here in Australia, men and women are being convinced that being queer is against their 'invisible friend's' laws and they could become normal if they just tried hard and prayed still harder.
I may have red hair, amusing conversation and a clever brain but that's just my surface, I am a dyke.
I'm out and proud and I'm not going back into my closet for anyone, that way lies pink triangles and death in a concentration camp.