Saturday, January 5, 2008

Gay Men and Lesbians

I don't mean to offend, but I always get the impression that gay men and lesbians do not like each other. I know its cliche to say that gay people hate members of the opposite sex, but I think this is different cause gay men and straight women seem to get along. Why can't gay men and lesbians get along? S in Phoenix.

Generally I think gay men and lesbians do get along as they are both subject to persecution as homosexuals. I know many gay men who have lesbian friends and vice versa. Sometimes there is a connection between gay men and straight women because both are attracted to males, but this doesn't seem to have carried over in the same way to lesbians and straight men, although certainly they can be friends as well.

So it's not so much that gay men and lesbians don't get along but that they have different interests, and in general people prefer to hang out with others like themselves. As women, lesbians feel that they have issues to deal with -- sexism, for instance -- that gay men do not have to contend with, although a link has been established between misogyny and homophobia (men who hate women often hate homosexuals because they supposedly remind them of women).

Of course some gay men can have sexist attitudes as much as their hetero counterparts. (On the other hand, many gay men are much more understanding of women, because they, too, relate to being discriminated against and looked down upon.) A few gay men have issues with lesbians in particular, primarily because they prefer the company of other (gay) men and don't form friendships with gay women and get to know them, or because they feel some lesbians have no use for men.

The reality is that the gay community is very diverse and misunderstandings between the sexes can certainly occur. But in my experience, most -- if, sadly, not all -- gay men and lesbians are perfectly respectful of one another.

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