Monday, May 31, 2010

"Man-Hating" Lesbians?

Dear Bill, I stumbled upon your website a few months back and since then I am a regular reader of your blog. Without wasting much time let me get it to the point right away. What I have seen for the last couple of years that is gay men and straight women enjoy a very "close" relationship with each other but for lesbians and [gay] men quite the opposite is true - lesbian women ( with the exception of a few) hate almost everything that is male. Let me make it clear to you, though, that I am no fan of "sweeping generalizations" but I have to tell you what I have seen in these years.

Lesbian women, who would have a cow over an "insensitive" remark directed towards their sexual orientation, (it never ceases to amaze me and sometime angers me) don't give a second thought before stirring up hatred towards men in pretty much every aspect of their life. Why so? I am waiting for your answer.

You say you don't like sweeping generalizations so all I can think is that you've had some mighty unfortunate incidents with certain gay women in the past couple of years, which is too bad. I have always enjoyed good and friendly relationships with the lesbians I have known. In general I have to say that my observations over the years have been quite different from yours. Most gay men and lesbians I know get along together perfectly well. Of course, there can always be misunderstandings and personality clashes. This may be what you have encountered -- not "hatred of all men" per se.

First, you have to remember that gay men and lesbians share one major thing in common. We're all gay! Therefore putting each other down almost seems homophobic!

I can't speak for the lesbians you've encountered but you have to understand that not only do they have to deal with homophobia, but with sexism, and for some -- even in this day and age -- it happens to them on a regular basis. Because of the insensitive way they've been treated by men -- gay and straight -- some women (again gay and straight) have become especially sensitive to what they perceive as a slight, an indication that there's something second-rate about them because they're female. It's understandable that they would be ticked off by this.

You also have to understand that some lesbians might be reacting to those gay men who-- sadly -- have a "problem" with lesbians. As I say, since we're all gay this doesn't make much sense to me. But while they are definitely in the minority I have met gay men who don't like lesbians and make no bones about it. Certainly a gay woman who encounters one of these men has no reason to go out of her way to be pleasant. Some of these men simply dislike women; others simply don't relate to lesbians but have a number of straight women friends who share their interests -- such as men. Some lesbians may not hate men -- they're just not interested in them [and vice versa].

But right here let me make it clear that that whole business of gay men hating women is an awful old stereotype. Most gay men have warm relationships with female friends and relatives, gay or straight. This also applies to the stereotype of "man-hating" lesbians.

Now back in the seventies when the women's liberation movement was first coming into prominence, there were a lot of very angry women who were sick and tired of the second-class status imposed on them by [some] men, and I've no doubt that some of them -- regardless of sexual orientation -- did for a time "hate" men -- or at least "male chauvinist pigs" and the attitudes they engendered. But as I say, the vast majority of lesbians I have encountered don't seem to hate gay men or straight men.

I don't know what kind of situations were going on when you had these unpleasant encounters with certain lesbians. If you look back maybe there were other factors in play.

Of course, every group has its angry people. I mean people who are angry about factors in their life that they can't control. The anger you've seen from these certain lesbians you've encountered may have nothing to do with their sex or sexual orientation, but may be a reaction to things going on in their lives that are highly upsetting to them. They take it out on whoever's near. And perhaps they'd rather take it out on a man than on another woman. Many people -- even members of minority groups -- tend to blame the members of other groups for things that have gone wrong in their own lives, rightly or wrongly.

But as I say, gay men and lesbians are all homosexual, so we need to be as supportive and understanding of each other as possible. If you honestly feel these particular women you've encountered have no real grievance, then either you're not looking at it from their point of view, or perhaps -- in this case -- they are just angry people who are Mad at The World for any number of perfectly human reasons.

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