wall with rainbow colors

The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Compulsory Hetrosexuality

I was watching netflix last night, and as usual could not find anything I wanted to watch, so ended up engrossed in a teen flick called Do Revenge (spoiler alert, not that it matters much with this piece toxic anti-lesbian bubblegum). The plot is a twist on the high school mean girls schtick. A high school girl’s life is ruined when she gets outed as a lesbian, and false and highly damaging rumors spread around that she was predatory and forced herself on another teen at the school. The wronged lesbian goes off, gets a nose job, becomes pretty, grows up a few years and then stalks her tormentor with the intention of getting revenge on her. The lesbian is painted as vindictive, not caring who she burnt down alongside her tormentor, and bordering on sociopathic, twisted by the desire for revenge. Her tormentor tells her that she is her ‘soul mate’, but still the bad girl goes off with some blue haired dude in the end, leaving the lesbian to get her rocks off with the younger sister of the main big male baddy character. Once again….making the lesbian look as if she is predating on a younger teen.

There is no happily ever after. The lesbian is portrayed by a straight woman and the final kiss between her and the little sister is as awkward as any screen kiss as I have ever seen. Performed through gritted teeth, fully clothed and with about as much chemistry as you would expect from a straight girl pretending to enjoy getting hot and heavy with another chick. I sat there, sipped my elderflower tea and shook my head. The only time the word lesbian is ever used in the entire show is as a slur and to bully the gay character. The lesbian character shies away from the word ‘lesbian’ calling herself ‘queer’ instead. It is no wonder lesbians like myself feel like being straight is the only option, or at least ‘straight-ish’.

To top off this lesbophobic confection the lesbian has to pretend to be straight and flirt with a male in order to get her revenge. I found myself screaming ‘compulsory heterosexuality’ at the screen. Lesbians are not portrayed as happy or safe, but instead as open to bullying and blackmail, and having to not live their authentic lives in order to get what they want. Not to mention the ‘evil lesbian’ trope which gets trotted out at every opportunity, leading to the narrative that it is ok to discriminate and bully lesbians. This dyke for one, has had enough of it all.

The world at large does not present females with much of a choice as far as expressing their sexuality goes. Heterosexuality, or at least a sexuality that includes men is laid out as a fait accompli. Here you go, girls! This is your fate! The almighty penis is the only game in town. Every single romantic couple, every love story, every long term partnership is all based around heterosexuality and the quest for heterosexual bliss.

Men are given a bit more leeway – there are plenty of role models and exposure given to male homosexuality, meanwhile homosexual girls are left wondering why they have such intense friendships, drooling over the gym teacher, and seeing two options in life presented to them. One, to submit and fuck a dude, and hope the man is kind enough to be some kind of life partner and support. This means accepting total sexual horror, or nothingness at best. Option two is no more attractive…be alone, vilified and accept that your best friend, who is currently swooning over Brad Pitt, is never ever going to kiss you and adopt a cat. There is nothing offered to reassure lesbians that there is companionship, long term relationships, hot sex and a normal life ahead of them. Lesbians are always portrayed as predatory, or else doomed. There is no happy ever after presented to lesbians. If you dare decline the dick, there will be no comfort from society, let alone acceptance of positive representation in media and entertainment.

Just look at netflix and their current crop of lesbian characters. Very few, in fact only one that I can think of off the top of my head was played by an actual, you know, dyke (the magnificently handsome Lea DeLaria in Orange is the New Black). Maya Hawke seems to be the current go-to actress for lesbian characters, but is reportedly straight. From the evil lesbian con artist in I Care A Lot to the doomed teenage lesbian vampire and slayer in First Kill, dykes are either doomed or fucked up and full of insecurities, crushing on women who will never ever reciprocate. Every little girl is taught and conditioned to wait for her Prince Charming, and if she what is actually attracted to is another girl, and has no princessy inclinations, there is no blueprint for her to follow. Even the lesbian mommies in Peppa Pig, were a cause for outrage amongst people who cannot accept that some girls do it for themselves and each other.

Being a lesbian, rejecting the male gaze and male body is the ultimate subversion. It is not just rejecting the patriarchy, it is moving outside of its most effective tool of control: romantic attachments and the constant threat of impregnation. Lesbians can still be raped of course – male violence and sexual violence is a constant problem for the women of the world, but without male romantic interests women have a much better chance of surviving unscathed. Men still insist on putting their dicks where they are not welcome or wanted, but the active rejecting of male control over the female body, and pushing men out of day to day domestic life remains a subversive and rebellious act.

Patti Smith lesbian-baiter Queen of Punk, despite being a self-confessed utterly straight sister, is a classic case. When she sings “Give me your baby sister, I want your baby sister!” in Horses, coming on like Keith Richards with added rage, wearing masc clothes and a snarl, she is knowingly presenting herself as a lesbian. When she carries on to seduce Johnny, later on in the song, my stomach lurches. I want Patti to put her pussy where her pose is.

Her Gloria, is going to her room, wearing that red dress for Patti, yet Patti tip-toes that line, with her skinny legs and androgenous look, and goes and sings a sexy love song with Mister Love Muscle, Brooce Springsteen, thus breaking my heart and the hearts of lesbians everywhere. You see, it is ok to even put on the clothes, muss up the hair, try on the attitude and rock out with a pretty little fender in your hands like one of the boys; it is seen as ok to titillate the guys with the promise of ‘one girl good, two grrrrls better’, just as long as you don’t really do it. You just have to pretend you want it, and then go croon with Bruce S, and marry a dude. The thing is I always really wanted it. It was no act. I had no desire to titillate men. I remained stuck with a constant longing for lesbian relationships, and hiding miserably in hetero ones, whilst cheating on the side with other women and wishing it was my day to day life, not my dirty little shameful secret. Yes, I was a mess. I have worked it all out in my head now, but I wish I had felt supported enough, safe enough, to just go with what I always knew I really wanted and needed: another woman.

Compulsory heterosexuality is a constant theme and battle to be fought. Now lesbians are labelled ‘terf’ if they refuse to do ‘girl dick’ and explain that it is not feminine mannerisms, nor glitter, not skirts or dresses or make up, or nails that we dig, but what we want, what we really really want is pussy. Cunt. A real vulva. Perhaps we need to be more explicit. Maybe it is time to stop being so restrained and delicate about it. Perhaps it is time to get as out there as the gay men, and shout our love for adult human female bodies from the rooftops. Boys just don’t have the equipment and no frankenpussy passes muster. No girl dick will do for actual lesbians – real women who are attracted only to other women. No body that entered into this world as male is a lesbian. This is not prejudice, it is not hatred: it is the reality of lesbian sexuality, and lesbians are under siege. If the Patriarchy can’t brainwash us into doing dick, then the Patriarchy will shame, insist and gaslight, and I simply am not going to play that game any longer.

We want boobs and clits, pussy and a real woman. Let’s face it actual biological lesbians are quite often masculine or tom boyish creatures. Butch dykes are delicious. The day I cut all my hair off, threw away the make up bag, embraced my short nails that I need to play the guitar, and put on a linen shirt and black tie with my skinny black jeans and my heavy boots I finally felt like myself. I felt like me. I felt like it was finally safe to be a woman who adores women, and if the straight girls find that predatory or uncomfortable, I really could not give a flying fuck.

No, lesbians don’t want dick, not even dressed up in a pretty bow and given a make over and some estrogen into their ugly veiny reality, and if you do like dick, if dick in any form is attractive to you, and you are a female, then no, dear, you are not a lesbian. Bisexual is a perfectly valid orientation. These spicy straights have a lot to answer for. The label ‘lesbian’ is taken, it has a use and it is precise. Women who love women are the only lesbians.

So many of my lesbian friends are not of the ‘gold star’ variety. Fooled, tricked and coerced into fucking men at some point, they have finally come home to the reality of their attraction to women. I personally simply could not fathom being alone. I wanted to be loved, and I wanted to be protected and supported. It was never an option when I was a young women to totally reject men. It felt dangerous. Everyone from family who bullied me for being a tomboy, to friends who taunted me when they realized I was in a lesbian relationship made me hate myself. I wanted to be straight and boy oh boy did I try hard to be what I knew I needed to be in order to be left alone. It was a con. I was unhappy, I got hurt and the desire never went away. I wish I could tell the young me that I did not need to go to lesbian bars and have my purely sexual encounters. I wish I had had more romantic attachments with other women. I wish I could soothe the young me and tell her that the taunts of ‘lezzer’ and ‘dyke’ were meaningless in the end. I wish I could tell the young me that it would be ok if I just was who I was, in fact it would save me.

I wish I could tell the young me that you are meant to enjoy sex, not endure it. I would never let a man look me in the eye if they were touching my body. I would disassociate hard. I would never orgasm with a man. I hated their smell and their touch and the way they felt. I would cry and shake and feel violated. I hated sex with men and became adept at acting the part of the compliant female. I found male bodies ugly, and soon fell into sexual masochism: I hated sex to the point where in my head sex and humiliation had got mixed up into an unhealthy mess. With women I was fun and flirty and happy. I was far from being a submissive bottom kinda grrl and instead felt alive and wanted and I wanted my girlfriends so much I ached. I longed to make my female partners feel good. In the end, after everything, the fact of the matter is, I enjoy male company. I am boyish and a little butch. I make a great guy friend, but I am not straight. I am not even bi. Finally, I have detoxed from compulsory heterosexuality and can admit to myself that I am a lesbian.

The word lesbian is absolutely fraught for me. It comes with memories of being outed to my parents, flash backs of being bullied and taunted, and harassed in the street with my girlfriend. I hate the word lesbian because it was used to hurt me. I associate it with danger. I flirted with queer, but since everyone is using that nowadays, and it has distinct connotations of kink not gay, I soon figured it was not an option for me. I also get very nervous about using the label ‘lesbian’ because I was not a very good one for a while. Now I am finally comfortable with myself so many other people who are not me, insist on my using the label ‘bisexual’ because I used to fuck men. It does not fit. I am not attracted to men. I feel totally set adrift, without any protection or acceptance.

It didn’t help that some gate keeping lesbians and feminists insisted I used the label ‘bisexual’. That also doesn’t fit – I am not bisexual. I am a woman who is only attracted to other women, but was severely conflicted about it to the point of extreme damage to my life and psyche. I have been working on embracing who I am, what I am, and not caring about what other people think. I have even dipped my toe in lesbian online dating, but to be frank, it is not acceptable to say on online dating you are only attracted to cis-women, and not transwomen, to the point of being banned for putting it in your profile, and there is so much pressure from transwomen to date them, that I simply don’t feel comfortable.

Is it too much to hope I can find a soft butch Velvet Underground fan who also is way too obsessed with denim and likes to smoke a little weed? Is it too much to have someone to put my arm around and love? Is it too much to hope that society will back off from lashing out at women who love other women? Perhaps. It is the young lesbians I worry about. If I had been young now, I would absolutely be put on the testosterone and be mutilating my body in order to fit in with my ‘presentation’, instead of being the gender non conforming female that I am. As for me…fuck em. I am not playing the game any longer. I am who I am, for the good and bad of it, and who I am does not fuck men, no matter what they wear, and if society is not happy about it then they can go get on with it without me. The sheer relief of not having to pretend any more is immense, and that is worth the vulnerability of being out in a world that insists women force themselves into participating in compulsory heterosexuality.


      1. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        You have my very best wishes. I have my fingers crossed that all goes well and Bolsonaro, the fascist fuckhead leaves quietly. Not perfect, but better. No booze? Really? I thought you could drink out there in Brazil? I will raise a joint of the nicest California grass to you. Good luck, my friend!

      2. Cristiano Gomes de Deus

        There is a stupid law during election day. You cannot drink during the election. I bought some wine and after I go to the section, gonna drink. Ca’t watch tv tommorow and wie is better for a person whose trying to quit smoking.

Leave a Reply