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Monday 08 November 2010

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The Gay Blade

21st June 2010

I Like Dykes.

Posted by: Michael Stevens

I listened to a couple of guys I know the other day making jokes about lesbians. Not nice jokes. These were gay guys too, not idiotic straights - and it made me wonder: Why do some gay men seem to find lesbians hard to deal with?

I’ve always had dyke friends, since I was 17 or so and just coming out. Maybe that’s exposed me to their world more, so I’m comfortable around it, I don’t know, but some of the stuff I hear from other gay guys really repels me. It’s nasty sexist bullshit, and I doubt they’d tolerate it if a straight guy talked about them that way.

And I remember the way so many dykes stepped up and got so deeply involved in HIV/AIDS: They didn’t need to - it’s not a virus that lesbians tend to get infected with. But they stood up for us in a huge way. Way more than some of the closety bitter queens that are still around. Lesbians helped protest for better care and treatment, they helped in a practical on-the-ground sense of getting food to people, driving them to hospital appointments, and they took care of us, they looked out for gay men sick and dying with AIDS in a way that most of the rest of society wouldn’t.

How many gay men are interested or even aware of any health issues in the lesbian world?

I suppose one thing is that lesbians in general tend to be much more politically switched on than gay men. They get done over by society twice: first for being women and then for being same-sex attracted. And yes, society still treats women unequally - look at the pay gap over a lifetime’s work if you want a simple example of it. While all the technical and legal disadvantages to being female might have been removed, the social and cultural ones are still strong. But most gay men never really understand that side of things. The old message that came out of lesbian-feminist politics “The personal is political” still holds, but it’s something that a lot of gay men don’t have to engage with - we’re still men at the end of the day.

Part of it shows the weakness of trying to build a community based only on sexual orientation. Gay men like men - lesbians like women - so some assume that we should all be the same, but we’re not. Being part of a group attracted to the same biological gender doesn’t make a community. Shared history, shared ideas, and shared rituals do, and so does shared oppression - yet now that we’ve become so mainstream in so many ways, and a lot of that social oppression has lifted, that sense of connecteness has been eroded.

So I guess I just want to say I like dykes. I have strong, intelligent, funny and kind lesbians in my life, and I think you’re great. You make my life richer.

Tags: General

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 I like gay men! // Jun 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Just a couple of days ago I had a gay man in a K’ Rd bar shouting ‘f*cking lesbian’ at me for no good reason at all … it’s really sad when someone who has probably been abused for their own sexuality at some stage in their life dishes the same treatment out to someone else.

    It’s not the first time I have been abused by a gay man simply for being a dyke … I can only hope it’s the last!

  • 2 Craig Young // Jun 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I have always been a dyke queen! And given that issues like adoption reform and same-sex marriage proper are cogendered, it’s no surprise we’re cobelligerents these days.

    And Michael, you’re absolutely right about lesbian health issues. For example, what about breast cancer? Shouldn’t we front up during Awareness Month, and work alongside our sisters?

  • 3 Kestin // Jun 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I’ve heard similar comments from gay men and I’ve always tried to pull them up for it, as a former Dyke (now a queer transguy) I suppose I take it personally. A lot of it does seem to stem from a sexist viewpoint, as if women weren’t as important as men. Its funny when guys say stuff like this in front of me, knowing my history and expecting me to agree with it >_>

    Great article, good to see someone talking about this issue! *goes to post link to article on facebook*

  • 4 bluntmuffin // Jun 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Dykes are kewl,and much better company than most gay men.

    Bf and I decided to have a dyke rather than a male in the flat.She is kewl, evil, foul mouthed and fits in so well LOL and she can take a joke and dish it out
    I to get sick of hearing dykes slammed

  • 5 Kay // Jun 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Intolerance by any minority towards another minority group is stupid in my view. That includes pakeha gays being anti Maori or anti Asian, lesbians slamming bisexual women, NZ based Pacific Island people being anti-gay etc …. You’d think that being on the receiving end of discrimination should help encourage understanding and sympathy .. but it ain’t necessarily so.

  • 6 Eric // Jun 22, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Some gay men just don’t like women, they find them difficult to talk, relate to or get along with and that is as far as it goes, others get tired of the feminist perspective, or colour their opinions due to individuals. You don’t have to be sexist to dislike lesbians, but it probably helps. I would be shocked if this was a one way street.
    IVF funding for infertile lesbians is the only health issue i can think of that affects lesbian women more than heterosexual women.

  • 7 Eric // Jun 22, 2010 at 1:49 am

    P.S. I <3 my lesbi-friends

  • 8 Paul // Jun 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    It is a waste of time writing about gay-lesbian relationship. they are women we are man, they hate us we hate them. it won’t change. this is the story.

  • 9 clasp // Jun 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    That’s *your* story Paul, not the *the* story, as the above posts make abundantly clear. Own your choices (as boring and self-limiting as they are).

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