Did you say lesbians? I love lesbians!

So I’m sitting in a coffee shop talking with a brother about a trip he took to Africa to work in a village. I was a little annoyed by his comments that more black kids should be taken to Africa so they can see how good they have it in America, but I decided not to intervene on that point. (Good is a relative term and entitled US urban/suburban black youth can go to plenty urban and rural places in the US and see that they have greater access to basic needs. No global gawking is necessary).

Then he proceeds to explain that one of the participants was a lesbian and that she started to become more feminine the more she got into the gender roles established in the community that hosted them. He continued to talk about this woman reconsidering her “lesbianism” having had this experience in Africa until I explained that I did not agree with his perspectives on lesbianism as something wrong.

In hindsight I wish I had just said, “Did you say lesbians? I love lesbians. They are so awesome!” Then followed that up with my long list of why I LOVE lesbians.

Lesbians founded my alma mater—I’m pretty sure of it.

Lesbians taught me about Marx in their spare time in Ohio.

Lesbians gave me a place to stay in DC, Oakland, Southern California, Ohio etc.

Lesbians are deliberate about having a relationship with my son.

A lesbian groomed my partner for his current position and still has the shit we left behind when we moved in her basement—MB we will handle our business soon.

Lesbians taught me about heterosexual privilege, homophobia, and heterosexism in addition to racism, sexism, ageism, ableism etc.

Lesbians played guitar and sang and danced with me

Lesbians write some really good fiction

Lesbians go door knocking with me on Get Out The Vote campaigns

Lesbians go marching and rallying with me

Lesbians fight for justice everywhere

Lesbians taught me about public policy, labor rights, women’s rights activism and advocacy

Lesbians helped me paint and pack my house when we moved away

Lesbians brought me honey and took me out to dinner.

Lesbians created black women’s studies

In short lesbians have always shown me and mine lots of love.

Did you say lesbians? I LOVE LESBIANS, will be my first response next time someone wants to think that we might think alike because we are both, I dunno, black, speaking English, fancy the same coffee shop at the same time of day, whatever. Next time I will be ready with a list of ALL the fly lesbians I love: Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Sapphire, Cheryl Clark, Me’shell Ndegeocello, JenRose, MaryBeth, Laura and Katie (shout out to your new beautiful baby girl), Moya, Nancy, Monique, Bonji, Donna Troka, Sile Singleton, Taising and Jen, Carol, Smiley, just to name a few. Do you love lesbians too? Name your list of favorites and tell us why. (Please be considerate, do not out anyone!)

sheridf

23 thoughts on “Did you say lesbians? I love lesbians!

  1. this is a lovely post. Your statement “deliberate about having a relationship with my son” is intriquing to me. Can you elaborate?

    • @kristi
      I mean she says he what’s up want some childcare or can I come hang out with the family and get to know your son better. She is an adult who wants to spend time with kids even though she does not currently have kids.

  2. my undergrad professors juana rodriguez and paola bacchetta. powerful, outspoken lesbians of color who are always willing to be questioned, challenged, and engaged. but only if you’re ready for a real ass response. amazing. <3

    • @ Tracie. BIG UP Profs. Rodriguez and Bacchetta!

      @ Sheridf Thank you for your heartfelt praisesong for the lesbians in your life. As a lesbian of african descent it seems I am always pushing the boat along the river of conciousness and enlightment with my peeps. Thank you for given a sistah a respite even if its only in cyberpace.

      Maximum respect.

    • In my recent blog post about the the phony “lesbian blogger Amina” I wrote “as a putative black lesbian” and happened to link to the work of many of my favorites in the process, all of whom I l have learned from, loved, and been proud to work with: I gladly add Campbell X, Yvonne Welbon and Cheryl Dunye to your pantheon!

  3. I wonder do lesbians roll their eyes at stories like this the way we would if we came across an “I love Blacks/Hispanics” stories?

    • Little bit, yeah. But better to be appreciated than hated… and anyway it’s a heartfelt list of individuals who’ve had an impact on OP’s life, not some crass exoticizing “OMG, lesbians are soooooo coool!!1!” type thing. :)

    • I think audience matters here. The author was saying that this is what she would say to a homophobic person speaking derisively about lesbians in a derogatory manner. It would, however, be uncool and totally off to roll into a queer space declaring one’s love for lesbians or saying it to lesbians in order to get their affirmation of one’s anti-homophobia. In the case of “I love Blacks/Hispanics” stories, those stories are often about proving that the person saying it is not racist, rather than about challenging the white privilege of others. So, while as a straight person I cannot be sure, it seems that context matters greatly.

  4. my journalism teacher and the head of my alma mater’s afro-american cultural center. both of them were influential in so many ways. i totally understand the op’s position. i think i will stat to make the same statement when confronted with craziness.

  5. I love Lesbians, too! They are so awesome. Lesbians fought for reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare.

  6. Me’shell N’degeocello is as fly as they come. But she’s publicly identified as bisexual at least a few times. Since that’s an identity that tends to disappear one way or the other, it seems worth pointing out.

  7. Barbara Smith. Her book “The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom” continues to give me everything I need, especially in those times when I feel so disconnected from…no, unwanted in queer theory/studies. She helped to create a space for me & I’m eternally grateful.

  8. @ouchthat. Thank you for your comment regarding Me’shell. You are right that bisexual identity is often obscured and it was not my intention to do that. I stand corrected.

  9. Pingback: For you non twitter people….[recent tweets from @osgoodeIFLS]

  10. What I love about this post is the way that Sheridf celebrates the ordinary things as well as the extraordinary things about the lesbians that she has encountered. It’s a very personal statement — not at all exploitative. I’d like to add Rebecca Walker to this list. She is biracial, and also self-defined as bisexual, but what I admire about her is her willingness to write openly about her history and identity. Even though times might be better for us than they were thirty or forty years ago (or even 15 years ago, when I came out), I am still so proud of every person who lives out in the open, regardless of their color. And I believe it takes a special courage for people of color. So I say to out black lesbians: thank you. You are so, so necessary.

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