Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I remember when I use to play the role of a heterosexual. Heterosexual women can peacefully conduct themselves in intimate non-sexual ways and call that ‘sisterhood.” I suppose my acknowledgment and now societal status as “lesbian” unfortunately has changed all of that. I don’t miss playing the non-committal role as a heterosexual, but I do miss the innocence of “sisterhood” that did not come with the scrutiny. I suppose that is the kind of baggage that comes with my untraditional orientation. It is disappointing none-the-less. As a lesbian I find it hard to establish and maintain sisterhood with women. I can only assume that because of the dominance of masculinity in my nature, that my associations with feminine women are often looked upon as potential courtships or me flirting. I do have a keen eye for beauty, but perhaps self-discipline, personal expectations and my ability to not see all female to female relationships as potentially sexual, allows me to appreciate women as beautiful people and not sexual objects.
As gay men and women we are not afforded the same considerations when it comes to our same sex platonic relationships. If a gay guy plays sports, it is assumed that he will look at and be attracted to all the men in the locker room. The myth of the uncontrolled sexual appetite of the homosexual is a bad one, believed by many heterosexuals and homosexuals. Our friendships undergo much scrutiny. At times we are perceived as trying to entice heterosexuals to come over to the “other side.” What in most cases is considered innocent can potentially be considered inappropriate in the world of lesbianism. What was before thoughtless gestures are now more calculated chess moves in an effort to show how disconnected I am from women. I, at times feel guilty about the close friendships I do have with women, mostly for their sake. My close friendships are with heterosexual women whom I have known for years, but even in my security of those relationships I find myself overwhelmed with anxiety at certain times. I become overly concerned about how I dress when we go to a gay or straight club, afraid that my looks may be perceived as a date rather than a friendly outgoing with a friend(s).
I believe brotherhood and sisterhood is essential within the boundaries of platonic associations. It is these kinds of relationships that support us and help us grow as people. There are things that only your sisters can understand, and true sisters don’t date each other. There are certain things not well understood by my guy friends and can only be appreciated by another woman.
I suppose one day I will cease to give a damn about the opinions of others. I suspect the longevity of my friendships prove much about the success of true sisterhood. Sisters don’t always get along (I can name many times in my longest friendship), but in the end they are always there for each other. I think we as lesbians especially need to get back to true sisterhood. We still need those kinds of bonds separate and a part from what we hold as romantic courtships. Perhaps today was a step in the right direction when leaving the comment for the one young lady. Yes there was anxiety, but if I truly believe in sisterhood beyond romance, it makes the next compliment that much easier.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
For the first time ever, two front runners for the white house have been minorities, a woman and a black man. It would seem like as often as we have conversed and hoped to see such a thing, that the reality of it would not look so identical to typical white male politics. It was my hope that this race would finally spotlight those issues which affect women and African Americans. I had hoped for an even distribution of respect and admiration absent mudslinging and fabrication of bad personal judgments. As we move into May, I have been sorely disappointed. At the end of the day American politics stays the same despite gender or skin color. We have all been programmed to be competitive and sharp in the name of winning.
The government often lies in order for us to feel safe. Collectively we trust our government and yield to any changes made even if the cost is our own personal liberties. We have been convinced of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and even developed a new found racism against those of middle eastern descent. The truth has been distorted, but we embrace it because we believe that we are immobile and helpless. People have taken a stand to think outside of the box this election. Amazingly, I believe Americans are waking from their long naive slumber. America has barely survived eight years of bad leadership and as we enter into the genesis of an economic disaster, we want answers and solutions.
It has always intrigued me about how adamant we have been about our demands from the government. Our expectations often exceed what they have proven they can do. Politicians have talked us out or our money and we wrap up our faith, neatly placing it in their hands. Every year we are consistently displeased with the politics of this society. There is a great leader out there and we are just waiting to vote him or her into office so that miraculous change can finally take place. Ironically, it is not the government whom we have lost faith it, but it is you and I.
One of the things that I have enjoyed in my studies of the civil rights movement is the courage to organize and take action. It is true that not all (black) people felt the need to organize or even aligned themselves with the injustices demonstrated by local and national government. I do believe however, that people were generally less apathetic. Today is the best day for change. Yesterday was probably an even better day, and although I believe the past often navigates the future, we can no longer waist time. We cannot wait until November for change. The greatest solution is within our ability to “do” and not to “wait.” We want lower gas prices, but what do we do to conserve energy? I am not mislead, I understand that oil is big business and there is absolutely NO reason to raise gas prices. I also understand that as Americans we are extremely wasteful. We want everything but are reluctant to make a collective effort to do basic things to improve our environment and essentially challenge the greedy decisions of the government. How many of us recycle? How many of us leave lights burning in areas of our home where light is not needed?
Our public education system is run much like a plantation, and for decades we have been relying on the government to successfully educate our children. They have failed. Parents are the first and primary educators of our children. We have to set the example for what we wish to see in our children. If we don’t read, how can we expect our children to? If we curse and belittle each other, how can we expect our children to be convinced that this kind of behavior is negative? The fate of this country and ourselves is contingent upon the change we have to make in ourselves and the unity we have to find in each other.
Find an organization that represents the change you want to see. There are several different organization of people who share your concerns. If anything seek information, form your own ideas and perhaps start a grassroots organization that better address your concerns. You don’t always need money to get involved or be involved. Be concerned, open your mind and conserve some time. A majority of the politicians who represent you and I have more money than us, don’t live in our communities and are not susceptible to the same kinds of issues we face. You ever wonder why many politicians send their kids to privates school, yet say they champion the issues of public schools? I suspect if their kids had to endure the same kinds of imbalance children who attend a large majority of these under funded pubic schools have to, the face of public education would look very different. They have options, we don’t.
Get involved. Being involved is the greatest solution of all. We are all busy people. We all have one to three jobs and we are stretching ends to make them meet, but we have to give to get. What are you truly willing to give in order to see real change?