We share an attraction to the same sex; but at times, gay men and lesbians can be quite different (and in many cases very much the same). In this interview, About.com Lesbian Life Guide Kathy Belge talks about queer life from a lesbian perspective.
Ramon: For the most part, gay men and lesbians get along. But, there are some that refuse to mingle. What's the deal?
Kathy: Personally, I have many gay male friends. One of the things I've heard
lesbians complain about gay men is that while lesbians will fight and
stick up for gay men, gay men don't reciprocate. For example, there's
many, many lesbians involved in the fight against AIDS, but you rarely
see gay men involved in lesbian breast cancer support.
That's just one example. Overall, I think lesbians and gay men do tend
to get along, but I also think we like our separate space. I love to
hang out with the boys in mixed clubs or at mixed events, but when I go
to a lesbian club, I just want to hang with my sisters. Could this be
the same for gay men?
One area where I have seen gay men and lesbians join together is in
working with GLBT youth. We can all remember what hell it was growing
up and can join together to make a better world for the next
Ramon: Are lesbians more serious about relationships and same-sex marriage?
Kathy: I have several gay male couples that I know that were married recently. I think both gays and lesbians are equally committed to the fight for same-sex marriage.
Ramon: Why do you think lesbian relationships more widely accepted than gay ones?
Kathy: For some strange reason, straight men find two women together a
turn-on. They also feel threatened by the fact that another man might
come on to them. That's my guess. But I do think things are changing:
Straight men are starting to see that gay men are really not threatening after all.
Ramon: How has the L-Word changed the lesbian lifestyle?
Kathy: Lesbians are now gathering each Sunday evening in front of the TV. And my guess is that we're having more sex on Sunday night. The show is HOT!
Ramon: Are drag king performances just as big as drag queen shows?
Kathy: Oh Yeah! There's a whole subculture of lesbians who compete and perform in drag king contests. Go see a show! You won't be disappointed. You might even find yourself strangely attracted to that hot woman with a painted on mustache and sock in her pants.
Ramon: Bisexual guys are often considered the step children of the gay family. Does the same apply for bisexual women?
Kathy: Unfortunately there's still a lot of prejudice against bisexual women. Many lesbians wish they would just choose one or the other. I've also heard some women say they would never date a bisexual because the last one they dated left them for a man. Funny, their last three lesbian lovers left them for women, but you never hear them say they're never going to date a lesbian again!
Ramon: Lesbian friends are awesome! How can a gay man find one?
Kathy: Take out a personal ad! No, just kidding. Go where the lesbians are. Many bars and clubs are mixed, men and women. Strike up a conversation with a cute dyke. Volunteer! Most lesbians I know are busy donating their time to worthy causes. Gay and lesbian youth programs, AIDS organizations, Breast Cancer programs, or animal welfare groups are great places to meet lesbians.
Ramon: What can gay men learn from lesbians?
Kathy: Lesbians really know how to make and keep friends. Many lesbians remain best friends with their ex-lovers! I think gay men can also learn the value of sensible shoes and how to throw an awesome Superbowl party!
Kathy Belge is the Lesbian Life Guide for About.com and the co-author of the book, Lipstick & Dipstick's Essential Guide to Lesbian Relationships (Alyson Books).