Today, the lesbian visibility week begins, in India we treat our girls and women as goddesses during 9 days of Durga Pujo/ Navratra but rest of the years it boils down to how they should be living as per the patriarchal norms. Misogyny expects them to be someone’s mother, daughter, sister, wife etc. Still most of the women need to prove why and what they should be pursuing in their lives which shouldn’t affect their family’s ‘Izzat’. Career choices to personal choices everything is monitored for them. In such scenario do we even consider that sexual orientation is a human right and it should be respected and celebrated for an individual irrespective of their gender. It’s a great risk and concern for the safety of lesbian women of our country where every choices of women need validation from society.
LGBTQI+ rights are leaping with time but social acceptance is still low. Lesbian is not even considered as sexual orientation for many in our society as they haven’t had any in their surrounding and they believe it’s just a ‘phase’. Compulsive marriage propaganda of our society always target women as most family consider them as ‘Paraya Dhan’. Imagine the fight a lesbian woman has to go through with social stigma and discrimination to be who they truly are.
This constant fight of existence does take a toll on physical and mental wellbeing of lesbians. Name calling and shaming are the major factors that create issues. Many of them experience anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal tendencies in the adolescent phase due to the discrimination towards their sexual orientation. Lesbian Visibility Week is an annual observance to celebrate women of queer identities. This year we are celebrating Lesbian Visibility Week from 24th April to 30th April 2023. During this occasion let’s discuss few myths around lesbians…
Myths around Lesbians
1. Being lesbian is a choice: Sexual orientation is never a choice for anyone, please ask yourself a question “can you choose and change yours?”
We are born with our sexual orientation, and it is a natural part of who we are.
2. Lesbians hate men: This is another misconception. Lesbians do not hate men, but they may choose to have relationships with other women because they are sexually and romantically inclined towards women.
3. Lesbians are always masculine: This is again a stereotypical approach. Lesbians come in all shapes and sizes. Some may present as more masculine, while others may present as more feminine.
4. Lesbians are mentally ill: If sanity lies in the sexual orientation, earth would have been the most peaceful and safe place on the universe where 90% of human beings are heterosexuals. Lesbianism is a sexual orientation and not a mental illness. All of the major medical organizations, including WHO, The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that homosexuality is not an illness or disorder, but a form of sexual expression.
5. Lesbians can’t have children: having child or no is a personal choice irrespective of sexual orientation. We live in a 21st century where they can have children through artificial insemination, surrogacy, adoption, or even by having a child with a male partner.
6. Lesbians are promiscuous: if promiscuous word is to target and shame lesbians then it’s really funny as well as controversial view coming from the society where casanovas are celebrated and seen with pride. But let me burst that bubble for you, just like any other group of people, there are some lesbians who are promiscuous, and some who prefer to have long-term relationships.
7. Lesbians are predatory towards straight women: on a contrary most of the times they fall prey to misogyny and patriarchal thought patterns. It is a harmful stereotype that mainly creates wrong impression of lesbians in the society and major reason why they face mental health issues and discrimination.
8. All lesbians are butch: listen Linda listen! Just like any other group of people, there are different types of lesbians. Some may be butch, while others may be more feminine. Respect their life choices..period.
Disclaimer : This information is provided by gay man after years of interaction with lesbian friends and acquaintances. Please try to communicate with your lesbian friends/ colleagues/ neighbors around you and know them better. Make them feel comfortable and try be a good ally.
If you are facing trauma and this topic is a trigger do not shy away from seeking professional help.