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Why gay girls have it harder than gay guys (written by a gay guy)

It's time for gay men to check their male privilege

Why gay girls have it harder than gay guys (written by a gay guy)
Generic pics by Pixabay, posed by models
When did the gay and lesbian sections of the LGBTI community become so disconnected?

The often special relationship between straight women and gay men is long-documented. And romanticized. So much so, it even inspired an international, possibly-soon-to-be-returning hit TV show.

But what about gay men’s relationship with lesbian women? As a gay man myself, I sometimes sense that things are strained between us; especially as we approach something distantly resembling sexual equality in certain parts of the world.

I would urge any gay man to reconnect with his lesbian friends, while bearing in mind the following five ways in which way have it easier than our Sapphic sisters.

Two weeks to go, yo. #OITNB

A video posted by Orange is the New Black (@oitnb) on

1 Lesbians are less represented in popular culture than gay men

Gay male characters are popping up in movies and TV shows more and more. Although, granted there’s still a long way to go. But their female counterparts are a lot harder to find – when they’re not being killed off entirely.

And while Sam Smith, Adam Lambert, Troye Sivan and Olly Alexander are making a splash on planet pop, how many gay girl equivalents can you think of?

Shoot for @general_pants, circa 2013.

A photo posted by Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) on

Take lesbian sister duo Tegan and Sara [above]. They’re just as amazing as those guys. But they’ve never reached the same dizzying heights of fame and success. Why? Is it perhaps because straight people – and perhaps gay men too – struggle to ’get’ their queer image, because they’re girls?

There are saving graces, of course. Chat show queen Ellen DeGeneres is the seventh most-followed person on Twitter, while the Oscar-nominated Ellen Page and Oscar-winning Jodie Foster have thrived since coming out. Plus, Orange is The New Black has changed the world of TV forever.

Furthermore, the growing list of prominent bisexual and non-heterosexual female stars is hopefully a comforting sign for gay girls.

Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart, Sarah Paulson, Lauren Jauregui, Jess Glynne, Evan Rachel Wood, Michelle Rodriguez, Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie, Anna Paquin and Amber Heard are just a few powerful examples.

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2 Lesbians suffer misogyny – including from gay men

A lot of men hate women, are prejudiced against women and objectify women. A lot of men try to tell women what to do. There are infinite examples of all of this, so instead, I’ll focus on some of the specific ways gay men can fall into this trap, sometimes unwittingly.

Every time a gay guy says he’s disgusted at the thought of a vagina, I roll my eyes. Really? It’s the same reason I can’t watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, where queens are ridiculed as ‘fishy’ and all either have banging bodies, or are comically overweight. Is that really how we see women?

Then there’s the way some gay men demean other gay men for being ‘femme’, as if femininity is lesser.

autmun_lesbian

3 Lesbians are sexually objectified by straight men (in a way gay men aren’t by women)

You might think straight women aren’t interested in gay sex, but that’s not strictly true. Reports claim more and more women are watching gay porn than ever, and a close girlfriend of mine once admitted that Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger together in Brokeback Mountain was a turn on for her.

The fact is, the spectrum of sexuality is complicated in a good way. More people are exploring it than ever, which is great. But the way straight women view male homosexuality – basically, with respect – is completely different from the way straight men view female homosexuality.

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Some straight guys think gay girls exist purely for their pleasure and entertainment. This is the epitome of sexual objectification. Straight men often abjectly fail to grasp that real, authentic lesbianism has literally nothing to do with them. (The cruelest irony being when the guys in question are homophobic). I can only imagine the harassment and lechery gay girls suffer as a consequence.

That’s not to say it’s unnatural for a straight guy to be turned on by lesbian sex. It’s all about context and respect. If straight, lesbian or bi girls get it on, and all parties consent to a man’s involvement, there’s no invasion of space or identity. A safe, considerate space for exploration is created. But rare is the straight man I’d trust in that scenario.

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4 There’s hardly any porn made with lesbians in mind

Speaking of lesbianism and the male gaze, just look at lesbian porn. Over 99% of it is geared to appeal to straight guys. All the women are ulta-femme, love rough sex and engage in cliche-ridden scenarios which – surprise, surprise – often end up involving a guy.

To put this ridiculousness into perspective for a second, just imagine the reverse. What would gay male porn look like if it were made with straight women in mind? I have no idea. But I do know it would be utterly unrecognisable from what’s out there today.

’Female-friendly lesbian porn’ exists, of course. But it’s pretty fucked up that you have to use those exact terms to find it, because ‘lesbian porn’ has already been claimed for straight men – because men’s needs are apparently more important than women’s.

The beautiful SHE girls having some pre-midnight kisses! Full album on our FB page! photography: @lerc27

A photo posted by She Soho (@shesohobar) on

5 There are fewer dedicated spaces for lesbians to hang out than for gay men

Every week, another iconic gay bar or club around the world closes. For gay guys looking to socialise with other gay guys, the options are evermore limited. But it’s a problem gay girls have been dealing with for decades.

I can count on one hand the amount of dedicated lesbian clubs and bars I know on one hand (shout out to She Bar, pictured above). There are also several famous lesbian club nights in London, where I live (shout out to Twat Boutique).

😍😍 find more on our Facebook page! photography: @lerc27

A photo posted by She Soho (@shesohobar) on

And in the East there are a decent handful of mixed, queer club nights where everyone’s welcome (shout out to Knickerbocker).

But this isn’t nearly enough, and it never was. Add to this the problem of door people at gay clubs discriminating against women, and it’s a wonder gay girls make it out at all.

@jamietabberer


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HAVE YOUR SAY

    Thanks! It is nice to see that some of our gay counterparts do care about their lesbian sisters! One of my best friends, like a little brother, is gay and we find we compliment each other so well. I can ask him anything and tell him stuff in confidence that we would never ask of anyone else. Love him dearly! And we should be united because their are plenty cis folks that want us tortured through conversion therapy, jailed or even killed off. Lgbtqqi community need to stick together to fight of all phobias!

    I’m a Gay man problems three through five have nothing to do with me, and four and five might not be problems in the digital age. There are fewer spaces for Lesbians because there is not enough patronage for the current spaces, there’s not a lot of Lesbian porn because there is not enough demand. It seems strange if not misogynist for me to tell these Women how to live and a little funny to tell them to spend more time in bars and watch more porn, or to suspect a problem because they are not behaving in a similar way to their male counterparts as if the male’s behavior is just always the norm. I wouldn’t want to subsidize it either with the Chechenia problem in the east, and the homeless youth and Trans murders going on in the west. With that in mind I find the article in poor taste, I’m not saying there are not problems I just think that if resources are being spent on these particular ‘problems’ they would be better utilized elsewhere.

    Sounds like regressive bullshit but okay.

    Okay, I realise that underepresentation and misogyny are serious problems, I do. If this article was saying it’s harder to be a woman than a man, I’d be entirely in agreement. But gay men have it easier than lesbians? Please. This is the crux of intersectionality. That one can be privileged in some ways and oppressed in others, and the intersection of these identities can manifest in complex ways. Yes, lesbians are obviously underrepresented in the mainstream gay community. And yes they face misogyny. But society as a whole is far more accepting of lesbians than gay men. Gay men are far more likely to be attacked or murdered than lesbians. There are countries that specifically outlaw male homosexuality while making no such prohibition on female homosexuality. Some countries, such as Sudan and Iran, both punish gay men and lesbians with the death penalty, but require fewer ‘offenses’ to implement capital punishment against gay men specifically. Female homosexuality was never actually made illegal in Great Britain. For centuries, gay men were executed. And yes, many immature gay men react with feigned horror when discussing vaginas, but the implication that penises, gay men, and even men’s bodies in general escape social derision is absolutely absurd. What occurs is the opposite of fetishisation and objectication. While female sexuality is objectifed, male bodies and male sexuality are depicted as oafish and disgusting. Acts of male homosexuality are widely reviled as being the most objectionable form of sexual activity. The oppression of queer people manifests in complex and multifarious ways. The prejudice lesbians face is real and very serious. But I will not have some douchebag dismiss the especially injurious history gay men have faced and continue to face because Tegan and Sara aren’t megastars. How dare you?! P.S. Contestants on RPDR are not ‘ridiculed’ for being fishy. It’s often something many queens strive for. P.P.S The author seems to imply that only lesbian characters are killed off in TV shows. Watch The Celluloid Closet. Hopefully that will disabuse anyone who thinks this of such a ridiculous notion.

    Chloe Hewitt says:

    You forget to consider that though gay men do have it worse in some countries in terms of punishments , a large part of the reason for this apparent favouritism is that these countries tend to not even respect women enough to hate them. Lesbians are considered non-existent , a non-issue solely because women dont get to like things that arent men. A large chunk of of the reason for this disproprotionate level of punishment for gay men (which is horrific ) is that ingrained sexism makes lesbianism appear to be a phase to the general public , something thats non-serious and we’ll be easily persuaded out of when we marry a guy . This is seen partly in the lesbian porn industry , how many involve lesbians miraculously turning straight or appealing to men ? How many times are lesbians told they “just havent met the right man yet” or “ill turn you straight” in comparison to gay guys ? Yes lesbians have t better in terms of beatings , but the reason for that is generally our identities arent even respected enough to be worth hating in the eyes of homophobes or homophobic societies

    Roman Anikin says:

    Actually misandry is the huge problem in the West. But all are silent! we still have many countries with military slavery (draft), unequal pension age. And don’t forget how some lesbian feminists sabotage surrogacy legislation in many countries. This is treachery already!

    I agree with the article, but while you’re calling them men, can you call us women, please? I’m not a girl, because I’m over 18. This is another widespread respect issue. We’re often viewed as children and treated as such.

    I was with you until the lesbian bar thing. And I would even continue with you on that, if those ‘safe spaces’ for lesbians didn’t so often include their OWN misogyny against trans women who are lesbians. Trans women have literally no safe spaces in pretty much the entire world – would it hurt us to allow these WOMEN into our lesbian bars? (Short answer: No, no it wouldn’t.)

    I hear what you are saying…. but do you believe that those women shouldnot have a safe place because they are not inclusive? I have had lesbian friends since I came out in the 80’s. We used to have to hang out in mixed and gay mens spaces because the womens bars were not inclusive or the had restricted areas based on gender. One of the major reason of this is because the frequent attacks on women. They required spaces that they could got to with out feeling sexually objectified, physically assaulted or just a space to feel female energy. I realize that these spaces have a past of being non-inclusive. I do believe that it is not a perfect situation, yet I can not deny anyone what they need to feel safe. I would also like to say, that NO one handed any gay man or lesbian those safe or sacrid spaces. I have often wondered do members of the Trans-Community have any safe or sacrid space? that was not online. I believe in the words “Create the change you want to see.” perhaps there are members of the Trans-Community that should create those spaces, instead of taking those safe spaces away from other people because they are not inclusive. So I say to you, create that safe space for Transgender members of the community, or settle for what you get. Harsh words but true, LGB had to create their own safe spaces or sacrid spaces, create that change is now your challenge.

    Ryan Nikolai says:

    There’s nothing I’d less rather be than a lesbian. Maybe a huffflepuff.

    Matthew Gill says:

    Jami Maguire You seem fun!

    Ryan Nikolai says:

    Jami Maguire you just didn’t get the joke. It’s cool. Go clutch your FBSJW pearls

    Jami Maguire says:

    Ryan Nikolai calling me a troll? Ha I just hate the rude comments towards lesbians. Hear it every day. Welcome to trump land. Where it’s okay to be an ass to anyone different than you… And just because steph didn’t comment doesn’t mean she thought your rude comment was funny. She’s just a nice person.

    Ryan Nikolai says:

    Jami Maguire I actually screenshot it and posted in her article share thanks. My friends have a sense of humor troll

    Ryan Nikolai says:

    Jami Maguire oh fuck off it’s a joke

    Jami Maguire says:

    Then maybe you should tell all the lesbians you are friends with on Facebook. A lot of them are mutual friends of mine and would love to see how you really feel about them.

    When the phrase “check your privilege” is used. you just know that what is said is going to be shallow and cliched.

    Diane Wallis says:

    Yes. And if you are a femme like me you are afraid of aggressive butches coming after you like the straight agressiuve men do. I am afraid to come out to the GLBT community. I don’t want to be stereotyped that, “Oh you know how lesbians are. One always has to be the masculine one.” No. I am a femme for femme and I don’t vwant to be objectified by straight men or aggressive masculine gay gals.

    Eric Anderson With you Eric. I am a lipstick lesbian who loves butches, married one. They are women inside all the way. Mine wears more perfume, lotions, shaves, and wears more handcream than most straight women I know. AND cries at sad girly movies. Lol! And boy does she clean and iron! Love my butch wife!

    Wow that does not sound like any of the “Butch” Masculine women I know. Most I know are extremely witty and gentle, in many ways more shy than my femme lesbian friends. I think you placing a male gender role on masculine women is a huge mistake. Masculine women are women I have never seen any of my “butch” friends act in an aggresive manner towards other women… if anything I have seen them be kinda giddy and geeky when they like a girl… maybe I don’t know butches that well, but you have never seen anything more adorable than a butch lesbian that likes a girl. So I don’t know who you are talking about, maybe it is because I have a male perspective, I never have seen what you have described.

    Beth Johnson says:

    I am a more masculine leaning woman but I would never disrespect women, but there are definitely people in all groups that give the rest of the group a bad name. If you are a femme woman who likes feminine women then that’s all well and good with me. As I’m sure anyone who knows me would tell you, I would be the first one to speak up against anyone that treated you badly because of it. People spend too much time trying to fit into labels and put others into boxes that they’re comfortable with, and they forget that it’s not their life to be labeling or categorizing. It’s not their place to judge others.

    I agree with most of these points. I have many Lesbian friends and one of their biggest problems is the shocking disappearance of lesbian culture. Womenss paces are vanishing all over the world and the country. Gay Men need spaces for Gay Men annd Lesbians need spaces for lesbians…. I have often concidered opening a club called “His, Hers and Everybodys” Three spaces a gay mens side and a womens side sandwiching a larger space that all LGBT can come together. One of the largest problems that womens spaces have is encome enequality between men and women, if you had the Gay Mens space and the Everybody Space they cold be used to support the womens space. Ihave no idea if anybody else thinks it would be a good idea to creae these spaces… I would be curious to get anyone elss input. I think especially when you think of what is coming all of our way we need to make sure we have safe spaces. No matter how wondrful Apps and the Internet is they will never give you a sanctuary or a real community.

    Susanna M. Senti Thanks… Yay, I am not the only who thought of it. I hope you get your financial backing. These are things need in this day and age. I recently met a young lesbian who had NO idea how many lesbian venues there used to be. Her main connection t women in her community is online, followed by that once a month womens night. I just think all of us have to have a connection to or community and our own individual communities.

    Eric Anderson love your club concept. I and a best friend always swear that if we come up with $ we would open a new club space for every lgbtqqi person to feel welcome. Your concept fits our desired mold. May God bless us with the funds to do it!

    Beth Johnson Thank You I started thinking about it after getting upset with my friend watching Gaycation Paris with my friend Tereasa. Her favorite Womyns Coffee House was on it’s last legs (many are unaware that the lesbian Community used to have a huge Cafe Society, with music and Spoken word.). I have also read other articles in sources about the disappearence of Womens spaces. I just think women need a safe space as much as Gay Men where they can let their hair down and not edit themselves. I also think we also need those mixed Queer spaces. I like to think of solutions more than complaints.

    Beth Johnson says:

    Eric Anderson it’s a great concept for sure. It would allow for the lesbian space but also supplement it’s possible lack of profits at times with the profit from the other 2 spaces.

    Beth Johnson Hi Beth, I agree with what you are saying. My concept was to have the Mens space and the Everybody space mostly as a way to keep the much needed womens space open. I know when lesbians nest the go out less… but single lesbians and younger lesbians still need those spaces. I also think that Drag Kings need a space to perform and womens music really needs a space to grow and flourish, there is also womens comedy (straight, gay and bi) need a space t talk to other women. My concept is have it technically be one Club with designated areas so that they can have a symbiotic relationship that serves all of the community not just gay men, but still gives women and men seperate spaces and a space inbetween that is completely inclusive. You make many good points I respect what you are saying.

    Beth Johnson says:

    Pádráig O’Gáirmléadháigh this is not true. I’m sure every type of Club has its Bad Seeds but I’ve worked in clubs off and on since I was 21, I’m 43 now and I think I have a better grasp on the lesbian club scene than someone who is so obviously a lesbian hater like yourself.

    Beth Johnson says:

    As a lesbian who has been out for decades and has also worked in the LGBTQ bar scene, one thing that I have noticed is that lesbians support of lesbian dedicated spaces tends to be very underwhelming. Women tend to be more nesters than men are, so we go out a lot when we’re single but when we hook up we tend to become homebodies or at least we tend to not frequent clubs as much. This being said it is very hard for a club that is 100% lesbian oriented to maintain enough of a profit to remain open. Now don’t get me wrong there are some women’s clubs that have enjoyed longevity, but when you compare it to our gay guy clubs there is a definite disparity.

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