Many years ago, I went to dinner and the local Lesbian Variety show with a lesbian and another woman friend, also straight. After a few drinks, I asked my lesbian friend – in the most respectful way that I could – what did it feel like to be attracted to another woman, what did it feel like to love that person? I just didn’t know if the feelings were the same or somehow different. Her answer wasn’t much help. It was along the lines of “well, it probably feels like you do about being attracted to men and the love feels like the best friend in the world.”
Not so different. But somehow, it didn’t answer my question. I was so young at the time, that I was hung up on anatomy and stereotypes. Women are from Venus & men are from Mars.
I knew intellectually that my friend’s relationship was filled with romantic and deep, abiding love. I just couldn’t grasp what it felt like. After all, I’m attracted to guys, not women. And I’m a girl. But now I think I have come close to knowing. And I hope to offer you some insight too. Just by using who you are.
I like to check out reader’s comments when I read articles, especially when I am looking for a blog topic. It gives me a glimpse into the everyday person out there, not just the author. Rarely do I find one that is unique. But today I came across a comment that was made in response to the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, specifically the Kiss-In held in Salt Lake City. The article was about two lesbians and one is a minister.
Here’s the comment, followed by my mullings. I’m not going to address the Christian based portion of the comment as I feel it is irrelevant. I have put in bold the question that intrigued me.
Dave of Detroit wrote:
Well, I have to admit that a kiss is a great symbol and that gays want the right to marry and consider their relationship as loving and meaningful as a marriage between a husband and wife. The only thing that I can possibly question is whether or not the meaning of the relationship is the same. A husband is bound to care for his wife’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs-he is the husbandman or keeper of the vines in that he is the head of the household that bears his name. The wife promises to honor and respect the husband and their love will bring forth children that bear the husbands [sic] name. This relationship is blessed of God and a Holy Sacrement [sic] of the Church. It is a lifelong committment [sic] to forsake all others and cling only to each other. The children of a Christian Marriage are given the promise of eternal life through the faith and consecration of the parents….Can a gay marriage make these statements?
I’m much older now and I’ve reflected on a great deal of what life puts in front of us. Let’s try to answer David’s question. Only this time, I’m going to ask you to participate in finding the answer. Yes, you can play along if you are LGBT. But since this lesson is for straight people, that’s how it will be written. And to make the writing simpler, I’ll write this from a woman’s point of view. Mine. I think you are capable of turning the pronouns, etc., around to get the point.
Could we have same fade-in dream like waviness please? Thank you
A romantic getaway. You are with your husband, lying in bed, and you are both feeling very close to each other. You feel all this wonderful love. You’ve been together for a while so you’ve worked through some ups and downs. For the next hour, you indulge in intimate conversation, pleasure and cuddling. The details are not important. The feelings, both psychological and physical are of love.
Where did the feelings of love start? Where did the feelings of wanting sex start? In your head. Not elsewhere. In your head. Stop and think about it. You are attracted to your husband. Part of that attraction is based on his own unique personality, part is based on being male and part is based on the male anatomy.
And it’s all in your head. Right? Every single piece of it. Now, when it gets to having sex, obviously – we make the desire that we feel in our head real.
Sit for just a moment and enjoy this. How does it feel? Two souls committed to one another, two souls who understand and support one another. Two souls who “get” each other. No other relationship is this open, this deep, this rewarding.
Now, something changes. But only from the neck down. You look down and you are male. Yep, a few things lost, a few things gained. But in your head, you are the same. Feeling like you are in a Star Trek episode? You are. They always have a moral.
A pause for an editorial note – am I saying gay men are women inside their heads? No. Don’t react that erroneous, over-simplistic conclusion. This is an exercise about you and no one else.
What do you feel now? Remember, all that love, closeness and desire are exactly the same. You still feel that undefinable mixture of attraction to your man – that combination of personality, looks, intelligence and specialness that you have always known. That same sexiness is there. He’s as gorgeous and sweet as ever. Our own anatomy doesn’t create our desires. Our minds do.
Still with me? Do you feel normal? Do you feel like there is nothing wrong with the love that you feel for your husband? Does having someone to love you back make you happy, more secure? It does for me.
Gay people feel the same things we do. And yet, straight people who cannot put themselves in a gay person’s shoes feel that there is something wrong, something perverse. It may not be what you feel. But it is what they feel and it is every bit as normal as what straight people feel.
Try to put yourself in a gay person’s shoes. It’s easiest to do if you start with your mind. Keep that the same, then change from the neck down. Go ahead. Once you are finished with the exercise, imagine telling your parents, siblings, friends and co-workers. What do you feel now? Fear? Fear of losing everything you have? Fear of rejection? The weight of dealing with everyone’s emotions? Fear of losing your job, your family, your church? Uncle Joe’s homophobic name calling? Fear that no one will see who you are, your uniqueness as an individual, because they will take only a second to label you with a stereotype and move on?
All because of who you are naturally. All because what you feel hurts no one. Do you think you deserve the reactions you are going to get? Do you think you deserve to hear “I don’t mind gays but I wish they would keep quiet.” What will you feel when someone tells you that God hates you, that you should kill yourself? What will you feel when you can’t bring the person you love home for Christmas, when the family pretends that your partner, whom you cannot even call a spouse, is more like a roommate?
No crime is committed when we love someone. But many sins are committed when straight people judge and degrade our fellow human beings who happen to be LGBT.
They are just like me and you. Treat others the way that you want to be treated.
geekgirl: Geekgirl (Jude) is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.