Lesbians have long been considered to fit into two distinct boxes – butch or femme. Indeed there is even a Butch appreciation day, on 18th August, to celebrate women who prefer a more masculine expression. But Lesbians are far more than their appearance. Women who love women are those who appreciate a woman from her core, her very sensibilities, feminine softness and nature.
It’s important to recognize that this week we are able to honour all women who love women. As a queer woman, I am attracted to women, but I am also attracted to men and non-binary people too. I feel in some ways uneasy about the label of ‘Lesbian’ which was often attributed to me, as I was a partner to another woman for over a decade. Many people still believe that lesbians are a group of over-assertive, overly masculine women, who hate men and eschew the idea of children.
But that’s not me. I enjoy my femininity and have two children. I am however, a senior leader and I reject the notion that lesbians should be seen as more successful than their straight or bi-female counterparts. Bi-women in particular feel that they are not taken as seriously at work, and perceive that they are more likely to be sexually harassed and gossiped about at work. This obviously affects confidence and the ability to be truly authentic at work.
I have reflected, as being labelled as a lesbian most of my adult life, if this has afforded me any advantages over my bi sisters. I feel that in some ways it has, in that even though I am short and petite, people recognise and respect a certain toughness that is in my DNA. I also am known as decisive and challenging, which could be seen as the antithesis of a bisexual.
But I use this week as an opportunity to come out all over again as a Bi or Pan woman, standing shoulder to shoulder with all of my women who love women across the whole LGBTQI+ spectrum.
Happy Lesbian Visibility Week!