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Political lesbianism /*choosing* to be a lesbian

(99 Posts)
SoulofanAggron Sat 10-Oct-20 00:16:32

Have any of you ever decided to become a lesbian for political reasons? How successful were you?

OP’s posts: |
Nomnomarrgh Sat 10-Oct-20 01:48:40

What a completely random and ridiculous question. biscuit

Cabinfever10 Sat 10-Oct-20 01:58:56

Nobody chooses to be a lesbian

Antibles Sat 10-Oct-20 02:02:50

I wish I could choose to be a lesbian.

Eckhart Sat 10-Oct-20 02:03:24

Nobody would have ever suffered the angst of coming out, or had to put up with homophobia if you could choose your sexuality.

DidoLamenting Sat 10-Oct-20 02:17:15

I don't know why the OP is getting such a hard time. Personally I think political lesbianism is a ridiculous concept but there are plenty of feminists who think it is a viable concept so the question itself is not "completely random and ridiculous"

Here is what Julie Bindell has to say about it.
www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jan/30/women-gayrights

The RFs told me that, to them, lesbianism was a choice that women could make, and not a "condition" we are born with. "All women can be lesbians" was the mantra. I loved the sense that I had chosen my sexuality and rather than being ashamed or apologetic about it, as many women were, I could be proud, and see it as a privilege.

To me, political lesbianism continues to make intrinsic sense because it reinforces the idea that sexuality is a choice, and we are not destined to a particular fate because of our chromosomes

beautifulmonument Sat 10-Oct-20 02:23:45

I have heard of this in relation to 70s/80s second wave feminism and separatism. It's a thing. Or it was.

frogface69 Sat 10-Oct-20 02:37:35

Oh, yes this was a big thing in the 70s.
Every week in Spare Rib there seemed to be an article saying “and so I became a lesbian...”
I found it divisive. Some women, wimmin or wombyn believed that you could only be feminist if you had nothing whatsoever to do with men, including sleeping with them.
Never sat well with me.

SerendipitousDreams Sat 10-Oct-20 02:42:27

Cabinfever10

Nobody chooses to be a lesbian


In the 70's there was a radical group of lesbians in the UK who believed that lesbianism was a political statement and they encouraged women to turn away from heterosexual relationships and embrace lesbianism. So yes, there were indeed women who chose to live as lesbians as a political statement rather than them actually being lesbians.
~~~~

To answer OP's question. No, I'm a lesbian because I was born this way.

I can't see how two political lesbians could ever feel the beautiful intimacy lesbians experience when they love another woman if neither of them genuinely desire women.

It isn't something I could do, I couldn't be at political heterosexual and reject women for men, I know I would slowly die inside.

BitOfFun Sat 10-Oct-20 02:56:51

As far as I understand it, political lesbianism isn't necessarily sexual; it's more of a decision to centre women in your life socially, intellectually, emotionally, and practically (i.e. choosing to live exclusively with women, sometimes in groups, and sharing childcare and resources). For women who have been traumatised by men, or reject the inequality of relationships with men, it can be a fulfilling and politically engaging way of life. Some political lesbians are gay and have sexual relationships with women, but it's not always the case, and it certainly isn't compulsory.

SerendipitousDreams Sat 10-Oct-20 04:16:07

That's interesting, so it was more about creating a safe matriarchal micro society, which I can imagine would have been wonderful for many women.

It's a shame they decided to appropriate the word 'Lesbian' because that's not the right word for a non lesbian woman who chooses to live in a matriarchal society.

EdgeOfACoin Sat 10-Oct-20 06:26:57

I remember my mother telling me she once had a conversation in the 1970s with a woman who said "I used to be a Communist but now I'm a Lesbian".

My mother thought that was a really strange statement, as though being a lesbian was a political state of mind not a sexual orientation.

slipperywhensparticus Sat 10-Oct-20 06:31:07

Op come back and explain more how does this political lesbian policy work?

thelegohooverer Sat 10-Oct-20 07:15:14

I suspect in the past a lot of women chose to become nuns for similar reasons.

borntobequiet Sat 10-Oct-20 07:33:43

I encountered this in the seventies (mainly among Americans and Europeans) and it made me avoid feminist groups. I was convent educated and also noticed the parallel with nuns. The other group that put me off were the biology deniers. They tended to be British or American.

IamNotDarling Sat 10-Oct-20 07:47:19

I’ll bite OP.

Women seeking sexual and romantic companionship with other women through choice (political, bad experience, trauma) or otherwise (prison?) is not uncommon.

Surely those women are bisexual?

A bisexual who is in a lesbian relationship is still a bisexual. Perhaps this concept of choosing not to have relationships with men is a political statement best expressed as “I’m a bisexual person who chooses relationships with women because my feminist principles influence that choice.”

risefromyourgrave Sat 10-Oct-20 08:03:53

Sorry if I’ve mis-remembered but I think that in the latest episode of ‘adult human female’ podcast the interviewee Sheila Jeffreys says she ‘chose’ to be a lesbian?

miri1985 Sat 10-Oct-20 08:17:20

The only person I've ever heard that said they chose to be a lesbian rather than their sexuality is innate is Cynthia Nixon

“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not. Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate. I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.”

www.huffpost.com/entry/cynthia-nixon-wit-being-gay_n_1223889?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAANj6tjftmGBGD2of0tJZ_YyUMuJdk8O2Y8u0aoq-KqwlOt4a3WxgZ1Jt7w_GJfJ6mFF2lKWeWZtb9nbbK0moByyqsmZyRwr2f2xPAO020NelExzKf_xTgop-sVWK2IFPD1DeU9pMMxflOFwNiDVmaZpFA_NS-gAOnn5VhdA4dNf5

NonnyMouse1337 Sat 10-Oct-20 08:40:07

Political lesbianism certainly is a thing and seemed quite the rage back in the day.
I think it's such a bizarre concept. How can you 'choose' who you are sexually attracted to? And why would you want to force yourself? How would the other person feel knowing your attraction to them was manufactured or ideologically based rather than because you were naturally drawn to them?

If you don't want to be involved with men any more, for whatever reason, that's totally fine. You don't have to appropriate lesbianism to do so. It's totally possible to live a life with as little connection to men, especially if you live in some sort of women-only commune.

What exactly are you hoping to achieve and why can't it be done without appropriating the term lesbian?

everythingcrossed Sat 10-Oct-20 09:00:29

Wasn't this Bernardine Evaristo's path for about 10 years during 70s/80s - and then she "chose" to become heterosexual? (From a piece in the Times this summer)

I wonder now if I was a political lesbian without realising it, because my anger towards men, beginning with a distant and authoritarian father, and my feminist politics did indeed influence my sexuality. Nor was I someone who’d always felt attracted to women, as is the case for many lesbians, who’ve felt it in their bones since they were born, virtually emerging from the womb waving the rainbow flag. For me it came and went over that decade, like a phase — the very phase someone told me I was going through when I was 22 and I nearly bit her head off. How dare she suggest I didn’t know my own mind. But it’s really not necessary to overanalyse it, because I do believe in sexual fluidity as something positive and progressive — a rejection of constrictive social mores about how human beings should love each other.

She's now had relationships with men exclusively for 30 years.

DidoLamenting Sat 10-Oct-20 09:00:55

risefromyourgrave

Sorry if I’ve mis-remembered but I think that in the latest episode of ‘adult human female’ podcast the interviewee Sheila Jeffreys says she ‘chose’ to be a lesbian?

Jeffreys was/is one the main proponents of it.

She became a lesbian in 1973 because she felt it contradictory to give "her most precious energies to a man" when she was thoroughly committed to a women's revolution. Six years later, she went further and wrote, with others, a pamphlet entitled Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between HeterosexualFeminismAnd Political Lesbianism. In it, feminists who sleep with men are described as collaborating with the enemy

"We do think," it said, "that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women."

www.theguardian.com/world/2005/jul/02/gender.politicsphilosophyandsociety

Gncq Sat 10-Oct-20 09:04:59

Cynthia Nixon is surely bisexual from that descripton.
Is bisexual aka "gay"?

scrappydappydoooooo Sat 10-Oct-20 09:05:20

The only person I've ever heard that said they chose to be a lesbian rather than their sexuality is innate is Cynthia Nixon

Well that sounds like she's bisexual and is choosing relationships with women. Bisexual people can make that choice if they want. But people who are either heterosexual or homosexual can't. I'm heterosexual, I love women, I have many great, close friendships with women, I can recognise the sexual attractiveness and beauty of women, I can be attracted to women as a friend who I love to be around. Like many women who have had too many shitty experiences with men there is a part of me that wonders if a relationship with a woman would be better. But I just can't feel sexual attraction to a woman. It's not possible for me.

TheRealMcKenna Sat 10-Oct-20 09:08:05

Political lesbianism certainly is a thing and seemed quite the rage back in the day. I think it's such a bizarre concept. How can you 'choose' who you are sexually attracted to? And why would you want to force yourself? How would the other person feel knowing your attraction to them was manufactured or ideologically based rather than because you were naturally drawn to them?

From an evolutionary biology standpoint, it makes absolutely perfect sense. If a community ends up with a disproportionately small number of men due to war, disaster or disease then it can still ‘survive’ if children are raised successfully. That is most likely to happen if, in the absence of men, women form strong and stable bonds with other women.

It was a theory I heard from Bret Weinstein.

NonnyMouse1337 Sat 10-Oct-20 09:24:16

I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.

I've said this is other threads... Why is bisexuality such a taboo concept?

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