I believe there to be a number of reasons why lesbians appear to be more accepted than gay men. Some reasons are more ridiculous than others. I’ll begin at the bottom of the barrel.
1. Lesbians are hot. Is that so, Mr Straight Man? Of course it is ridiculous that so many straight men don’t mind lesbianism because they think the women are hot. If they stopped for a moment and removed their brain from their pants they would realise that not all lesbians are like the women one sees lezzing off in a porno. Once on a night out the ten women I was with began to kiss each other. People applauded and cheered them on. Yet when I kissed another man that excitement turned to outrage and somebody threatened to beat me up. People should not be objectified and that includes lesbian women. They’re not some super hot breed of human, you know. They are normal just like the rest of us.
2. Lesbianism is seen as being fun and playful in pop culture. Remember when Britney and Madonna snogged? A few eyebrows were raised but most people thought it was fun. Then there’s Katy Perry singing about kissing a girl and liking it. See it’s cool to be a lesbian. And now masses of school and college girls come out as lesbian so they can be cool too. It’s so en vogue. Can you think of an instance where a famous male has done the same kind of thing? I can’t recall a single moment of man on man action akin to the Britney & Madonna smooch or a song like Katy Perry’s that is sung by a man and is about kissing another guy. This is another example of double standards in humanity.
3. Society is used to seeing women being affectionate towards each other. This is quite an important point because it is true that women can hold hands, hug, kiss or dance with each other and people don’t necessarily think they are lesbians. Yet when two men do the same things they are labelled as gay and there is instantly a stigma attached to that. Recently I was at a pub and decided to dance with a male friend while someone was wailing Adele on the karaoke. People thought that because I was slow dancing with another man that he must have been my boyfriend. Nobody thought that my two female friends were lesbians though, even though they actually are.
4. Women can wear men’s clothing but when a man wears women’s clothes they are viewed negatively. When a woman wears a top meant for men it’s ok because they are just a bit of a tomboy. Even if they are out as lesbian it still doesn’t matter because society is so used to seeing females wearing clothing meant for the opposite gender. But if I was to put on a dress and walk along my local high street I would be ridiculed and stared at. This is yet more double standards and one that really bothers me. I don’t know why clothes have to be gender specific in the first place. So from this perspective it is easier to be a lesbian than a gay man too.
5. People think about the sexual acts. For this point I refer to the great Queer as Folk, in which I remember one of the characters saying that young Nathan being found out to be homosexual wasn’t about being gay; it was about cock and the fact he likes it. Expanding on this I think that attitude would also include the act of anal sex. A lot of people find it disgusting or against nature (although many heterosexual people secretly indulge in it). Although the thought of lesbian sex or men fornicating with women makes me feel a bit queer, I don’t think it’s disgusting at all. Sex is a natural act in most of its forms and it is frustrating that because someone may take it up the bum they are not as accepted as two women who do other, more socially acceptable things in the bedroom. With so many men not actually engaging in anal sex, it is quite an ignorant attitude to have.
There we have it; five reasons why I believe lesbian women are more accepted than gay men. Maybe some lesbians would feel differently about this and think that it is easier for men to come out as gay than it is for them to come out, but from my perspective it is more difficult for gay men. I am aware that some parts of the points I made above could be seen as making light of a topic, but I do think that each point has a serious contribution to how lesbian women and gay men are perceived in this society.
Ultimately the coming out experience can be difficult for anyone, regardless of whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Perhaps to say coming out and being accepted is easier for one group compared to another is a bit of a generalisation, but it’s a generalisation that I believe exists. The most important thing in life is self-acceptance though. If you can master that then the rest is a breeze.
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