So here’s the dilemma: I’m a 28-year-old, happily out ‘n proud lesbian, has had successful lesbian relationships and so forth since coming out to myself (at 15) and others (at 18). I have a younger sister who is 17, a senior in high school, who is and always has been very supportive of me, and this has also bled over into her school life, where she is friends with several LGBT classmates. To be honest, the school overall is very LGBT-friendly (rare, I know) so there’s no bullying issues or forced closeting that she or I know of. One of her friends she’s known for five plus years, we’ll call her B, recently came out to her as bisexual, and expressed that she was interested in my sister romantically. My sister is not bi-curious, rather is very much straight, with a wonderful boyfriend my family loves. She has told B politely and respectfully that she’s flattered, but that not only was she not interested in her, but that there’s no way she’s cheating on her boyfriend.
B doesn’t seem to get it, Anna! I know (per a previous column) that it’s a wading pool at that age, but that doesn’t make it OK, in my opinion to not take “no” for an answer. It’s gotten to the point where my sister has had to stop returning her calls and texts for the most part. Given this scenario in a “straight” dynamic (boy harassing girl), I’d have my sister take it up with the school, or I with the kid’s parents (I’m my sister’s caretaker presently). But those options would out B, not something I would ever be inclined to do.
So what say you, Anna? Do I set up a polite sit-down with B and nicely explain to her that, as the older and wiser lesbian, it does ‘get better’ but it’s neither fair nor appropriate to keep hitting on a straight girl? Do you have another option?
Anna says: It’s very noble and generous of you to want to protect this gal B’s feelings, as well as your sister’s peace of mind. I think, also, that it’s perfectly reasonable for you to sit this kid down and give her some Wise Lesbian Real Talk. Straight girl crush or otherwise, she needs to learn that harassment is serious s–t that has real consequences. It’s not just some high school cat and mouse game. Let her know that this kind of harassment is in the same family as the kind that leads some gay kids to kill themselves. It also has the potential to land people in jail or at the end of restraining orders, and at the very minimum it hurts the very same people that the harasser supposedly cares for.
During your respectful, yet put-the-fear-of-god-in-her chat, I think you should also let her know that if she doesn’t shape up, the next step will be you taking it up with the school. Since the school is so LGBT-friendly, I don’t think this would mean outing her in a larger or damaging way. Administrators are generally pretty respectful about privacy, and unless your sister or B herself told their peers, the matter would most likely stay fairly contained.
I’d also suggest that your sister stop communicating with B until B can prove that she’s trustworthy and capable of respecting your sister’s feelings. No more texts or phone calls that aren’t absolutely necessary. This might sound like a harsh measure, but it’ll help B get over your sister faster if she severs the ties that she can.
And yes, do reiterate that there are many queer fish in the sea and someday she’ll find a great girl who likes her back and who will gladly pass clandestine MASH notes to her during Spanish class.
High school is such an awkward time period, queer or not. Your sister is lucky to have you looking out for her. Best of luck!
Could you do a column about single lesbians in the community? Not every lesbian is in a relationship right now. Kudos to those who are, but I’d like to hear more about those of us who are single for the time being. Being single isn’t the worst thing in the world and we don’t have to have a girlfriend on our arms at all times just to prove our gayness. We’re still gay at the end of the day. Whether it be focusing on our career, getting time to know ourselves and heal after getting out of a bad relationship or just not having the drama that comes with being in a relationship. Being single isn’t a bad thing.
Also, I’m a femme lesbian who is attracted to other femmes, but I don’t know how to meet other women like me. I seem to attract butch women, but that’s not what I’m into. I wear rainbow bracelets, but I still don’t stand out very much as a lesbian because I don’t dress masculine. It sucks because I definitely feel like a loner. I have been aggressive in my approach and tried to talk to femme lesbians, but they prefer the butch type. I know there are lipstick lesbians out there, but I don’t know where to find them. It doesn’t help that most of my friends are straight so they can’t help me out. I live in North Carolina, so I guess I need to branch out to larger cities like L.A. What’s a good way to start meeting and attracting other lipstick lesbians?
Anna says: Well, maybe you disagree, but I’ve written lots of columns concerning single gals. Sure, many of those single gals had questions about how to meet other single gals or were otherwise focused on a relationship-y topic, but try not to fault me for that. I get very few questions asking for my opinion on, say, career advice or how to pull off the suspenders and bow tie look. I wish they would, frankly. No one pays me to write about bow ties! Or dinosaurs. I care deeply about both of these things.
But I totally agree with you about singledom. For no good reason other than we all need a little reminder now and then, here are ten reasons why being single kicks ass.
p.s. I can’t hook you up in North Carolina if you don’t tell me what city you live in! Tsk. I will say this though. There are lots of ladies out there who want to smear their lipstick all over your face. Of course, there’s no magic Lady Attractor Mechanism that will tell you the sexual proclivities of people you’re into, so the only way to go about it is via the usual routes. See a gal you’re attracted to? Go talk to her. Ask about commonalities. Show genuine interest. Throw in a gay pop culture reference and see how she takes it. If you feel a vibe, ask her out.
Other routes: Try to make some non-straight friends, who will introduce you to their friends, some of whom may want to see you naked. Volunteer at a gay event. Go to women-owned bookstores, folk festivals, food co-ops, and coffee shops with mismatched furniture. Get thee online. A quick Google search for “lesbian + North Carolina” yielded many pages of results, some of them dating sites, travel tips, nightlife suggestions, and other resources. You don’t have to move to L.A. to meet femmes, although these two are in L.A. so maybe that’s enough reason to move across the country?
Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a professional tweeter/blogger for Mother Jones and a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at annapulley.com and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your Hook Up questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.