How to be a lesbian in two easy steps (or four comprehensive steps if you’re really serious)



There’s a proliferation of How To information on the internet and in bookstores and libraries — everything from the ubiquitous Dummies and Idiot’s guides through to sites such as Wiki How, where you can find How to kiss in 32 steps. Beyond corporate answering bodies, there are individual contributors out there who are happy to answer just about any how-to you can think of, including How to pee in a cup while driving.

Clearly, there’s perceived value in how-to guides: people want to know how to do things.  No how-to question goes unanswered. More to the point, where questions can mean there’s money to be made or wisdom, knowledge, data, opinions, pontifications and wild-assed guesses to be shared and spread around like Nutella.

But enough about a delicious chocolate and hazelnut mixture. Here on this blog, I get a number of how-to questions and the one I get a lot is: how to be/how can I be a lesbian?

A puzzling question. I ponder it with knitted brows. Is the question asking what do I need to know, what credentials and knowledge do I need to qualify as a lesbian, as in, How can I be a pilot? An astronaut? An engineer? An editor? A racing car driver? Or is it a more subtle question, asking something along the lines of, How can I be a good person? A caring, considerate, and courageous teacher? An emotionally, culturally sensitive, values-based and intelligent person?

Is the question centred on how to do the things that a lesbian does (as in the technical aspects of being a lesbian) or is it a question of what, in her being, makes a woman a lesbian and how to get that? (The doing/being divide?)

Sigh. Haven’t I answered this question in earlier posts? It seems obvious to me how to be a lesbian; however, calling on my mindful and compassionate self, I must remember that what’s obvious to me as a lesbian is not always obvious to others.

Perhaps I am over-thinking it. Perhaps I need to answer the question succinctly, leaning toward the being mode over the doing mode … as I see it, it’s quite straightforward to be a lesbian, if such a label is desired or required, as outlined below.

How to be a lesbian in two easy steps, with two other steps that are less easy.

1. Be a woman (natural born or surgically re-assigned).

2. Have crushes, romances, dating stresses, deep likes, physical intimacy/sex only with a woman. Or with many women, one after the other. (We call it serial monogamy.)

There are two additional steps take you deeper into lesbian territory…

3. Fall in love with a woman.

4. Share your life, love, heart, soul — everything: ups and downs and crazy laughter and buckets of tears and hopes and dreams and fears and wonders and picnics and laundry and cooking and holding hands and exploring and grieving and book buying binges — all with a woman and only a woman.

And that’s how to be a lesbian.

Posted in being a lesbian, Lesbian humor, LGBT | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Finding some courage

tree at Trinity-Bellwoods~~

Have you ever walked along a treetop canopy, your feet stepping on narrow wooden boards maybe 20 cm (8 inches) wide that are swaying slightly in the wind, your hands gripping the guide wire on either side of you, listening to your gut and a big slice of your mind telling you “Do not look down!!” because you are, at this moment, some 21 metres (70 feet) above a forest floor where one slice of your mind is saying over your internal broadcast system (praying, really) “Please be okay, please be okay, please be okay,” with each step, which translates as “please Goddess of trees, hold me close in your generous soft bosom and do not let me fall!” while another slice of your mind — the part that enables the muscles in your face to move so that you can grin like a goof at your girlfriend as she looks back at you with a big goofy grin — is saying just as loudly on a different internal broadcast system, “Whoooo hoooo!! How cool is this?” because there you are, facing your fear and doing it anyway realizing that fear of heights and fear of falling are tied for 1st place on your never-gonna-share-with-anyone especially HER list of Things that are real that I am most afraid of. 

I did this tree canopy walk. Once. And it was memorable. Not so much for the conquering fear of heights part. No. The memorable part happened on the platform situated 15 metres (50 feet) above the ground where we stopped to have a picnic. A minute after I sat my shakey self on the platform, a cheeky chipmunk decided that my lunch could be its lunch and launched itself out of nowhere to stake its claim. (I am not now, never was and never will be, a screamer. However, I have a good startle reflex.)

Chipmunk landed in my food, chaos ensued: my flesh seemed to jump out of my skin, setting in motion other reactions: food flew out of my hands, over the side of the platform. People stopped their conversations, grabbed whatever they could. There was an EEK! here and there. Moments later, as my brain realized what was going on, my heart was able to gingerly make its way from my throat back into its cage. As I settled, Mr. Chipmunk, clearly miffed, gave me the dirtiest, longest, meanest look I have ever received from a living being.

While I might have exercised some courage that day overcoming fears inherited from my mother, I no longer look chipmunks or a girlfriend (who, once assured that everything was okay — doubled over, squealing with laughter) at me in quite the same way.

I’ve been thinking about courage and fear because of what I’m reading and seeing on the news, all of which seems to be about the worst side of human beans again: war, blood feuds, money — getting or losing it, crime and accidents and wicked weather and celebrity stupidity — all the bad stuff that makes good money for news corporations. And of course, the ongoing hate against LGBTs spurred by religious fundamentalists.

My sci-fi slice of mind offered its succinct solution and I think it’s worth considering. Develop shrink-ray technology. Target all the world’s haters, war-mongers, fighters, spiteful power seekers, blood feuders, misogynists, with a special emphasis on those who hurt children and animals. Engage the shrink ray and shrink ’em ALL with their ignorant energy down to sea-monkey size and — using transporter technology — beam them via one-way transmission to the watery ninth ring of the not-yet-discovered planet Zathar to fight among themselves and leave the rest of us alone to tackle life, squealing girlfriends and grumpy chipmunks with all the courage we can find.

Posted in being a lesbian, lesbian life | Tagged , | 6 Comments

The end of the world as we know it

toronto-gay-village-signToronto ushered in World Pride on Friday June 20th 2014 with music and fireworks at City Hall that ended at 11 p.m. and thousands and thousands of happy, shiny people filed out of the square in an orderly fashion, smiling all the way.

Over the course of World Pride Week, the city closed off a chunk of Church Street – aka the ghetto — for the  weekend and on the Sunday we decided to go down to what we heard was an afternoon street party.

Before the party, however, was seriousness. Our first stop was the AIDS Memorial in Cawthra Park. A walk through the sculptures, with memories, smiles and and tears; names to touch, names carved into steel plates, names of friends and family.

We walked slowly out of the memorial and sat down for a bit. Feeling the loss and the absences. After a while, we left the park to continue walking down Church Street.

In no time at all our magpie attention was grabbed by a display window of a hardware store by what looked like ceramic espresso cups with graffiti graphics. Just what a Monday morning espresso demands. The tattooed sales guy, told us they were plastic. Boo. We talked about the evils of plastic which got us to how gauche it is to drink from mason jars, and nodding sagely, we agreed some trends in restaurants are dumb and then waved bye-bye to the hardware store guy and kept walking.

Without cars, Church Street was becoming crowded with an assortment of straight and LGBTTQQISetc people — with dogs and/or kids, or pregnant with kids, or walking with puppies, or looking like they were looking for dogs or kids.

At the crossroads of Church and Wellesley streets, just at the east side, was a stage. Some old-school disco music was playing. We stopped at the edge of a group of maybe 100 people. On stage was a young drag queen, dressed in a rather tasteful dress, lip-synching to the song, wobbling around (perhaps it was new-style dance?) on CFM high heels. It might well have been her first day on stage.

I watched people join the crowd, watched them watching the drag queen and as I did a slight shiver crawled through my body. There was something wrong with this picture. I took a deep breath and lowered my gaze to the ground — I wanted to feel what was happening or better understand what I was witnessing here at the corner of Church and Wellesley in Toronto. It felt that I was witnessing an earth-shattering, the-world-will-never-be-the-same-again moment and I wanted, needed, to articulate it for myself so that I didn’t lose it. I breathed and settled in my body and looked around: young well-dressed drag queen, lip-synching, wobbling. Crowd watching, music blaring. I waited. And waited and oh my goddess that was it! Not a single person was dancing.

I had to get away, clear my head…

We walked to the end of where Church Street was blocked off and just hung out for a while. Then we headed back up the street. We got closer to that stage and as we did we heard different disco music, a different drag queen. One with a loud voice, asking people where they were from. As people responded, she repeated it for the crowd.

Oh honey, you from Ohio? I could O-HI-O you anytime. MMMhhhmmm,” which was followed by a few words I cannot repeat in polite company.

The music was blaring and we stopped again at the edge of the crowd and as I looked around I could not see a single person was dancing. We moved through the crowd. Not a single, solitary person was tapping a finger or toe, or moving a body part in time or rhythm to the music. I could not attribute the lack of affect down to the age of people — there were former disco-era people in the crowd.

Once upon a time, put on any kind of music where a rhythm or beat could be discerned around us LGBTTQQISetc., people and there would be dancing: dancing on the spot, dancing of fingers or toes, head movements, legs and hips keeping time, or jumping, bumping, or full on body dancing in place or around the room. We danced! We danced in protest. We danced to get the emotional crap out of our bodies. We danced to meet and greet. We danced and danced and danced if only in our imaginations that linked to our toes in our shoes. Dance is part of our tribal heritage, our secret code, our language, our culture. (Unless of course you were of the .alt queer community that frowned on any sort of fun and frivolity, or the other .alt sort that was only LGBTQQISect when naked….)

What was happening here at the corner of Church and Wellesley?

An era has ended. A cultural group has changed its ways. The way of the world that I know is gone.

We’re mainstreamed. We’re just like everyone else in the eyes of the law and we’re being absorbed into everything else — a demographic group to market to, go to bed early on a school night, wonder who to ask to the prom, misbehave at the office party and now, NOW, thanks to legal acceptance, we are destined to dance only on special occasions: LGBTQQISect school club, soc hops, on hunting-for-love expeditions, boat cruises, weddings and Pride Day. We have now officially become exactly like straight people. We don’t dance to the music…

Don’t let that happen! If you are anywhere on the LGBTTQQISetc spectrum, the next time you hear music, even if it’s in front of a stage with novice and brave drag queens, for the Goddess’ sake, dance out loud!






Posted in lesbian, Lesbian humor, LGBT | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments