More “Myself”

It was an honor to attend the Ending Gay Oppression and Internalized Sexism between LGBTQF [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Formerly] and Heterosexual Women Workshop [see previous article]. I loved being part of a powerful group of women looking at the intersection of sexism and Gay oppression and the effects of those oppressions (and the other oppressions that intersect with them) on all women’s lives.

I have been to many LGBTQ workshops led by “Jeanne D’Arc” and many women’s workshops led by Diane Balser. This workshop felt different to me. It was a relief to have sexism discussed so explicitly, by both “Jeanne” and Diane, in the context of Lesbian, Queer, Bisexual, Formerly, and heterosexual women’s lives. It was a relief to have Gay oppression examined so explicitly in the context of all women’s lives. I felt “at home” and “myself” in ways I don’t typically feel at “general” women’s workshops, even though I love attending them.

It was key to recognize and see demonstrations about the ways that Gay oppression affects all women’s lives and is used to keep sexism in place: the threat of being labeled “Lesbian” is aimed at girls and women (regardless of their identity) who do not act in ways considered “appropriate” for females.

Others have written about how we women “in ‘Jeanne’s’ constituency” have fought to keep our minds and how heterosexual women have had to give up on their minds in a certain way to accept the sexism that comes with the heterosexual identity and a particular relationship to men. My way of holding on to my mind was to go deep inside myself, which made it hard to show my mind. I still feel completely humiliated at the prospect of showing what matters to me, and what and whom I care about. I have a strong distress recording that says, “You can’t have me.”

I don’t think it’s an accident that at this workshop, for what seemed like the first time, I “handled” an incident in which I thought something someone had done was “off” [not right]. Typically what I do in that kind of situation is to notice that something doesn’t seem right and counsel on where I feel upset with the person. Rarely do I directly tell someone that I think they may have made a mistake, because I worry that I’m “overreacting.” This time was different. I had several mini-sessions (during which I could notice feeling like I “hate” heterosexual women) and then talked to the woman (a heterosexual woman from my own Community, whom I love and am close to). It went well. My tone was effective, and she was not at all defensive and could see what had been “off.”

Also probably not a coincidence is that at an LGBTQ workshop that “Jeanne” led in my part of the world just a few weeks ago, I shared my thinking with her and other people more than I ever have before.



Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of women

(Present Time 189, October 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00