Better late than never, I believe. So this was meant to be posted last week, but due to me being lazy and busy in my usual equal measures, I present to you *pum pum PUM* The Lesbians!
“Why are lesbians so hated?” We really got thrown in the deep end with that one.
I was recently invited to listen in to a conversation on radio all about lesbians in Cape Town. The show is called “Gayling with the First Lady” by Eugene Mathews, every Tuesday on TaxiRadio. He is an old friend, and I interviewed him for my first blog post on News24. Read that here. The driver of the show is Ronald Jones, who handles the technical side and chimes in every now and then. This week’s [17 September 2013] show was a discussion featuring three women who identify as lesbians.
They spoke to Carmen, Chantel and Bianca about their experiences.
A quick aside regarding the title, “lettie” is the Gayle word for lesbian.
Cape Town has been revered as a gay-friendly city, however the high rate of “corrective” rapes has marred this image. So the question remains, what is it about lesbians?
My take is that lesbianism offends many because it is a direct kick to the balls of patriarchal thinking. Similarly to homosexuality in men, lesbians are the antithesis of the stereotypical idea of a woman, and family. People, both men and women, who are insecure about their place in the social hierarchy can’t seem to deal with women not fitting into their view of what a mother, sister or wife should be.
Interestingly, these women all said that they felt safe and not at all threatened. Carmen and Chantel said that they felt “always safe” and “never in any danger” respectively, with Bianca explaining that “it’s not written all over [her]”that she’s a lesbian. These comments spoke to perceptions of lesbianism. The butch/fem divide cropped up with the typical ideas of lesbians as “manly” plaid-wearing mullet-rocking individuals, with a new addition, “futch”. This word is simply a cross between butch and fem, with which Bianca relates. In this case, she felt that as someone who is neither butch nor feminine, she feels comfortable in the category of futch.
The coming out process was an informative discussion with everyone in agreement that the idea is flawed. Why should anyone come out at all? Everyone agreed that this is a process that is more about the parents and society, than the people coming out. Said Bianca, “I’ve been out for twenty three years!” and reiterated that she does not like the question of coming out. She shared her story about how her father actually educated her when she decided to speak to him about her sexuality. The issue of labels was debunked when she told him that she’s gay. He then asked if she is not mistaken, because boys who like boys are gay, while females are lesbians.
The correct labels were the furthest thing on Carmen’s mind when she realised that she liked girls at the age of 14. She mentioned the loneliness she felt, but also that it was not that bad because she had sports and her family.
To prove that there really is no difference between heterosexual people, and even gay and lesbian people, the women in studio all had pretty typical things that they looked out for when they see potential romantic partners. Chantel prefers feminine ladies, while Bianca wants someone who can appreciate her sense of humour.
It was clear that there is a definite sense of community in the Cape Town lesbian scene, at least for those who identify with it. As Eugene said, it is important to have gay friends who know what you’re going through. Despite the supposed tensions between gay and lesbian individuals, it seems everyone wants the same things, and feels the same way.
The hour was clearly not long enough as there was a lot more to discuss, but I’m glad a dialogue like this was opened for further discussions about a topic that is still seen as taboo to some.
Thank you to Taxi Radio for welcoming me to the studio and allowing me to listen in on this conversation.
<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>