Lesbian Separatism?

Apparently, I’m primarily known to fellow feminists for the following things:

1. An irrepressible murderous instinct towards full-term human children
2. Terrible cooking skills
3. Tendency towards excessive metaphors that defy understanding, along with dry humor or deadpan statements that read like open aggression to those unfamiliar with my writing
4. A compulsive desire to do my laundry
5. Anarchistic leanings
7.  Inexplicable taste in music, I mean seriously who cares about that shit?
8. Preoccupation with lesbian separatism.

So I thought I’d address that last point. Am I a lesbian separatist?

Idealistically speaking, yes. Practically speaking, no. Here’s why.

Point A. Am I a lesbian?

To be totally honest, the more I read, the less I’m sure. As an ex-het (or ex-bi, or ex-closet case, or whatever most accurately describes my experience), I don’t know if I can ever feel comfortable calling myself a Lesbian. It feels like an appropriation of lifelong Lesbian experience, and that’s the furthest from my intentions. For more discussion and a primer if you need one, see these comments at GallusMag’s.

In this social climate, I feel it is almost impossible to know the difference between innate and learned instincts. Did I find boys repulsive when I was a child because I was born a Lesbian, or because I found boys’ behavior despicable, inexplicable, and the opposite of what I wanted to experience? Do men continue to frighten and off-put me to this day because I am innately attracted to women, or because men as a general group are some scary freaks? It’s impossible for me to know for sure, because I’ve been trained (as all women are) to doubt my own feelings and I think some women never doubt these things about themselves.

I only know: 1. that I am attracted to some women and love all women as a class, but 2. for a time, in my late teens and early twenties, I chose to pursue sex with males in an attempt to mitigate my own pain at being part of the oppressed class.

Yeah. I totally sold out. And there is no taking that back.

So in my pursuit of truth, and calling things what they are, and not being disingenuous, I can’t call myself a Lesbian simply because I love women and have no physical or emotional interest in men. That is not enough.

B. Am I a separatist?

Much as it pains me, at this juncture, I am not. In my current situation, I absolutely need housing, and thus have been renting a room in the same house as a man. I live in the basement, he lives upstairs, and we rarely interact, but I am polite to him when I see him and I devote energy toward staying out of his way.

Though I am moving out soon, I may end up moving into another similar situation, at least until I can find other females who are seeking the same things I am. Because I’m not sure if I can really communicate how difficult it is to room with postmodernists, or funfeminists, or antifeminists, even when they are also female. In fact, the betrayal feels double when the offenders are other women — because we expect that shit from men. We have emotional and physical tactics in place already to deal with that shit from men. We don’t, so much, to deal with it from women … or at least I don’t.

I would rather live in a married het couple’s basement and stay far out of their way, than I would live in a more intimate set-up with women who actively hate women. Especially if they use postmodernist circular language to justify it, and consider me a prude or unliberated fuddy-duddy with religious hang-ups for not agreeing with their quasi-empowerment bill of goods and services.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure: I talk to a male social activist sometimes, of my own volition. It sucks, but I’m currently far removed from anything like radical feminist interaction other than texts or emails, and I’m lonely as hell. Obviously, talking to a dude is less than ideal, because I feel a compulsive need to watch my words around him, but he is not attracted to me physically, I could doubtlessly take him in an arm-wrestling match, and it gives me somebody to talk to every couple of weeks. Some separatism, I know. I’m a sellout.

But nevertheless: it’s true, I do still advocate for separatism, and for voluntary lesbianism too. Men take up too much female energy, and cleansing some of that from one’s system is liberating beyond even the wildest belief. I advocate that every woman take a Man Cleanse [TM], lasting as long as she personally desires, even if she cannot feasibly practice total separatism. The next post will be about that — just in time for the holidays.

We all do what we can.


About @trees

Thrillseeking female. Indie music shaman. Will almost certainly Like your cat pix.
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12 Responses to Lesbian Separatism?

  1. Bev Jo says:

    Oh Joy, I really understand a lot of what you’re saying. Almost all Lesbians have been het. Of course you are a Lesbian if you want to be! Hating males is good, healthy and sensible, as well as “1. An irrepressible murderous instinct towards full-term human children 2. Terrible cooking skills.” But really it’s about loving other females. It’s what we’d all be without patriarchy.

    And don’t let class oppression and being poor keep you from considering yourself a Separatist. You sound good to me! (I mean, since I’ve been a Lesbian Separatist longer than anyone I know — 40 years this year, 2012 — I should have a right to say.) And as for loneliness and isolation…well, we do what we can. I wish we lived closer.

  2. anonymous says:

    and instinct to murder children is healthy….what?

  3. FeistyAmazon says:

    Yes, men do indeed take up too much energy, too much of the room, too much of the physical and psychic space, and too much of the airwaves(full of hot air, that is!). This is another reason for Lesbian Separatism. To literally unplug from them, and give that energy to ourselves, and to other Dykes and womyn! Another Sister Separatist/DykeAmazon,
    P.S. Love the name: Lesbonaut!

    • joy says:

      Re: the name:

      Thank you! My mother helped me to come up with it, as she refers to me as “the lesbonazi” as a term of endearment. There are some problems with that, but with the amendment to ‘lesbonaut’ (as in, a womyn-loving-womin on a fantastic voyage of wominity), I thought it worked pretty well.

  4. SheilaG says:

    Just came upon this, and I really appreciate the honesty. I’d say my separatism is more about loving women, and loving the world we create together. Since I never had any sexual interest in men, and have been a lifelong lesbian it made my feminism rather simple. I simply don’t deal with the things that preoccupy the het women around me. We do separatism the best we can, and we can be honest about what gives us incredible creative energy. This woman centered life can be lonely at times, even few women get it. Men take up a lot of women’s time, and I can see how women wasted youth on men, got stuck, got economically trapped, were unable to get out of poverty, or just lived month to month.
    The largest group of women who declare bankruptsy in America are single mothers. That should be a real economic wake up call. Nevertheless, it might be hard to figure out one’s life, or whether one is a lesbian or not. It’s not my issue, but if it is yours, I will applaud you for being thoughtful and honest, and thinking of the power of feminism and a life free of men is a good start. It’s not popular, but it has integrity!

  5. SheilaG says:

    P.S. Love the title of the blog too!!!

  6. Jennie says:

    Hello! Thanks for your honesty and for posting this. Funny-one of my first boyfriends would call me a “feminazi!” Haha! As for me-I am bisexual by nature but prefer to date-be around-make love to women. Lesbian separatism has always fascinated me. (I just googled it and found your blog). Men are dangerous. I live in nyc and if one says hello to me I say a quick hi back but keep on walking! I do that because they have been known to become violent if you ignore them! Anyways-men are the enemy. (Well men and anti-feminist hetero women!) I live alone thank god-have a female dog and never let men come into my sanctuary. (They have tried). Also they try to invade a woman’s personal space. Let’s be real-they want sex. I cannot smile at them because they see that as an invitation..Pathetic! Lesbian seperatism is def cool-but you don’t have to reside with others to make it happen. Just choose who you want in your life-women only:)! Take good care!

  7. Bored freak says:

    1. Mortal combat primate thingy.
    2. Burning water.
    3. School of life.
    4. Prior to why or after?
    5. Certainly.
    6. Water burning attempts prove that.
    7. I don’t know.
    8. Last one wins.

  8. FeistyAmazon says:

    If you’re sexual with women only, love , last and care for women only..have no desire to engage penis holders sexually but have exclusive passion present day for only women them I’d say you’re Lesbian.
    From one Sister to another..

    As far as Separatism…you practice it as best you can. Unless on women’s land 24/7 without ever having to go to a store for supplies nobody can practice Separatism 100%. But if you put Lesbians and womyn first and foremost in your life forever..meaning the struggles Lesbians and bio females face ALWAYS come first before all others and the empowerment of women as a whole then I’d say you’re on the path of Separatism. If you only let men in so far but only women in fully..then to me that’s Separatist. Men are always an arm’s length away from me..only women I allow into my heart.

    I can understand wanting your own separate room and space rather than getting caught up with women whose dynamics and conversation compromises you. As a Separatist one year I was in the male trades working with men, working on a project with gay men and living with two gay guys because my living situation with Lesbians did not work out and in fact one threatened me with violence.

    Then one day my Separatism which had been on the back burner came roaring in full force where I literally toned out from all that male energy..did not matter whether it was the sexism of the straight homophobic and sexist men on the job or Gay male sexism where they subtly put down dykes and talk about the value of a man is his penis size.

    I then found a way to get my own place and pretty much the only men allowed over are those who are maintenance men. Period. I don’t like men in my living environment. And there was one guy who I thought was gay who seemed attached to my loss of separatism…but a year later I saw why: he was into butch dykes doing him sexual favors and by that time I had my own place and back to my Separatist self which keeps me safe from men and their predatory sexual behavior and sexism..Once I realized gay men are just as sexist as straight ones. Maybe in different ways..but nonetheless. …you do what you have to do now to survive.

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