Naturally Lesbian

 

 

              NATURALLY LESBIAN

 

 

Considering how beautiful Lesbian love is,

Why are so many people so afraid of us?

 

A lie repeated enough begins to be believed.

They bully us with their propaganda of

“the birds and the bees,”

As if every creature must be paired male and female,

Making heterosexuality inevitable, inescapable, normal,

While making us freaks.

 

But do they think we don’t know basic biology? 

Do they think we can’t read?

Do they really not know about the birds and the bees?

What is more Lesbian than living in an all- female sisterhood,

A collective community of thousands of bees

taking care of each other endlessly?

Feeding each other from their mouths,

They live with such intimacy.

 

The mother queen only creates a few males when

she decides it’s time to start a new swarm,

and they fly briefly on the wind before dying.

So none of the bees we ever see,

Going from flower to flower,

collecting nectar for their community,

are male or even heterosexual.

 

Ants also have an almost all-female sisterhood,

As do a recently discovered tiny species of shrimp.

So why are movies still made for children

Showing bees and ants as male?

Movies full of lies mold young minds.

One of these popular movies even has the main

Ant character voiced by a well-known pedophile –

A polite term for child molester.

 

When the media does show female animals in children’s movies,

 they are often caricatured, ridiculous,

To convince us that true femaleness is silly and weak,

Ignoring female strength and compassion.

Movies are fantasies, but the harm is real.

 

Few books tell the truth about how

the world is not all heterosexual.

Many animals are Lesbian and Gay,

From fish to birds to mammals,

And I’ve lived with Lesbian rats.

“The birds and the bees” ignores Lesbian Bonobo chimpanzees,

our closest animal relatives.

 

With so many lies, it’s hard to know the truth.

Historians have said the Amazons are a myth,

But I saw them

— in the British Museum —

Ancient Greek friezes thousands of years old,

Perfectly carved, perfectly beautiful.

I saw the horrifying reality of Greek men

Killing female warriors with swords and spears –

Sculpture after sculpture – life-like beyond imagining.

Before cameras, they proudly document their achievement in stone –

faces showing the Amazons’ agony, the Amazons dying –

Each man in each scene naked,

to make it clear just who is triumphant.

Liquid movement frozen in time –

History as a work of art.

 

This ancient Greek culture which our culture

reveres as the beginning of “civilization,”

Shows the death of real civilization –

The time before patriarchy –

There – for all to see.

And recently a female archeologist found

the tomb of an Amazon, proving the myths true.

 

It isn’t just that we are told all females

must belong to males –

we are taught to call all animals “he,” and never “she,”

 as if females count for nothing.

We are taught to prefer the male,

Treasure the male above all females.

Accepting the normalcy of patriarchy

means learning to accept the norm of rape,

 the murder of females,

and the glorification of war and violence in this world.

 

Male worship is a dangerous thing –

not the loving of individual kind and gentle males,

but the adoration of maleness as superior.

 

Someone I love was raised by a mother

who hated her for being female.

Worse than the daily beatings, fractures, dislocations,

was being told by the woman who should have protected her

little girl that “girls are dirty and disgusting,”

But boys are wonderful.

Yet in that community, some boys openly tortured

 and killed small animals in the streets and

traveled in cowardly gangs to rape girls.                                                    

 

Male worship is dangerous when males are destroying the world.

 

I remember my girlhood friends

with their love of other girls.

I remember my best friend who I was in love with,

training,

yes,

I mean training herself

To be attracted to males.

It wasn’t easy to work so hard at what didn’t come naturally.

 

But knowing how we are supposed to behave

Frees us to be all who we can be.

Why are they so afraid of us?

Maybe if they know that we are no longer

Portrayed as freaks and monsters,

ALL females will do what comes naturally.

 

And without females’ support,

There can be no more patriarchy.

 

 

Bev Jo

2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Bev Jo

I’ve been a Lesbian from my earliest memories and am proud to be a Lesbian. Lesbians are my people and my blood. My life’s work has defending Lesbians and our culture and existence against those who oppress us. Working-class, ex-catholic, mostly European-descent (with some First Nations, probably Shawnee, ancestry), from poverty class culture. I’m a Lifelong Lesbian, born near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1950. I became lovers with my first lover in 1968, became part of a Lesbian community in 1970, and became a Dyke Separatist in 1972. I helped create Radical Lesbian Feminist and Separatist community and worked on some of the earliest Lesbian Feminist projects, such as the Lesbian Feminist Conference in Berkeley in 1972, the newspaper “Dykes and Gorgons” in 1973, the women’s bookstore, Lesbian coffeehouse, and taught self defense to women and girls for ten years. I’ve been published in journals and anthologies, including “For Lesbians Only,” “Finding the Lesbians,” “Lesbian Friendships,” “Amazones d’Hier, Lesbiennes Aujourd’hui,” “Mehr als das Herz Gebrochen,” the Journal for Lesbian Studies, Lesbian Ethics, Sinister Wisdom, Trivia, and Rain and Thunder. With Linda Strega and Ruston, I co-wrote our book, “Dykes-Loving-Dykes: Dyke Separatist Politics for Lesbians Only” in 1990. Our book and my more recent articles have been updated at my blog https://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/ I’ve been disabled since 1981 with ME/CFIDS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.) I love nature and plants and animals — and especially the animals who are feared and hated and killed by people who don’t even know them, just as Lesbians are. I’ve learned to love rats especially, who I do not consider inferior to humans. I’m a spiritual atheist, but I’ve found out that there is definitely life after death because a little rat returned from the dead for three days to comfort us. These hated little animals are so kind and loving, and willing to die for someone they love. I say, in our fight to protect the earth — distrust all “truths” we are taught by patriarchy. The true truth is often the opposite.
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19 Responses to Naturally Lesbian

  1. Feminist Pirate says:

    I am a lesbian feminist activist and I support you 100%. I believe that men should stop oppressing women by lusting after them sexually as all heterosexual intercourse is rape and involves the subjugation of women. But many men and boys are brainwashed by the patriarchy and believe erroneously that their desire to sleep with women is innate. We must raise a new generation of sexually liberated and enlightened men by encouraging males to turn to each other for sexual intimacy from an early age. We must reject the heteronormative, patriarchal stigma that deprives children of realizing their sexual desires and help teach them to love their own sex physically and emotionally starting in early childhood. Let’s start by deconstructing the heterosexist terms “pederasty” and “pedophilia” used to vilify adults helping children discover their natural sexuality.

    Like

  2. Bev Jo says:

    Okay, everyone, this must be what is called a “troll,” huh? Starts out good….but then “we must raise a new generation of sexually liberated and enlightened men…” Well, fuck you, no. Why must “we” do anything for men, let alone make more of them? And then the real reason for this post: This man is using feminist language to get feminists to support and encourage even more boys and men to rape and sexually assault children?

    Yes, we do need to get rid of “pedophilia” because it means love of children, and call it what it is: Child rape.

    He must not have a clue who we are, but we know who he is.

    Like

  3. Feminist Pirate says:

    Ummmm NO, it is not child “rape”! Rape is when women have sex with men and brainwashed to think that they want it. Rape is the institution of female slavery known as marriage. When little girls are introduced the magic of the female sexuality through the guidance of adult wymyn that is not rape. I said it before, and I’ll say it again(in language that you hopefully will better understand and not misinterpret): We must reject the heteronormative, patriarchal stigma that deprives girls of realizing their sexual desires and help teach them to love wymyn physically and emotionally starting in early childhood.

    And don’t you DARE oppress another feminist sister by calling her “he” ever again!!!

    Like

  4. Bev Jo says:

    You have got to be joking — No Lesbian Feminist would ever recommend molesting girls — or would want to. And certainly no “sister” of mine. Girls don’t need adult women to teach them about loving other girls. Just get out of the way. Fine to get rid of every bit of het and male propaganda, but no adult should EVER have sexual contact with a girl. Yes, I do call it “girl rape.” And, yes, I still don’t think you’re a female because you sound more like a member of NAMBLA.

    Like

  5. jane hathaway says:

    omg, that commenter is for sure a male. he has probably assaulted children. no female (feminist or not) would talk like that.

    Like

  6. SheilaG says:

    They are so utterly predictable, aren’t they.

    Like

  7. Valerie M says:

    Yeah I really can’t see *any* female saying this. Got to be a dude.

    Like

  8. Sharon P. says:

    I’m a life long lesbian, and I’m sick of all this queer crap I hear. Some young women who used to be called lesbian or butch are now “queer”. I don’t understand why women who are attracted to other women would use a term that historically was used to describe gay men, especially effeminate gay men.

    This is very spooky to me because queer is heavily used by young people of both sexes. Queer theory is actively being promoted on college campuses. What happens to young women when they are constantly being told that they are queer? Lesbians have a unique history that is different than gay men. This is very frightening to me. Lesbian history is slowly being lost. This is almost like losing a piece of my soul.

    I don’t know why some women choose to use the term queer or queer women. After all, what have queers ever done for women?

    Like

    • Bev Jo says:

      I agree completely! We used queer in our book, before “genderqueer” began being used to erase Lesbian identity, for the shock value of describing how Lesbians who were still very het identified were lesbophobic and Lesbian-hating, but never to replace “Lesbian” or “Dyke.” This whole “LGBTQetc.” movement is destroying Lesbian communities. And our history is being re-written by men identifying as Lesbians. But, to answer you, it’s far more trendy now to identify as “queer” rather than Lesbian. I still meet long-time Lesbians who are afraid to use the word “Lesbian” for themselves.

      Like

  9. SheilaG says:

    You’d be shocked to see what is happening on college campuses to the word “lesbian.”
    Queer was a derrogatory term for effeminate man, it does not have a lesbian herstory the way dyke does.
    Radical lesbian feminists are being erased by the trans-pleasing these days. It’s pretty scary.

    Like

  10. Sharon says:

    I’ve decided to do some serious research. In reality, queers, or women who identify as queer have never done anything for women. Historically, as I see it, queers have always been abscent. Now, carefully think about this. Young women who identifiy as queer women naturally take several things for granted. First, where were the queers when courageous women were fighting for the right to vote? Suffragettes never considered themselves as queer women. Second, queers never had anything to do with reproductive rights for women. Margaret Sanger wasn’t queer. Third, queers have rarely, if ever, spoken out against violence against women. Women who identify as queer women trample over the graves and bones of thousands of feminists. The early feminists obviously were women of all sexual orientations. However, according to my research, none of the pioneering women ever considered themselves as queer women. Queers never gave women the right to vote. The word queer as it relates to women grew out of the reactionary period that started in the 1980s.

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  11. Bev Jo says:

    I don’t agree. Queer was a word used against us from my earliest memories. Yes, it was used against men too. My mother accused my father of being queer. But also, the older girl I was in love with since I was 5 was called “that queer girl.” (That was in the Fifties.)

    I agree with how our Lesbian movement is being erased, partly by women identifying as “queer,” but the problem with research is that we can only find what they have allowed to recorded.

    It sounds like you are saying that Lesbians were not part of the suffragist fight for the vote or the fight against violence against women , but of course they were. Lesbians have been in the forefront of every fight for women, even when it didn’t help us, such as about birth control and abortion. Of course het women usually try to write us our of history.

    I don’t really know how much Lesbians in the past turned the insult around to make it a term of pride, but I still have a shirt from 1971 with Lesbian symbols that said “East Bay Queers.” The Lesbians who made it were radical Lesbian Feminist activists. I believe it was to remind the het women that we existed in the feminist movement. Het feminists, like many even now, just talked about the issues that concerned them and either ignored us (our existence embarrassed them and they wanted us gone from “their” movement) or were openly hostile and insulting to us — even though Lesbians fought hard to make it easier for those women to be het. I didn’t. I separated from het women as much as from men, except for my mother. (Only in the last few years have I become friends with some het women.)

    I think you want to say that younger women who identify as queer rather than Lesbian have done nothing to help women or Lesbians, but, as much as I agree with you in terms of the genderqueer movement being reactionary and anti-Lesbian, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that women identified as queer have not fully participated in creating feminism or Lesbian Feminism.

    I’m concerned about our history being re-written as it is. Since Lesbians have been in the forefront of Radical Feminism, and since “queer” has been used against us for a long time, I don’t know that we can say that early Lesbian feminists didn’t use that word some times. As I said, it was used in 1971 by some of the Lesbians who created Lesbian Feminism.

    Like

  12. Sharon says:

    First, I have never considered myself queer. I’m lesbian. Historically, queer was used to describe homosexual men, especially effeminate gay men. If one were to draw a time line between the first use of the word lesbian to the present, the use of the word “queer women” would be a tiny speck on this rather long time line. Sappho didn’t live on the Island of Queersbo in the Aegean Sea. She lived on the island of Lesbos. The Suffragettes who courageously fought for voting rights for women weren’t “queer women.” A careful scrutiny of all historical documents relating to women’s suffrage would turn up few, if any, references to “queer women”. As to women’s reproductive rights and access to contraception, a careful scrutiny of all historical records would show few references to “queer women.” I’m not aware of any early feminists who fought so hard for equality for women defining themselves as queer women. When I use the term women’s history, lesbian feminism, feminism, or women’s rights in general, I tend to view history as an extremely long time line that spans centuries not decades. When any woman looks at the extremely long time line of women’s accomplishments, the term “queer women” is largely absent. Of course, some women in the 1960s and 1970s occasionally used the word queer. During the 1960s and 1970s, women who were attracted to other women were usually called lesbian, dyke, butch, les, or femme. Queer was a derogatory word originally used to describe homosexual men.

    However, I do agree with you when you state “I don’t know that we can say that early Lesbian feminists didn’t use that word some times. “ I stand corrected, and apologize for using such broad generalizations. When I was posting on your blog, I was in a hurry and didn’t take time to carefully phrase my words properly.

    You also state, “I don’t think it’s accurate to say that women identified as queer have not fully participated in creating feminism or Lesbian Feminism.” I partially agree with this statement. Again, since I view women’s history as an extremely long time line, I can see little, if any, use of the term “queer” or “queer women”.

    By the way, it’s interesting that you use the term “Lesbian Feminism” instead of “Queer Feminism”. I’ve never heard the words queer and feminism used together. Some of most courageous lesbians rarely used the word queer to define themselves. The Daughters of Bilitis, one of the first lesbian organizations in the U.S., never used the word queer to define themselves.

    I partially agree with your statements. Despite the fact that women might have occasionally used the term queer, I can’t think of anything queers have done for women. The terms “queer theory” or “queer women” grew out of the reactionary period of the 1980s and 1990s. I completely agree with Sheila Jeffrey when she says that queer theory is a direct repudiation of lesbian feminism. Brave women who once were lesbian, butch, or dyke, are now “queer women”. Lesbians like all oppressed minorities are largely ignorant of their unique history. Throughout history, oppressed minorities have constantly had their history erased. No, I’ve never been queer. I will refuse to be called queer until the day I die.

    I urge you to read Sheila Jeffrey’s book “Unpacking Queer Theory”.

    .

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  13. Bev Jo says:

    You are assuming that you need to educate me. You’re assuming I haven’t read “Unpacking Queer Politics?” Or that I don’t know Sheila Jeffries? It’s Sheila who learned from us. She came to visit us about 25 years because she so much liked what we had written. We agreed about everything until she brought up the issue of “Butch/Fem,” which we did not want to discuss with her. To her, it was just those role-playing non-feminists who identified as Butch or Fem. When we said we disagreed, and believed that it was a choice made in early girlhood, she literally ran away and refused to discuss it. That was the worst case of putting fingers in the ears and singing loudly “I can’t hear you” that I have ever seen. It was one of the worst experiences of lesbophobia and Butch-hating that I have ever experienced. Butch oppression is a core issue of Lesbian oppression that she does not want to deal with. It is the big gaping whole in her politics and is in many Lesbian Feminists who on some level are not fully Lesbian identified. That is a tragic division in our movement that I’ve been observing for over 42 years.

    Sheila Jeffries also included many ideas from our book in her writing, but never credits us. I don’t really learn anything from reading her that I don’t already know. I appreciate that her work is widely available, but that is the privilege of being an academic. (I do not understand her. When I recently heard her speaking online, she had acquired a bizarre upper class English accent, yet when we met her, she had a lovely working class English accent.)

    But you read our book?
    What I’m saying is that we can’t say that no radical Lesbian Feminists in the past never used queer. Some used it for shock value when dealing with Lesbian-hating het feminists. It was used in my own community in 1971 and we also used it in our book — but in the opposite way from how the genderqueer use it. I feel like they coopted and stole it from us, really.

    And don’t forget that as the most radical Lesbian writing is continued to be censored, we can assume that was true in the past.

    Before Lesbian Feminism, many women did not know the word “Lesbian” or “gay.” “Queer” was the only word that many knew when I was a girl. My first introduction to Lesbian Feminism was in a group called “Gay Women’s Liberation” in the SF Bay Area in 1970.

    Of course the Daughters of Bilitis didn’t call themselves “queer.” They also didn’t call themselves “Lesbian.” They felt very mainstream and were an organization that wanted to assimilate, which is why they tried to look het, including wearing skirts, and had a name that no one would have a clue meant Lesbian — or feminist, for that matter. I think that changed later, but was true from what I saw of DOB in 1969.

    I believe we basically agree. We are Lesbians and Dykes. Queer has been completely coopted by the genderqueer movement, which is right wing and not our friend.

    But I’m not sure why you are continuing to lecture me here about all this since you do know my politics.

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  14. Sharon says:

    Because I’ve always considered you an intelligent and strong lesbian, I want to apologize if I have said anything that offended you. It’s obvious at first glance that my experiences with queer women have been different than your experiences. All the queer women that I’ve recently met seem to think that male transgendered are female or lesbian. Do you want to know why some queer women make my lesbian soul ache? I will give two specific examples below.

    (1.) When I went to a “Women’s Group” at the GLBT Center in Sacramento that was run by a young queer woman, a male transsexual was part of this “Women’s Group”. I assume that the group leader was queer because when I emailed her about the group she said that first she was thinking of holding a queer group. Then, she decided to start a “Women’s Group”. I don’t know why, but I went to the first group, and there was a MTF transsexual. I don’t have anything against MTF transsexuals, but I don’t believe they belong in a “Women’s Group”. Perhaps I’m just too old fashioned to appreciate all that is queer. Silly me, I need to get with the program.

    THIS IS A QUEER WOMAN’S IDEA OF A”WOMEN’S GROUP”
    “Welcoming all self-identified women of all orientations, gender expressions, biological sexes, ages, abilities, ethnicities, relationship status, political views, and spiritual beliefs. The only requirement for participation is that an individual self-identifies as a woman, is looking to grow emotionally, and is open to supporting other women in the growth process.”
    (source: http://saccenter.org/index.php/programs/peer-programs/womens-groups)

    ALL WOMEN ARE QUEER
    “Group content will be focused on the unique experiences of women in the queer community, including the challenges and benefits of navigating family, relationships, careers, and community as queer women.”

    (2.) There was a meetup.com group named QueerFest that stated it was “lesbian only”. Of course, I met some lesbians, but at one event I met one rather tall person who I definitely thought was male transgender, and another person who I thought might have been female, but I wasn’t sure. I’ve never considered male transsexuals lesbian. Forgive me, but I’m so old and feeble that I just can’t understand queer. Isn’t queer interesting, fun, and exciting? Everything is just so queer.

    I’m in the process of researching the emergence of queer theory and the accompanying erosion of lesbian space and lesbian identity. If you want, I will save it in .pdf format and send it to you. As to Jeffreys, I only have one comment. Overall, I find “Unpacking Queer Politics” compelling, well researched, and credible. In my opinion, both “Dykes Loving Dykes” and “Unpacking Queer Politics” should be required reading for all lesbians. These are the two books that both inspire and enrage me at the same time.
    Dyke (not queer) solidarity forever

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  15. Bev Jo says:

    The only offense was assuming I don’t have similar politics and need to be educated, which happens a lot to those of us who aren’t academics, but have more radical politics. I was also objecting to the blanket assumption that Lesbians in the past never identified as queer, which I HAD seen in my old community in 1971. As I said, they were radical Lesbian Feminists, but still working with het feminists, so calling themselves “queer” was a reminder to the het women that not all feminists are with men and that many are (shockingly) Lesbians.

    We used it in our book in a similar way, but in discussing how het-identified Lesbians can often be Lesbian-hating. If it was jarring for a Lesbian to consider herself queer (this is before the genderqueer takeover of the name), then she had some work to do about accepting herself as a Lesbian — and about accepting the rest of us. Deep lesbophobia among Lesbians still affects too many Lesbians and seriously damages our communities. I think that is part of what is behind Lesbians embracing any man who says he’s a Lesbian, as well as everyone else, and putting them before Lesbians

    It was confusing because it looks like you haven’t read the articles at my blog here where I go into great detail explaining why genderqueer and the trans cult is our enemy, is a right wing politics, and is doing terrible damage to us. I’ve gotten rape, mutilation, and death threats from trannies for posting what I have. I would think you’d feel very supported by it, because I know we basically agree — and strongly agree.

    I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time finding truly Lesbian groups. I gave up here — really. I mean, I constantly go to events and know hundreds of Lesbians, but it’s clear that events and groups labelled “women only” or “Lesbian” is exactly were the female impersonators go, rather than public events. They even went to the Butch conference!

    I know you’re being sarcastic, but it isn’t about being old or feeble that you won’t accept lies that men can become women. I know Separatists in their twenties who agree with you. It’s about a trendy, right wing movement that is stealing what we have. Even in discussions with other Lesbians who say they want female-only space, like at the Michigan fb site, we are reprimanded and insulted when we say that we will not call men “women” or “Lesbians” and we will not use our pronouns for them.

    I agree that I also like and appreciate Sheila’s books. I hope they reach as many women as possible. I just didn’t like being told to read someone who got some of her politics and ideas from me and my friends’ work and who does not credit us. That has happened before and is usually about class, but also not wanting to be associated with Lesbians who have more radical politics. This is an issue for me because we have been plagiarized in several books and not credited — even using almost identical wording to ours.

    I go further than you do with this issue — I have plenty against M2Ts appropriating our identity while fetishizing and caricaturizing us. It is as enraging and wrong as it is when European-descent people appropriate the identities of people oppressed by racism. It’s a lie and deeply offensive. But even worse, these men are re-writing our history, telling us that they are more women than we are, and are destroying the last female-only space. But again, I said all that with my articles here.

    Before you continue with your work, do read what I wrote here, and what other Radical Lesbian Feminists and Separatists have written and you will see that many of us have written about that. Have you seen Gallus Mag’s blog, GenderTrender, for instance? You would feel so much support there.

    http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/

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  16. Mary Sunshine says:

    Bev, I remember your East Bay Queers t-shirt. 😉 So great that you still have it. Seeing you wearing it said it all for me – everything that you so patiently described above. A vivid notice that one does not move from being female to being Lesbian without being, in the eyes of the world, “queer”. Bedrock, in terms of our setting in the social context.

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  17. Bev Jo says:

    Thank you, Mary. It’s wonderful that you were here at that magical time.

    Yes, today I was at a planning meeting for a wonderful local event. All Lesbians, but really more “queer identified.” Yet they are doing good work and the money for a previous event went to a disabled Lesbian history project, to help record the stories of the disabled Lesbian community while they are still alive. I wish these friends identified more as Lesbians, but they still are Lesbians, and they continue our tradition.

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  18. Pingback: The Effects of Confusing Sex and Gender | Forest Green Feminism

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