A Woman’s Brand of Homophobia

The conversation about homophobia so often centers cisgendered straight men’s distain for the gays that you’d think cis women played no parts in the matter. Incorrect! 

Do women hurl nasty homophobic insults at their presumably straight male partners for requesting anything other than the missionary-doggystyle shuffle in bed? Yes. 

Do women betray their friendships with gay men by calling them out of their names when angry or subjecting them to other forms of violence and ojectification? Often. 

However, men are not the only targets of anti-queer rhetoric from women. Queer women are not spared from any form of homophobia, not from men and not from other women. Despite the common belief that society has completed a 180 on tolerance and never bats an eye at the idea of gay women, we have not made it to the mountain top. 

Queer, speciifically lesbian, women face a unique type of homophobia that is easy to miss because it’s so often intertwined with the sexual harassment that we’ve come to accept as normal behavior. Because it is ‘normal’ for women to be sexually harassed, it is acceptable for men to bypass a woman’s declared disinterest in men and come onto her anyway for the sake of “jokes”.

In fact, the “jokes” are only funny because of the understanding (or assumption) that these women do not want to receive this type of attention from men. While we are familiar with the ways that men harass gay women, we often overlook role that women play at the intersection of rape culture and homophbia against women. 

Where does this start?

Homophobia in Girlhood 

Just like men, women learn to perform homophobia in girlhood, then enact this behavior on other children. I recall several school locker room incidents where girls loudly expressed their disgust at the potential threat of “dykes” watching them change, clutching their pearls and their belongings as they insisted on changing in bathroom stalls instead. 

This is the beginning of the oxersexualization of queer girls. Note that this behavior was always completely unprovoked, as no one made any advancements on these girls to warrant this behavior. It’s hard to imagine any queer girls would even attempt to in such an unwelcoming environment. 

In the event a girl did admit to any same-sex attraction, all it took was one other girl (the pack leader) to blast this information before a nasty smear campaign would commence. Can you imagine being a preteen girl, already struggling with the hormonal rush of that age, and having to hear your peers say these things about you?

Lesbian and queer girls were quickly dismissed as “freaks” or “weirdos” that straight girls had better stay clear of lest they be subject to the imaginary salacious advances from the big scary gay girls. It was clear that queerness itself needed to be avoided, and if you didn’t agree, you were obviously gay too. 

Some girls would even see this as an opportunity to impress the boys by inviting them to join in on jokes where the punchlines were all the same:

“She doesn’t like boys, but I do. Look at me!”

Unfortunately for some girls, it wasn’t just their male schoolmates listening, but older boys and adult men as well. Older men who might take it upon themselves to “correct” these girls’ queerness through violence, intimidation, and sometimes sexual assault. 

I’m sure these young girls never thought of the amount of sexual harassment these girls would suffer as result of these jokes. Why would they when the adults didn’t?

How the Kids Get in This? 

How do children become so comfortable spewing these mean, othering ideas? Who was warning these girls to stay away from other girls who liked girls? 

Usually their parents and family members, but people like to forgot who their family members were before their favorite cousin came out and they had to play nice. 

Who Teaches Children Homophobia? 

It might be you!

Let’s be clear that homophobia itself is adult content. If you think it is inappropriate for kids to learn about gay people (even though kids are often gay people) then it is absolutely inappropriate for you to use homophobic and sexually derogatory language in their presence. 

People will take issue with gay TV characters such as Ashley from the 2022 show Bel-Air questioning her sexuality at age 12, then will loudly, comfortably, and disgustingly suggest penis as a cure for lesbianism unprovoked in public spaces. Plus we all know how comfortable people are letting the F-word fly around at any given moment.

Any. Moment.

People are far too comfortable speaking this way in front of and directly to children and young people. The kids are absorbing this information, and deep down adults are alright with this because they want children to know that they should expect this treatment if they “choose” to engage in this behavior. 

Onward into Womanhood

We cannot continue to overlook the damage women inflict on and within the queer community, as this message extends to women who identify as queer themselves. 

Women regularly subject other women to verbal homophobic abuse and even go as far as teaming with men to harm gay women physically. Common examples include:

  • Groping women in public, then attempting to fight them for rejecting advances
  • Misgendering masculine presenting women
  • Encouraging men to fight masculine lesbians

Sometimes, women may unintentionally put queer women in harm’s way in their attempts to entice their male partners. Examples include:

  • Straight women parading around gay women to piss off their boyfriends
  • Luring an unsusptecting queer women home only to invite a man without that woman’s consent 

This behavior is particularly harmful considering the high rates of sexual assaults against queer and bisexual women.  I will never forget speaking with a woman who albeit admitted to having sex with other women before leaving them to be assaulted by men in her presence. 

While many of these examples could easily be chalked up to women violating #girlcode, these instances specifically target queer and lesbian women for their attraction to women. This is the definition of homophobia, and too many women are continuing this violent behavior. 

Let’s Do Better Ladies

Be clear: this does not imply that women are more to blame for violent homophobia towards women than men, as both men and women participate in the objectification of queer women. 

As women, it is our duty to look out for one another and not place other women in more danger than we’re already facing. Protect your gay sisters the way you do your straight ones. 

And if you don’t stand with other women at all, I invite you to honestly ask yourself why?

Things You Can Buy With $600 Right Now

  1. Lunch

Make it good too because lunch can run you ~$20 per day, meaning you can afford to eat for ONE month. You wanting to eat breakfast and dinner (or any meal after 30 days) is your own business.

2. A Bribe Gift For Your Landlord

Maybe convince them to not evict you and your kids after you’ve missed rent for the third month in a row.

3. Lingerie and Condoms

In case number two isn’t enough.

4. Not Drugs

Because of all the times in recent history to want to escape or try something new, this is NOT it. *coughs*

5. Candles

You can use these after BGE cuts your lights off.

6. A Plane Ticket

To a warmer climate after you get tossed on the street. It’s got to be more comfortable in Miami than in Milwaukee. Either that or a good coat at least.

Whatever you buy, I hope it provides you some comfort. If you can afford to invest it, do. If you choose to buy the new Jordan XI’s, do.

Who cares? The government doesn’t, so why bother.

Grow TF Up: Refusing To See Your Own Sh*t

I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me an uncomfortable truth about myself: basically, I’m an unreasonable bitch. Anytime someone does something to hurt me, whether intentional or not, I feel justified reacting as harshly as I can and will NOT hear anything about it. Why? Because they did ME wrong. So I can respond however I see fit, right? And if anybody tells me I’m wrong, I shut down on them. I pride myself in being extremely self-aware, so of course I knew she was telling no lies. However, before I could defensively inform her that this wasn’t news, she followed up with “You’ll say you know, but you never actually do better.”

After the initial dose of truth, my friend simply suggested that I grow up and handle conflict with some emotional maturity. I, of course, did not appreciate this and responded with a half-assed silent treatment (because she offered me food soon after) that lasted the rest of the night. But as soon as she told me this, I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t true. Every single word of it. I hated hearing it and I wanted to hate her for saying it. How dare she have the nerve to read me to ME? It hurt because I know I’m not perfect, but I spend ample time trying to hide that truth from other people. Obviously, my slip slipped.

So of course, I had to do some self-assessing. I did the following checklist to measure just how ridiculous I am:

Am I sometimes overly sensitive to the actions of others?

Yes.

Do I punish people for not responding to my feelings the way I want them to?

Yes.

Do I always communicate these feelings to others?

Ehh.

Do I always take the time to understand the perspectives of others?

No.

Am I sometimes selfish?

Yes.

Do I honestly expect people to accept the worst of me?

Yes.

Am I willing to be better?

No, I’m perfect

Do I want to be alone because I’m too stubborn to be better?

That’s fine!

Is it really?

No.

Do I really value my relationships with the people in my life?

Yes.

Do I trust my loved ones to forgive my shortcomings?

Not sure.

I did not enjoy hearing the truth, but I hated the thought of losing my friend even more.  She wasn’t the first person to point out where I lack in relationships. Other people and situations have shown me my flaws many times, but I didn’t take the lessons because I couldn’t see past my own ego. I took any form of criticism as an attack or “hating”.  My constant conflict was everybody’s fault but mine. But if I keep finding myself in the same situations having the same feelings with people telling me the same things, I must have some work to do.

Even as a kid, my mother would tell me I had an attitude problem that would cause me issues as I got older. I told myself she just didn’t like me and was hating. When I got older and started losing friends because of it, I told myself they just weren’t good friends. When it caused me problems in my romantic relationships, I told myself the person for me wouldn’t offend me in the first place. As time went by, I didn’t even notice that I wasn’t as good of a friend/family member/partner as I thought, but people wouldn’t tell me to my face because they knew how I’d respond. Lord, I became the girl you can’t say nothing to! I feel ashamed of that because the people around me deserve a better me and I deserve to be in healthy relationships. However, my relationships can’t be healthy if I refuse to quit my own unhealthy behavior.

To me, hearing that I was wrong meant my feelings weren’t valid. I had to learn that my hurt feelings did not justify my hurtful actions.  I am learning that there are alternatives. Instead of lashing out at or dismissing people, I can simply say “You hurt me, and I didn’t like that.” I absolutely owe my gratitude and an open apology to every friend, partner, and family member who has tolerated my disrespect and childish behavior because they loved me. I am forever grateful for those who stayed in my life because they see my heart and believe that I can be better.

No more bullshit justifications!

So girl, I appreciate you telling me the truth. I needed to hear it, and I’m a better woman because of it.

5 Nonviolent Ways To Get Back At Your Ex

Here’s a short list of petty ways to get back at your ex that won’t land you in jail. Somebody needs it, so let’s get into it:

1.       Take Your New Boo To Their Barber Or Loctitcian 

That’s right. This is a full-on violation of a sacred space! What is more disrespectful than sending your new partner to the person who does your old bae’s hair? Especially if new boo gets out of the chair right before old boo and peeps what old boo’s true hairline is looking like between cuts. Yikes. 

2.       Cancel That Flight They’re Bragging About On Instagram

This only works if they forgot to leave the confirmation number off their post. That’s the only piece of information you need to cancel a flight, so if you have that, you have your revenge.

3.       Take A Brick To Their Car

Before you go busting the windows out of their car, consider simply gluing the brick to the windshield instead. Imagine how hard you’ll laugh at the thought of them driving around with a whole brick stuck to their car, struggling to figure out who did it and how. They’ll likely end up having to replace the windshield anyway if you use the right kind of adhesive, so maybe save this for the ex who did you the dirtiest. Up to you. 

4.       Submit Their Resume To Phony Job Postings Online

This will have multiple scammers calling and emailing them with useless information forever. Like…forever. 

5.       Take Their Pet To The Shelter

This is pretty low, but that’s the point. Anybody can drop a dog or cat off at their local SPCA. They usually charge a surrender fee, but it’ll be less than the adoption fee your ex will have to pay to get their precious fur baby back. To be extra petty, you can leave the details in a note in the hallway signed in the pet’s name.

Try not to do anything that will have you looking crazy on the news. It’s normal to be angry at a partner after a break-up, and it is even more normal to struggle with being the bigger person. If you find yourself needing to take a final jab at the person who just broke your heart, find a non-literal way to do it. Comment below with the pettiest things you’ve done or experienced after a break-up. Help keep another grieving sister or brother off of The Shade Room!

Why Community Policing Won’t Work

One summer evening, a sizable group of Black men gathered outside a mosque in a quiet, west Baltimore neighborhood. Their mission was simple: create a Black neighborhood watch organization to protect their own community. To end their reliance on hateful, often violent outsiders for the “protection” of their home. As usual, there were no weapons and the noise level was low considering the amount of people gathering. The idea was that the presence of this group would deter any negative activity in the neighborhood by letting people know that, finally, they were being protected by an organization that shared their interests. The men proudly marched block to block so their people could see them and they would see their people. This was the community policing initiative we’ve all been tweeting about for the last five years, and it was an incredibly powerful moment. Then the police showed up.

Now it’s important to note that the police didn’t just show up because their police senses started tingling. They were called by someone from the very community these men came out to defend. Someone looked out of their window, saw this group of Black men walking through the streets, and immediately assumed they had ill intentions. It likely never occurred to this person to simply ask the men what they were doing.

Community policing can’t work because people are too afraid of their own neighbors. We do not trust each other and honestly feel safer calling the police for small offenses than directly communicating our grievances. It is time to check ourselves and ask if we are actually ready to take responsibility for our own communities. And if we aren’t, we need to prepare ourselves by starting on an individual level.

You want to see us policing, or rather protecting, ourselves? Next time one of your neighbors is letting off fireworks and keeping you up until midnight, challenge yourself to knock on their door and express your concerns. Don’t be afraid to get a negative or confrontational reaction. Stop assuming the worst of people. Conflict is a necessary step in community building, and it is definitely preferable to the tragic scenarios that so often follow police involvement. Community policing can’t just be a group of selected men and women charged with guarding our streets. It must begin with us each having enough respect and trust in our people to take responsibility for our interactions with each other. How can we demand the opportunity to defend our own community if we don’t already believe the people around us are worth defending?