DeAnne Smith and the Lesbian Invasion

Normally, I don’t mind being a “typical” lesbian. In fact, I enjoy it. The no-nonsense wardrobe, the no-nonsense hair, the no-nonsense fear of impending carpal tunnel syndrome. I like being your everyday, run-of-the-mill queer. I like the fact that every item of clothing I own is either black or plaid. I like having short nails. I like pretending to understand Tegan and Sara lyrics. Oh, and the whole sex-with-girls thing ain’t half bad either. (C’mon, wrists, we can get through this!)

'snice, park slope via yelp

There are certain places, though, where being a lesbian just feels a little too cliché. My current haunt, King St. in Sydney, is one of those places. As is Mile End in Montreal, or Park Slope in New York or any vegan cafe in any city anywhere.

Hey, and please don’t get sensitive and misunderstand what I’m saying here. Don’t take it personally. Because if you take it personally, I’ll need to explain myself and the more you look at me like that the more defensive and flustered I get and now I’ve chosen the wrong words and yeah, I said that, but I didn’t mean it LIKE THAT. And now we’re caught up in this processing cycle, where whatever I say to try to clarify my point of view only seems to make you more and more hurt and I don’t understand why and for some reason you can’t hear what I’m saying, and now we’ve moved on from processing to actually processing the processing, and why is this happening and how can we fix it but then we realize we’re getting our periods and oh, of course, it all makes sense now and oh, how we’ll laugh and laugh and laugh. (After we’re done crying.)

So, you know what I’m saying, right?

I like being on King Street and in vegan cafes, as much as any self-respecting lesbo likes hot girls and substitute soy options. (Which is to say, A LOT.) But when I’m surrounded by a bunch of lesbians that look like lesbians that look like me, I feel kinda weird. I’m forced to confront a nebulous mess of emotions, contradictions and tingling sensations that are best described as– say it with me– “Feelings.”

I think my girlfriend sums up the strange feeling of unease that comes with being on King St. when she says, “It’s weird being, like, the fourth lesbian couple to walk into a restaurant.” I agree, but I can’t quite articulate why. (Which doesn’t mean I won’t spend the rest of this entry trying to.) One would think that being surrounded by “my kind” would make me feel relaxed and at home and like one of the gang. Instead, sometimes when I see another and another and yet another androgynous girl with sweepy bangs, funky glasses, a chunky watch and a graphic t-shirt, it just makes me feel like a cheap carbon copy, an inferior version of my own self. I feel like nutritional yeast flakes to actual cheese, Elizabeth Keener to Catherine Keener.

I worry that it comes down to internalized homophobia. Luckily for me, I’m somewhat distracted from worrying by the fact that I just had an opportunity to use one of my favorite phrases in the world: internalized homophobia. I love saying “internalized homophobia,” because I feel like it makes me sound academic and intelligent and feminist and like someone who would be really good at Scrabble and a certain kind of intuitive lovemaking. Any time there’s a chance to work “internalized homophobia” or “excoriate” or “paradigm” into a conversation, I’m there.

What was I saying? I’m cognizant enough of my own internalized homophobia to be wary of any subconscious tendency to excoriate the modern urban lesbian paradigm. (Helloooo, ladies!) I like us, and I like that we have so much in common, at least superficially, just because we all like mackin’ on other chicks. In some ways, it’s reassuring to see someone rocking the same style and feel a part of a larger community, a family, a massive sticky swarm of pulsating gayness oozing languidly into every crevice of the city.

But it’s still weird. The other night, my girlfriend and I were, in fact, the fourth lesbian couple to walk into the restaurant. Maybe my self-consciousness results from my projection of other people’s reactions. I imagine it goes something like this: With the first lesbian couple, it’s like, “Oh, that’s cute. How neat.” With the second lesbian couple, it’s like, “Wow, this is getting interesting.” With the third lesbian couple, it’s like, “Okay, guys, we get it!” With the fourth, it’s, “Seriously?! What the hell is happening? What is this?” In fact, I think it’s comparable to my reaction to watching “Solid Potato Salad” by the Ross sisters, which follows the same exact emotional progression from “Hey, this is cute” to “SRSLY WTF.”


So, ladies, I ask you, WTF? Help me make sense of this. Answers to any and/or all of the following questions are welcome.

Have you ever felt kind of cliché in a lesbo-heavy ‘hood? How do you deal with it? Do you even know what I mean? Is that how straight girls feel all the time? What’s your favorite academic-sounding word? How can I avoid carpal tunnel syndrome? How come people nowadays don’t harmonize with their sisters and wear matching outfits and yell out “hoy hoy” in the middle of songs?

And, most importantly of all, what ever happened to the the 3-person, face-to-crotch cartwheel? It looks like a really efficient form of transportation.

DeAnne Smith is a hilarious and famous lesbian with a website and a twitter account.
Feature image via Maro Hagopian, living f*cking legend for real. Educate yourself.

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I care a lot about my hair. Unrelatedly, I say short, funny things at

DeAnne has written 22 articles for us.


  1. I haven’t even finished reading this post, and I don’t like to use this phrase, but “…Elizabeth Keener to Catherine Keener” = LOL

  2. Oh my god. That Solid Potato Salad thing… easily the scariest thing I’ve seen since that pic of a huntsman spider in your first column. Are you TRYING to scare the wits out of me?

  3. I live in a smallish southern city, so this is actually a rarity to me…except for the IHOP, which me and my friends now call IHOH (International House of Homos). It never fails, if you go in at eleven or twelve at night (because bacon is good anytime, and everything else is closed anyway) there will be at least us and two or three other couples (plus a sizeable number of the waiters.)
    Do Homos just really love pancakes?

    • correct. i was in a pancake place yesterday and there were so many gays.

      though i’m also from portland. but let me tell you, there were almost exclusively queer lady couples in there, which is unusual even for portland.

      • there are like four gay waiters at our denny’s but not at our ihop. if denny’s had the different flavored syrups, it would be perfect.

        • Starbucks has like a 90/10 gay/straight staff ratio and MANY different flavoured syrups. You can see why they’re in charge of the world.

    • Well, the IHOP closest to my house is on cox road. Which means that it’s IHOP on cox. Which is how they identify themselves when you call them. “Hello, IHOP on cox, how may I help you?” But I don’t know if that’s gay or me just being 14.

    • Denny’s and IHOP are so gay. I regularly drag a large group of homos out to ours- also in a smallish southern city- and run into other gays. Waffle House is not though. Waffle House is very straight.

    • Okay SOMEONE has to make a “The IHOP Papers” reference by Ali Leibegott. Who is a lesbian.

  4. brilliant! i love words like “paradigm” and other academic, intelligencia-esque words. i’m one of those queers who gets hooked on grrls who use them in educated run-on sentences that never really end….

    anyway, LOVE THIS!!!

  5. This was so fucking good – PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write more for Autostraddle. You have been Twitter-followed!

  6. “And now we’re caught up in this processing cycle, where whatever I say to try to clarify my point of view only seems to make you more and more hurt and I don’t understand why and for some reason you can’t hear what I’m saying, and now we’ve moved on from processing to actually processing the processing, and why is this happening and how can we fix it.”

    I swear to god, THIS by itself almost scared me away from ever trying to date girls again, after my first experience with it. Actually, it made me understand how men must feel upon hurting the feelings of a girl without meaning to, just by saying the wrong thing. It made me feel like I was being an insensitive lout, despite my best attempts to be good. THE DRAMA! Thankfully I persevered with the chick-dating and thankfully this cycle actually isn’t inevitable in every relationship!

    In other news, DeAnne is hysterical. <3

  7. I contemplated replying to this post because I didn’t want what I say to be misunderstood. I usually cannot articulate what I’m feeling accurately unless I write several drafts, but I’m hoping you will be able to figure out where I’m coming from.

    I feel this way, somewhat. A slightly different situation, but I think similar enough. Recently, in my personal realm, friends and acquaintances have told me that they are interested in women, which is all fine and dandy but I can’t help and think that “liking women” is “in” right now. I feel awful, guilty and judgmental saying that but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt that twinge sometimes. Keep in my mind, I am solely speaking on behalf of my life and the people in it, not society as a whole. I cannot speak for that.

    Thinking back to when I came out a short while ago (almost a year ago in Feb.), I went through the process very much alone because I had no one to relate to. Now, its like everywhere I turn or look there is a “girl who likes girls”. Literally! An explosion. I can’t help but feel that it is not genuine. And as you said, it makes me feel like a “cheap carbon copy, an inferior version of my own self”. I guess it doesn’t really matter if its genuine because everyone has the right to experiment and figure out who they are and claim to be whoever they want to be because that is the beauty of life. But on the other hand, it almost hurts/offends me to hear them talk like its the newest game/trend/party trick that they can pick up and toss aside when they are finished. Maybe I’m being too sensitive.

    Did this make any sense? Is anyone else experiencing something similar? I feel like I just contradicted myself the entire time. The main point is: I understand to a degree what you are saying/feeling, haha.

    • Re-reading this, I already regret posting it because I feel it is not at all what I wanted to say. You know, sometimes I really hate words. They never sum up things completely. Hmph. I sound bitter? But I am not.

      • I kind of get what you’re saying; my friends too are all super gay now! But I actually really like it. One of my straight friends was talking about how much she hates it that “gay is trendy” and I got really mad at her because I think it means, in some ways, that people are learning to not just default to heterosexuality. Ya know? So maybe try to think of it that way! I know you’re not actually bitter and that it can be hard sometimes to see something that will be a lifelong thing for you be tossed around, but it will be okay!

        • :D

          Actually, I understand and agree with you. I think what it comes down to is just a personal problem within ME, you know? I guess I’m being a little selfish. Also, now that I think about it, maybe a bit envious…because of how simple it seems to them when it took me years of pain and struggle to finally get where I’m at. (in no way am I saying that people should have to go through pain, wouldn’t wish that on anyone, just speaking on how it was for me). You made me feel better already.

          Thank you for replying!

      • Megan I think you make perfect sense :) As DeAnne says, it is a complicated quandry stirring complicated feelings!

    • I completely agree with you. i came out really early, 14, not thinking it was a big deal. That was 6 years ago and it sucked. So when i moved schools i was in the closet so fast, my senor year some girl asked me “have you ever made out with a girl?” And she said it in such a way, like if you hadn’t something was wrong with you/loser. I internally freaked out, and wanted to scream at the hypocrisy of the whole thing… but i didn’t, and said no. we ended up dating for the 6 months before college. I may have been really upset at the whole thing, because of how i had been treated before, but at the same time i’m thankful now cause its an easier world to live in (that may also be because im not in high school anymore).

  8. Holy crap, what WAS that video? So disturbing on every single level.

    I live in a pretty non-lesbionic area so I guess I do enjoy venturing to/ending up at places frequented by the ladies with alternative lifestyles haircuts. It’s kind of like, aw cute hispters. Then again, I don’t fall into any particular lesbian cliche appearance-wise (guilty everywhere else) so I don’t really feel like I’ve got a doppelganger to contend with.

    Perhaps it’s internalized homophobia on your part, but it may also be the effects of societal pressures that automatically equate sexual nonconformity with a dress code that deviates from the norm. In order to be different, there is an assumption that one needs to portray oneself in a certain way to be acceptable by the lesbian community at large and simultaneously be “trendy” to the straight community. So in a situation such as this, when one is surrounded my multiple nonconformers, it’s probably confusing since the loss of individuality directly conflicts with the need to deviate. I guess how I see it, at the end of the day, we’re all derivative – we’re merely mirroring what we consider desirable (perhaps not to us, but theoretically desirable.) So does it really matter if we all look alike or don’t?

    • I agree with your assessment: “when one is surrounded by multiple nonconformers, it’s probably confusing since the loss of individuality directly conflicts with the need to deviate.” And I would think it is a phenomena experienced by anyone (queer/hetero/whatevero)who identifies themselves with a certain peer group and the inevitable congregating at those establishments which cater to or enhance/affirm their life. I guess I could have just said birds of a feather…

      I like saying Kuala Lumpur.

    • That last paragraph was what I really needed to read, thanks. I’m moving to San Francisco from the San Fernando Valley, where basically I only discovered lesbians there this year.

  9. I like to believe that I manage to avoid this problem entirely by dating older women and looking like a 14-year-old boy. Sounds creepy, but it’s kind of 100% true.

  10. I loved this. I also find Newtown’s high lesbian population a little unsettling, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on why.

    I live in Glebe, which’s in walking distance to Newtown. It works for me because I can enjoy Newtown’s oozing gayness on demand, without being immersed in it full time. In saying that, I’m becoming increasingly aware that Glebe’s also full of lesbians, and unlike the Newtown girls these ones are actually clones of me. Girls who will wear the black & plaid but never quite committed to the haircut.

  11. “Discourse” would be my favorite, but “paradigm” is pretty great too.

    Sometimes when I find myself in that “All the lesbians are here?” situation, I feel a little strange. Not because I’m suddenly part of a large group of gay folks, but because I think people won’t recognize me as part of said group. Unless I’m with my girlfriend, people don’t always clue in.

    I’m always happy to see fellow gay ladies, though, so I’m left with making small talk in the cafe line to the tune of “Hey, nice carabiners” like some kind of secret lesbro handshake.


    • OMG me too! Secret lesbo handshake all the way! I have long, straight hair, and dress sorta middling-femmey-jeans-and-t-shirt, so I don’t tend to ping anyone’s gaydar. I recently had the “Hey, nice ring. Didja get it in P-town?” conversation with a woman at a conference I was at. My mom was standing right there and thought it was hilarious (but had the decency not to laugh until it was just the two of us). Evidently it was a really stilted (hey there’s a good word!) conversation to witness.

  12. “What was I saying? I’m cognizant enough of my own internalized homophobia to be wary of any subconscious tendency to excoriate the modern urban lesbian paradigm. (Helloooo, ladies!)”

    I’m going to use a phrase I try to only use ironically, but I really mean it: “LOL!”

  13. “and now we’ve moved on from processing to actually processing the processing, and why is this happening and how can we fix it but then we realize we’re getting our periods and oh, of course, it all makes sense now and oh, how we’ll laugh and laugh and laugh. (After we’re done crying.)”

    right up there w/ “i will try harder i will make fresh hummus.”


    I find extreme contortionists to be almost as scary as that orange in the butt NSFW sexy sunday.


    I’m gonna sit in my office and rock back and forth now.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one scarred for life by that video.

      I hardly even remember what the post was about. I’m so freaked out right now.

      • that video freaked me out! it was cross between Deliverance and Bendable Girls Gone Wild!

        its really hard to unsee something…..yikes. but (no pun intended) but its not as scary as the orange in the anus. whoa. not that is a talent i do not posses.

        but damn — so funny! this whole site us full of articles like this! hilarious. so maybe we should be supporting our sisters as they create and write and do all that techco-mumbo-jumbo stuff that creates the awesome autostraddle we all know and love. so go donate to them — they fucking rock, dude. i’m gonna do it!

        pe–love the re-design. love. it. lots.

    • Right? It didn’t go from “cute” to “wtf”, it went from “cute” to “MUTANTS! AH GOD NO! MUTANTS!”

      • Yeah seriously, the whole time i watched that i was trying to figure out how did they cast them… scratch that, i really dont want to know

  15. my favorite word is flounder, cos it reminds me of The little mermaid and describes my adult life so far .. Look up a thesauraus cos it says : flounder: wallow, thresh about, flail about, struggle, grope, fumble, blunder, stagger, stumble, falter, dither, be confused, be in difficulties, go under, be out of your depth, not know which way to turn.
    I also like “thesauraus” not only because it provided me with endless entertainment in 6th year free periods but also because EVERYONE has a lisp when pronouncing it!!

    • flail is my favorite word this month, although i might switch it up by using flounder when i feel more like a flat fish than an octopus.

  16. Eutrophication – the natural or artificial process of nutrient enrichment whereby a waterbody becomes filled with aquatic plants and low oxygen content. The low oxygen level is detrimental to fish.

    Very bad for the environment! FYI

  17. I have bad wrists and find it most helpful to do those wimpy-person arm forearm exercises, and use kinesio tape for when I re-injure myself.

    Also, I try to not sleep on my stomach because I always tuck my hands under my head or other heavy body parts, which isn’t great for circulation. I like to avoid waking up with deformed dinosaur-arms…

    I tried to find an accurate visual depiction for you but a google images search turned up john mccain. Page two if you search for “t-rex arms”. wtf

  18. 1. Phantasmagoria: spelled like is sounds and sounds like it’s spelled. and way too much fun to say because it makes your mouth do all sorts of acrobatics. I use it whenever possible.

    2. I forgot how much I need to stretch. I have been trying and trying to throw my legs backwards over my shoulders so that I can make a heart out of my face and feet. I think it would be really rad at parties.

    off to the gym for me.

  19. Am I high or do this article and all the other recent ones only appear when I’m logged in? It’s like the site was stuck on its settings from last night (like some exes I could mention) til I did that, and now it’s today again. Confused.

  20. Superfluous. :)
    Awesome DeAnne – please do keep writing these! Only found this site through your facebook, and love it!

    • Usually I love your comments but this one makes me want to die.

      It’s more of a mouth to vag human centipede tho. An incestuous one.

    • If they weren’t sisters I would interpret the “wheel” as the weirdest way to have a threesome EVER.

    • I learned about the human centipede exactly one hour ago. My friend watched it with her boyfriend and his mother. whyyyyyy?

      • honestly, that movie is literally one of the most upsetting things i can think of. it disturbs me to no end that anyone would actually find that entertaining.

  21. As someone who lives about a minute away from King St, I found this hilarious! It is so so true. But it kind of sneaks up on you. My girlfriend and I will be walking around a bunch of straight couples, when we turn a corner and suddenly we’re part of a gaggle of lesbians.
    And I’m not sure why, but I feel the same way as DeAnne. I start thiking “oh, I hope everyone doesn’t think we’re all together or that we planned this. It looks like a mini, impromptu Pride march!”

  22. I like to throw around the word “agency” a lot. I also like to announce when I think I’m being pretentious.

    Anyway, I think internalized homophobia is involved in just about everything. When you epitomize (another good one!) a stereotype in situations where not many others do, you get to be THE lesbian; you get to own it. When you’re in situations with others like you, you become just another lesbian. Plus I think too many stereotypes in one place sometimes start feeling like a caricature of real life, like there’s some kind of unconscious competition over lesbianness going on.

    • >>Plus I think too many stereotypes in one place sometimes start feeling like a caricature of real life, like there’s some kind of unconscious competition over lesbianness going on.>>

      Yes! And it’s a competition I always lose in my head because I never feel like I look like what a lesbian “should” look like (even though I know consciously that it doesn’t freaking matter).

      • Know how you feel Dina. I don’t have a ‘lesbian-look’ about me at all, so I lose every time too. :(

        • For what it’s worth my girlfriend just read the comments here and said “DON’T WORRY DINA I THINK YOU LOOK LIKE A LESBIAN.” So there’s that!

        • I automatically lose in the “looking-gay” department because I’m brown. Not even an Alternative Lifestyle Haircut convinces anybody.

    • “homonormative” is also a good one that works well in this situation. I mean, god love the swoopy-banged, be-flanneled, iPadded alternaqueer white girls but at times you gotta wonder if we’re just constructing a microcosm of the racial and socioeconomic hegemony. That said, my stomping grounds abut San Francisco so like a rare, shiny Butterfree I hardly ever see anyone who looks like me there.

    • I’ve been into Kathmandu once. I think there were more lesbians in there at 9 am than I’ve ever seen at once place, before. In my life. It was pretty intense.

      • Oh. I lied. I went to the Roller Derby last year. I’d forgot about that. I think my irrational fear of lesbians managed to block that from my short term memory.

        So Kathmandu = almost the most lesbians ever.
        Roller Derby = terrifying

        • Oooh I forgot about the roller derby girls too!

          So another place for the lesbians/gays would be Sydney Boys gym on a Sunday. You get the european handballers, local sydney gay volleyball league, and the roller derby girls training that day :D

          well it was like that last year anyway

  23. I read this while watching Rachel Maddow and I felt like SUCH a cliche. I also laughed a bunch.

    I was an anthropology major and we really like making things verbs, i.e. “problematize”, “exoticize”,”universalize”, “essentialize”. I also like “teleology”.

    Also, that video is kind of terrifying.

  24. Getting a fix of lanky, short haired dykes in arty glasses is the best reason to visit Newtown.
    You guys are way heaps cooler then the power-suit dykes of Paddington. They scare me, and make me apologise a lot for no reason.

  25. reciprocity

    also, I live in LA and get this feeling a lot but feel like I will miss this feeling when I move to the midwest in August.

  26. Hmmmm.. yes, this experience certainly does ring true. But I have two theories on why:
    1. In, like, 98 percent of the world, when you grow up gay you develop a special brand of individualism which then makes up quite a large part of your self identity. Walking into a huge group of queer ladies I think the emotion is a combination of WHOAAAA I’m being stifled by all the never before experienced similarity with my peers … and a little bit of WHERE were you when i needed you, giant group of gays?!?!
    2. The entire lesbian communtiy is, and this is a terrible, mind-scarring metaphor, a GIANT GAY FAMILY. And like biological families, being in large groups of them makes it really difficult to feel like an indiviual. So, as much as we all hate the bitchy family barbeque dinners when we just want to break out and show that look, I share nothing with these people.. I AM 100 percent unique, my life is so much deeper than anyones, my love is so much stronger than anyones yadda yadda yadda… we will always turn to our giant gay family when none of our straight friends want to discuss the minute differences between Tegan and Sara’s songwriting, why the price of plaid is going through the roof in autumn and why our ex-girlfriend is a self-righteous, manipulative snake woman but we’re catching up for coffee on Sunday.

    End of rant.

  27. The thing about King St/Newtown is that a decent chunk of those girls are actually just hipsters/art students. So maybe you just have internalized hipsterphobia?

  28. the golden word:

    *ding ding ding* what do i win, huh?

    Oh and DeAnne, this article was TOO funny, but alas, I’ve yet to run into a huge lesbo gathering. And shit, if I plan to smoke, I’ll probably be craving lots of unreasonable food at unreasonable hours, in which case I can go to IHOP (for the pancakes, of course)?

      • Ooooh really? Did we have a lesbian synapse connection? SPORTS GUY CHEST BUMP! COME ON!


        The fact that my first icon was Oprah with Elmo..ROCKS.
        Well, the fact that any icon on this particular website has Oprah in it rocks. Especially since like “teh gay” accusation makes her cry about why she’s so not it and how her homogay friendship with Gayle is so not homogay.

        Um, back to the article though:
        1) I agree with Tiara…being brown and being femme makes me lose in the “looking gay” department, although these knee high combat boots were a positive step forward.
        2) You can never avoid carpal tunnel. I’m so sorry.
        3) Straight girls can never really feel cliché because, well, everything about a romantic situation between hetero people is cliché and so they’ll never ever notice. Thank Hollywood for that. And then throw up.
        4) And then travel to a country where you’ll never have a chance to see openly queer couples EVER or maybe a few states in the U.S. *cough wyoming cough* And then run back to that shop and revel in the rainbow homogayness happening in your local neighborhood.

        • Oh yeah, and another thing:


          Such a good word.

          1) because it’s used all the time in the The Book Of Birthday Horoscopes book which is fucking epic
          2) because Jennifer Beals used it in her AS interview which is fucking epic inside of epic multiplied by epic. Yeah…that’s that Odyssey type epic.

  29. Innocuous and hubris those of my favorite words.

    I know what you mean but given to how I came to understand my queerness it was ubiquitous so I did not give it to much thought if I was the *only*gay lady. I worried about other things like being the *only* woman, *only* person of color in my surroundings, how good-looking I am or the state of my mind if I did not consume caffeine. I figured those identities/thoughts weigh far more in my consciousness than me being gay. However when these identities intersect I find myself being too gay to function.

    • I love ‘paradoxically’ but ‘dichotomies’ is also an excellent one to use in attempts to impress lecturers.

  30. Hummm… I have a general comment on this website. (Maybe this isn’t the place?) It could be just me, but it seems like across this website, all the women pictured are cisgendered, white, fairly skinny, hairless folks. I fit 3/4 of that but… really? Is this what we want to portray as the standard lesbian? Are there no Latina lady-kissin’ ladies? I also see a lot of transphobia and classism in the articles I’ve read. Maybe it’s obnoxious to assume that all lesbians should be thinking about their various privileges, and possibly heteronormative/homophobic/whateva to think things like ‘you kiss ladyfolk, why aren’t you radical?’, but it only seems natural, since they don’t have heterosexual privilege. I think it’s really easy for white queer folk to assume that their ‘struggle’ is THE ‘struggle’. Nah. It’s individual and to say otherwise is to equate homophobia with racism when, in reality, the problems are much different, especially in various cultural and state institutions.

    • I think the problem with presenting a wide range of imagery on websites like this is the fact that what you can get from stock photo websites are *extremely* limited, especially when you’re looking for stock photos of lesbians. I used to have a job where I’d have to source images from Getty, and I’d always JUMP when I had the chance to source one with a non-white/fat/non-standard gender presenting person in it… and, alas, that was not often. :( I can’t imagine it’s much better anywhere else.

      Which articles did you think were classist/racist/transphobic? One of the things I really like about Autostraddle is that I find the articles really even-handed about such things…

    • heh, the last time this discussion happened, there was a major shitstorm in the comments, and then it got rather bitchily referred to again in the Top 10 lists (something about if you had a problem you should just contact the admins directly – except I don’t think that’s really helpful). For what it’s worth I agree with you, and while partly things are getting better and partly it’s because the pop culture A/S is reflecting on is largely white/cis/western/etc centric, there’s still potential for more diversity than there is atm.

  31. By the time I finished watching that video I had completely forgotten what this post was about, and all I could think was wouldn’t the crotch to face cartwheel possibly be the worst thing to have to practice on a regular basis?

  32. After watching the potato salad video clip….I was slightly turn on. I guess I have a thing for EXTREME FLEXIBILITY!

  33. To avoid carpal tunnel you should wear a wrist brace to bed. Also if you get a black with all the cool straps you get to feel like half a ninja. To become a compleate ninja you have to jump around on the furniture and hide in cupboards.

  34. Oh Newtown.

    I know how you feel. The worst are Wednesday nights. (Have you experienced this phenomenon?) It’s lesbian night and I don’t mind it so much when I get into the, ah, venue/s. But when I’m making my way there and there are five other lesbians in my train carriage and THEY ALL KNOW WHERE I’M GOING. And when we all get off at the same stop? Yeah, that is the ‘mini impromptu pride march’, right there.

    p.s. You are hilarious and you should write for Autostraddle 8758974 times more often.

  35. When I walk into a place with one or more lesbian couple I revert to a real child like state (after checking them out):

    “Ugh, everything she is wearing is Bench or superdry…”

    Looks down…

    “Fuck, me too. Look busy.”

    Then I try and turn my eyes in two separate directions to keep catching looks at them and pretend I’m looking at other things, like Superdry jeans or something.

    I’m so socially akward sometimes. Guh.

  36. I’m feeling a sense of deja vu because I could’ve sworn that I saw my friend comment on someone’s Facebook status that was talking about how they didn’t feel that lesbian on King St. because everybody is a lesbian.

    I’m like Crystal. I live just far away enough from Newtown and Oxford St (Sydney’s little pockets of gay) so that I can easily enjoy the place without having to be immersed in it 24/7.

    It is quite amusing though when you walk around a not stereotypically gay district of Sydney, and suddenly you spot more than one lesbian in your proximity. Or maybe I’m just too easily amused :)

  37. So, here’s a thought. I’m a white girl in the Philippines, in a part where there aren’t many white people at all, and I’ve noticed that if there DOES happen to be another white person on the street, or in the store, or whatever, they EXPLICITLY AVOID making eye contact with me or acknowledging my existence in any way.

    It’s awkward, is what I’m saying.

    Now, I’m pretty sure it’s not internalized racism, ’cause, y’know, we’re white. My best guess it’s like–oh! There’s a person who has something superficial but very noticeable in common with me! Crap. Do I have to talk to them? We might not have anything else in common. And I really have plenty of other stuff to do with my day. But crap, now I can’t stop looking at them. That’s probably creeping them out. Shit.

    And by that point it’s too late to actually have a conversation, and, like, WHAT DO YOU DO.

    So that’s what I think.

    (Also, for me, it’s “heteronormative.” Picked that up freshman year of college, never let go.)


    I find that if it’s just one or two Alternative Appearance people around me, sometimes I just want to get to know them and sometimes I resent them for threatening my role. I think the difference is if I actually like their style, or actually think that their style is a little meh but I know will get lumped in with mine as if it were the same. I find it someone freeing to be around large groups of people of Alternative Appearance because then I know that my appearance won’t be misinterpreted or judged and that I get to be even WEIRDER if I want to. But, I really enjoy the fashion/punk/very visual aspects of this, not just the queerness that sometimes goes along with it, so perhaps it’s not so personal?

  39. probably one of the most awesome things i’ve read in like forever.
    fucking cheers homie.

    and like to add to what you’re saying, i feel like it’s something we are all awkwardly aware of feeling.

    and why dont we ever like acknowledge each other in public???

    sometimes i wanna go around hi fiving all the lesbos i see and be like “yyeaaahhhh girl whats up??? thats right i like pussy too! give me five on the back hand side.”

    but it’s never ever like that lmao

    why isn’t it EVER like that????

    i feel like we subconsciously try to out cool each other by NOT acknowledging it.

    please if you see me and my girl out and about in NYC or wherever we may be, feel free to come over, say what’s up and get a hug and probably a FB add haha

    seriously though….do it!

  40. i found this video last year, and i thought the song was quite catchy. not to mention i probably watched it 5 times thinking that i use to be able to do the splits, and if i still could, i wonder if i could do those moves. it also made me want a gallon of potato salad. german, mustard, any kind really. it’s sooo… delectable.

    i think if i was in a room full of stereotypical gays, i’d probably just smile, and hope that we don’t get our periods on the same week. cause y’know, that’d be a bad week.


  41. i think carpal tunnel is inevitable, unfortunately. unless you keep that S.O. extra handy (pun intended)!

    i dont know if i completely agree with the other stuff, mostly bc i dont look like most of the chicks i see at the local dyke bar. sometimes i wish i did, but lord knows i cant pull off that hair and i look like a complete dork in bad ass boots. to be honest, it doesnt matter if im at a restaurant, bookstore, running past them in the park, wherever – i love lesbians. especially when it’s just a few, or somewhere you’d least expect to see other homogays. i just want to make eye contact with them all and give them one of those, “oh, me too!” smiles, and make my girlfriend feel completely awkward that im talking to strangers (yet again).

  42. Hmm, I live in semi-rural Missouri, so not an experience I have often…or ever. Also we don’t go out that much – the equivalent of middle-aged married couple.(Sorta like “Date Night”, only lesbian)

    As for words:
    defenestration, cause don’t you just need a word for throwing someone…mmm, something…through a window?

  43. I thought this was great!! though as one whose look ,i guess, translates as femme to most women i always feel like the non queer. Like when I walk into a coffee house and i see all the ‘snatch hounds’ sorry had to use it…. I always feel like ‘no, im not going to cut my hair for you. Or im like im not giving in to the beiber fever!’ –with my small yet might clinched fists when secretly im like damn that girl got some sweet style! I mean i live in san diego aka: Man Diego and when i see more than one set of queer ladies im like ‘WTF?!’ wheres the bus….. like where can i get on…. i mean really… Are we gonna do this… please mas mujeres por favor! ^_^ but yea

  44. wow. I autostraddled my entire day away, which is totally awesome. I think i’ll stick to the theme and watch some L word before muffdiving into dreamland.

    and my favorite words?

    mojito and smorgasbord.

    I know they aren’t super smart sounding, but they’re fun to say.

  45. I think I would feel better if he’d kept them in the feed room. My life would be better right now if he’d kept them in the feed room.

    • I finally thought of a word I like. It took awhile. My brain was still on vacation. It missed the memo that the holidays were over.

      Exacerbate is really, really fun to say.

  46. i feel you I’m brown too and i feel u w/the looking gay…..
    like just cause i don’t look like chingy don’t mean I’m not butch you feel me?

  47. DeAnne, I feel exactly the same in Newtown. And on Oxford St.

    I was watching the video thinking “oh its not that bad”.. and then I saw the ending and now I can’t get the image out of my head.

  48. I read the phrase “3-person, face-to-crotch cartwheel” before actually watching the video, but my jaw literally dropped when I saw it.

    Anyway, I honestly tend to feel more cliché around hipster boys than I do lesbians. Which has more to do with internalized hipster-phobia and probably some gender issues than internalized homophobia. :/

  49. 1. Clearly this author has never stepped foot on a woman’s college campus…slug much? 2. “There are certain places, though, where being a lesbian just feels a little too cliché.” SERIOUSLY? isn’t this what everyone is fighting for? the normalization of lesbianism to the extent that it could possibly be considered cliche? 3. you can’t have your cake and eat it too. > “I want to be out and stereotypically lesbian and I want to have the world be ok with that, but I want to be the only one who can do that.” really?

  50. -Have you ever felt kind of cliché in a lesbo-heavy ‘hood?

    No, since I’m not really of the same strain of lezboness.

    -How do you deal with it?

    Find the outcasts and talk about what interests me.

    -Do you even know what I mean?

    Yes, absolutely.

    -Is that how straight girls feel all the time?

    No, because they are not aware of the dynamic that’s taking place.

    -What’s your favorite academic-sounding word?

    “Hadopelagic.” It refers to the deepest areas of the ocean.

    -How can I avoid carpal tunnel syndrome?

    Go outside more.

    -How come people nowadays don’t harmonize with their sisters and wear matching outfits and yell out “hoy hoy” in the middle of songs?

    I’m not sure.

    -And, most importantly of all, what ever happened to the the 3-person, face-to-crotch cartwheel? It looks like a really efficient form of transportation.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about, but it sounds good.

  51. “i feel like it’s something we are all awkwardly aware of feeling.

    and why dont we ever like acknowledge each other in public???

    sometimes i wanna go around hi fiving all the lesbos i see and be like “yyeaaahhhh girl whats up??? thats right i like pussy too! give me five on the back hand side.””

    This got me thinking seriously about making eye contact with and dyke-nodding every lesbian I see.

  52. I don’t think you should feel bad about worrying about the fact that you worry about the implications of being, as you say, the fourth lesbian couple to walk through the door.

    But your article reminded me of a phrase used in a Flannery O’ Connor story; “Everything that rises must converge”. In it an old white woman from a good family who finds herself living in a neighborhood that has slipped from upper crust to lower middle class worries that, when she goes out, she will “meet herself coming and going.”
    She decides it is better to take a fashion risk than face this phenomena. It is a plot point in the story that, while she is having a very racist conversation on the bus, she turns around and sees a black woman wearing the exact same hideous hat.
    I think there is some connection between the idea of “meeting yourself coming and going” in that story and some of your concerns in your post. I won’t drag out the entire meaning of the story but I would recommend having a look.

  53. I like this. If it were a warm chocolate mudslide I’d totally roll around in it.

    “the no-nonsense fear of impending carpal tunnel syndrome” made me laugh out loud.

    Anyway, I totally get the weirdness that comes with being in a “lesbo-heavy ‘hood'”. I can’t quite articulate why though. I’ll have to ponder on this more or take notes when it happens.

  54. Your writing is pretty much the best thing.

    This hasn’t happened to my girlfriend and I, but then we haven’t much integrated into what little lesbian/general GLBT culture there is in Calgary. The closest I can come to your experience is having a lesbian waitress realize that we’re holding hands in the vegan restaurant and perk up as if life is a little better, which was kind of awesome, actually.

    But… I can imagine that it’s a weird thing to experience! I think that it’s a little less due to internalized homophobia and more because as a minority, (usually invisible until the hand-holding begins, or the tell-tale fashion items are clued in on,) we — or at least I — are always on the lookout. People stare, and we kind of get used to it, so we stare back to make sure that all of that staring is the usual slack-jawed ‘wait, something is different,’ and not the sort that means, ‘that hand-holdin’s about to get you into trouble!’ And seeing other people who are in the exact same boat as us, it’s weird. It’s when we go from being the ogglees to the ogglers that that sense of “wait… we’re not alone?!” kind of surfaces, and because that happens relatively rarely, (at least where I’m from!) there’s little chance for us to process that feeling. Not knowing what to make of it of course can lead to some iffy feelings of suddenly not knowing where we stand.

    I’d say, just make the best of it. Smile and nod and move on, or make friends, I s’pose.

    Also, regarding high-falutin’ soundin’ gibber-jabber, my favourite is sesquipedalian loquaciousness… though it’s not so much academic as it is self-referential and incredibly nerdy.

  55. antithetical



    I have definitely had the experience of being in a neighborhood where there are so many lesbians (most neighborhoods of Seattle, Crown Heights, Brooklyn) and mostly I just find it distracting. I feel like I look like a straight person gawking at queer couples, but actually I’m just checking out their outfits and how attractive they are.

  56. Getting the head nod from the two lesbians working security at the apple store was a great moment.

    also anytime i go to home depot

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