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Monday, December 5, 2011

SL Letter of the Day: The Kindest Cut

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I am a single, straight, 30 year-old-woman who lives in Washington, DC. As a straight woman, I do not endure the same hatred that many of my gay friends have to survive day to day, however, it has come to my attention recently that I am a victim of another kind of bullying that is well, frankly, absurd.

Last February, I decided to cut my hair really short. Here it is December, and I still have short hair, and I love it, but since I cut my hair, I have determined that no matter how pretty my face is, no matter what clothes I wear, no matter how hard I flirt with boys—if I have short hair, I am automatically categorized as a lesbian. While this is not in itself an issue (other than it makes what is already a difficult task in DC—finding a decent man—even more so), the issue is that I am called a lesbian by men in a way that is supposed to be an insult.

Perhaps it is a self-defense thing, in that men think if they reject me under the pre-judgment that because I have short hair, that I must be gay, then they in turn will not have to handle the rejection I may send their way if they try to pick me up. Or perhaps, and more horrifying, it is simply satisfying to some men to insult a woman by putting down her sexual orientation. Because I am not gay, I find that I must “defend myself” by proclaiming outright that I am straight. Because it feels like I am under some kind of attack, and must contend my sexuality, in turn, I am afraid that these reactions continue the cycle of hatred that makes bullying a reality.

How can we overcome this kind of bigotry? How can we make it apparent that attempting to insult a woman by calling her a lesbian is not, in fact, insulting? People are so afraid of so many things already in this world, I hope that one day someone’s sexual orientation is no longer something to fear or defend.

Straight Girl With Crew Cut

My response after the jump....

Um... gee.

I'm going to leave "no matter how pretty my face is"—a lesbian can't have a pretty face?—to the commenters, SGWCC, and simply suggest that your short hair is making your difficult task somewhat less so.

You say you want a decent guy. Well, straight guys who harass you, insult you, or get in your face because they think all women with short hair are dykes—even pretty and well-dressed women—and that they, as straight guys, have some sort of God-given right to verbally harass any and all lesbians they come across because, hey, those lesbians rejected them first?

Those are not decent guys.

Thanks to your hair, SGWCC, you don't have to waste a moment's time on those indecent assholes. And as you're not interested in dating guys who aren't decent, and these guys are bringing their indecency to your attention promptly, there's no need to waste time dating them—and there's no need "defend" yourself by proclaiming you're straightness when one calls you a lesbian either. Instantly informing these guys that you are not, in fact, a lesbian might lead them, and anyone else within earshot, to conclude that you do, in fact, think that there's something wrong with being a lesbian.

Which you don't.

Right?

P.S. Sometimes I go days and days—weeks and weeks, months and months, even year and years—without encountering hatred. I realize that I'm somewhat cosseted, SGWCC, but my experience isn't uncommon. There's institutional and legal discrimination to contend with, of course, and we all cross paths with the odd bigot. But gay life isn't a howling nightmare.

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