An article from the UK’s Daily Mail bears this title: How I went from committed lesbian to a happily married mother of four. It describes British comedienne Jackie Clune’s winding testimonial as a woman who, once “committed” to her lesbian identity, decided to “try men again” after growing tired of lousy relationships and rigid, self-imposed stereotypes. In a 2005 article from The Times entitled Love, etc. Clune called lesbian culture “dictatorial and intimidating” and “the opposite of the sapphic fluffy nirvana [she] expected.” She married a man and finally had a family, something she “never thought possible” as a lesbian.
The title of the article has the first red flag. Clune describes her girlfriends and her former self as being “committed lesbians.” As if being attracted to the same sex makes one a member of a club they then must commit to. This is as absurd as thinking that when one comes out they are given a copy of the mysterious “Gay Agenda™” or that if they “convert” others into members they’ll be rewarded with new toasters. More stereotypes and generalizations follow. At first attracted to men as a young woman, at age 22 Clune made a very important conscious decision.
I had studied feminist literature at university and it opened my eyes to the possibility of sexuality as a life choice.
She then “threw [her]self into the fullblown lesbian lifestyle – gay clubs, bars and pubs:”
From 1988 until 2000 I lived in lesbian households, drank in lesbian pubs, went on gay rights marches and viewed my long-term future as being exclusively with women.
During those 12 years she entered into several long-term committed relationships with women. Usually, if it’s a male ex-gay telling the story, they’ll say they entered into multiple short-term sex-centric trysts with men, because this is what is stereotypical. But among female gays, it is the long-term relationship that is the stereotype, and it comes with its own set of constricting features. This is just the beginning of Clune’s stereotypes and sweeping generalizations.
The women I went out with were by and large more inclined to be insecure and to need reassurance and I found myself in the male role of endlessly reassuring my girlfriends.
She complains of having terrible, “turbulent,” “exhausting” relationships with women – as if this is unique to lesbian relationships.
Back home, we would then spend the next four hours arguing about our relationship and my feelings of loyalty, fidelity and so on. It was never-ending. It may sound prosaic but when you add female hormones into the mix, the problems are even worse. Can you imagine waking up beside a woman when you’ve both got raging PMT?
Wow, it’s a wonder they even let us gals vote. But Clune goes further, blaming lesbians outright for their own woes.
I also believe the very fact of being in a lesbian relationship adds to the problems of jealousy and insecurity. With so few role models and no cultural support, it’s hard to know how to behave or what expectations are reasonable.
Well, as time goes on, there are many more role models and much more cultural support. But the solution to the problem is stated right there: Be more supportive of someone’s same-sex relationship and provide more positive role models. Other people’s negative reaction to a gay relationship can hardly be blamed on the people in the relationship. They’re only doing what is natural to them, and harming no one else.
Don’t worry, Clune views the male set with just as much disdain.
I am convinced that while men are usually entirely driven by sex when it comes to choosing a mate, women are often attracted more by the emotional side of the relationship and I was excited by the close bond a relationship with another female could bring.
Unlike most men, women, of course, offer each other endless support and there’s hardly ever any lack of communication.
It’s not that I stopped liking men, just that I felt a relationship with a woman would be a richer experience. After all, given the choice I would choose a woman over a man for a really great chat, an inspiring conversation or to share emotional problems with. A physical relationship with a woman seemed a logical progression. [emphasis mine]
“All men are this, all lesbians are that” seems to be her schtick, in not so many words. Same-sex attraction for her was her entire identity, replete with stereotypical lesbian relationships, bar and pub hopping, and militant dykiness. In the words of Katy Perry, she “just wanted to try [it] on.” And try she did, for 12 years, engaging in a rigid stereotypical lifestyle that would leave anyone tired.
A quick Google search shows that several anti-gay news sites and blogs have picked up Clune’s story, labeling her an ex-gay, even though she admits she never was truly gay and does not give herself any label except “straight.”
The article is featured at the Exodus blog and ex-gay Randy Thomas is delighted, of course. He feels it confirms his belief in his version of a “post-gay world.” But he is only reiterating his incorrect use of “post-gay.” Peterson Toscano, well-versed in Queer Theory, explains its true meaning in a thorough blog post. Randy (and Peter Ould, who first attempted to re-coin the term) use post-gay as a label for someone who tries to change their sexual orientation but is unsuccessful. The term post-gay is one that sounds like said person is “over” calling themselves gay and having gay sexual activities, but not quite able to honestly call themselves straight (or even opposite-sex attracted). People like Randy and Clune only see being attracted to the same sex in terms of specific aspects of gay culture, such as Pride parades and gay-centric clubs.
But what Clune describes is far from “post-gay” – it is a world obsessed with labels and roles.