Woman, Feminist, Lesbian and Proud

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Growing up, I always knew I was a feminist. Maybe I had to wait until I was 15 to learn the word, but I always understood the concept and felt it in my bones. I related everything I was to being a feminist ever since I was 8. Standing up to my parents when my sisters wouldn’t, cutting my hair short, being an A student, being good at sports, hanging out with the boys in the neighborhood, challenging all the norms and conventions, questioning my faith, etc. Everything I was and the successful woman engineer I dreamed of becoming in the future was for me related to being a feminist.

Every time I was asked those silly questions about the way I looked,
or my “strong personality”, I had the same argument: I was a feminist, a girl just like all others who believed she can do and be anything she wants without conforming to the image society has thrown upon her.

Then I discovered I was also a lesbian. And this is when my whole world and argument fell apart. At that age, finding out about my sexual orientation put me in a battle with everything I thought I was. My argument about being a woman just like all others around me and choosing to be different in the way I live my life, at that moment, didn’t seem valid to me anymore. I started questioning whether everything I am wasn’t related to being a feminist as I thought it was, but to being in fact a lesbian. It felt like somehow I lost the fight to society and to all the conservative and conformist women. But I wasn’t going to accept this loss, so I simply rejected my sexual orientation for a while. I wanted to be a heterosexual woman and still be everything I am in order to win, to be different and tell people that it’s possible. My girlfriend back then was a feminist as well, and that didn’t help much, for it made me relate now all the things she was as well to being a lesbian.

Years later, I started meeting other lesbians, and that’s when I realized that not all lesbians were feminists. Not all of them shared my battle, not all of them and even most of them didn’t have my views and politics! At first I thought something was wrong, and I used to ask them looking for a solid answer: How can you be a lesbian and not be a feminist? That’s if they were familiar with the term feminist. If not, I had to explain the concept, which perhaps in a general manner all girls agreed on but didn’t feel it like I did, and I couldn’t understand why. Being queer and choosing to live as a queer person is in itself a feminist act. Our most basic battle as feminists is deconstructing gender roles, and breaking out of the gender boxes we have been put in ever since we were born. So it was hard for me to understand how a woman can identify as queer, and still not be a feminist; Homophobia and heteronormativity are the sons of patriarchy.

With time, I started understanding the reality and complexity of my identity; my womanhood and feminism wasn’t threatened nor lessened by my being a lesbian. Sometimes, in certain feminist contexts, I would hesitate to show my sexual orientation thinking it would lose me points. But I learned that my “non-conforming sexual identity” has helped me understand and commit to my cause even more. Today, I am proud of being a lesbian feminist woman.


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