Last time I was rambling about “ace discourse” on Twitter and now I’m going to ramble about “bi-lesbian discourse”. Those of us in the ace and aro communities probably wouldn’t bat an eye if someone told us they were a “bi-lesbian”. Most ace and/or aro folks probably have had a crash course in the Split Attraction Model (SAM). We know it, we love it, we use it regularly. We know that by “bi-lesbian” they probably mean that they’re either “romantically attracted to two or more genders and lesbian” or “sexually attracted to two or more genders and homoromantic”. Bi-lesbian just rolls of the tongue in comparison and Twitter only allows for 140 characters. Easy, peasy, we got it.
Yeah, no, it’s more complicated because squishy humans just have to be complicated. There’s a push to make “lesbian” a more inclusive term like gay. Gay can refer to either gay men specifically or be a catch-all term for same-gender attraction. Okay it might be more accurate to say there’s a push to make lesbian an inclusive term again. Apparently lesbian used to function a lot like gay does and it was just a word to describe wlw relationships and that changed after New Wave Feminism (i.e terfs) “reclaimed” lesbian to only refer to women attracted to other women. So, that’s it. That’s the debate. Is “lesbian” an inclusive term? Radfems say, “No lesbian only refers to women”. Inclusionists say, “Lesbian refers to all non-men” and everyone else falls somewhere in between.
At this point you might be asking, “But Lib, you’re not a woman or a lesbian. Why do you care?” and that is an excellent question. First of all, remember last post when I mentioned all the acephobes targeting and harassing aces? Do you know who came to our defense? Bi-lesbians. They came in big and they came loud. When ace-exlusionists told us “you don’t exist”, bi-lesbians came in and said “We see, we love you, and you’re so valid” I’m not going to ignore it when radfems say bi-lesbians “don’t exist”. Secondly, radfems are using nonbinary people as props in their argument to prove they’re not trans exclusionists and that’s super irritating for someone who is a fem presenting nonbinary person.
This time I brought receipts so here’s two main problematic arguments in a nutshell:
This is straight up terf logic. You never, ever blame other women for the toxic behavior of men. The OP (original post) of the thread, not the person I was talking to, is first of all 14 years old according to their bio and had complained that a boy (probably also a teenager) was giving them unwanted advances. [Allegedly] They told him to back off and told him they’re lesbian and he asked if they was a “bi-lesbian”. [Side note: There have been questions as to the credibility of the story because “what teenage boy is paying attention to LGBT+ discourse?” but in this case I don’t think it actually matters if it actually happened or not and I think it’s a dangerous precedent to go “she’s obviously lying”] What matters to me is the claim that it’s the fault of bi-lesbians that men hit on lesbians. Instead of bringing attention to the real issue, a boy thinking he had the right to someone’s time and attention, the OP openly blamed bi-lesbians for the boy hitting on them and ignoring their obvious “fuck off dude!” instead of the boy who was hitting on them and ignoring their boundaries!
Let that sink in for a minute. This is straight up “other girls dress like sluts so men think it’s okay to hit on me” “never let your drink out of your sight” “Don’t go out at night” “Don’t don’t go to the bathroom alone” rape-culture logic with a supersized helping of biphobia. You do NOT get to blame another woman, another nonbinary person, or anyone other than the toxic human who was behaving like a predator for the toxic human behaving like a predator. And they dared to accuse me of “getting off topic” because I told them to stop blaming other women for the toxic behavior of men. Hence why I kept the receipts.
Moving on to their second main argument:
This is also a really weak argument because it implies that bi means you must be attracted to “both men and women”. …..uh, nonbinary genders exist, surprise! Some radfems try to go around this by saying lesbian is inclusive of women and “women-alined” genders. Wait, wouldn’t that then make “lesbian” an umbrella term because it then has two definitions? Way to shoot your own argument in the foot.
Also, “woman-alined” is a problem because, uh, we’re not “women”. It’s right there in the name. Nonbinary, as in, not a binary gender. In general it’s kinda not a good idea to call fem nonbinary folks “women”, “basically women” or anything sounding like or relating to “women-lite” because that’s super terfy and misgendering unless you receive individual permission and individual permission does NOT mean blanket permission for everyone else.
Before getting involved in this discourse nonsense it had been literal years since I’ve heard the terms “woman-alined”, “feminine-alined”, or “moon-alined” or whatever. Back when I was trying to figure out my gender identity I pretty much had to research everything else be sure “none of the above” was the answer I was going with. The back and forth on how to move as far away from the binary as humanly possible to the point that “moon-alined”, “sun-alined”, “star-alined” were seriously being considered as alternatives by several people was where I pretty much stopped and said, “I’m out, I’m definitely agender.” If a nonbinary person uses the term “woman-alined” to describe their gender experience that’s totally fine in my book. What do I know? I don’t have a gender. Binary folks using the term to describe someone else’s gender as a generalization is really, really problematic.
It probably can’t be stressed enough that the nonbinary umbrella is a pretty diverse group. There’s also the complication of who can afford to transition and who’s still in the closet, and you literally can’t just guess someone’s gender by looking at them. So, we once again run into the logistical problem of how are you going to spot check every. single. couple. to make sure they are using the term “lesbian” correctly? Is one of them just a manly looking woman? Is one a closeted trans woman? Are they both non binary? Literally the only way to check is “Hey, raise your hand if you’re a man” and if nobody raises their hand, call it good. It is logistically impossible.
A lot of lesbians claim that the term “lesbian” is inclusive enough and already includes nonbinary people. It’s really not. It’s not inclusive enough because for every single lesbian I see who is wonderful and welcoming I see 20 others with Twitter accounts less than two years old being acephobic. I block anyone who uses kpop gifs as a rule now because way too many stan accounts have targeted aces saying, “you deserve it because you want to be oppressed so badly”. I think I forgot to mention that bit in the last post. Anyway, most of the time when I click on their bio it says 14/15/16/17 or 18 y/o lesbian. Yikes. So either kpop stans are the new high-tech Russian bots spreading discord and discontent (it’s totally possible) or the future of lesbians is radfem. That bi- prefix before lesbian is actually super comforting because it signals to me that the person probably isn’t going to start the conversation with “you’re not oppressed for not wanting sex” or tell me to kill myself or tell me I “deserve” to be bullied.
Not every inclusionist is a saint and the mudslinging gets really nasty on both sides if I’m going to be honest, but in general the inclusionists I side with stand for education and acceptance. They stick together, treat their allies well, and tell radfems and exclusionsts where to stuff it when the occasion calls for it. Remember, to me the LGBT+ aren’t my friends, it’s my civil rights movement and bi-lesbians are my allies. I’d rather have them on my side than people who target and harass other queer people, try to sell repackaged terf rhetoric and recycled biphobia. That’s why I’m an inclusionist.
[Stay tuned for the next cycle of Twitter discourse where I lose literally all of my allies, get blocked by my mutuals, and get added to 20 new block lists! It’s time to choose a side on “anti” discourse!]