By Kathleen LaTosch
I fit into a lot of gay stereotypes. I’m a typical white, college-educated, Midwestern, middle-class lesbian. I have a college degree and a master’s in typical human-service- related fields. I’ve been with my partner for over 10 years and live in Ferndale with our two dogs. One of our previous dogs was named “Sappho.” I like the typical women’s music of my era (Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, etc.) I support women’s rights, including their reproductive rights and marched on Washington several times in support of that position. I’ve been involved in movements to end violence against women and worked in the field of preventing sexual and domestic violence for many years. I’ve been to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival – a couple of times; I’ve supported separatist activities and confronted male and white privilege in many situations. I’m generally a Democrat (although I would have voted for Elizabeth Dole for President, had she made it that far). I pretty much abhor violence of any type and I’m not a supporter of attacking Iraq.
I also defy a lot of gay stereotypes. I don’t have the typical “dyke” look (and neither does my partner). I sometimes wear makeup and skirts and dresses and yes, even high heels. I’ve never dated any woman besides the one I’m with today. I want children and think the ideal situation would be for both parents to stay at home full-time and, barring that, that one parent should be a stay-at-home. I like classic rock music including Queen, Journey, Leonard Skynard and more. I love to decorate and garden. Upon coming out, both my partner and I received nothing but support from our families. We were not ostracized from the family, not kicked out, not written out of the wills. I don’t drive a truck or an SUV (although my partner does) and I’ve been craving a VW convertible bug since as long as I can remember. I don’t surround myself with rainbows and don’t really own any rainbow jewelry. My best friends are straight. I have yet to be convinced why I should support hate crime laws – I really don’t think that someone who murders me because I’m a lesbian should be punished any more harshly than someone who murders his wife (the viciousness of the murder should determine the penalty).
I don’t tell other people how to be lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or transgender. I don’t tell them what to believe, what to think, how to vote, when to come out, if they should drink or smoke, whether or not to get a tattoo, what kind of music to listen to … You get the picture. And it really burns my bonnet (I do wear hats, but I don’t actually have a bonnet, presently) when I hear other gay people not only speaking on behalf of all gays, but also pressuring them about how they should think and what they should believe. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve heard others disparage people in our community for being a Republican, for not coming out to someone, for being bisexual, for having a biological child instead of adopting, for not supporting hate-crime legislation, for being Catholic, for having a leather fetish, for getting a pet from a private owner instead of rescuing a pet from a shelter, for supporting a business that has ever given a dime to a conservative cause, for having Republican friends… the list goes on and on.
For a community that appears to want our community-at-large to quit placing negative judgements upon us, we certainly could stand to quit judging ourselves. I challenge all of us to lay down the gavel and get on with life.