This is an excerpt from my essay in the November 2015 issue of DIVA, available to buy here – http://www.divamag.co.uk/subscriptions/digital.aspx
“Lesbians face derision from all angles- we still need physical places to have as our own, to name as our own and to build community in. Women’s marginalisation is not the sole preserve of the heterosexual world and if we do not clearly label ourselves we run the risk of the unique experience of being women who love women being invisibilized in our own community.
I call myself a lesbian in order to make it clear that I am not for consumption by men. I do not exist to be subsumed. I am a woman made strong by other women. A woman free from the binds of men. ‘Queer’ is too ambiguous for me personally. I appreciate its usefulness and existence in the world but I feel like it’s swallowed up dykes in its wide, all encompassing jaws. It is blanketly applied to us all whilst ignoring the fact that it is undoubtedly a slur, used historically and today to demean and harass LGBT+ people and lots of lesbians have no wish to be referred to in such a way. ‘Queer’ is hailed as the most radical way to identify since it positions itself as non-normative and boundary breaking. But what exactly is radical about the erasure and obfuscation of women’s specific sexuality? A sexuality that we’ve fought so hard to have recognised and validated!”