Written Entry Winner
By Naomi Lattanzi
"Are you a lesbian?" You asked me that. You are not my friend. You are not my family. You are a classmate, an acquaintance. You asked me.
There are so many possible responses to that question, besides the obvious "What business is it of yours, bozo? What do you care? How does it affect YOUR life how I fall in love?"
You picked the BEST day to ask, too. Day of Silence, the school event hosted by and for the Gay-Straight Alliance. It is meant to signify the forced silence of homosexuals in non-accepting communities. That demonstration was particularly poignant because of the recent conflict over Proposition 8, the Defense of Marriage Act, defining the deed as "between a man and a woman." That really pisses me off. Don't voters realize they're taking marriage away from hermaphrodites and eunuchs? It's not NECESSARILY their fault. Do you REALLY intend to tell me that you will peer into the pants OR skirt of the affianced person to check if they have the right GENITALS to be bonded in holy matrimony? Doesn't that cheapen it somehow?
In addition, those who find themselves attracted to the physically similar gender-- they're lumped in with all bi-gender or pre-adult people and ALSO denied the right to marry. It's like homosexuals aren't even human, just a small group of humanoids with something WRONG with them. That's what Prop. 8 says, and you agree.
On that day, those of us who chose lived in silence. That whole day, I carried around a white board, a pen and an eraser. I could answer and ask questions, draw during class and participate as little as I liked with impunity. People paid MORE attention to me without the use of my voice. That wasn't entirely a good thing.
"Are you a lesbian?" Very funny. You pick the one day I can't talk back to ask me this. Has the question been reverberating around in your hollow head? Has it bothered you so much that you can no longer sleep at night? Or did you just think it up as a joke, just now, impulsively and stupidly. What did you THINK I was going to reply? An angry "No!", as you might if asked a similar question? A timid "yes?" What did you THINK would happen? Oh, that's right. You didn't think.
"Are you a lesbian?" I go to the Gay-Straight Alliance Club every Friday. In a week, I'm going to an all-queer-girls sleep over. I can see you thinking something dirty, but we're just going to watch movies. We're friends.
"Are you a lesbian?" What the frick do you care? Why do you ask? Are you attracted to me? I'm sorry, but I don't reciprocate.
"Are you a lesbian?" Why do you ask with a smirk on your face, as if you've said something hilariously witty and are waiting for an adoring audience to erupt into applause? I don't find it funny. That was a very personal question you just asked, and if you aren't serious, why should I give you a serious answer? I find it the highest of ironies that on the day we set aside to demonstrate the pressure felt by homosexual teenagers, YOU decide to make a joke of my sexual orientation.
"Are you a lesbian?" Why? Are you? Oh, that's right. You're a guy, and that doesn't attract me. Does that make me gay? Do you think the word an insult?
Or do I?
It comes to mind that I'm being a bit too defensive. If I was truly comfortable with myself, perhaps I could give a straight (haha) answer. But your sense of humor puts me on the defensive. It cuts. It's meant to hurt. If I don't deflect, it will cut right through me.
If you knew me, really knew me, you'd know that I watch movies with my friends and argue about the attractiveness of the female AND male characters, that I've never had a girlfriend OR a boyfriend, that I find P.D.A.s annoying in heterosexual couples and courageous in same-sex couples. Let's face it. I'm a sucker for the underdog, I'm single, and I identify myself as Questioning.
"Are you a lesbian?" I don't know, but you can't take away what sense of self I have. As long as I have people who accept me, you can't make me feel inferior. You'll eventually have to accept the truth: We are equals.