Anonymous asked realsocialskills:
Your most recent post about physical boundaries really hits home with me because I’m a butch lesbian and I’ve noticed that, the more I stand out as “different,” the more often straight / bi / curious women seem to feel entitled to touch me in exactly the ways you described. They freak out if I reciprocate the touch, and if I tell them to back off, they tell me I’m making things up or projecting my insecurities onto them or, worst of all, over-estimating my attractiveness.
It seems like this boundary violation is a kind of microaggression aimed at me under the assumption that my gender presentation is evidence that I’m a pervert with infinitely huge sexual appetites and couldn’t possibly have boundaries to violate in the first place. Most hurtful of all is the way more gender-conforming lesbians point to this attention as evidence that I’m “highly prized and sought after” and therefore “privileged” in some way.
Not really sure what I’m trying to say, no idea how to deal with this, just wanted to get it off my chest and see if other butch lesbians have the same problem. It really bothers me. So far the only way I’ve found to deal with this without huge fallout is to passively allow these women to touch me and not say anything about it, but I really hate doing that.
I’m sorry that people treat you that way.
I think this is a step above microaggression. Microagression is when someone does something that wouldn’t be a big deal if it happened occasionally, but which becomes a big deal when it happens routinely as part of a context of dehumanizing discrimination. What you’re talking about is a bigger deal.
You are dealing with people who touch you with no regard to your consent, and then insult you in sexualized ways when you tell them to stop. That is beyond microaggression. This is predatory sexual behavior.
It’s a big deal each time someone does that; it’s not just the context of anti-lesbian hate that makes it a big deal. It’s both the individual action and the context.
It’s also a serious problem that people who should have your back are treating you like you’re the problem. You deserve better. No one should be touching you invasively, no one should be responding to your boundaries with sexualized insults - and no one should be blaming you or making excuses for any of this.
I don’t have any good answers here about how to handle this, so I’m going to ask the rest of y’all. Are any of y’all butch women who have been treated this way? Have you found any responses that help?
I haven’t experienced this, but I’ve seen this happen in gay girl groups, so I absoltely believe this is a ‘thing’.
I’ve seen this too. :-/
I don’t know what to suggest other than to just say “seriously, can you not? I don’t like that.”
You’re gunna have to bring the tone down from joking to serious and it’s gunna suck, but if they’re any kind of friend to you, they’ll deal with it.
The need to “save face” may result in some fallout, but hopefully it will be temporary, and then the behavior will stop.
Have you seen this strategy work? It sounds to me like the kind of thing that *ought* to work, but I don’t know from experience that it does. Do you?