I'm not a sociologist or psychologist. I'm just one of your everyday lesbians who until recently never really felt the brunt of lesbo-phobia from the MSM (Men who have sex with men) community. Now technically speaking it may not have been lesbo-phobia in so many characters but it was sure discriminatory.
I'm part of a volunteer programme which (in this particular aspect) it is my responsibility as a volunteer to disseminate information on safe sex practices. I as well as a number of other persons have cried out that this programme is geared towards Men who have Sex with Men (MSMs) and that it ignores or at the very most pushes to the back burner the needs of Women who have Sex with Women (WSWs), Transgendered folk and all the others who fall under this umbrella.
I've always heard WSWs say that they would never work with MSMs because the MSMs dislike them, have no respect for them or something along those lines. As I said before I've never really gotten the brunt of it or any of it for that matter (not to my face anyway). I'm known to be an associate of all and friend of few. I shun no MSM so long as he can carry himself good and don't draw me into the beating he may get because of his behaviour on the road. For this reason I assume (with good reason) that I'm loved or at least tolerated by many and hated by few.
Today in our regular meeting of the volunteers I discretely offered to do a presentation on Leadership and Mentoring since it has been the wide cry that many of these MSMs don't know how to conduct themselves. At the end of the meeting the moderator stated that the next meeting there will be a presentation on leadership and mentoring by a member of our group. All was well until someone said I hope it is a MSM because I don't want a WSW or other non-MSM to do a presentation (not exact words). Now everyone was quite shocked by the statement and of course questioned him. He went on to say that he doesn't mean to insult anyone but that this is a programme for MSMs so it should be MSMs presenting and that even I as a WSW wasn't really to be counted (again to exact words). Now I won't lie I did get upset. I told him that though I'm a WSW I still have to meet with MSMs in order to continue on this volunteer programme and that I as a WSW is part of the greater lgbt community.
I pointed to him that the MSMs are not separate and apart from the rest of the community. I also pointed out to him that it is for this reason that MANY WSWs do not help, work, mingle, volunteer, participate (in anyway) with MSMs, for we are discounted. I did get quite angry lashing out saying "dats why sometime mi nuh like battyman" (that's why I sometimes I don't like gay men) pretty harsh but it was in anger and everyone understood what I meant. (No disrespect to my many gay and bisexual male friends I still love you guys)
This unquestionable discrimination came from someone within the community. This is how we tear down each other, in simple ways such as this. For had I been more upset and had not received an apology I probably would have left quite angry and be ready to leave the MSMs to 'work out their own salvation', I've felt that way before by the sheer behaviour of some of these MSMs. Today's encounter brings me back to a question I've asked either here or to others. How can we in a community subject to so much intolerance, hate, torture, homophobia continue with this phobia among our own ranks? We fight each other butch fight butch, femme fight femme, top fight top, bottom fight bottom, gays fight lesbians and on and on and on (I don't know much of the TG community nor their fights but I can imagine it is there as well).
Yes there will be differences, we don't live in a perfect place, and we're imperfect people, but jeezam peez mek wi try live betta nuh man (my gosh let's try to live better please guys(and gals)).