Opinion //

Gays or lesbians? I say neither*

It's time to stand up against bi erasure.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that gay people are quite annoying. When we first emerge from high school — usually an unsavoury, isolating and homophobic experience — we are temporarily humbled. This does not last for long though as gays quickly find each other in unprecedented quantities, forming and reproducing enclaves that are endemic to student politics and the performing arts, among other spaces. Ensconced safely therein, gay people are free to allow our true personalities to emerge. Regrettably, Our True Selves are usually histrionic, self-centred and machiavellian; read: annoying. 

Who is better: gay men or lesbians? In some senses, this is a futile question. You’re all rotten jackals and I hate you all. On the other hand, I am also an Extremely Annoying Gay Person (EAGP) and so feel that making comparisons may help us to apportion blame equitably. Let us then engage in some thoughtful and well-considered critique.

Gay men are, above all else, an honest bunch of people. Critiques of gay men centre on the deleterious consequences of this — an unfriendly dating culture, catty senses of humour and a propensity for gratuitous public displays of evil. Nevertheless, honesty is a virtue of the highest esteem. In my view, it is infinitely preferable to know where you stand with someone rather than dealing with artifice and social lubricant. Additionally, growing up gay can make you an extremely good liar and so it is remarkable that gay men do not more frequently give themselves over to this instinct in their personal lives. 

The most salient realisation that I have ever had about lesbians is that I have a ridiculously low hit rate with them as friends. I have never quite worked out why, which perhaps speaks to their general reticence to give feedback to their fellow queer. However, every lesbian that I do know and like is incredibly successful. While gay men are often equally as ambitious, they are simply less good at realising that ambition. Lesbians are so good at tasks. They are the most reliable group in the alphabet soup. While this makes me scared at times, this surely counts for an awful lot in their ledger.

The real answer to the age old question of gays or lesbians is therefore I suppose neither. The true heroes of the queer community are a group of people who are forced to deal with our worst traits but are seldom invited to share in the fruits of our best traits. A group of people who face the devastating sting of erasure. This group is bisexual women. By virtue of the relative quantities of queer women and straight men, bisexual women often find themselves dating straight men. Gay people who once identified as bisexual regularly form the sharp end of a biphobic spear. I have seen this first hand; regrettably I have often played a part. Well no more. In the days that I have left I shall dedicate myself to the project of uplifting bi-woman voices. And you, dear reader, should do the same.