I went to catch a wave with my local librarian. The sun was smiling, like I’d told a joke, and I was glad to be lost in the crowd. Tsunami of girls, all locked inside of our assigned roles, the fathers of fascism storm the streets, but they fear femininity, how it weakens men, makes them indecent and unkind.
I am a woman, and I am poisonous. I enjoy it. I will destroy them all, and I know they’ll let me, that must be why they fear me, so I stay out of sight, until I’m ready to attack, the sand and the foam of the sea are safe from wandering, weak eyes.
Boys must not look at girls on the beach. They only see us on their beds, after rushed, unwelcome weddings, on our knees in dark alley ways, when we could not run fast enough. Nobody says no to boys, these days, except the girls on the beach, and even then, we only say “más tarde”, because we know that relenting is inevitable, and our only means of survival.
It is time for revenge. The moon calls to me, and I stalk the streets she shines upon. Me and my girls gather on sandy shores, bodies glistening in the glow of the girlish, gleeful moon, sweet and tempting like candy, but full of razor blades, to render trick or treaters helpless.
Darling, I’m a deviant, defying every man that crosses my cursed path, enticing them with delights that they’ll never have, inviting them to take a bite and taste death. I am the daughter of María Helena. I scare them, until their bones are bare, just by being unavailable and uninterested, so they circle the beach, like vultures, waiting for a moment when I am vulnerable, but it never comes, because I am a woman, and I am poisonous, and I show weakness for no-one.
I’ve told them and told them, I’m saving myself for marriage, but right now, my ring finger belongs to God. You can catch me when the waves are high, when the water is warm, when all the girls on the segregated sand are wearing the same knowing smile as the sun, and the moon, when she comes, but don’t look too long, because boys are known for having their eyes burn down to nothing, when they look at girls on the beach.
I think boys would look so much nicer, with no eyes, don’t you think? Boys that never go home. Boys that pay for their sins. Lonesome boys, lost at sea, bloated and bright blue. Unrecognisable. Unremarkable, as ever.
Hello, it’s me, your unfriendly, neighbourhood lesbian.
I’d like to start by saying that when I refer to men in this blog post, I am not talking about non binary people. Maybe we won’t be compatible (but maybe we will…), but I have no issue seeing them around because we share experiences and understand each other. I am also not talking about trans men, who, again, might not be a match for me (but again, maybe they would…), but are not a problem in wlw spaces.
I am talking about cis men in wlw spaces.
The majority of experiences I have had with cis men in wlw spaces are predatory, with them being creepy and invasive, harassing me and other women who just want to find other women, so the question is, why are dating apps enabling this?
We are not even talking about people who could be considered feminine, and questioning their gender, these are legitimately cis, masculine, heterosexual men who are very comfortable with the idea that they are men. Many of them will openly admit this in their profiles, despite having a profile set as a woman “by mistake”. Some will even have their gender set to “Man”, but will inexplicably be shown to lesbian women, and be allowed to interact with them.
I have received abusive, homophobic messages from cis men, including men implying that my sexuality is a result of sexual trauma or child abuse, men implying that they can “fix” my sexuality, men pressuring me to accept their advances, men insisting that I should just try to be with them (I have, and I had a dreadful time) as well as men pleading to see private pictures and videos of me and other women. I have reported these men when I’ve encountered them but nothing has happened, and frankly, they should not have had access to my profile in the first place.
I used to get some harassment when I was deluding myself that I was bisexual (happy Bi month to my former siblings by the way, thank you for taking care of me over the years), but it was nothing in comparison to the way men have treated me since I began being real about being a lesbian.
This is not just a problem on widely used apps that include cis and straight people like Tinder and Bumble but it is also an issue on apps specifically intended for LGBT women and non binary people interested in women, such as Her and Zoe. If apps specifically made for us are no longer safe, what are we supposed to do?
This might just seem like I’m complaining over a mild inconvenience but this is a major safety issue. Hate crimes against the LGBT community are increasing, not only in the UK but across the world, so having safe spaces where we can communicate and be open about ourselves is important.
LGBT women have faced rising homophobic and transphobic abuse through dating platforms from cis men, along with messages full of fetishisation and fantasies. There have been cis men pretending to be trans men to avoid being banned from LGBT focused apps, only coming clean about being cis when they’ve matched with somebody, which puts real trans men in danger of abuse and harassment. Trans women face harassment from men who sign up purposefully to fetishise them and dehumanise them, but the majority of apps have no interest in stopping this clear abuse of the rules.
There are some men that I can believe may have made a mistake setting up their profiles (although why they haven’t noticed and started a new profile is beyond me) but there are also many who had a clear motive when setting up profiles that will be shown to lesbians, especially when they do so on apps that are clearly and undeniably for women and non binary people only.
Women will have profiles deleted for having too much cleavage in a picture, or for using a swear word when responding to harassment, but men specifically setting up profiles to harass women who are clearly uninterested are left to do as they please, and all women can do is complain to each other because the platforms don’t care about our safety or wellbeing.
So, here I am, complaining to women (and probably some men and non binary pals) who read my blog, hoping for change. Part of me knows it won’t happen. In the UK, lesbians are still harassed in the street and online. Women in general are subjected to regular harassment and breaches of our boundaries. The public is turning on the LGBT community, labelling us as “woke” and “loony lefties” because we want equal treatment for our trans family, and so, with all that in mind, do I expect this predatory behaviour to stop? No lmao, I’m just tired. That’s all. I’m exhausted.
As it all turns out, to be in love, or to be yourself, ISbrave and stunning, no matter how much mumsnet mocks you for it. You love and you live in a free and fearless state, knowing that time is an ever changing thing, and that you could go back and forth, be acceptable or unacceptable on the whims of the rest of the world, with no control, but you go on.
You go on, because there’s nothing else left to do. Cops don’t come when death threats dance outside your door, so you dance with your lover, under the light of what little moonlight creeps through the kitchen window, paint your face like a warrior to hide your wounds, you love and you live in a free and fearless state, with the door closed, because the world is full of cowards.
The world is afraid of how beautiful you truly are, so they turn away, they stab wildly in the dark until they find blood, and the world drinks and drinks like your pain is the potion that will solve all their problems, but still, you go on. You soldier on. You dance on. You live on. You love and you live, through the trauma and the drama, because there’s nothing else left to do, and you were born to be free and fearless.