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.
I could feel the thunder in my hair extensions. Nothing makes sense for me, you know, I was just always that kind of girl, the impossible kind who finds unthinkable and inconceivable experiences, and then, just lives them, so it was not a surprise when a sound shook my body, but began at inanimate strands of hair.
I wasn’t supposed to be there, that night, or any night, for that matter. The night’s sky is not for the eyes of women, though the moon has always been our mother. She is stalked by demonic danger, that demands we are locked behind doors, that are smeared with sacrificial blood, so we never get to go home, and meet under the watchful eye of mother dearest.
I was raised to be a reader. Stories, plays, street signs, situations. My eyes are the quickest draw in the west, racing to keep up with my eager mind, and, God, I’m so sharp, truly, I’ve never met a match for me, intellectually, but my arms and legs let me down, so my eyes search for safe spots, that are well lit, crowds of women that could shield me, a policeman that won’t stumble into the stereotypes and be a worse fate than what’s outside.
I took a walk, that night, you see. I thought “I am free.” and off I went, ignoring the threatening glare of the dark and the winding, never ending path it created, the way that the night bullied the street lights out of its turf and left me all alone, all asunder, and then he appears, the one I was warned about, the one who is allegedly an exception to his kind (though it is always a different one every time).
I can hear his every move, because I’m not listening to loud music. I can see him completely, because we are both bathed in yellow light, that isn’t brave enough to save me. He calls out, and it is thunder, running down my hair extensions. He grabs me, and it is thunder, running down my hair extensions. He touches me, and it is thunder, running down my hair extensions, because if I hear thunder, then the lightning can’t be far, and if the lightning comes, then maybe it will strike him, and maybe if it strikes him, I can make it out intact, because I did everything I’m supposed to do, I just tried to walk two minutes to the shop and now he won’t stop, but I took every step that everyone told me to take, and it’s still a mistake, because he did it anyway, and it doesn’t matter who I tell, because it will still be my fault.
I can hear thunder, inside of my head, because hearing his heavy breathing hurts too much, and I try to pretend that I am dead, because maybe he won’t be into that, maybe necrophilia is a bridge too far, maybe a murder charge will awaken some kind of fear in him. It doesn’t. It never would have. I hear thunder, because the lightning will come, if I ask it politely, the lightning will come, if I wish hard enough, and hope deeply enough. The lightning will come, and the street will be blinding and blessed.
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.
I am the sweet spawn of Salem, singing mad melodies to the moon, smiling wide, up at the pretty, pink sky, before I am gone, lost in the wind. A war zone, a graveyard of promises and premeditated pedantry.
I have never belonged to anyone, not really, though many have masqueraded and pretended to themselves because they desperately wanted it to be so. I have put a spell on a monster without lifting my eyes from the lilac in my garden.
I have his attention, his demands and his damned delusion, but I never asked for them, and I never cast this into existence, but there he stands, gaunt and gargling at my gate, his claws pawing at freshly painted fences, drooling on the dirt as he drags his knuckles through my flower beds.
He is furious. Growing more and more red and sore, louder and louder, every time I point towards the exit, and ask him to stop existing with such masculine entitlement in my universe.
I don’t want to curse a bitch, but he’s asking for it. Asks if I’m a trauma victim, asks about who I’ve been talking to, like it’s any of his business. He points at the rosary around my neck, and the woman between my thighs and he just wails, pointing at his tiny, unwanted pointy thing, tears of distress and shame as he tries to forget the fact that he’s not wanted here.
I don’t want to curse a bitch, but he’s asking for it. Asking me to stop excluding him from what is, in fact an exclusive club. Asking to be an exception. I make him an example. There is no curse. Just a head, on a spike, atop my gate, to keep all the other monsters away.