Sunday, December 1, 1996

Are you a lesbian?

Okay. I'd like to ask a rather blunt question. Are you a lesbian? If so, is that why you write lesbian-themes stories & novels? If not, do you talk to lesbians to get things right?

Yes. I'm a lesbian, a dyke, a tribadist; I rub tummies with other girls, kiss them in dark corners and bright glades... Well, let me amend that. These days I only kiss one girl: Kelley. But, hey, I wasn't always so well behaved.

When I was four years old I was playing doctor with the girls next door. When I was five I declared I would never get married. (But then when I was thirty-two I did marry. I married another woman, Kelley, so I hope my five year-old self will forgive me.) If you really want to know, I've had sex with two men. It was okay, but nothing to write home about.

Why do I write "lesbian-themed stories and novels"? Well, I don't think I do. The protagonists are dykes, yes, but the themes are not lesbian. The themes (and perhaps I'm flattering myself--feel free to disagree) are universal. I'm trying to talk about what makes a person who they are; what it means to be alone; what it means to change utterly; how it might feel to discover you aren't who you thought you were. And so on. Yes, dykes go throught this, but so does everyone else. I don't make being a dyke an issue in my work: Lore and Marghe are dykes--but it's about as important to them as their hair colour in terms of the story line.

As for "getting it right" there are so many different kinds of dykes (as many different kinds as there are straights) that I don't think it's possible to "get it right." Someone will always stand up and say: Well I don't do that, therefore you're wrong! Tuh.

My turn to ask a question (and this may sound facetious but it's genuine; I really want to know): Would you ask, say, Lois McMaster Bujold if she was straight and, if not, whether she talked to straights to "get it right?"

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