Newly Out Girlfag Uncomfortable With Term "Girlfag"

Comments

1

Ugh. “Male lesbian” reminds me of all the guys in College who used to joke that they were “lesbians trapped in a man’s body.” I’d started countering with “so you’re transgender then?” At that time most of the people saying this didn’t know what that was. Fortunately I haven’t heard it in many many years.

2

This woman is incredibly female, so at least she's mot saying she's trans. There's nothing more central to the female experience than feeling uncomfortable with your body, not having a clear understanding of what arouses you, etc. No, not all women struggle with that, but a huge percentage do (and men who are uncomfortable with their bodies & not clear on orgasm are a small percentage).

All that to say, "girlfags" and slash writers don't have "attracted to gay guys" as a sexual orientation. What they are are straight women uncomfortable with their own sexuality and bodies. They're attracted to guys, and find being an imaginary man during imaginarysex with them far less intimidating than being a real woman during real sex with them. Hence, slash -- which is the most heternormative shit ever (no two men ever had sex together the way slash writers write it).

3

I would think that the vast majority of humans are something other than 100% solidly straight or 100% solidly gay. Aren’t most of us a kaleidoscope of various things that can change depending on age, circumstances and the people we meet in life? For this reason, I’ve had trouble understanding the need to label ourselves and, even more, the defensiveness that people have when they don’t “fit” a label or if someone else doesn’t use or remember the proper label. Yes, this is the perspective of a cis mostly straight (though I’ve dabbled!) woman. But if I’ve fooled around with 7 women in 30 years, does that mean I’m bisexual? Or straight-ish? What does it matter? No label could ever change who I am on the inside. Much like I’m 7% African (per ancestry.com). I’ve always thought of myself as white, but I guess I’m not. Do I need a new label now? And even if I got one, would I be upset if someone didn’t recognize that minor part of my genetic makeup? I’d love to see a society where we can all acknowledge that we are individuals but not be tied to the labels. We are all human. We are, at our cores, pure love. None of us is special but we are all unique. It seems simple to me. I feel like there are more obvious things to be angry about (starving children, sex trafficking, and global warming to name a few). Must we “waste” our worry, anger and anxiety on labels and definitions and whether OTHER PEOPLE (over whom we have absolutely no control) think of us as a certain label or not? I’m not trying to be condescending, I honestly don’t understand it.

4

And then Ilene Chaiken gave us “Lisa, the lesbian-identified man” as Alice's romantic interest early on in The L Word. The problem with that situation was that at that point in time Alice was fully immersed in not just her bisexuality, but also in the gender binary, and found the male-lesbian phenomenon frustrating; she wanted to date a cishet dude, because she could have a girlfriend if she wanted the lesbian experience. Call it regressive if you like, but it was what she wanted.

Fifty-one rotations around the sun, and I've never had discomfort with the gay label. The gay IDENTITY may have been problematic for a few years — I did grow into it eventually — but I have never questioned my laser-focused attraction to cis men.

5

I love comment @2. I think it helps clear some of the sexuality v gender stuff without stepping into trans territory.

For the record LW- especially if you occasionally like heteronormative sex, you would be my bi-husband’s dream girl. If you and your husband ever open your relationship I think you’d find great success roleplayinf with a strap on with a bi guy. I know my husband would love it. I wish I was less insecure so I could role play/pretend more to be what you are!

6

I'm AFAB nonbinary and had a lot of sex with gay-identified men in my 20's. I'm still strongly attracted to gay men. And have had a surprising number of gay-identified men find themselves unexpectedly attracted to me. I'm rarely attracted to 100% straight men. Dunno if that makes me a girlfag, but enbyfag hasn't made it into LGBTQ+ culture.

7

I'll be interested in BiDanFan's take.

8

Thanks, Dan. This was handled much better this week imo. I always assume that advice columnists never see the comments, or they only see what confirms their own thinking if they do, but it appears I'm wrong in your case. Listening to upset people is never easy. And being willing to try something different is even harder. It means a lot to me that you did this and looked for a source on the inside this time rather than ask someone on the outside looking in. I wasn't expecting that response, so I'm kind of at a loss for words right now, but I want to leave some comment, even if I'm not perfectly expressing what I want to say, because this matters.

9

I fear the child of this mother is a going to have to contend with a lot more than her mother being offended by a particular vernacular....

10

Uncomfy @ 2
Being an imaginary guy may be escapism to some yet a reality for others.
What may or may not work for you is not necessarily the case for all others. Some straight cis women like gay porn just like some straight men like lesbian porn. For others it may mean something else, a longing to be with a woman as a woman and so on.
LW was quite specific in how she/he feels, how it came about over the years, and how it manifests nowadays. Why not take them by their words?

raindrop @ 7
And what is your take on this issue? Don’t be shy, after all LW did mention a miracle…

Frairtuck @ 9
Those who will never accept others who dare live their lives differently than theirs often mask their judgmental cows’ manure with “I fear [for] the child.”

11

@3 your comment screams very much of "I haven't had this experience, so therefore it is invalid." some people who have felt othered all their life or felt shame about their feelings take comfort in finding a community of similarly identified people who make them feel as though they are not alone. Others feel constrained by the perceived rigidity of identity labels. Just let people live their lives and don't be a shitty person. How people choose to label themselves or not should have no bearing on whether or not you choose to do the same.

Ps "there are more important things to be angry about" is the oldest phrase in the book to undermine and invalidate everything from sexual assault in the workplace to daily racism. Trying to start the oppression Olympics just invalidates people who have very real feelings in response to very real problems. Please don't be that person. You are literally doing the same thing you decry by spending time and energy worrying about how other people label themselves. It's frankly none of your business.

12

Two things regarding the second question:

I didn't read the LW's statement about making a "commitment to husband and daughter" as meaning strictly monogamous. Maybe that was the implication, but personally I consider myself to be in a committed relationship with my married partner and kid, but it is certainly not monogamous. There is the assumption that opposite sex spouse + kid = monogamous, and it's an unfortunate prevalent assumption that has made it difficult for us to be open about the nature of our relationship. Raising a kid takes a commitment, that commitment does not have to include monogamy.
I want the LW to know that as a bisexual cis-male, I find their description of themselves to be rather hot! This seems to corroborate commenter @5 describing her bi husband. So, if there is any potential for opening the relationship, seek out us (openly) bi guys!

13

What do you know, "girlfag" and "guydyke" are actual things, "guydyke" wasn't something one person on Tinder made up. So the person who wrote in after having been approached by one could have just googled it and avoided a bitter discussion about TERFs.

Googling Janet Hardy, it seems that unlike asking a lesbian to comment on guydykes, Dan asked someone who seems to identify with the concept of being a girlfag herself. Well done, Dan.
https://www.fairobserver.com/region/north_america/the-wonderful-and-confusing-world-of-girlfags-and-guydykes-99856/

I don't think WTCM is that unusual -- slash fiction, women watching man-on-man porn, strap-ons, and Freud's "penis envy" are well established phenomena. Do straight men who prefer girl-on-girl porn need a label? WTCM seems to have two choices -- embrace the girlfag label even if she doesn't like the term itself, or continue to identify as a straight woman, but one who has a kink for gender fuck (herself as playing a male role sexually but not wanting to transition). Or she could say "I'm a gay man trapped in a straight woman's body" -- being mindful, of course, that some gay men might take offense to this. The key there would be to be an ally to the gay male community, which could help avoid the impression that she's co-opting it.

As for what to do now that she has found a label that fits her (a "eureka" moment I can definitely identify with!), the answer is possibly nothing. She can rejoice in the knowledge that her inclinations are common enough to merit their own label, but not change anything about her life -- what would she change? She's happy in her relationship, which is indeed with a man. She is probably already incorporating fantasy into her sex life at least sometimes, privately pretending she's a gay man when sucking her husband's dick or being fucked doggy style or anally, and through the slash writing. Depending on how GGG her husband is, she could share these fantasies with him, perhaps incorporate role play or pegging. If he's not into that, find an online community to share the slash fiction with, and perhaps find some friends she can occasionally go to (mixed gender) gay bars with. At her core she is still a woman who's attracted to men, so there doesn't seem any need to make significant changes in her life, or to "come out" to people who won't understand what she's talking about anyway.

What I would be interested in is whether WTCM gets less flak than the demigendered husband from last week. If so, that would be strong evidence that women are still allowed far more licence to non-conform to gender stereotypes than men are.

14

WTCM might also enjoy drag king shows, and potentially performing in them as an amateur, if there is such a scene in her city.

15

We tend to get pretty caught up in "what" around here, because we're a gaggle of internet dorks, but the more interesting question is usually "why". The fact that someone finds comfort (or outrage) in these labels is much more interesting than the details of the labels themselves. Does this label help the LW get some fulfilment she seeks?

16

Newbie @22, the fact that you used the word "waste," even in air quotes, shows that you do feel condescension toward people who care about labels. Your deviation from sexual norms is minor, as is your deviation from whiteness. You don't feel uncomfortable being "rounded up to" or perceived as straight. People who deviate more than you do from sexual or gender norms do feel uncomfortable when read or treated as straight and cisgender. Understanding who one is is important, wouldn't you think? You seem to have a solid understanding of who you are as a person. Not everyone is so lucky, or in woke parlance, privileged. Just because you have no interest in exploring yourself through the medium of gender identity doesn't mean this is not important for some. Can't you respect that, just as you would respect, say, someone who was really into model trains? Would you consider the time they spent on this hobby a "waste"? (I agree it seems a "waste" to be angry at people who label themselves differently, or indeed, to comment on an advice column on a topic you don't care about, just saying! Hope it's provoked some more sympathetic ways of viewing this issue.)

17

Sorry, that was Newbie22 @3.

19

cocky @18: LW asked Dan "Is there another term then [sic] girlfag?" and did not ask him, you, or us, to "find a very special name". Why the hostility?

20

BiDanFan @17: Damn. I thought you were predicting future comments!

21

I think the previous case was one of looking at trees instead of the forest; Mr Savage was getting a Guest Expert not to comment on GDs but to comment on Invaded Space, which could have been that LW's concern. This response's referral did have the advantage of exploring the presented phenomenon.

If this were recognized as a phenomenon all on its own that had absolutely nothing to do with gays (or lesbians on the other side), I could give it FTWL, as I could if straight-chasers were considered as their own separate category. Good for anyone who can carve out a sustainable new niche. Unfortunately, I recall my PLB, and how full his head was of toxic ideas he'd gotten from slash fiction. And just the GF name is troublesome. I can get that on some level it can be an attempt to acknowledge that the presenter never had to live with the negatives of the label, but I still think the world would be a better place if the F word became as obsolete as possible and a marker that allowed a hearer to write off the speaker at once. Mr Savage tells LW to embrace the term in the spirit of reclamation, but it's really not her term to reclaim.

I do wish I could have instilled in LW and perhaps the referred-to columnist a bit of my penchant for distinguishing between gay and MM or SS, especially in LW's sentence [I've always formed closer bonds with men than with women and came to realize that I was more aroused by a deep connection with people then physical attributes, except involving gay men.]. Did LW mean to specify gay and exclude bi, and if so, why? I get no cosmic vibrations. And the author doesn't entirely clarify why a GF's object has to be gay and not bi. There could be an advantage in that a gay partner would be less likely to be attracted to a GF "as a woman", but one would think that, as some gays prefer bi men as partners, some GFs might as well. The author seems to imply that, as she did herself, partnering with a bi man who's "gay enough" is a sort of serious compromise.

As for one of Ms Fan's points, it may be possible to be a sufficiently good ally to the G-gay community, but it's an object that seems rarely attained. And even the most respectful GF or GD co-opts more than one realizes. If I were making a match for a GF for whom bi wouldn't do, I'd suggest she try gays who hate "the community".

In a sort of parallel to Ms Fan's conclusion of #13, I'll give another paragraph from the cited piece:

[Girlfags and guydykes are sometimes accused of objectifying gay male/lesbian sexuality — to which I answer, resoundingly, “Duh”: Sexual fantasy is inherently objectifying in that it tends to focus on a projected image of the fantasy object rather than on the entire, complex human being. But a well-behaved girlfag or guydyke, like a well-behaved person of any gender or orientation, does not project their fantasies onto non-consenting partners. Female-presenting people who insist on invading men’s spaces, or male-presenting people who do the same to women’s spaces, are beneath contempt, as are those of any gender who pester uninterested people for attention, dates or sex. Such behaviors have nothing to do with ethical girlfaggery or guydykery.]

I'll compare, not this LW to the demi-gendered husband, but the GD Ms Scarcella disliked to the woman who wrote the letter that was the subject of a column of Ms Herzog's from 30 January [Do Straight Women Belong on Gay Dating Apps? (No.)]. The letter was written to a Stranger alumnus now at Slate by a straight woman who wanted to look for bi or homoflexible men on an MM site. His middle-of-the-road-flavoured reply was that it was perfectly all right but that she should basically just make a profile and them let interested men contact her. Now, we don't know whether the GD was less or more respectful than that woman as GD's LW didn't specify how appropriate the contact was or wasn't. But there is a much louder portion of the general voice that responds (and in many, perhaps most, cases with good reason) to women's invading men's spaces with cheers of, "YGG!" than there is that approves of men's invading women's spaces. I don't think we've quite yet settled which men's spaces are legitimately so.

22

Back in the day when I wrote fan fiction, I occasionally wrote straight fan fiction. It was actually considered niche. I've never heard the term "girlfag" before, but when given anonymity and freedom to write about their sexual desires, straight women overwhelming go the Brokeback Mountain/slash route. It's the norm. It's the majority. I'm not sure why.

In other words I don't think we need a special term to describe sexual desires that a majority of straight women feel.

23

@ 3 I don't see any anger or defensiveness in the letter, so I'm assuming you've encountered that in real life, and are carrying it over to this situation.

I don't know a lot of people personally who are anything but strictly conventional with their labels; the ones I do know have, at the most aggressive, a "take it or leave it, I don't care what you think" attitude. I may very well know a lot of people with unconventional labels who have just not bothered to let me in on it because our acquaintance is slight, who knows. Anyway, my point is that nobody is being angry or defensive at me about this issue.

So, I wonder if the problem is not that some people have new, or unconventional, or unusual labels. Instead, the problem may be that some who rail against the labels assume aggression when there is none there, and are defending against nothing. And/or, (since every group of humans includes some percentage of assholes) they just happen to have encountered some assholes who are using their gender/sexual identities to make other people feel bad.

And if someone is being an asshole to you, you don't have to blame how they label themselves, you can just go with "that person is an asshole" and leave it there.

24

Fubar @20, I'm pretty good at doing that where one specific commenter is concerned ;)

Venn @21, thank you for recognising that there are good reasons why a straight man invading lesbian space is more problematic than a straight woman invading gay men's space, though both are indeed behaving less than respectfully. (I thought you might chime in on this topic.) That's why I clarified that if she is going to visit gay clubs, she should look for ones where women are also welcome. Most women, all too familiar with being on the receiving end of objectification, can ogle less invasively than a straight dude who's perving on lesbians (or women generally). And if she is caught ogling, she will be viewed as more annoyance than threat.

As for whether the objects of a girlfag's desire could be bi rather than gay, I would say that her ideal target market would be bi guys who "present as gay." As there is -- or historically has been; the millennials are changing the face of queer socialising to make it more, well, queer -- no specific "bi space," bisexuals have either found their scenes in straight space or gay space. A bi man who is integrated into the gay community would be a perfect match for someone who wants to love as a gay man, but has a female body.

Agony @23, I read Newbie as referring to the anger expressed in comments like Cocky's @18, an excellent Exhibit A.

25

I am the LW. Let me clear up a few things...1) I definitely found comfort in a lable since it gives me the sense of community and having others like me out there, as for wasting my time on it, well I hope you find a community of your own. 2) This was a recent discovery and while it might have been better to find a bi man, I didn't. I love my husband and while he may not be my sexual fantasies, we have a deep emotional connection and a fullfilling sex life. My writing and gay porn fills my fantasies. No I'm not comfortable opening my relationship. The deep connection I have with my husband is monogamous on both sides and we're happy with that 3)As for my daughter, she is a perfectly adjusted 3 year old who have parents that love her and each other and a mom who will be understanding of whoever she is, so don't sorry about her 4)I have always considered myself an ally and do not wish to intrude on others. I was asking for ways to express myself that were not offensive or trying to take away from others experiences. I know that I present as a cis female and have not had to deal with discrimination or hate. My intent is not to seek attention or claim to be part of something I'm not, I just want to find my own community and support others finding theirs. 5) I agree that a lot of cis straight women write and read slash fan fiction, but there is definitely qualities of slash and some are more realistic than others. My love of slash is not my only indicator so I'm confident in my identity as a girlfag now I just have to accept the term.

26

CMDwannabe @ 10 thanks so much for the failed attempt of putting absurd words in my mouth:

"will never accept others who dare live their lives differently than theirs often mask their judgmental cows’ manure with “I fear [for] the child"

this person/mother is clearly moving in a whole a bunch of different directions and is by her own admission, basically unsettled in her current life state, aside from a self-described naming convention crisis. That, was my specific point, being unsettled/unsatisfied, not at all judging an identifier.

Your apology for jumping to conclusions is noted and accepted. Have a Romy and Michelle day.

27

It's extremely common for straight men to like the fantasy of two beautiful women having sex. There's porn catering to it, it's part of the reason guys want FFM threesomes- the reason I say the fantasy is because I don't know if the reality of FF sex is really what straight guys want/like most of the time. This is so common that it's a cliche.

I have no idea why anyone should be surprised that the same thing exists in reverse. Actually maybe no one is suprised? I think @2 is correct and that has been my limited experience browsing slash fanfic as well, though I want to add that I don't think it necessarily has to be about intimidation (though of course I agree it is sometimes) as men have a similar experience w/ fantasizing about ff sex as I stated before.

I think you just see it more in slash fanfic from a woman's point of view for the same reason you see the opposite in porn from a man's point of view- it's just that the vehicle for experiencing the sexual fantasy changes by gender. Just like how dudes generally like porn more while gals generally like erotica more- again mileage may vary, demographics may affect this, but generally & stereotypically speaking, women get off on written word fantasy more than dudes do.

Back to the issue of straight people (men and women) enjoying fantasies of same-sex people fucking, again it seems very simple to me. I'm attracted to men, I like to see their bodies, I like to watch them get off, and because I'm straight, I am not attracted to women. Why is it surprising to anyone (if it is) that I like to imagine more male bodies and fewer/no female bodies?

I can pretend that I'm the woman in a fantasy of a MF but it's also nice just to see the dudes do things without me (I like to see shirtless men play volleyball too and I don't need to see a woman playing iwth them and pretend to be her to enjoy watching them). And when you see/imagine two men together, it's double the pleasure. Sometimes it's just getting off on seeing them- I don't have to pretend to be one of them. Other times it's natural to pretend to be one of them, just like you might identify with a woman in a MF fantasy. It's no more a stretch to pretend to be a man.

For example, sometimes when I watch/read straight porn, I might take the point of view of the man fucking the woman- not because I want to fuck a woman but because I know what I'd like to have done to me and sometimes it's hot to think ofwhat it would feel like to do it. There's no reason to overthink all of this- we like to imagine ourselves fucking, we like to imagine ourselves being fucked, we like to imagine others fucking each other, etc endlessly because humans are obsessed with sex.

I do think @2 has a point specifically regarding this woman since she talks about feeling uncomfortable in her own body. Imagining oneself as a woman's fantasy of a gay man (which is not the same thing as a real gay man) could liberate her sexuality from those physical trappings, sure.Just like any fantasy might- imagining oneself as any number of role play opportunities. I think also (as I've said before but it was somehow controversial) that wrapped up in the female desire for men is the relationship to vulnerability, especially the contrast between how masculinity is supposed to be hard and strong and stoic but it's really hot to find a man who lets his guard down and allows for some vulnerability- it's from the same place I think that makes it hot when you see a big strong man looking sweetly after a small child/baby. I think this is wrapped up in trust issues- since men are stronger than women and sometimes a threat, yet women are often attracted to strong men nonetheless so it's natural that they'd want to see the softness inside. It maintains the strong sexy external but removes some of the threat, you can trust this guy, he is vulnerable to you too.

I think a lot of this gets projected onto gay men particularly in slash fanfic because the idea is almost always that you have two guys that are strong bromancy and then they let their guard down with each other, show their vulnerability to each other, etc. Natural that straight women will find this hot. And then, removing all the overthinking, a lot of slash fan fic is simply about sexual chemistry and sexual tension, something most people find hot in all gender combinations. There are all sorts of ways to create that tension, we must have a taboo or transgression or obstacle to overcome and they come in all varieties. Think about the taboos in Brokeback Mountain mentioned above. It wasn't just that the guys were gay, it was also that they were tough and traditionally masculine, not supposed to be emotionally vulnerable at all, and also both desperately isolated/lonely despite having families around them. It's the fantasy of release from all this, giving one another permission - as I've said before I htink it's also what made 50 Shades of Grey so popular. Everyone focuses on the domination, but keep in mind that the man is focused on her pleasure. The dom stuff just gave the woman permission to receive it. She was a good girl, a virgin, nerdy- it would seem transgressive for her to revel in sexual pleasure in the first place. Just like the Brokeback boys were supposed to be strong & stoic, etc. With any fantasy, it's easiest if there's some distance otherwise the fantasy just falls apart.

28

(Calli, if you check in here, I just saw the thread from a few letters back but I can't remember which one now. What about TNG formal uniform- it was basically a dress with leggings. And characters in the first season at least did where the Uhura style miniskirt dress, see Troi especially, but also several male extras in the background. I think the 90s idea of the future was that gender norms would remain fairly static but clothing would be available to both genders? I love to see what scifi gets right about the future and what they get wrong- it usually ends up with an eerie high tech past in space. Think Heinlein combining clean efficient energy, complex alien systems, but 50s style nuclear families with housewives stay the same for centuries ha ha ha. Then getting meta about it, I think our decades of experiences with this phenomenon in the genre is part of the reason steampunk is so popular now- that same eerie conglomeration.)

29

where=wear I type too fast, sorry.

30

Where do "girlfags" congregate? Asking for a friend. A hot friend.

31

I can completely relate. I hate the term 'cis' as it is often used as a derogatory slur, or in a demeaning manner. What was s wrong with 'straight'?
Please stop offending me with your insulting use of the term 'cis'!

32

@25: Thanks for the update. And please pay no heed to the trolls and fusspots. I for one have learned from your letter.

33

Genderqueer, female-bodied androphile

34

@1: Gender-indifferent more than trans, but with sexual interests and expression that most closely resemble stone butch out of the normalized categories, and an attraction to women with a lot of masculine-coded traits, which tends to be vastly more common among queer women (so we tend to crush on lesbians more than straight women on average).

Of course, that's a description of a more specific subset (people a lot like me) of the larger subset of us who were actually serious rather than the actual straight men who were joking about fetishizing women having sex with women (to be fair, except for the component about one's own gender conception, that doesn't sound any different to me than LW's sexual interest in men having sex with men, and perhaps a large proportion of those men were actually genderqueer or trans but had never realized such a thing was possible). I DO recognize the sort of person you're describing, and I had a lot of fun taking them excatly at their words and turning those "jokes" into discussions of gender theory.

From your own description, since they'd never heard of trans identities, it's actually possible that a significant proportion of them, and perhaps even a majority, WERE trans or genderqueer. Some of the people I would challenge, including stereotypically bro-y guys (whoese aggressively normative masculine presentation may have been overcompensation - not only do young queer men do that to armor their closets, but young straight men are relentlessly policed for any deviation from masculine norms and thus often overcompensate themselves, so that could be the case for any subset), certainly came away from those conversations wondering whether they might be genderqueer.

35

Why not just say: "The closest term I could find is 'girlfag,' but I prefer the term _, because _." Maybe it's not fair that members of a sexual minority are tasked with creating their own labels, maybe not having to create a label is a form of privilege, but that seems to be the reality here.

The good news is that you're writing to a column that is famous for coining or popularizing new terms, for example santorum, pegging, etc. [That's odd -- spellcheck is okay with "pegging" but not "santorum," but isn't the latter often a result of the former?]

36

Girlfag @25 - thanks for coming by to post!

EmmaLiz @27 - great post! ("There's no reason to overthink all of this- we like to imagine ourselves fucking, we like to imagine ourselves being fucked, we like to imagine others fucking each other, etc endlessly because humans are obsessed with sex." -- indeed!)

37

wellokaythen @35 -- good idea, that this seems to call for a new term.

The internet told me that "fagette" is another version of "girlfag," but with the same problem of being offensive.

That led me to envision: "MM-ette" , pronounced "em-em-ette," and possibly spelled "ememette" because that looks cuter.

38

Friartuck @ 26
There was nothing in LW’s original letter to indicate that their newly found identity is harming or will harm their child in any way. As further clarified in LW’s follow up @ 25 all is indeed well.

Your very short post came across as nothing but speculation on children being damaged due to parents’ lifestyle. I apologize if I saw too much in it, yet this is the type of post we often get from judgmental moralists.
You may also consider an apology, or at the very least some explanation, to those of us who deviate from the norm yet fully capable of raising happy, well-adjusted children.

39

Emma @28, I feel compelled to point out that a large number of Heinlein novels have central relationship structures which are still considered nonstandard now, and were certainly dramatically so when he was writing, e.g., large polyamorous groups, triads, line marriages, etc. (He also wrote a large number of female characters who were quite serious mathematicians and scientists, also nonstandard for his period, and something I always appreciated.)

Sorry to nitpick; I do take your general point.

40

@25 and LW- so uhh, what’s the question? Seems like you’re settled in and comfortable with everything.

I meant no offense about the finding a bi guy or opening the marriage up. Simply a comment as a way to find satisfaction potentially. Though it seems like everyone on here is open in some way or another that’s not the case. My husband and I are actually monogamous too, we have our own struggles with the unfulfilled since he’s bi and we’re monogamous. For monogamous people it is part of life- one person is rarely “enough” to satisfy it all. If you’re happy with your label, your fic, and your husband, and you’re clearly a proficient googler , what’s the trouble?

41

Ciods, for sure- he was a visionary & I'm a fan. I didn't mean all his work. I was thinking of Red Planet when I wrote that. Also I didn't mean it as a criticism necessarily, just that it's fun as a reader to look back on how people imagined the future in the past, what elements they change, what they keep, what they don't even consider, etc. Nitpicking is welcome when discussing scifi!

42

ciods @39 and Emma @28, Heinlein also explored transgender themes. In the Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, I don't recall it being a major theme, but sex changes were about as easy and reversible as changing your clothes and a main (the main?) character did change to a woman for at least a while.

Sorry, it's probably been 35-40 years since I read it, so some of the details are hazy.

Unfortunately, some of the other sexual themes he explored, while probably somewhat less controversial in the 60s and 70s are pretty creepy by present standards (sex with barely pubescent people, children, parents, etc.). So, his work may be an uncomfortable place to go for a SF exploration of gender roles and sexuality.

43

@31 cis is a term borrowed from chemistry and deriving from Latin, to contrast with 'trans', also Latin. ("This side of" and "the other side of, respectively.)

It's hard to imagine more neutral terminology. It evokes discussion of chemistry, as in cis vs trans fatty acids. (It's about geometric configurations of molecules.)

But yes, people can use this to say things like "die cishet scum", hard to consider it much of a slur when you consider the size of the minority group that might be prone to using it. Almost no cis person has been bullied for not being trans with this word, for example.

@42 I also thought of the many strange alternative relationships of Heinlein: polyandrous marriages on the moon, a bunch of immortal relatives and friends from various timelines and dimensions and novels shacking up together. Etc

44

Girlfag @25, thank you for checking in and for braving these comments, many of which are not kind.

Friar Tuck Off @26, hopefully Girlfag's comments have eased your so-called concern.

Forest @31, cis and straight are not the same thing. The word cis was coined to describe something for which there wasn't a pre-existing word -- it means not transgender. Cis people can be straight, gay, bi, pan. I hope your post is trolling, though you aren't the first cis person I've heard say they don't like the way the word sounds aesthetically.

CMD @38, please don't apologise to trolls.

45

John @34, thank you for your valuable work!

46

Ms Fan - I prefer LW to the columnist. LW is respectful. The column did have a paragraph about ethics, but still gave off an air of what at the moment I can only call poaching. LW pretty clearly does not want to poach. We really do need recognized binormative spaces, but I've been saying so for so long that I doubt I'll ever see them.

The explanations of slash are coherent and logical, but aren't excuses. I still wish young and impressionable gays never saw it, but, sadly, it's pushed MM by and for gays almost totally out of the market. This is one of the reasons I'm such a separatist. I can accept that those OS women who expect real gays to be just like slash characters (similarly to how some OS men expect lesbians to be just like porn performers) would probably get unrealistic expectations by another means, so that it's not the slash itself that's at fault. That's why I could ideally give it FTWL.

LW, I wish you the best, but, please work to establish a better term than one I can't even type out in full.

More later.

47

vennominon @46 "please work to establish a better term"

What do you think of my suggestion @37 -- "MM-ette" , spelled "ememette"?

48

Problem with trans/cis is that they are opposites- this side, that side. It would be nice to have a word that means "my gender is the one I was assigned at birth" since there are multiple ways to be "not trans".

Also it's annoying since "trans" is short for transgender but since it sounds like the science word, people use "cis" to mean the opposite even though it doesn't really make sense or stand for anything. It just a gimmick b/c of the homophone which is pretty dumb. I say we should continue the pun and divide it up by gender, have cis women and bro men.

But language often happens this way, whatcha gonna do? English needed a word for something and now we have it. I remember thinking how stupid "yahoo" and "google" once upon a time as well.

I've never heard it used as a slur, and "die cis scum" comes from "die yuppie scum" which came from "die nazi scum" perhaps each era needs it's villains. Take it in the ironic spirit offered. We all know cis people and yuppies are not nazis.

As for being offended by it, I can come up with hundreds of more interesting things to be offended by before lunch.

49

@48 EmmaLiz, I used to have a hard time seeing why people felt “cis” was a slur, not just an old Latin term meaning “this side of-“. But now you’ve pointed out it’s used analogously to “yuppie” I can see the insult ;)

50

lol @49 though to be fair, the word "cis" is not a slur. Just the phrase "die cis scum". I wonder if some cis people have only ever encountered the word cis in that phrase?

Here's a fun little thing: https://boomcalifornia.com/2014/07/01/die-fill-in-the-blank-scum/

51

LW here again. @37 I really like your ememette and I think I'll use @35 phrase to introduce it to others.

Thank you to @46, @44, @38, @36 and @32 for your support.

52

Girlfag @51 - yay!

53

Ms Erica - Your term has a lot going for it. I like that it avoids the appearance of emphasizing gay over bi, and that it more clearly stakes out F-coded territory. It also doesn't seem to claim insider status for someone who was never at risk of the more negative consequences.

That ties in to, if Ms Helenka is reading this thread, a possible reason why some people were suggesting the LW whose boyfriend wanted to "be the girl in the relationship" adopt some negative male-coded behaviours as well as positive ones. It's very easy for outsiders to become enamoured of the good things that are generally attached to a particular identity.

54

Straight people need to quit colonizing and appropriating gay culture

55

EmmaLiz @48, cis does mean that one is the gender one was assigned at birth. I apologise for oversimplifying my definition in response to someone whose knowledge of such things is clearly rudimentary. Indeed, one can be many things besides cis and trans -- non-binary, genderqueer, etc -- but someone who thinks cis means straight is unlikely to appreciate these distinctions.

The terms "cis" and "cishet" do get used quite often in a negative context, but are no more slurs than "white" is a slur when used by people of colour making negative observations about white people. In both cases, if you are not personally guilty of the negative behaviour being discussed, shrug it off as justifiable venting. If you are personally guilty, don't deflect it by alleging "slurs" -- change your behaviour!

I've never heard the phrase "die cis scum" but I take it in the spirit intended. "Scum" is the slur, obviously!

56

In answer to a few folks who (understandably) flinch at "girlfag," I suggest a phrase suggested by another member of the fellowship: "sexually trans." That works for me - I am most definitely male in my erotic life, but female otherwise (I sometimes joke that I'm "female on the streets, male between the sheets") - but not necessarily for other, femme-er girlfags. My suggestion of "hag with benefits" has failed, alas, to catch on ;)

To the commenter who compares girlfaggery to the very common trope of men who get off on F/F porn, I think it goes deeper than that. Susie Bright did a great job of describing the "guydyke" identity - although she didn't use that word - in her essay "Men who love lesbians (who don't care for them too much)." The guydyke doesn't want to watch two women going at it, he wants to be a woman engaging sexually with another woman. In my sexual fantasies and in my choice of erotica, I imagine myself as a man interacting with another man. The sex partners I engage with are generally willing to play along with that fantasy, regardless of their own gender identity: I can't remember the last time I had M/F sex in which I was the F.

If it matters, I'm 65, masculine-of-center, bi, married to a 70-year-old bi guydyke. If this seems ridiculously complex, just keep in mind that he looks at me and sees the dyke of his dreams, and I look at him and see the gay man of mine. Hey, don't knock it; it works for us, and has been doing so for a decade and a half.

Janet W. Hardy

57

Late to the party, so trying to catch up now. I'm still mulling over the different psychological concepts girlfag might explore. Instead of appropriating the orientation of others and mashing two simple words (one juvenile, the other originally hurled as an insult) together, the alternate to "MMette" or "ememette" (which sound like a tween cheerleader identity) could be "MMophile" - someone who admires (or is turned on by) MM sexuality - for reasons of aesthetics, curiosity, fantasy, assuming a temporary identity, etc.

Mind you, one would still have to explain the meaning of a new word, but at least "-phile" is a known and respected suffix.

58

@57 Helenka
While "-phile" does have that advantage of being known, it's something one likes/is attracted to; I don't think or ememette wants that meaning, for her it's something she /is/ (not just likes).

59

@58 p.s.
In other words, while the -phile word certainly makes more sense to us, for her being a gay male is something she 'is', not just something she likes/is attracted to.

60

@43: I first read "die cishet scum" as some sort of German phrase -- the what what? What does "schkoom" mean? : - )