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No Thanks, I Don’t Want To Be Your First. #SorryNotSorry

Every lesbian was somebody’s first. I hear that all the time as the reason why I need to change my mind about never wanting to date a new lesbian. That rationale doesn’t work for me. If you’re new to the lesbian life, please know that I’m not one of those women lining up to turn you out.

 

If I were single and looking and you stepped to me as a woman new to lesbian loving, I would tell you straight up: I don’t have the emotional energy to help my lover come out of the closet. #SorryNotSorry.

 

I’m Not Interested in Turning You Out

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Photo by Rene Bohmer

There is this myth going around that says lesbians are always chasing after “straight” women to turn them gay. Some women may find that fun, but not me.

 

Some of the lesbians who pride themselves on turning other women out are immature and only interested in the sexual conquest. Love and lovingly helping someone adapt to this lifestyle is the farthest thing from their minds.

 

Trust me; there is nothing better or more soul snatching than that first time you realize that the physical connection with another woman is unlike anything else in the world.

 

But get this, sex is only one step in the journey. It’s fun and all, but a whole lesbian relationship requires a higher level of consciousness.

 

For me, I need and already have a partner, who is sure of what this journey involves and is sure she wants it all.

 

It’s Not Easy Being a Lesbian

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Photo by Samantha Sophia

Realizing you’re a lesbian is a process.

Add being black to it and you’ve got a whole new layer of concerns.

I can’t speak to being a white lesbian, but I know what many black lesbians deal with on a regular basis:

 

Rejection and guilt from their churches.

Rejection and shame from their family.

Rejection and shame from their friends.

Rejection and shame from their workplace.

Rejection, shame and few protections from your government.

Rejection and shame from media (unless you’re a traditionally pretty femme or in porn and even then you’re just a piece of ass in some white male fantasy)

 

It’s all About the Mindset.

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Photo by Leighann Renee

And even if you do find support from the black lesbian community, there are a whole new set of mindsets, “rules” and judgment that can be confusing. And some of us conform to the very heteronormative behaviors that you’d think black lesbians, of all people, would want to escape.

Choosing to live in your truth as a black lesbian means you’re signing up to be an outcast, which can be emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically draining.

I may have been down for this in my 20s, but now that I’m almost 40, I refuse to subject myself to that kind of emotional turmoil.

READ: 9 Things You Need to Know Before Dating a Closeted Femme

 

I was Terrible to My First Girlfriend

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Photo by Matthew Kwong

Even though I knew I loved women since I was five years old, I only had my first lesbian relationship 11 years ago.

I was 27 years old when I met the woman who would become my first girlfriend.

At the time I was working in a church and dealing with my very traditional Jamaican family. It was an exciting, scary and emotional experience.

I kept my partner a secret for three years.

I lived in fear of being found out and losing my job, my family and my friends. The secrecy and fear was one of many things that ultimately tore my first relationship apart.

 

Living a Double Life

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Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner

One of the things that stuck with me was that I was living a double life. At work, I was single, because I didn’t want anyone asking for details about my relationship. And because I was “single,” I had all kinds of church ladies trying to hook me up with a nice churchgoing man.

With some friends, I was out. With others, I wasn’t. I still to this day have one very queer-friendly church buddy who is still mad at me that I came out to her much later than I did to everyone else.

I reluctantly came out to my family.

I remember my mother asking me if my girlfriend and I were just roommates. She asked that question because she knew I didn’t like living with other people.

Even after I told her, she was in denial and kept hoping I would find a nice man. I didn’t necessarily need her approval, but not having it made our already difficult relationship tense.

I’d hear my church friends make strong stands against relationships like mine, not knowing that they were talking about me.

 

I Repeatedly Abandoned My Ex

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Photo by Ian Dooley

I remember going to church and hearing sermons against same-sex relationships. After hearing those sermons, I would sometimes feel so guilty that I would go home and break up with my girlfriend. That kind of flip-flopping was tough on her and tough on our relationship.

I tell this story all the time, but I remember one Thanksgiving my partner’s tires blew out and she wasn’t able to go to her family for the holidays as she planned. I had already made plans to have dinner with my family in her absence.

I was so anxious, worried and frankly ashamed that she would out me that I went to dinner with my family and left her at home by herself. I’ll never forget how shitty I felt about doing that.

So, when lesbians who have been out for a long time tell me they are not allowed at their newly out lesbian girlfriend’s family event, I encourage them to let the relationship go.

Seriously.

 

Don’t Put Up With Her Family’s Bad Behavior

I tell them to move on because the process for self-acceptance is of course personal. And if she can’t accept herself, then she most definitely can’t accept you and your relationship.

 

I don’t want to be your secret or disposable because your family said our relationship doesn’t count.

I wouldn’t wait around for my partner to get comfortable standing up for me and our love. If you’re not willing to do that on day one, then I don’t believe that you’ll be able to do that ten years later.

And I’m not exaggerating.

Last year during the Christmas holidays, I had a live Facebook Live broadcast where one woman told us, her wife of 10 years still leaves her at home to have holiday dinners with her family. The woman was alone on a major holiday because her wife thought it was okay for them to get married in name but not in spirit.

At a certain age, I require a woman who knows who she is. No shade to women who come out late. I came out late. I was mostly closeted until maybe four years ago. I did not enjoy it so no, I don’t want to help you discover yourself.

 

Self Acceptance is Not Easy

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Photo by George Pagan III

The process of unlearning all that society has taught you about “normal” and “acceptable” relationships can be messy, long and painful.

I know I can’t guarantee that a lesbian who has been out for years won’t have many other issues too. All humans have their challenges and baggage. Dealing with the turmoil of coming out is not something I’m interested in having in my universe.

I’m NOT here for the pain of your self-rejection because that will impact my journey to self-love, which will, in turn, affect the loving feelings we have for each other.

It took me such a long freaking time to accept myself, and I believe that I deserve the kind of love where we are both truly committed.

 

Don’t Take it Personally.

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Photo by Bernard Hermant

I’m not the only one that feels this way. I know many lesbians who have no interest in being your first or even dating a closeted woman. I also know many who would love to be your first.

Don’t take it personally new lesbians. The lesbians who feel the same as I do welcome you to our community with open arms and are happy to advise you as a friend.

Most likely you already met the woman who shook up your world and gave you the courage to come to terms with who you really are.

And I’m hoping that whoever she is, you are giving each other the patience, love, and kindness you that you both absolutely deserve.

 

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Article written by:

Zamara Perri is the founder and editor of the Black Lesbian Love Lab blog. She is a proud u-hauler who loves mangoes, cats, reading, cooking for her awesome partner and writing about some of the challenges and joys of black lesbian relationships.

Join the discussion

  1. Cynthia Cee

    Great Read! I came out much later even though I knew as early as 5 myself! Coming from a Christian background, being adopted and NOT wanting the rejection of my family led to painful years of being married twice and four kids later! I never experienced love until I came out at 35! I’ve had several relationships and currently I have met the woman I hope to marry one day! I feel so free at this time in my life! Family is good and even though there is the occasional eye roll or whisper from friends and family members I stay the course on my journey and STAND IN MY TRUTH!

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