Lesbianism and Feminism

TSURUGA Minako

Part 2



3. Why am I a Lesbian?

Gender and sexuality

Gender system was not comfortable for me, and I couldn't understand why I had to accept it, before I recognized and decided my sexuality.
Since my childhood at a kindergarten, people around me compelled me to be feminine because I was a girl, but I couldn't understand them at all. And I didn't like most of "feminine things". For example I liked to play sward fighting or ball games rather than house or doll, because I enjoyed them and was good at them. And I was compelled to wear "feminine cloths" like decorative skirts or blouses or tights but they were uncomfortable for me mentally and physically.
I couldn't move well in "feminine cloths". I was an active child and I wanted to play in pants. But they said girls had to wear skirts. When I told them "I want to wear pants not skirts", just they said "you have to wear skirts because you are a girl". I always wondered why I had to be feminine just because of being a girl. But I was a child and didn't have money and I couldn't buy cloths by myself. So when they made me wear the cloth I didn't like, I resisted against them negatively soiling or tearing it with a nail on purpose. My family was not so rich, so I was scolded by my mother. "The feminine" compelled just because of being a girl even if I liked it or not, was unnatural and uncomfortable for me. But just I was an active child, I didn't want to be masculine.
When I become sensitive against gender system, I could recognize everything was separated depend on gender. For example, the words. In Japanese men call themselves "ore" and women call themselves "atashi". I didn't want to use the word "atashi", so I called myself "ore". I was often scolded by teachers and classmates because of my "masculine words" at my elementary school. But I didn't quit using "ore" until I proceeded to a junior high.
And the plays and sports. I wanted to play baseball and I was good at it. But no baseball team allowed a girl to join them. So I played alone throwing a ball at wall. But boys often teased me because a girl played boys' game. I was bullied as "a girl like a boy" at elementary school, so I could recognize gender system was compelled socially. I know I was punished because they thought I crossed the gender border.
Then what is the purpose of "the feminine gender"? It is to make women to be married and wives, and to bear children and to be mothers, and to do feminine works like household matters, childcare or nursing old husbands or husbands' parents, all throughout their lives.
I never want to be married at all. To tell the truth, I can't understand why women want to be married. I can understand men want to be married well. Only if they give their small salaries to their wives, their wives do all household and sexual matters. But I considered being married women meant caring their husbands and children and treating their masters' ego (in Japan wives often call their husbands "master") without payments all throughout their lives.
So I started to look for the job I could have all my life, before I was a teenager. But at that time, the all jobs for women were women's rolls I didn't want, like nurses, kindergarten or elementary school teachers, or flight attendants etc. I thought I could not have such jobs. Rejecting women's rolls, I couldn't find what I should do in my future. So I proceeded to a 4 years university, to gain time to decide my job.
But gender system bothered my proceeding to a university. My mother said '2 years college is enough for women', and most of my girl classmates proceeded to 2 years colleges even if they were better than me at school. But boys were supposed to proceed to 4 years universities, even if they were bad at school, and if they failed in examinations, they could get another chance to enter next year. At that time I recognized it was wrong, so I persuaded my mother and decided to proceed to a 4 years university. And I chose a faculty of law, because it was not feminine.
I decided many things like them, because I didn't want to be "feminine". But I didn't want be "masculine" at all. Just I wanted to be "myself". But in the society compelling gender system, "not being feminine" equals "being masculine" and people around me considered me masculine. And compelled gender system connects compelled heterosexuality heavily. The purpose of feminine gender is "to be married with men and to care children and to do women's works". So rejecting feminine gender meant rejecting women's works that included heterosexuality for me.


Why did I become a Lesbian?

Then why did I become a Lesbian? I am often asked such a question, but it is hard to answer. Then how do you feel if I try to ask you "why did you become heterosexual?". Can anyone answer the question? I have never gotten heterosexual persons' answers, so actually I don't have to answer either. Why do only Lesbians need "the reasons" to be Lesbians? You must recognize the question has strong heterosexism.
Then I try to answer the reason to be a Lesbian in my case. I have resisted against the society compelled me to be feminine for long time like I told you. It is certain my resistance connects my Lesbian sexuality.
And I can say that my Lesbian sexuality is my way of life and struggle against the sexism society that considers women is inferior to men, and it is also my response to the society.


When I decided to live as a Lesbian

I found "I might be a Lesbian" at 19 years old, when I felt attraction to a woman at my university. And at that time I remembered my past to find myself, so I found I had been always felt attraction toward women. So I recognized "I am a Lesbian". But I couldn't find other Lesbians around me. I couldn't tell my heart to the woman attracted me, because I was afraid she would reject me. I couldn't find how I could live as a Lesbian at all. Starting to look for the information about Lesbian, I had to get job not to be married, but I couldn't find good jobs. I couldn't even imagine I would live until 30 years old. I got Lesbian identity alone in such an isolated situation.
And at 24 I got a girlfriend at the first time. She was married with a man and had a child. But she said "To tell the truth I have loved women rather than men". It was hard for me to have relationship with a married woman, so after a half year we started I told her I wanted to separate. But she told me "I will divorce my husband, so please wait for me", and after a half year she moved with her child from husband house. But her husband and parents knew our relationship and threatened and persuaded her. So after a week, she decided to come back to her husband, and I was left alone.
At that time I considered "She said she became back heterosexual, but how about me?" at first time. I considered about my life again. I asked myself "Do I want to be heterosexual?". My answer was "No!" I recognized "I want to live as a Lesbian, being a Lesbian is being myself" and decided "I live and will live as a Lesbian."
We need such long distance struggles like me to decide to live as Lesbians after we found our Lesbian sexuality. So we can say we can consider our sexuality so deeply.


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