What’s wrong with men: The 3 things you should stop asking lesbians

*Disclaimer: All of these are 100% real questions that I have been asked a countless number of times throughout my life when people “find out” I am a lesbian. While these responses may reflect the view of some who identify as a lesbian it is not (and should not) be taken as a broad generalization representative of every other individual that identify as such.
Each response is my personal thought and is presented with the intent to kindly shed a little light. It is also to be noted that these experiences are those of a short-haired, sans make-up wearing lesbian. Believe it or not these factors have lead me to have experiences that may differ from a lesbian who is traditionally more feminine. This is largely due to stereotyping. We will later discuss “Femme Invisibility”, an issue for lesbians that do not look “stereotypically gay”.


lesbian queer women

© Steph Jael, 2015


When I started writing this blog initially it had been some time since I had met someone who didn’t know my orientation. Therefore I didn’t actually know for sure if people really still asked these kinds of questions. Later that night I had a business meeting at a pub. After the meeting ended a man who was nearby started to chat with me. We chatted on and eventually at some point he must have felt comfortable enough to start with the “gay questions”. He managed to ask every single one I will mention below – word for word. I responded to them then exactly as I will in this post. While I am always happy to inform and educate I find there is a way to respectfully probe for information when inquiring into very personal topics. Here are the top three questions you probably didn’t know you should stop asking lesbians (and a guess at what you probably mean to actually ask).


1. You like girls?!…. What’s wrong with men?!

Playful Answer: The sarcastic person in me that is so sick of hearing this question, and so tired of having resistance from society over something that is inherent in who I am says, “nothing… why don’t you be with one first and then I will?”

The real answer: I think what you’re looking to ask here is “why do you like women?”

Here it is; nothing is wrong with men. At all actually. As I have mentioned before, some of the very best people I have the privilege of knowing are men. Each of them possess attributes and characteristics that I value in such high regard within an individual, period. But it comes down to this; men are simply not what I am attracted to for a romantic partner. I wouldn’t even call it preference as preference implies I have a choice. Being attracted to women is not a choice, much as it is also not yours.  As it’s not a person’s choice if they are attracted to a man… or ballet… or the Winnipeg Jets. It just is. And that’s okay. It is however a choice to accept these parts of yourself – to which I have had the opportunity to embrace.

lesbian queer women

© Steph Jael, 2015

2. So which one of you is the man?

Playful Answer: Neither of us is the man. We’re lesbians.

The real answer: I think the question you are looking to ask here is “who is masculine and who is feminine”?

So here is my answer: stating that there “need” be a man implies that the relationship simply cannot exist or be warranted without the presence of one – which as we know is not true.

Further, if you ask who is more masculine/feminine this still wouldn’t truly be accurate to who either of us are. I don’t wear makeup while my partner does. When I get married I intend to wear a suit while my partner would prefer a dress. However, I am also more sensitive than she is. Her hair is just as short as mine, and she is also attracted to people “traditionally feminine”. So who actually is more masculine? Who is more feminine? To be honest I don’t think either of us are just one or the other. We are both a little bit masculine, a little bit feminine, and a lot of everything in between. That is the premise of this blog. That we as human beings fall within a spectrum and should embrace this.

3. “So… where the party at?”

Playful Answer: This statement has become so offensive I no longer have one.

The Real Answer: The first few times I was asked this I didn’t even get it. After probing further I quickly realized “where the party at” meant being a lesbian was synonymous with entertainment. This became gravely offensive quickly for two reasons.

As a lesbian I have found over and over again that my orientation, gender, and therefore my relationships with other women (even platonic) are often fetishized – by both men and women. When people realize I am attracted to women they often try to relate to me by disrespectful and chauvinistic comments about them. Which is not only disheartening but the complete opposite of how one should view them. All of the women in my life I truly love, respect, and admire – the way I do any other individual. The women in my life aren’t stage props that need to be controlled or complained about. They are strong, independent, power-houses that allow me the honour of being part of their lives.

Second, here is the thing about the phrase “where the party at”… my life isn’t actually a party my friend. Contrary to what media may portray we aren’t in a hot tub at all hours with mojitos (although if you figure out how to go about this life please let me know). We get sick and need to be cared for. We are gross in front of each other. We lay in our pajamas all day. We go for dinner with our parents, go to school, struggle, cry, laugh etc. We are actually the same as everyone else. Lesbian is not synonymous with “a good time”.

And the reality behind the questions you are asking is this:

  • Same sex marriage only became legal in Manitoba in 2004. I was 16 years old. If I were a born a decade earlier I would not have been able to marry the woman I am in love with right now.
  • Traveling to certain countries is off limits for me and other LGBTQ people because of our orientation.
  • People around the world are still being killed because of their orientation.
  • Even within “safer countries” like Canada, we still experience an enormous amount of homophobia in both passive and physically aggressive ways.

As with any minority group we are given the special task of educating people. While it can be exhausting, frustrating, and sometimes even offensive to continue answering these questions, when it comes down to it I am quite honored to be able to teach and share. Particularly in recent months I have had the opportunity of sharing my experiences with gay youth in hopes of providing support and guidance.

I think the world is slowly but surely getting better. Attitudes are changing, people are becoming more accepting, and for the most part within North America my experience is that homophobia is not only no longer trendy, but unacceptable. I am both blessed and grateful to be gay in this part of the world during this time.

To end this post I have one more bonus question for you:

You remind me of Ellen Degeneres…or KD Lang…. Or my aunt who is actually Jane Lynch and married to my cousin Susan who has a daughter named Ruby Rose… I wonder why that is?

Real Answer: It’s the haircut.

Processed with VSCO with b5 preset


Steph Jael



You’re still homophobic, Felicia

Many people think homophobia is out the door. For what it’s worth, I think in North America its no longer as trendy to be physically violent and directly aggressive about someones orientation. I will be the first to admit we have come a long way in a short amount of time. However, I will also be first to say that homophobic attitudes are still very much alive and well in our society. This often rears its ugly head through subtle and not so subtle commentary. While many people no longer feel the need to physically kick our asses they do however feel the need to make sure we understand they mean “no homo” in public and “let’s experiment” in private.

Inspired by all the women that think we “want to bang them”, here are 10 things that kinda suck to continue saying to gay people (and what we really think):

1.My cousins-sisters-brothers-cats-nephews-pastors-wives-aunts-birds-dentists-dog is gay. Do you know him?”


2. “Which one of you is the man?”

Well gee, according to my hair length…


3. “But a woman can’t “fuck like a man”.



4. “You shouldn’t be able to use dildos, you made your choice”

And you shouldn’t be able to do anal. You made yours.


5.”You’ve never been with a man?! So you’re a virgin?!”

Sure. I’ll be whatever you want me to be baby.


6. “I love Ellen…. You look like Ellen… WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T LIKE ELLEN?!”



7. “I would never show you my boobs. You’re a lesbian.”

Please don’t. I have my own.


8. “Is it sex if there’s no dick?” 

My orgasm sure thinks it is.


9. “Do you find me attractive?”

Please don’t make me hurt your feelings.


10. “So like how do you know you’re gay? Like how do you ACTUALLY know because I’m trying to get my daughter to be a lesbian.” 

Just let her near one. Apparently being near us is more than enough to shatter your orientation.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt challenging the status quo, again and again!

At this point it has already gone viral – and rightfully so! If you haven’t already please check out Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s lip syncing routine of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation“!From a perfectly executed choreographed dance routine inspired by Janet’s original video, to a full blown face of makeup and ponytail – he went all out! On his Facebook page, JGL explains how much effort exactly he put into his performance:

“First thing I did after deciding to do Rhythm Nation was email my ol’ friend Jenna Dewan Tatum. She danced on stage with Janet herself, did this song every night on tour. She hooked me up with two friends of hers, Alison Faulk and Teresa Espinosa, who were both dancers on that same tour. They were awesome teachers. They even got in touch with the music video’s original choreographer, Anthony Thomas, who came over, polished my moves, and told me all about the intended spirit of The Nation. It was really a better prep processes than I probably deserved. Huge thanks to all! Oh yeah, and go see THE NIGHT BEFORE!”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lyp-sync battle

JGL goes “full Janet” for lip syncing battle.

Part from the performance being an amazing homage to the original Rhythm Nation, and JGL never breaking character, what I love most about it is his healthy promotion of masculinity. JGL has always been one of my favorite celebrities for this reason. While he himself identifies as heterosexual (because that’s a question we clearly need to continue asking) he has always willingly and openly shared his support for the gay community – while also noting how insulting it is to gay and straight people to continue asking.

Additionally, he strongly identifies as a feminist, something he attributes to his mother and is in turn able to embrace his femininity without the fear of his masculinity cracking.

“However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique. That, to me, is what “feminism” means. So yes, I’d absolutely call myself a feminist.” – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, On being a Feminist


JGL ain’t afraid to claim ‘fangirl’ status.


Notables like Sean Penn in the movie Milk, Kurt Cobain in his dresses, and Seth Rogen & James Franco in general, are all rare examples of men in the spotlight who repeatedly express and endorse themselves while maintaining a healthy form masculinity. But then you have to ask yourself;

Why is it that healthy masculinity seems to be a rare thing?

Why is it when stars like Joseph Gordon-Levitt do something not traditionally masculine we feel the need to question their orientation? (As if his orientation would define just what kind of man he is anyway)

Why is it such a breath of fresh air to hear an artist not change the pronouns in a song cover (as Kings of Leon did for Robyn’s, Dancing on my own – I’m not the girl you’re taking home”) – because heaven forbid someone think a man was singing about another man.

Why is it not socially acceptable for a guy to show affection to another guy, without ending with a “not in a gay way”?

And ask yourself really… who actually benefits from the need to deny parts of yourself, emotions, forms of expression, to live up to some unrealistic standard?

Our local community is not exempt from this. This summer, when I bought pink shorts and my “feminine” partner, Hannah cut her hair short it became confusing for others. People felt the need to ask us all sorts of ridiculous questions. Straight people wanted to know “who was the man?” and gay people suddenly commented on how much  Hannah and I were dressing alike (even though we had always dressed alike).

Who was more masculine?

Why was it such a statement for me to wear pink shorts?

And why does length of hair, colour of clothing or beauty products, or even pronouns define what is or isn’t masculine?

I’ll have to think on this one a little more and get back to you. But until then, if you haven’t seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance yet, you can take a look here:


Be kind to your beautiful selves,

Steph Jael


Does Gender Inequality Actually Exist: 3 Things That Became Grossly Apparent

7© Steph Jael, 2015

Does Gender Inequality Actually Exist: 3 things that became grossly apparent.

(when I felt my gender)

*Disclaimer: It should be noted that gender falls within a spectrum. Perhaps one of my greatest realizations that has come from my encounter with gender inequality is the variety and fluidity that gender has presented itself in. We are more than just men and more than just women. Non-binary terms are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past.

It is with that, that I state, for the sake of this article I am writing this from the perspective of a woman; realizing the expectation that traditional male/female stereotypes were expecting from me. It is my hope to delve into further discussions on future posts about the many facets of identity, from many perspectives.*

So my photo was censored… and then another one after that, and another. All of a sudden my gender and what was expected of me became pretty apparent. Something that I had never really thought about, that had always been relatively fluid, suddenly was demanding things from me that I hadn’t bothered to really question before. It was the middle of summer, disgustingly hot, and 3 men got on the elevator, shirtless. Where I once had not questioned how acceptable that was, I was now feeling rage. I was just as warm as they were, why couldn’t I be shirtless, without being objectified? Things started to sink in pretty quickly… gender inequality still existed.

Here are 3 key things that became grossly sobering as I realized gender inequality is in fact alive and well.

  1. My Body is a Wonderland; a Sexual Wonderland

This one cuts deep and can be traced back as early as the middle years with simple concepts like “dress-coding” for young girls. Being a “tomboy” with baggy clothes, hoping to hide whatever it was puberty was doing to my lean and androgynous frame, I had never personally experienced this.  But in watching the experience of my friends, I can’t count the number of times they were sent home, asked to change or to cover up because their clothing (or skin) were distracting.

What exactly is this idea saying to young girls?

  1. That your body in its natural form, is inherently sexual and should therefore be prohibited.
  2. That in turn a boy/man/whoever’s education is contingent on how focused they can be (around you).
  3. Which in turn implies that this person can’t stay focused so long as your sexual body is distracting them.
  4. Therefore, it is your job as an inherently sexual being to cover up if you expect anyone to get any work done, or additionally, are to remain safe.
  5. And finally, if you do decide to dress like this, you must be doing it for attention (heaven forbid you dress for yourself).

Conversely, what message does this send to young boys/admirers of girls?

  1. You, young man, have no control – least of all over your sexual desires (this notion is the basis of what has become rape culture).
  2. And because you are always thinking about sex, in an all-consuming way,  multi-tasking is not an option for you. You couldn’t possibly ever be engaged with anything else as much as you are engaged with this.
  3. Conversely, because you are always engaged in the pursuit of sex, it would be inconceivable to think you could ever be violated… least of all by a woman.

What we don’t seem to realize is that from even our early years, we begin grooming and sending out the message that our bodies are to be reduced down to nothing more than sexual objectification. We are not endorsing any regard for the content of our character or the responsibility of our own moral and ethical code.

Simply put, we are sending the message that sex is broken down into two categories; sex giver (women) sex receiver (men). Movements like the Slut Walk or the Free the Nipple effort will later become contingent on this ideal.


  1. Missing & murdered indigenous women is still a thing

Now this one has always been close to my heart. Growing up indigenous, in an indigenous neighborhood, I have always been aware of the marginalization and inequality of my people in Canada. But as I started to digest the idea of gender inequality, I realized that one of the biggest indicators it still existed was the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women movement – a topic still very much present today.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada states that between the years 2000 to 2008, Aboriginal women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada, even though they make up only 3% of the female population. NWAC’s research confirms that Aboriginal women experience violence by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders, and the vast majority are men.

While these numbers show that racial divide is still very much present in Canada, it is also worth noting that another demographic within this issue is reserved for women.


  1. Unequal pay in the workforce is DEFINITELY still a thing.

Archaic as this concept may seem when I really looked at it, it became quite apparent that the pay gap between men and women is also still very much existent and another indicator of inequality.

I didn’t have to look very far for an example. A good friend of mine makes next to minimum wage serving. She has a university degree, and has been with her company for 8+ years. While she does make additional money in gratuities it is not near the amount her boyfriend, without having finished high school, makes in the labor industry. During off season when he is  unable to work, he makes more on Employment Insurance (60% of his earnings) alone than she will make during a full 40 hour work week.

While it should be noted that women are now claiming their place in the working world we still have quite a ways away to go. Women are now able to hold positions in traditionally male dominated industries, but this does not deny the reality that other traditionally female dominated industries do not receive the same or comparable compensation. Even within my current field of Public Relations, women make up more than 70% of the field, but still make less than men. Huffington Post: Gender Pay Gap Canada article elaborates on this further.


I don’t hate you guys, I swear. 

For what it’s worth I want to make it clear that my comments in no way whatsoever are meant as an attack on one gender in order to uplift another – if we are going to break it down to two genders at all. For some reason I have found whenever a comment is made with the intent of uplifting a woman someone has felt the need to spin the effort as an attack against men.  I personally have some wonderful men in my life. They have done nothing but love, support, and respect me. Perhaps that is why it took me so long to realize that the rest of the world did not view women the same way they do. It is because of the men in my life (and the women, and the in between’s) that I am inspired to speak up on these issues. No one benefits from gender inequality.

All people are loving, sentient beings, that are beyond the stereotypes and expectations society places on us – and it is with that in mind that I encourage you to think about these things… and then challenge them.

All my love,

Steph Jael