LESBIANS AND AGING
I was recently attending a birthday party at a friend’s house, where the subject of aging and our thoughts about it were discussed.
Along with the aging, came the question in my mind, of who will take over when all these women are gone? I know some of the Land Dykes have voiced concerns about younger womyn not necessarily wanting to take over the reins on Womyn’s Land. I was talking with my publisher one day who mentioned that she has noticed quite a few of the younger womyn, now, are not in the same frame of mind when it comes to identifying, or being labeled as lesbians, feminists, or as Land Dykes. Is this a good thing, a progressive, ‘doing-away with labels’ type of thinking? Or have I, as many others, become so used to labels, or identity, that I cannot see it any other way?
My spirituality is Earth/Universe/Goddess-centered, without any particular label, as opposed to any religious identity, but would this become un-identifiable, too? Does this mean we will all just meld into non-entities because of no delineations among us? Is this the beginning of us becoming non-beings, with no clear lines, reverting back into molecules, or do we merge ourselves with technology, becoming like Borgs?
At any point, one thought leads to another, and I realize my oneness with all, but fear a loss of identity as my own self with the prospect of this new age and the young people, most especially young womyn, refusing labels such as lesbian, gay or feminist. Is it simply an old pattern I have become so used to? The way I see it, my being a lesbian and being proud of it is also honoring the herstory of our culture of womyn loving womyn. We have fought for this label as lesbians and feminists and there is definitely a pride and a belonging involved, the younger generation has only maybe heard or read about. As with all change, which can be positive, or negative, of course, this new refusing of labels, has me feeling reluctant to throw my luggage onto that train. On the other hand I understand it to a certain extent and I have no problem with change—it is a fact of life—but we huwomyn and humans have a need to belong, to have a family, no matter how dysfunctional. We needed one another for so long in this huge Lesbian/Gay family that to un-identify ourselves, to un-label ourselves is almost a sudden slap in the face! Like being orphaned?
It seems to be an ignoring of the work and the foundation laying that a lot of womyn did, in order to get that freedom for the younger generation, and it is an insult. So, while some people may expound on the virtues of no labeling, we who have done all the work are being ignored. And dare I say, being called old-fashioned and even worthless. Now, isn’t this part of the ageism thing, too? I’m all for thinking outside the box, but to expunge ourselves from our herstory by de-labeling and ultimately de-valuing ourselves, isn’t this the same as ignoring us?
We are all individuals with our own personalities and idiosyncracies, but we are also pack animals and belonging to a family unit is part and parcel of that as lesbians and gays—a label I am proud of. It does not necessarily define me as a person—my personality or my desires, wants, needs, creativity, and yet it tells that I am a part of a womyn’s culture who has been around for thousands of years, despite the patriarchy’s attempt to rid society of us!
Just as there are different cultures from other countries, there are those who favor everyone blending in, so to speak, causing the cultures to become lost in translation—losing what is interesting in each culture, artistically and otherwise. Is this the patriarchy again wanting us to all be the same, no one “different” from another? Is it just a smooth underhanded way of annihilating those who are different—like Native Americans, Jews, Black Americans, the Roma/Romani people and I could go on… No one all black, or brown, or almond eyed—just all cream colored and speaking the same language? Yikes!! Is this mass verbal and cultural genocide in the guise of being liberal, being one, equality for all? Of course, I believe in equality for all, just without the risk of losing our cultural and personal differences. I believe we are all one spiritually and molecularly, but I believe we also each have things to teach and learn from one another, which has to do with our experiences and our cultures. I do not let my job define me, or anything else that is not my true self, but I am proud of being a Lesbian and belonging to the culture of womyn loving womyn and all that entails—our herstory and what we have done for SCC…