Having a Lesbian Friend: Straight Women Must Pay Attention to What?

Many people insist in an equalitarian vision of friendships, where different types of sexual orientations are in the same level -- ignoring or treating social disparities as if they don’t exist. This attitude may be a failed try to conceal the many problems that exist in a friendship between lesbians and straight women. Considering it, the students of journalism, Larissa Rosa and Beatriz Fontes, tell us a little bit more about this kind of relationship.

Larissa starts by explaining that, in the beginning, she struggled in being friends with other girls, because she saw a futile behavior that was recurrent on many of them: “I see now that this [futile] behavior had a reason to exist, and [now] I’ve surrounded myself with women who try to deconstruct this kind of behavior. When I think about my friendships nowadays, many are bisexual, some are lesbian and some are straight.”

Larissa explains that she has more bisexual and lesbian friends than straight, even though she is certain that she cannot measure it. In addition, Beatriz complements saying that non-heterosexual friends end up being the biggest part of her friends. Friendships that carry any kind of prejudice are unsustainable, what Beatriz explains: “Sometimes I end up moving away, even from bisexual women, because of a certain kind of demeanor that is harmful to me as a lesbian woman.”

Larissa says that, when she was a pre-teen it was difficult to deal with this relationships, and the internal confusion of not coming out as a lesbian yet created a certain fear: “I feared having deeper feelings or feelings with deeper connotation for other women, and having heterosexual friends that didn’t knew about this yet - because neither did I.” She also tells that she sensed some apprehension from this heterosexual friends, maybe because they could feel her fear. “[Now] It would be unsustainable having a friendship with a straight girl that had any kind of fear related to me for being a lesbian.”

Perhaps because those straight girls don’t feel as deconstructed about the homosexuality issue when in comparison to her, she says she feels a tension: “I don’t think it’s something that I provoke individually, but it is something that exists inside the [LGBT+] movement, and that ends up being transferred to this friendship, which is built inside it.”

On the other hand, Beatriz told us that she has never seen a change in other people's behaviour as she has always been accepted as non-heterosexual: "I'm not much of an example. I've admitted myself as a bisexual since I was 9 years old. And when I did it, it was not a big surprise, not a shock." Then, about the fetishization of the lesbian woman, that is constantly brought up by straight woman, in an attempt of not offending she adds: “I see many more women talking about how much they wanted to be lesbians, or about how it looks so much better to have relationships with other women, and this is no more then the fetishization of our place, of what we are, and it is so uncomfortable.”

"There is this idealized idea of what a lesbian relationship is”, says Beatriz. “There’s this saying as if it was very hard to like other women”, complements Larissa. She explains that this is one of the attitudes that offends her the most: “It’s easy to like women.” Beatriz aldo bothers about this issue of friendships with straight women: “It is much more difficult to like men, there’s a clear hierarchy”, and even though there’s a voice that’s often showing us how it is difficult to like men, there’s this contraposition of straight women saying that it must be hard liking other women.

We cannot fit two woman in a shape of a heterosexual relationship. When we always have ourselves as reference of point, it makes the dialogue more difficult. These relationships can be healthy if they are treated with respect.                        Photo: Larissa Rosa and Beatriz Fontes. In addition to being our interviewed for this article, they are a very sweet couple.

Author: Vitória Amá

Editor: Isabelle Caldeira