November 2016.

Why don't gay men and lesbians get along better?

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Lesbians have two major issues that they may have to confront: the current state of, and historical background to, discrimination against women, namely misogyny; and discrimination against sexual minorities.

To some extent, there has been a potential for some lesbians to identify men as the problem, and there are gay men who are misogynous. For example, you can see some aspects of drag as misogynistic stereotypes of women, so there are reasons why lesbians and homosexual men might have different agendas.

There are also issues relating to lifestyle that also have political dimensions. In our society men are,  on average, paid better than women so gay men have more disposable income. That may predispose to a different kind of leisure lifestyle. In addition, whether we like it or not these are communities based around romantic and sexual preferences; there can be a tendency for gay men to hang around other potential partners, and ditto for a lot of lesbians.

You get into further edgy, controversial issues in that, historically speaking, women had more tendencies to go into long-term couples – and therefore go out socialising less – and gay men have a long history of going out and cruising, so their behaviour is different. You can get into the interesting, yet difficult area about the degree to which lesbian and gay lives are run along traditional gender lines, which suggest that men are out there and up for it in general, and women are meant to be respectable, nice girls and at home.

There’s the stereotype of gay men and straight women palling up together, and sitting around talking about men, and fashion, but there are some also gay men that don’t get on with women at all. Those tensions run through straight society too, with the 'real' man who wants to do bloke-ish things and go out with his mates, but at the same time has to maintain sexual attraction to women without being involved in the activities they think women are interested in. That has long caused all sorts of interesting tensions within heterosexual marriages.

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