I was a high school freshman at a magnet school for the performing arts. It was the only school in my large district where enough students felt safe being out for it to be called “trendy” (with scorn of course). I was mimisidentifying as bi, and I befriended the other queer kids.
One of them was a gay boy. He was loud and funny and in the theater program like me. But he was also inappropriate. He would grab the breasts of me and the other girls, for laughs or to surprise us. When we objected, he’d throw up his hands and in an exaggerated tone he’d say, “I’m GAY!”
This went on for awhile. I hadn’t yet heard the accepted theory that sexual assault is about power, not attraction. If I had, maybe I would not have taken so long to snap. Maybe the violation of being groped by a gay guy would not have confused me so.
One day he tried again, on the big patio where we ate lunch. I smacked him away with one hand and tried to punch his face with the other. “If you like boobs so much, go buy a pair!” I shouted, in his face, stretching my 5’2″ frame as tall as I could.
He never grabbed me again. I don’t know if he still did it to others. I know that by the age of 14 I was convinced of the futility of reporting sexual assault, and didn’t even recognize it as such, so I never said anything to teachers or other authority figures.
That wasn’t the most egregious violation I’ve experienced, not by a long shot, but it was the most perplexing. Why would he abuse me if he didn’t even like me? (Take a moment to marvel at the layers of messed up in that one thought.)
I know now that my experience is not uncommon, and gay men behaving as if they were entitled to gay women’s bodies is a trauma many lesbians share. When I say I don’t trust men, when I say that men as a gender are misogynistic and violent, I’m not forgetting to make exceptions for gay men. They’re still men, and one of the easiest ways for a gray man to access the male privilege homophobic patriarchy might withhold is to disrespect women.