Q&A: “So I have a friend who uses they/them/theirs and identifies as a lesbian.”
So I have a friend who uses they/them/theirs and identifies as a lesbian. A mutual friend of ours recently made a comment about how our friend is identifying “wrong” because only women can be lesbians. I’m not sure how to respond to this other than calling them an asshole, which I already did. Also I don’t know if I should tell my friend about this because like I said earlier they are also friends with said asshole. Advice, maybe?
well, honestly i’m inclined to call someone who’s attempting to gatekeep or police someone else’s identity an asshole myself, so…
that said, there are a few things i want to comment on even though i think that you and i are already on the same page about these things.
your mutual friend indeed has no right to even suggest that your friend is identifying the “wrong” way. their comment is out of line as well as being incorrect.
you said your friend uses they/them/their pronouns. this says nothing of your friend’s actual gender identity, so why is your mutual friend even making assumptions about gender based on those pronouns? is your friend non-binary? although singular they is a common pronoun among non-binary people, non-binary people are not the only ones who use that pronoun.
also, non-binary people identify as lesbians for various reasons and imho they are as valid as any woman to do so. no one has the right to decide who gets to identify as what, i don’t care if the mutual friend is a lesbian themself.
having said all that, your friend’s gender doesn’t matter either way. if they identify as a lesbian, then they are a lesbian.
whether you should tell your friend about it or not…. i don’t know. if it were me, i’d probably just try to educate the gatekeeping friend without involving the person who’s identity is being questioned. whether that is possible to do or not, i’m not sure… whether that’s even the right thing to do or not, i’m not sure… but i think the link above would at least be a good place to start.
good luck, anon. i hope things work out and thanks for sticking up for your friend. 🙂