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Jasmin Savoy Brown Is Right: Lesbians Can (And Do) Sleep With Trans Men

Jasmin Savoy Brown Is Right: Lesbians Can (And Do) Sleep With Trans Men

jasmin savoy brown

On the internet it may be “contradictory” for a lesbian to date or sleep with a trans man, but in real life, it happens every day.

Yellowjackets and Scream star Jasmin Savoy Brown is lighting up Instagram with discourse on what it means to be a lesbian — and we are standing firmly behind her. Brown took to her Instagram stories yesterday to ask some questions about her identity.

“I’ve heard whispers some people are upset because I’ve said I identify as both lesbian and pansexual,” she wrote. “That’s true! I use both terms because both feel true, depending on the moment and depending on the day.”

Screengrab via Instagram (@jasminsavoy)

“I’ve been quoted as saying I am a pansexual lesbian and that I think lesbians can sometimes have sex with men. Is this problematic?” she continued. “I just think if we're going to police people’s labels, we’re kind of policing people's genitals.”

“Because if you're saying I’m still a lesbian if I have with a trans man, but I’m not still a lesbian if I have sex with a cis man, then you’re saying trans men aren’t men, and you’re also saying I’m not capable of deciding my own identity.”

She then asked if being a lesbian means “you are ONLY” attracted to cis women and if being attracted to trans men, trans women, and nonbinary people makes you pansexual.

Screengrab via Instagram (@jasminsavoy)

Obviously, the division between trans women and cis women in her question is false, but Brown has unfortunately been getting a lot of hate for saying that lesbians can sleep with trans men.

The thing is, queerness is not black and white like that. Gender is not black and white like that. Not every trans person is 100 percent binary all the time, and that’s okay. The entire point of queerness is to not fit into heterosexual and cis-sexual norms and boxes.

Some trans men are and have always been a part of the lesbian community. That is a simple fact that anyone who has been active in lesbian communities can tell you.

I’ve been a member of lesbian spaces for a decade now, working professionally in them at sites like Autostraddle, and now Out, since 2013. In every lesbian space and friend group I’ve been in, there have been lesbians dating and sleeping with trans men. In every one, there have been trans men who identify as a part of the lesbian community.

This is real life. On the internet, it may be “contradictory” for a lesbian to date or sleep with a trans man, but in real life, it happens every day. It’s lesbophobic and transphobic to deny this reality.

Obviously, many trans men are not lesbians and would not sleep with a lesbian; it is up to the individual, his identity, and his partner to determine what labels they use. While many trans men reject being included in lesbian spaces, in my decade as a trans lesbian, I usually see more trans men than trans women in lesbian spaces.

Anyone who has been to a Dyke Day celebration or large lesbian gathering will tell you that they saw hundreds of trans men, and that without those trans men, the lesbian community would fall apart.

Furthermore, there are plenty of reasons to have sex with a man that do not invalidate one’s lesbianism. Compulsory heterosexuality, wanting to feel affirmed in your gender, wanting to have fun, sex work, and simply feeling like it are all valid reasons for a lesbian to have sex with a man. It doesn’t make her less of a lesbian.

To say that a lesbian who sleeps with a man is no longer a lesbian is backtracking into the days of Gold Star Lesbianism, when people who came out later in life or slept with trans women were excluded from lesbian spaces.

Some of Brown’s critics are defining lesbianism as being defined by its exclusion of men, but it has never been about that. Lesbianism is about women and womanhood and if a trans man feels connected to that, which some do, he can be a lesbian.

Being a lesbian is one of the most freeing, most powerful things you can be, and to police and limit the identity like this is going against the heart of what it means to be in the community. It's always okay to explore what being a lesbian means to you. It's always okay to ask questions.

If you disagree, I invite you to go out into a real-world lesbian space. Or if that’s too much, go read Stone Butch Blues, since it’s available for free online.

Mey Rude is an Out Magazine staff writer.

Views expressed in Out’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of Out or our parent company, equalpride.

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