Ciara

Interesting follow up to our Perpetrating Lesbians conversation.  Imani Uncut, as she goes by, posted an outstanding piece entitled "Substitute Men’ on her blog today.  Her blog hit on some of the realness that goes down in our community in a way that I haven’t really touched on yet but I am glad that she has put it out there.  More food for thought.

At any rate, I was asked to put together a discussion on this Perpetrating Lesbians issue here in Los Angeles, so look for the details soon.  Hopefully it will be taped and we can put it on Youtube.com for you folks not fortunate enough to be in L.A. so everyone can join in the discussion.

Here’s Imani Uncut’s piece "Substitute Men:"

I was over on Jasmyne Cannick’s site reading  a couple of pieces she’s written on Perpetrating Lesbians. Let me start by saying, I enjoy reading Jasmyne’s
articles.  She covers a multitude of topics around issues effecting the
black community. She keeps it basic, real and her perspective is
usually on point.  We seem to have a few things in common which always
makes the read a bit more interesting for me. I can identify.

In her piece on Perpetrating Lesbians she
talks about women who look for love in lesbian relationships who really
aren’t lesbian. They’re using women to fill a void left by their
abusive, incarcerated or otherwise absent men. How does this happen?
What’s up with the studs/aggressive women who accept this and date
these types of women knowingly?  These are questions asked in the
article which got me thinking about my own experiences.

I was very young during the mid-seventies, at a time when everything
revolved around sex, drugs and funk.  I don’t know if it was this post
hippie era or what, but my friends and I were very sexually active and
aware.  We were always playing some type of game that involved feeling
on each-other. Whether it was hide and go get it, house or doctor, I
was always doing something inappropriate to some other little girl..
and I was ALWAYS the boy. By the time I was 12, I was fooling around
with my “babysitter” who was a sixteen year-old girl who lived in my
apartment complex.  We were frequently left alone and it was
immediately on and crackin…

Age 12 is also when I found myself in the California Youth
Authority- a junior prison for felons between the ages of 12 and 25. I
was sentenced to 8 years 6 months (age 21) for Grand Theft Property and
Possession of a Firearm. It was the height of gang activity in Los
Angeles and I was doing my best to fit in.. If you live in the hood, if
you’re an inner-city urban youth, chances are you’re not unfamiliar
with incarceration. Either you’ve been to jail or you know someone who
has been or both.  We know black men are among the highest population
in prison. And we know recidivism rates are extremely high.

Now, when I hit CYA, I was the youngest in the institution. I was
scared, impressionable, alone and thrown directly into the mix with
seasoned criminals, some of which were almost old enough to be my
parents. The price you pay for trying to run with the big dogs, right?
Right. This was the first time I’d ever seen butch women. In fact,
these women looked so much like men I thought I was in a co-ed housing
unit. Aside from being scared out of my mind, I was intrigued by these
women, by their style, their swagger, their presence. Somehow I knew
“playing house” had graduated 10-fold.

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