Posted by: eshne | March 29, 2008

Fictionalise lesbian women – why?

What makes us want to fictionalise gay characters? Why is it so important that lesbian women are given space to be real people and not just two-dimensional personalities that are defined by their sexual preference?

To me it’s really important that people I relate to in real life are represented in the films I watch and the books that I read. I want to feel like I’m not the only one. Other people are struggling with the same kind of decisions that I am. Do I say I’m gay and therefore condemn myself to a relationship where children are not a given? Do I out myself at work and risk people only seeing my sexuality, rather than the person that I am as a whole? These are just some of the questions I ask myself, and I find comfort knowing there are other women wrestling with the same kinds of conflicts.

I don’t know if I’m unusual but I do not have a large gay circle. I’ve been out to my core group of friends for about five years and I have one good lesbian friend. All my other friends are straight. I went to a Catholic school where being gay was a sin, my university was a very main-stream place, and it wasn’t until I went traveling in my early twenties that I managed to meet some gay women – outside of my limiting social circles. Since that time I’ve struggled to broaden out my friendships.

I don’t want to collect gay friends simply because they are gay. I want to form a connection with people that goes beyond and yet includes their sexuality. And that can be hard, especially when you’re living in surburbia.

Writing, films, tv or whatever the medium may be that translates a life into a story that resonates with my own is endlessly satisfying. Maybe it is a symptom of my isolation. I’m looking for something I cannot have in real life. I want to submerge myself in a life I’d love to lead, live vicariously without having to deal with the fall out. Fiction allows that. It enables a leap from the mundane into the dream world.

Sometimes I think we need fiction as a way of imaging how lives could be before anyone finds the courage to live that actual life. The fiction is a bit like a prototype or a test that you play around with in your mind before making it into something real. So before you commit yourself to a life with a woman you sketch out that life in your mind’s eye. Or if you’re feeling weak you picture yourself as a heroic warrior, and suddenly that’s it, you become the thing you imagine. But it’s the imagination part that has to come first.

I’ll leave you with a quote that inspires me endlessly, though I still seek to live it.“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” GoetheDo you feel the same way I do? I’d love to hear from you.


  1. 🙂 identification happening….

  2. 3 months to the future, I’ll agree. At this point in time , coming out carries with it risk, as well as potential for trauma.

    I’m writing for various reasons, but there is a whole lot of pent up lgbt energy inside, and writing on such experiences, issues, concerns, etc is a way for me to address this energy outside of a debate format.


  3. I know you posted this a while ago (almost an entire year back), but I just wanted to say thanks for writing it. I totally agree with every word. Your insights are amazing and inspirational. So, again, thank you 🙂

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