Blogger’s note: Brooke is not happy with my post and feels I make assumptions about what she does and doesn’t understand. She says all of what I write about is in the book, and suggests I read it. I’ll giver her the benefit of the doubt for sure- I thought I did so in my post. Still, you’ve got to wonder why a “pretty catchy” book title and what gets covered in the linked article seems like better publicity than, what is actually in the book? Perhaps you can’t fault a writer for trying to capitalize on a sensationalized title. We all have to make a living, even if it may be seen as being at others’ expense?

Some people are upset at Brooke Hemphill who wrote a book called “Lesbian for a Year,” although I’m not sure she really grasps why they are upset. The link below is to a short article on the DailyMail which quotes her:

‘I understand that by putting the word (lesbian) on the cover of the book there are people out there, they kinda own that word and they would feel I guess challenged and get a sense that I don’t really have a right to use that.’

‘I don’t want to offend anyone but it’s a pretty catchy title’, Brooke added.

On where she now stands in relation to her own sexuality, the Sydney woman said she didn’t think it needed to be labelled.

‘Everyone is very keen for me to put a label on it – if you have to put a label on it I guess I would say that would be bisexuality,’ Brooke said.

I don’t personally think it has much to do with who owns what words, rather the problem surrounds her failure to understand the difference between sexual identity and orientation, which are just small parts of the far bigger issue of sexuality.

To this, Brooke said it was not her intention to upset and did not want to detract from other’s sexual experiences, but instead hoped it would open up the discussion about the fluidity of sexuality.

Maybe the problem isn’t hers, but rather Freya Noble who wrote this article. Maybe Freya is responsible for this cringe-worthy sentence:

A formerly straight woman who woke up with another female in her bed after a big night out has penned a book about the exploration of her sexuality.

I would suggest that Hemphill was never straight even if that was her self chosen sexual identity before this little exploration (her word not mine). I’d suggest she was bisexual, has always been bisexual, but was unaware of it because our culture tends to encourage people to see themselves as either straight or gay/lesbian.

Those offended may simply be offended, not because they believe they own a word, but because it is offensive to suggest that those who are more aware of their sexual identity than Hemphill was, are pissed off because their notion of self, is equated with someone who gets drunk and wakes up with a woman. And, for Hemphill, desired discussion of sexuality notwithstanding, a catchy title was more important than an appreciation for those whose orientation is gay or lesbian.

I’d suggest to Hemphill that it isn’t really about labels per se, or if you are going to talk about labels far more nuance is needed. At least when pressed, she owns the label of bisexual.

All people are born with a sexual orientation that is towards member of the same sex, towards members of the opposite sex, or towards both. For many persons, they accept a sexual identity consistent with social norms. Some persons are aware that this identity doesn’t fit them, and they seek an identity more aligned to their orientation.

Our heterocentrist culture is based on the notion that everyone is straight, but slowly coming around to the idea that not everyone is straight. Unfortunately that has been replaced by a belief that everyone who isn’t straight is gay/lesbian. It would be better is sexuality was better understood as consisting of three orientations and a plethora array of identities as people find many self assigned labels to describe where they understand themselves along this continuum.

Of course, Hemphill did write a whole book, and this short article may not do the book justice. She may dive into all of this far better, or she may not. If you read the book, feel free to drop me a comment and let me know if you think she has much worthwhile to say.

via Brooke Hemphill wrote Lesbian For A Year about her sexual experiences | Mail Online.

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