PRISM: Separating out the truth from the lies about the LGBT community

This is basically my attempt to dispel some of the myths and stereotypes surrounding the LGBT+ community. I am transgender and a lesbian myself and know a number of other LGBT+ people. But if you are in the LGBT+ community and disagree with anything or would like to contribute anything PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know.


3. Myth #2

#2 Camp = gay & Short hair = lesbian

The first set of stereotypes I’ll be covering. These are probably the most widespread myths about the LGBT+ community out there. As with all stereotypes, they are based on a few examples from a diverse community.


Short hair = lesbian

I had to fight something of a mental battle over whether to justify this myth with a response or not. This stereotype is beyond stupid to the point that I seriously don’t know how to address it. Still, here we go.


So, this idea stems basically from the idea that in lesbian couples, one acts as the woman of the relationship and one as the man of the relationship. By extension, one lesbian will be more ‘manly’ and therefore (in the eyes of some people) a girl cutting their hair short is an indication that they may not be straight. However, asking two lesbians which is the man and which is the woman is like asking chopsticks which is the fork and which is the knife - it just doesn’t make sense.


Now, the origin of this stereotype are people who, in the lesbian community, are known as ‘butch’. Butch lesbians may act or dress in a more masculine way than the average woman and may choose to cut their hair short, but this is nothing to do with their sexuality.


What we’re talking about here really are gender stereotypes and gender expression. Stereotypes of women include that they should have long hair, wear makeup, maybe wear a skirt or a dress, be less aggressive than men etc.

Stereotypes of men include that they should not have long hair or wear makeup, they should have large muscles, be protective of women etc.

Doing these things can be a way to show more clearly your own gender to those around you, but they are not a requirement. And doing them does not necessarily mean you are that gender.


Cutting hair short does not make someone a lesbian, haircuts are style choices. People choose their haircut based on what they want to look like. There is no “How to be a lesbian” guide that tells them to cut their hair a certain way.


Basically, as with all things, don’t judge on appearance.


Conclusion: Myth = false


Camp = gay

These words have become almost synonymous over time. The phrase “that’s so gay” in most cases really means “that’s so camp”. But the truth is, these two words have very little connection at all. “Camp” refers to overly flamboyant or effeminate behaviour, “gay” is a sexuality.


While it is true that certain gay people do behave in this way, this does not by any means mean that all gay people do. The problem is that by the very nature of being camp, people who are camp are far more noticeable than those who are not, meaning non-camp gay people tend to be overlooked or ignored at first glance.


Sexual orientation is not based on how someone expresses themselves. Someone can appear to be extremely camp but still be strictly heterosexual, or not be camp at all and still be gay. Being gay is about who you are attracted to and not who you are or how you act.


Sadly, this does lead to some people having to ‘act straight’ in order to avoid being rejected or harassed. This means some people end up being a very different person towards the people they know than they are to their self.


Simply put, anyone can be camp, whether they are gay or not.

Conclusion: Myth = false


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