February 9, 2003


Bi For Now: Call them hasbians. Women who came out of the closet only to end up in heterosexual relationships. Switching teams is never easy--no matter which side you're on. (Amy Sohn, New York)
If the lipstick lesbian was the gay icon of the nineties, these days she's been replaced by her more controversial counterpart, the hasbian: a woman who used to date women but now dates men. Though Anne Heche is the most prominent example, many hasbians (sometimes called LUGS: lesbians until graduation) are by-products of nineties liberal-arts educations. Caught up in the gay scene at school, they came out at 20 or 21 and now, five or ten years later, are finding themselves in the odd position of coming out all over again--as heterosexuals.

Some hasbians identify as bisexual, while others say they're straight and describe their lesbianism as a meaningful but finite phase of their lives, like listening to a lot of Morrissey or campaigning for Dukakis.

One of the most interesting but little discussed aspects of homosexuality is that no one really takes lesbianism seriously. It seems understood that lesbians have just had bad experiences with the men in their lives or don't care to try to deal with men, so they opt out of heterosexuality, at least for awhile. In fact, one can read Andrew Sullivan's fine book on the politics of homosexuality, Virtually Normal, and barely get an inkling that lesbians exist.

But suggest that male homosexuality is similarly psychological--rather than genetic or in some other fashion biological--and you're likely to be greeted with outrage.

UPDATE (via Entertainment Weekly):
An apt line from this week's Will & Grace, by someone named Jack: "Man, making someone gay is exhausting. I don't know how my mother did it."

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2003 3:40 PM

My own somewhat unorthadox view of homosexuals: I have to laugh every time someone claims a homosexual (male or female) knew at a young age they were "different" and didn't fit in. This describes approximately 99.9% of the teenage population. Add into the mix a desire to be rebellious and the whole idea that lesbians are cool and you get a group of young women and teens trying it out and then reverting later on. Since being a male homosexual has never been considered as cool, (as far as I can tell, the epitaph "fag" isn't meant to convey coolness at our local middle school), I'm not sure the effect is the same for men. However, a lot of men feel mixed up as kids and may believe they are gay.

And, according to my husband, men don't believe in lesbians anyway. They (the women) haven't met the right guy yet, of course! And isn't Budweiser running a commercial right now along those lines with the cat fighting babes?

Posted by: Buttercup at February 9, 2003 6:22 PM

I believe, Buttercup, I believe.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 9, 2003 8:38 PM

Well, he did just qualify that they had to be attractive lesbians for men not to believe.

Posted by: Buttercup at February 9, 2003 8:43 PM

I don't have exactly first hand experience here, but close. My brother is gay, and, as with many gay guys, is far better than average looking. You can imagine my frustration--and my expertise with irony-- when they flocked to him.

I am convinced he was born that way. Most gay men have speech patterns and other mannernisms that are at least faintly feminine, in ways that just can't be taught. Gaydar is, in fact, remarkably accurate because of that. Autopsied gay men often have subtle structural differences in their brains that resemble those of women.

So while I won't say all homosexuals are born that way, my observations very much incline me to believe that the vast majority are. With all the incentives women have at their disposal, combined with, at least until relatively recently, significant societal disapproval, I find it hard to think of why any male would choose<\i> to be homosexual .

Jeff Guinn

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 9, 2003 8:50 PM

Darn, I meant the other

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 9, 2003 8:52 PM

I have no idea if it is biological or not. But what seems strange to me is that we talk about gays as being "feminized" and adopting womanly traits and yet they have the ultimate masculine sex lives. Lots of anonymous sex with people who make no demands on you. Not how I would describe the majority of females. So, I find it hard to believe that they desire to be like women.

I'm not saying Jeff is saying they want to be women, only that the I've seen the phrase about the feminized brain and I have to wonder about that.

Posted by: Buttercup at February 9, 2003 9:13 PM

Buttercup -

There exists a theory that homosexuality results from too much
testosterone during the fetus' journey through the womb. Notable is that younger siblings have a higher propensity to be gay (whether they be male or female), and maternal testosterone releases ramp up as the number of children increase. Of course, there are no shortage of other theories to explain these observations.

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at February 9, 2003 9:33 PM

Ugh. "...there are no shortage" should be "...there is no shortage".

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at February 9, 2003 9:34 PM

I believe studies have shown that certain gender-linked traits are also affected by sexual orientation, eg,

Heterosexual men have the lowest hearing range, homosexual men slightly higher, homosexual women much higher, heterosexual women slightly higher still.

Where cause and affect in this is, I don't know, but I expect a trainwreck when we figure it out.

Posted by: mike earl at February 9, 2003 9:37 PM


Well, there are plenty of birth order studies showing the extensive effects of being born down the totem pole, so do we attribute all of that to testosterone or whatever?

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2003 9:10 AM

When I commented on this article in my post:


I mentioned an essential point. Most lesbians and most homosexuals have sexual contact with the other sex at some time during their lives. This is well known to those who study actual sexual behavior, but does not get much publicity, for obvious PC reasons.

Posted by: Jim Miller at February 10, 2003 10:21 AM


Ontology is nearly infinitely complex and far from deterministic. For example, some famous models are XY "females." The scare quotes are there because to all external appearances, they are female. However, their vaginas are slightly truncated, and they have no reproductive organs.

Why are they famous models? Because they are taller than most women and have narrower hips, and possibly because most fashion designers are gay men.

Because the journey from female starting point to male product is more complex than starting and staying female, one wouldn't be surprised if there were more, for lack of a better term, incorrect gender assignments among men than women.


Jeff Guinn

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 10, 2003 11:12 PM

Sheeze! I'm a gay man and that is the life that God gave me. It is a gift, but sometimes a hard one to live with. My life is also God's blessing for me, at least. We should live in awe of what God has given us, and spend a bit less time trying to decide what it means for other people.

Posted by: Brooks at February 11, 2003 12:44 AM