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from :Charlotte Kasl, "Women, Sex, and Addiction" (c)1988

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From a very early age, Lesbian women are shamed for their independence, strong-mindedness, and unwilllingness to conform to stereotypical female behavior. "My mother was always trying to get me to wear little dresses and I hated them! My sister got a lot more attention for getting a hot date than I did for excelling in basketball!" As a result, Lesbian adolescents often feel "different" and "wrong", which spills over into their sexuality. As one woman said: "I would see other girls getting upset over guys, and I just couldn't get it. It was like they were from a different tribe or something. I kept thinking 'Something must be wrong with me.' I didn't realize that they were feeling the same things I was feeling for my girlfriend Jody."

With so much in common, women in Lesbian relationships find that they also approach situations similarly. They tend to work together cooperatively --- a value taught to them as little girls --- whether on cleaning up their room or completing a major study project.

I don't want to suggest that Lesbian women, having internalized the programming of our culture, don't encounter difficulties with sex and with relationships: their relationships are not always equal. There is usually a power difference between two people, but a great potential for equality exists because both of them are women.

The most powerful form of repression is to simply pretend something doesn't exist. Dismissing girls' sexual love for each other as adolescent or immature is another attempt to discount the power of that love. If half of your emotions are buried, so is half of your potential for fully connected and fulfilled sexuality.

Imagine pretending that there is not a single Jew or Hispanic anywhere in America. According to the Statistical Abstract, the US population share of both of those groups together is 8.4%. The total of Lesbians and gay men in the same population is about the same, estimated at 10%. That represents at least twelve million women and girls. Refusing to acknowledge them is like pretending that the metro populations of New York and Chicago do not exist!

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