Not all identities are appropriate for all people.
Especially sexual and gender identities. Invoking those or utilizing those incorrectly is not only careless, but harmful to those communities. And it becomes a matter of actively disenfranchising the voices of the community.
Redditor LesbianIdentity2 found herself faced with this situation, when a cisgender male friend claimed to identify as a lesbian.
She took to the popular subReddit, "Am I The A**hole?" or "AITA" to ask:
"AITA for not accepting my friend claiming to identify as a lesbian?"
Her friend has been doing some problematic things from the get-go.
"Before you judge off the title alone, my friend is a man. Not genderqueer or anything, just a man. He has always said kind of cringe things about women and sex, nothing bigoted but just....cringe. Like once he told me that he is most attracted to bisexual women because 'pleasuring women is his biggest pastime' and he can't relate to women who don't."
And then he pulled out a sexual orientation identity marker that didn't sit right.
"Well his latest is he told me he's a lesbian. I told him that unless he no longer identifies as a man, he isn't a lesbian. He says that's not true."
And his logic?
"His reasons for being a 'lesbian' are: he has a powerful connection to women's energy (further questioning revealed he was just talking about vaginas), he thinks he's more turned on by watching two women together than other straight men, and his dream is pleasuring 4 women at once (you can do that....I guess....but you'd still be straight.) he also thinks lesbians are 'hotter' than straight women. I'm 90% sure he's never met a lesbian IRL and this is based on porn. He does not identify as a woman or even remotely not a man. He just dreams of being 'in the middle of a lesbian orgy.'"
So our original poster, or OP, wants to know if she is in the right to call her friend out.
"I am normally not one to police identities but he's obviously just a straight man and I find this borderline offensive. AITA?"
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
"He literally just wants to be part of an orgy where he's the only guy. Like I get that, but that's probably the most straight you can get, also, having more than one sexual partner at the same time is exciting on paper but when it gets down to it, it's so tiring, gotta turn into the Soviet Union so everyone gets equal time."~sakee31
"NTA as a lesbian this is incredibly offensive. Does he think identifying as a lesbian will make lesbians want to sleep with him? Because... it won't."~aboxofkittens
"NTA and please tell him that I'm personally gatekeeping him from the LGBTQ+ community. I'm acting as spokesperson here for all of us."~_saturnish_
"NTA..... To be a Lesbian, he has to decide to become a woman. Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner, but maintained that she is only attracted to women, which would make Caitlyn a lesbian. Your friend would never take a woman out on a date (paying all this money) and tell her that he's really a lesbian. There would be no second date."~RedBullMetal
"NTA as a lesbian it's extremely offensive when people only view us in a sexual way. Especially when many of the guys that do that are openly homophobic to gay men. Your friend is honestly disgusting based on what i read and is exactly the type of person I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole."~DogsHaveRibs
In fact, it's so appropriative and so offensive that the LGBTQ+ community on Reddit is NOT having it.
"NTA. As a lesbian, I can unequivocally say that a man is not a lesbian and cannot be a lesbian. Any man claiming to be a lesbian generally has one or both of two things going on: he wants to fuck lesbians to prove what a champ he is, and/or he has a lesbian fetish and thinks calling himself a lesbian will endear him to lesbians. The latter never works. He's not a fucking lesbian and you're more than okay telling him so."~RadioSupply
"This is way more than borderline offensive: everything you've described falls under the banner of homophobic, biphobic, or misogynistic. Just because it's 'positive bigotry' doesn't mean it's not bigotry and given that LGBTQ+ women are more likely to be victims of sexual assault because if fetishization and homophobia, his attitude is equally disgusting."~lilirose13
"Oh, it's not just borderline offensive. It is EXTREMELY offensive. He is fetishizing lesbians and trying to justify it by claiming a marginalized identity, probably in the hopes of forcing lesbians to make room for him in their community. It's icky. He's icky. NTA."~QuarkWrites
"The hallmark of a lesbian relationship is the absence of men. Like i almost want to say this is fake because it's so off base. It's creepy he fetishizes/wants to interject himself into a group of people that want nothing to do with him. Gross."~jemandtheholograms
There is no reason for OP to continue contact with this "friend," in the opinion of Reddit.
"NTA. The man can claim to be a pineapple but that word has a meaning already and if he doesn't meet the definition then...he's not anymore a pineapple than he is a lesbian. He's watched too much lesbian porn and is stupid. And his stupidity is offensive."~mangonlime
"NTA. Literally what in the fuck? This is one of those questions where I fully thought it was going to be, 'My female friend has had relationships with men in the past but calls herself a lesbian now, AITA for saying she's not?' but...what? Just what. You're fine. Your friend sounds gross and as a bi woman, I do not like him. Maybe consider not being friends."~Perfect_Crow
"NTA, he is more than 'borderline' offensive. If he is a cis man, he can't be a lesbian! And he is fetishizing lesbians in a way that is really gross and really disrespectful to all LGBTQ+ people. Also maybe this part doesn't bother you, but I would stop being friends with any guy who talked me to this much about his sexual practices and fantasies. I don't want to hear that level of detail about how much any of my friends like a particular sort of genitals. At some point, he's basically involving you in his own exhibitionism kink by subjecting you to it."~ConsistentCheesecake
"NTA I'm 90% sure he's never met a lesbian IRL and this is based on porn. Oh you are so right, I have a group of lesbian friends, (who i love to bits) but they are not the big tits and false nails that he thinks they are. They are as normal as the rest of the girls on the planet. Ask your friend what his view on plumbers are and how quick they will attend a callout??"~kingfwoofurs27
In conclusion, all of Reddit is in agreement that OP's friend is not just in the wrong, he's being offensive and fetishizing a real identity.
Hopefully OP's friend will listen to reason.