Tag Archives: lesbian

Lesbians & Fried Green Tomatoes

Today’s post is a bit different from the usual. I don’t generally write about pop-culture. However, I think some of you may relate to this. Enjoy!

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What do I have in common with middle-aged, conservative housewives? A weakness for a good old-fashioned lesbian love story! Ok, ok—not too many of those sweet (and very hetero-) ladies even realize it, but it’s true nonetheless. What am I talking about? Fried Green Tomatoes of course!—(the work of fiction, not the southern comfort food… although I’ve been known to have an occasional hankerin’ for that, as well.) It’s true… the 1991 film was adapted from Fannie Flagg’s 1987 novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, which unabashedly carried a lesbian theme throughout the storyline—and even managed to do so without mentioning the word. Fannie Flagg has been out as a lesbian woman for decades, and she knows how to write a classic! The film even won a GLAAD Media Award for “best lesbian content”. So how is it that many fans of the film don’t even realize it’s a love story between two women? Because the film adaptation was slightly altered so that the lesbian themes became more covert. Let’s face it… an undisguised girl-loves-girl plot line would have never made it to mainstream cinema in the early 90’s. But any girl who’s ever been in love with their best friend doesn’t need overt cues from the director to understand what the story is really about.

The relationship between Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison is accepted by everyone in their small town of Whistle Stop. Perhaps the author wanted to create a perfectly accepting world for the two of them, or perhaps the people of Whistle Stop simply never paused to question the nature of their bond. Idgie fell in love with Ruth at a young age, and their connection continues to unfold in the book. The friendship between the two becomes something more, as they share their everyday life in gentleness, compassion, and love. Set in 1920’s Alabama, the cultural backdrop makes me reminiscent of the stories my grandmother would tell, complete with good ‘ole southern church, honest people, and of course, fried green tomatoes.

I have to admit, I giggle inside every time this movie comes up in conversation. Almost without fail, every woman loves it. I find myself subconsciously smiling widely at the fact that they get it. They get me… without even knowing it. I wonder how differently they would react if they knew the story behind the story. I wonder how they would feel knowing that a pure, wholesome love story can happen between two women. I wonder how things would change if they realized that love is just that… love.

Purchase the film.

Purchase the book.

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The Other Side: Coming Out Story #14

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs.

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Peaceful, quiet, joyful – that’s how I felt when I finally acknowledged that I am attracted to other women; that I am a lesbian.  Not perverse, sinful, or ashamed. That was a surprise.  That and the utter certainty I felt for the first time in my life about anything.  It was as if a gaping fissure in my soul suddenly closed and became mended.  All of the things I mistakenly thought I was collapsed into who I actually am.

It is difficult to reconcile the peace and certitude I feel about this with the pain I perceive in the few dear friends with whom I have shared this news.  I want them to be happy for me.  They are not.  Yet – I understand; I remember my reaction when I learned that someone I knew as a heterosexual announced their sexual orientation was otherwise.  I felt bewildered about their obliviousness, afraid for their souls, and I braced for the consequences in their lives, and the reverberating effects in my own.  I assumed they felt as confused and conflicted as I did about the matter.  Now I see things differently.  They were not confused – they were finally free and extraordinarily courageous.

As I think back over my life, I now understand why I felt strangely drawn to, fascinated with, while at the same time, vaguely afraid of lesbians.  Somewhere deep inside I felt resonance, but recognizing that resonance was either too much to bear or too fantastic to be real.  I recall awkward and unfulfilling relationships with boyfriends – where I thought I felt something, but as the relationship developed, my feelings rapidly progressed from infatuation to ambivalence to confusion to aversion.  I assumed I had just never found the right man.  And when the inevitable breakup occurred with the “It’s not you – it’s me” conversation, I had no idea how true that was.  Nonetheless, I eventually got married to the one man who persisted.

So now, here I am, decades into a marriage that gratefully resulted in two wonderful children, but finally understanding myself and dealing with the monumental consequences of failing to see or figure out what was hiding inside me.  I have told my husband and he is in great pain.  I have not yet told the kids and wonder whether the pain they will experience dealing with this knowledge is worth the freedom it brings me.  I would rather cut off my arm than cause them such pain.

But, the truth is like a siren I can’t block out.  And a life of integrity requires that I recognize and live in accordance with that truth, regardless of the pain it causes me and those around me.  I cannot go back.  I can only hope that living in the truth will ultimately be for the best for all of us.  Pray for us.

-Erin

A Lesbian Wife and Her Heterosexual Marriage: Coming Out Story #13

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs. 

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I’ve struggled with my sexuality for as long as I can remember.  I’ve always been attracted to women, but good southern Christian girls just don’t entertain those thoughts.  In my very early twenties I entertained the idea of being a lesbian, but I was extremely conflicted and fell into a depression.  I decided that it was just the devil trying to trick me, and set out on my quest to find a husband.  It didn’t take me long to find one through online dating.  We were married for five years before I realized that I had used marriage as a way to run from my feelings.  I began to acknowledge to myself that these feelings weren’t going to go away, and I found places like Coming Out Christian that helped me reconcile them with my faith.

I had been unhappy in my marriage for some time and convinced myself that my husband didn’t love me anymore and would be happy to be rid of me, so I started to talk about getting a divorce.  As a Christian I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity of marriage, but my husband is not a believer and I thought he didn’t want to be married to me anymore, so I figured I had an out.  Contrary to what I thought, he said he did still love me and wanted to stay married.  I had this grand plan cooked up wherein I would get a quick and painless divorce and be free to explore my new-found sexuality.  When that came crashing down I was confused all over again.  I had it all planned out!  Now what was I supposed to do?

I told my husband that I “thought” I was gay, which was not how I planned to phrase it, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t brave enough to say it more decisively.  Naturally, my husband had questions and concerns, but above all wished to remain married, in whatever context we came to define it.  I found a few resources regarding lesbians who remained married to their male spouses, and it was a huge relief to find others in the same situation.  None of us are as unique as we like to believe!  These people have managed to stay in love and stay married and stay happy, and that is what I aim to do.  I do love my husband, and I am committed to working out our issues and staying married to him.  He has offered to allow me the freedom to explore my sexuality, or “experiment”, as he put it, but I told him that I do not want to “experiment”.  In my eyes that is adultery, and I could never forgive myself if I did that.  Homosexuality does not have to equal promiscuity, and I do not have to let sex run my life.  I have moved to an apartment temporarily as we work out our problems, but I’m happier than I have been in a long time.  My husband and I are “dating” and enjoying it very much.  I know it seems strange to say that I am a lesbian in love with a man, but I truly feel that as long as we remain honest and act with love instead of selfishness (which is always a struggle for me!), we will be just fine.

-S.S. (Arkansas)

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There has been a update to this post. Be sure to check it out here!

When Did You Know?

My first memory of knowing I was different in “that way”, happened around the age of 9.  My parents had friends over for dinner.  They also brought their daughter, Sara, who was a year younger than me.  I had a playhouse that my parents had allowed me to set up in our living room.  I loved that thing… it allowed me all of the privacy I craved, yet, I was within earshot of anything that was happening.  I never wanted to miss any of the action.

I have always been more of a follower than a leader.  Even though I was an only child, I was completely at ease letting others decide what we should play.  If there was ever anything I didn’t want to do, I’d speak up.  But for the most part, I enjoyed just going along with things.

This particular evening, Sara and I decided to play house while our parents began a game of cards in the next room.  She immediately suggested that I be the “husband” while she played the part of the wife.  I had no problem with this.  She began to cook us a pretend dinner, all the while asking me what I’d like to do.  My response probably mirrored my own father’s gentle response these things in our own household.  “Oh, honey… whatever you’d like to do is fine with me.”  I remember we had a delicious dinner in that little cardboard house.  Then Sara crawled over to me, tucked her legs underneath herself, and lay her head on my shoulder.  I didn’t really know Sara all that well.  And up until now, I’d never really been much into cuddling.  That all changed at that moment.  There was something exciting racing through my body that I had never recognized before.  She gently rubbed my back… because, as she said, I’d “had a long day at work”.  Her touch was very soft.  Although not sexual in nature, my body was responding in small ways.  The hair on the back of my neck was standing on end.  My attentiveness to her became an infatuation, in a way, at that moment.  Of course, I didn’t know what to call these feelings. They seemed natural to me. But I remember knowing enough to realize that mom and dad would probably think it was strange that we were playing husband and wife.

It was then that I decided I should keep this to myself.