Can You Be A Lesbian For A Year?

By Emily
Labels are funny things. A lot of people feel that we shouldn’t label anything and that people are just people. Others feel that they know who they are and that they fit a certain category and that category of course has a name, whether it’s lesbian, bisexual, queer, pansexual, gay, curious or asexual. Labels can be restrictive and oppressive or can make someone feel a part of a larger community and that being able to put a name on something, even yourself, makes things easier to understand and come to terms with.
So when someone is seen to misuse a label, it can potentially be very harmful, as Australian writer Brooke Hemphill found out when she wrote her book, Lesbian For A Year.
Hemphill told the Australian Daily Telegraph that she unexpectedly had a one-night-stand with a woman which led to her having a year of exclusively dating women.

brookehemphillpicture from Brooke Hemphill’s twitter

“It wasn’t like I woke up one day and thought, right I am going to do this for the next 12 months, it kind of just happened. And after talking to other people about it I realised that there are a lot of people who have similar stories or can relate to it, or have thought about doing something similar, so I decided to write a book.”
So what’s in a name, really?  A title of a book is supposed to get you interested, can we really blame her wanting an attention-grabbing title?
“I have been getting a lot of feedback on Twitter and so forth about how you can’t really be a lesbian for a year and you are either straight or you’re bisexual or you’re a lesbian for a lifetime.  But in my experience I had a one-night stand with a woman, woke up in the morning found her in my bed and thought, how did that happen?”
Right.  Aside from the fact that people are for some reason unrealistically equating lesbianism with a entire lifetime, a one-night-stand does not a lesbian make.
“In that time I continued to kind of question what my sexuality was, was I gay? Or bisexual? Was I a straight girl kind of going through a phase, so the book kind of explores that journey.”
The bisexual part of that is something only she can answer, given that by the time she finished writing the book she was dating a man, it’s a clear possibility, but will ‘Lesbian For A Year’ reflect badly on women’s exploration of their sexuality, implying that lesbians are somehow temporary, that we can be changed?
emily150Emily is the Community Manager of Dattch as well a part-time film reviewer and full-time cookie monster.  She can’t walk in heels, is a cross-breed of Essex girl and Londoner and makes cupcakes like nobody’s business.  Find further nonsense from Emily on Twitter @moulder5000