This week is arguably the most historic and profound in the history of LGBT rights. The landmark Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples are now guaranteed equal protection under the law and under the Constitution is earth shaking. Even the president tweeted, “#LoveWins.”
We are living in such a pivotal and important time for LGBT rights, which makes it all the more distressing that Vogue, a magazine that would not be the force it is without the LGBT community, would have made the astonishing and distasteful decision to publish an anti-gay profile. The piece in question is written about famed rising-star supermodel Cara Delevingne’s homosexuality, characterizing her lesbianism as a phase.
The term itself is paternalistic, dismissive and condescending. It supposes that female sexuality is not as serious as male sexuality. Therefore, whatever we do together can be construed as a “phase” or a “whim” and the idea that two women can enjoy real love is not anything serious, but something that we will soon get over once the right man comes along.
This is an idea that lesbians have been fighting against for centuries. In his book Homosexuality: A History, Colin Spencer paints a very vivid picture that female homosexuality was not even considered since there is no penetration, therefore, no actual sex could be taking place. Plus it’s two women, so who cares about them anyway?
The insult is threefold. It supposes that two gorgeous women, Cara Delevingne and her girlfriend singer Annie Clark (better known as St. Vincent) couldn’t be a serious couple because they’re beautiful and successful. It also supposes that their youth means they aren’t careful decision makers and whatever is going on between them is not authentic and it further supposes that Vogue, the arbiters of all things fashion, are also the arbiter of all things… period.
Annie Clark lives in my neighborhood. I have seen her with Cara and the connection between them is indisputable. Further supported by Cara Delevingne’s Instagram and Twitter pages where she professes her love for Annie.
The Vogue piece by Rob Haskell goes on to suggest that Cara loves women because of a damaged relationship with a parent. He says, “When I suggest to Cara that to trust a man, she might have to revise an old and stubborn idea of hers, that women are perennially troubled and therefore only women will accept her, her smile says she concedes the point.”
In response, author Julie Rodriguez emphatically stated that to equate same-sex relationships with childhood trauma “is a harmful (and false) stereotype that lesbian and bisexual women have been combating for decades.”
Even if their relationship doesn’t endure the rest of their lives (the vast majority of our relationships do not), even if that is the case this singling out is still belittling, inappropriate and unfair. Their relationship is just as legitimate as any other couple, gay, straight or otherwise.