Lesbian Graduation

Karelia's Lesbian Graduation, 1994
Karelia’s Lesbian Graduation, 1994

I recently saw a post on Facebook. My friend’s daughter had “graduated” from kindergarten. It’s everywhere: graduation inflation. You get a cap and gown because you didn’t bite [too many] people in kindergarten, you passed 8th grade, you got your GED.

But if everyone else is doing it, I will too. I want a lesbian graduation for every landmark moment in young dyke life.

Lesbian Graduation #1
You are officially the LAST girl in fourth grade to still believe in boy germs. The other girls—those Judases—are holding hands with boys, a species you know is fundamentally unclean. You should get a cap and gown. It’s a long road ahead of you.

Lesbian Graduation #2
You and your friends divvy up boy band members. You get the one who wears lipstick.

Lesbian Graduation #3
A straight girl rips out your heart. It’s suffering in its purest form.  It’s a compass. You know who you are when you put the bloodied thing back in your chest.

Lesbian Graduation #4
You come out. If you’re lucky, it’s only awkward and terrifying. If you’re not, you end up sleeping on a friend’s couch. You get a fake ID that says you’re sixteen (hence the GED) and work at a smoothie stand owned by a man who forces you to wear a beanie with a plastic helicopter propeller on top. Own it. There is no diploma big enough to hold the words: this is who I am.

Lesbian Graduation #5
You shave your head to better fit your lesbian graduation cap. The beanie keeps falling off now that you don’t have hair.

Lesbian Graduation #6
A girl hits on you in public.

Lesbian Graduation #7
Later, when she takes you to an exhibition of Picasso’s early sketches and squeezes your ass while you try to say something intelligent about “Woman with Chair, Number 42,” you don’t assume she’s just one of those “touchy-feely” people.

Lesbian Graduation #8
You and your girlfriend go to a sex toy shop. A drag queen with fake eyelashes like Amazonian caterpillars pulls out fifteen dildos and proceeds to tell you how each one will fill up your “lady business” like a “big ol’ sausage in that hot little bun of yours.” You don’t have an aneurism.

Lesbian Graduation #9
You come because she made you come.

Lesbian Graduation #10
For the LAST time, a sleazy guy at a bar asks “how do you know you’re gay if you’ve never done it with a dude?” He’s talking about himself. How do you know you’re gay when you haven’t experienced the jacked-up, V8 hotrod of his manhood? You won’t know for sure when it’s the last time, but it may have something to do with the pint of Molson Ice you pour over his dick.

After that you’re on your own. The world has Hallmark cards for the rest of your journey— your marriage, your anniversary, the day you win a Lambda Literary Award—but those things are icing on a big cake you baked a long time ago.

Maybe the graduation inflators are right. By the time you get your Masters degree, you don’t really need a party, but there should be someone at the end of 8th grade saying, “Hey baby dyke, you didn’t crawl into your locker and die. I’m so proud of you!”

5 thoughts on “Lesbian Graduation

  1. Oh number 10…. They do it to the straight girls too. “Your boyfriend isn’t here? Well I am here.” Good for you. Now go away.


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