Globally, various alternative scenes, for example parts of the political left or the queer community, like to claim that they successfully fight the patriarchy within their communities. While a few promising concepts actually exist that are at least weakening some patriarchal introjects, I have to add that the idea that the patriarchy is held at bay within any of these subcultures is only wishful thinking. The social roles of “woman” and “man” are exactly the same as in the heteronormative mainstream. One’s sexual orientation also has nothing to do with the social role, at all: A lesbian woman can assume the exact same social role of “woman” as a straight woman; only the erotic and romantic wishes are addressed to a different sex.
In the queer community, the social role “woman” is usually taken by lesbian (= homoromantic) or biromantic women. Bi-transgender men, lesbian transgender women or panromantic individuals of a non-binary gender can all adopt the exact same social role “woman”, too. In the social role “woman”, all these people suppress their erotic desires, as sex is only permitted in combination with the romantic level. The sexual level, however, is a direct connection to one’s own life-force. The suppression of these erotic impulses therefore produces LGBT spaces which are frequented by many passive women without a lot of meaningful social interaction. A handful of couples who satisfy their erotic desires – at least amongst themselves – make up exceptions to the rule, due to them the sexual level and thus, life-force and creativity, is not entirely gone from such spaces. The result is: The women usually also don’t have casual sex with each other, just like straight women with men in the heteronormative mainstream. As a consequence, a typical subconscious behaviour pattern has evolved in most of the lesbian communities of the Eurocentric/Western society: Since the social role “woman” permits having sex only in combination with a crush or romantic relationship – and with two women, this happens on both sides! – secondarily motivated lesbian crushes are so common among women and individuals of a non-binary gender in the queer community that the amount and frequency of short-term romantic relationships, serial monogamy and the following emotional drama has become a real-life cliché in lesbian communities. Moreover, people who are familiar with the trope and are using it for jokes are recognized as “part of the tribe”.
In the heteronormative mainstream, this absence of erotic seduction and interaction is usually filled by straight men in the social role “man”, which is, of course, missing in a lesbian/biromantic space. As a result, a few women shift into the social role “man”. A classic example are dykes or butches, who, compared to the rest of the lesbian community, initiate erotic contact in a very active way. Since these women have assumed the social role “man”, they suppress their own romantic level. That mutes their ability to empathise with their fellow women and their feelings which makes it easier to don the slick and polished mask of “Prince(ss) Charming”: By faking interest in the romantic level they “unlock” the suppression of sexual desires of their targets, which have usually assumed the social role “woman”, and thereby arrive at sexual encounters with them. Exactly like the male version, a female Prince(ss) Charming simply says what her target wants to hear. Often she does nothing at all, simply not negating any wishes directed at her. After a sexual encounter – which has been the goal of the whole ruse – her target will find out that she did not want to realise any of these wishes, but simply allowed events to take their course as long as she got an advantage out of that.
Certainly, not all dykes or butches use the social role “man” like that. But the tendency to behave in this way is much higher with dykes or butches than with femmes who usually assume the social role “woman”. In case of individuals whose attribution to “femme” or “butch” is difficult due to their ambiguous appearance and/or behaviour, the social roles that can be expected from them are much more difficult to predict.
If the assumption of both social roles happens often enough to set an exponential social chain reaction into motion, forms of Rape Culture with abusive behaviours up to sexual assault will also happen in LGBT “safe” spaces.
In the gay community, however, a contrary picture emerges. Here, the social role “man” is usually taken by gay (= homoromantic) or biromantic men. Biromantic transgender men or panromantic individuals of a non-binary gender can also adopt the exact same social role “man”. These individuals will then experience their sexual desires without repression – their needs for empathy in general, and love at the romantic level, however, will be repressed before themselves and others. That creates a sexually open space in which reports about one-night-stands, seduction, allusions or jokes with genital content are standard components of small talk. If the majority of the group reaches a certain level of intoxication that behaviour is amplified even further. People living in romantic relationships, however, often react with distance and scepticism to this bold display of sexual openness and promiscuity. If they are in such a gay group as a couple, they will consciously hold their distance and be more focussed on themselves than on the community. Meanwhile, the singles bemoan that it is so difficult to find a suitable partner for a romantic relationship and to hold long-term romantic relationships stable. Including joint browsing of online dating sites and discussion of the respective (failed) past romantic relationship experiences. Those are direct consequences of the suppression of the romantic level: If, in a romantic relationship, both sides repress their romantic level, there are no empathic connections deep enough for a successful romantic relationship. Since empathic connections are not only needed to stabilize a romantic relationship, but also to hold a social group together, some gays or biromantic men shift towards the social role “woman”. They then exhibit very “womanlike” personalities and dismiss the sexual allusions of their fellow gays in a displeased way.
This triggers negative attention from certain individuals in the social role “man” who have stunted empathy and respect for their fellow men. They treat men with feminine appearance and/or behaviour as “killjoys”, and fail to recognise the sort of nonverbal signals which would have marked the line between seduction and transgression – or even intentionally ignore the boundary such signals would have communicated. In this way, forms of Rape Culture with abusive behaviours up to sexual assault will also happen in gay “safe” spaces.
In conclusion, the queer community – compared to the heteronormative mainstream – is not a place where the patriarchy is less at work; it is more akin to a particularly precise filter. This happens by the stronger segregation of genders than in the heteronormative mainstream and gives a good view of the application of the patriarchal falsehood: The lesbian community reinforces the behaviours of the social role “woman” ad absurdum, while the gay community does the same with the behaviours of the social role “man”.
An interesting case in point for that are the recommendations regarding the LGBT culture of Vienna of a Viennese tourism organisation. For lesbians and biromantic women, a list of cafés and clubbings is offered. Their typical activities are: Smalltalk, networking for the queer community, reading (if the café has books) and dancing at clubbings. For gays and biromantic men, however, there is a list of gay saunas. Their typical activities are: Swinging (= casual sex) and bathing in the nude. A gay man told me once: “If you are looking for a woman for casual sex in such a sauna, you will have to bring her along with you for that!”
Why are there no “lesbian saunas” where women and non-binary individuals with a pussy can enjoy casual sex with one another, exclusively? And no nice book cafés just for gays, where they can sit in peace, smalltalk, network, and read, exclusively? Exactly: Because the patriarchal falsehood is active. Women only want friendship and love and men want only sex – right?