Letter: Outdated attitudes towards gays and lesbians

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sections of the mainstream media, thanks in part to the frolics of k d lang and Cindy Crawford on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair, appear preoccupied with the hollow concept of the acceptability of the 'designer-dyke' (ie those more acceptable because of their looks and status than their lesbianism).

When the discovery of a 'gay gene' was announced last week, designer dykes were - predictably - all but forgotten in the rush to attack the idea of systematically aborting male and female embryos suspected of batting on different wickets, on the grounds that it would rob the world of gay geniuses. Your leading article (16 July) cited examples of gifted gays, including Nureyev and Michelangelo. Lesbians - whether geniuses or not - were invisible and forgotten, where the media, society (and too many gay men) insist we stay. Are we to presume that the world would not have missed the talents of Martina Navratilova, Nancy Spain, Dame Ethel Smyth, Rosa Bonheur, Eleanor Rathbone, Eve Balfour . . .

Far from becoming more acceptable and achieving more equality, the situation for most lesbians is no better. Why? Simple: it's still so hard to be a heterosexual woman and accepted on your own terms. For a lesbian it's even harder. You don't need genetic engineering to erase lesbians - ignorance and misogyny will do the trick.

Yours faithfully,

ROSE COLLIS

London, SW19

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