Exclusive | Feature Spotlight
“Lesbian Erasure: How to Cope (Black Lesbian Edition)” by the Texas-based, Black Lesbian life coach and author Giselle A. Wallace is a must-have 2023 title. This title is the second work by Wallace and is specifically by and for Lesbian and/or Same-Gender Loving Women (Lesbian, Bisexual, Pansexual or Queer). Wallace walks Gaye Magazine through her creative process and how she crafted such a well-awaited title.
“The idea came from the fact that I often see Black Lesbian women get ridiculed, as well as they are often overlooked, or not taken seriously. And we get a lot of backlash sometimes when we call ourselves lesbians.”
She continued, “There's not enough information about what Black Lesbian women endure and go through on a daily basis. It's actually literally on a daily basis that we experience lesbian erasure. Because we are a minority-- and when I say minority, I do not mean we're less than anyone. We just are a lesser numerical number.”
The effects of Lesbian and Queer womyn's erasure are undeniable. Wallace unpacks specifically how at specific intersections, some Black Lesbians may endure these difficult biases and experiences. “We (Black Lesbians) are often undermined-- even amongst the Lesbian community with Caucasian, Asian, or Hispanic women. So, I wanted to focus on a book project that will help us Black Lesbian women in a heteronormative society.”
Wallace has worked many years within the LGBTQ+ community to combat the efforts of Lesbian and Queer womyn stereotypes and negative connotations within the Black community, too.
“I grew up in Lubbock, Texas though I was born in Austin, where I lived the first few years of life and there it was very homophobic— the background that I came from. And so lesbian... the terminology was limited, and it was not used too often.” She continued about her experience growing up in Texas, navigating a homophobic home environment.
“Lesbian—it simply captures my attention. I didn't know what it was about the word lesbian. There was just something about the word lesbian that resonated with me. I couldn't identify with the word lesbian at the time because of me having a homophobic family.”
Throughout her girlhood and finding a fulcrum to gain balance during her discovery of self, Wallace shares her pursuits of understanding Lesbianism and Black queerness.
“And my book project, “She a Lesbian: Finding My Identity in Genesis” roots from that concept because I love the word lesbian and I fully embrace it.
“But there was a time-- many years ago when I could not acknowledge myself as a lesbian because of the mental and emotional mistreatment that I endured as a child— a teenager into being a young woman.”
Wallace calmly continued, “I actually want to be able to use the word lesbian to represent us collectively. I do not think the word should be removed. I don't think it should be replaced. And I do not think that We who identify as lesbian should be criticized for it either.”
Vulnerability is a strength that echoes in Wallace’s work and writing. It encourages others to engage in a similar level of transparency. In Wallace’s “Lesbian Erasure: How To Cope (Black Lesbian Edition)” she has a phrase that reiterates throughout her work that sisters work together and not alone.
Sisterhood and community to black queer women is vital-- not only feminine-presenting queer women but masculine-presenting women. Some Queer womyn on social media have raised their concerns about the lack of sisterhood in the Black Queer community. Wallace unpacked this significance, “Sisterhood is extremely essential to women as a community because there is so much in-fighting and division among women that it actually roots from misogyny. It roots in the history of women being considered inferior to men and unfortunately, women have been convinced that they're not good enough or they don't have the value that a man has.”
“Lesbian is not a bad word. In sisterhood, it should be a priority. We don’t have to be in a romantic relationship together— but we can be friends and we can come together as sisters, especially as Black women. That’s the origin of some of that division.”
Yet, Wallace’s recent title is adorned with personal experiences and intimate stories that amplify voices within the Black Lesbian community without weaponizing experiences or identities. Wallace shared with us her creative process. “As far as the book project, Lesbian Erasure: How to Cope (Black Lesbian Edition), it only took me, well, let me just say this, I've lived the experience of lesbian erasure but I actually was going to only write seven chapters for this book. I ended up writing 12 chapters."
Recently, Black Lesbians like Da Brat were publicly scrutinized for their public display and clothing during her pregnancy. Wallace speaks on similar incidents like this and how they shaped the development of her recent title. "Lesbian Erasure is really rooted in jealousy, insecurity, and misogyny. I posted on my Instagram about a lesbian couple who had their first baby and how the men attacked their relationship was just viciously."
Wallace also discusses femme privileges, same-presenting relationships like “masc for masc” and “femme for femme” dating issues, and more. Wallace specifically addresses Femme Privilege and how it can shape some experiences for Black Lesbians. “Regarding masculine lesbian women or masculine queer women, this is what I hear from them. A lot of times they feel neglected in their partnerships with women. And they feel like they have to represent masculinity to the extreme. Now, let me explain what I mean by that. That's where the patriarchy comes in. It's kind of like this dominance, but it's toxic, in a sense, toxic masculinity.”
Passionately Wallace explains, “And what heteronormative constructs do to our community as Lesbian and Queer women, is it affects us mentally and emotionally. It affects our relationships. We start taking on the persona of heterosexual relationships. And that's where you mess up in your relationship. Because if a feminine woman is in a relationship with a masculine woman, she needs to still uphold that woman as a woman. She's still a woman.”
Lesbian Erasure also explores difficult conversations like self-identification and how queer voices are received in Black religious circles. Wallace also provides some insight with navigating these difficulties. “There's a lot of people in the heterosexual community that fear the LGBTQ community because they think it's a power construct. They believe that they will be overpowered. And so their strategy is to, of course, keep us undermined and one of those ways to do so is to not be supportive and not to represent us in media, the community, or even church.” Further explaining her priority to serve the Black Queer community, “My number one priority as a life coach is to teach Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or LGBTQ+ people how to bridge the gap between their sexuality and their spirituality. Spirituality and faith is number one in my coaching.”
“It is so important for us to be able to combine and connect our sexuality and spirituality because I believe it should not be separated. It's kind of like you trying to remove your DNA. It's impossible but we've been for years trying to keep it separate and that's why there's such a disconnection within ourselves.”
As a certified life coach, Wallace is passionate about uplifting new clients, readers and the Lesbian and queer community.
“Because my coaching business is big on faith and being God-centered because that is a pivotal coaching technique that I use. We have to be able to have a relationship with the Most High God, especially in this world that is full of hostility and hatred towards you for being gay and lesbian or same gender loving.” With LGBTQ+ Pride month and other occasions to uplift the Lesbian and queer community, there is so much on the horizon and in the works for the author to continue her positive influence.
Often Black Love considers Lesbian Love and LGBTQ Love as a second thought; yet, with titles like "Lesbian Erasure: How to Cope (Black Lesbian Edition)" and forthcoming projects by creatives like Wallace—the collective fight for visibility and representation grows in number. For more information about Giselle Wallace, check her official website or social media below. Lesbian Erasure: How to Cope (Black Lesbian Edition) is available now for purchase on Amazon.
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