So this made me laugh. I recently earned my “Gold Star” status from Starbucks thanks to copious amount of dark roast and chai lattes for Ledcat. Now I get free refills!
You might be familiar with the term “Gold Star” lesbian which usually refers to a lesbian who has not had sexual intercourse with a man. It is a rather insulting term because it reduces our identities to sexual acts, much in the way that being a virgin is used to control young women in some conservative Christian communities. It also creates a hierarchy of lesbian authenticity that is simply ridiculous. There’s no right or wrong way to be a lesbian if you are being true to yourself.
In reality, the struggle between “gold star” lesbians and the rest of us reflects some of the rigid privileged thinking that permeates discussions about bisexual identity and transwomen, as well as others who may step outside of a gender binary.
My identity is complicated and sometimes it rears its head in conversation. We use the term “Gold Star” between us to lighten the moment and step back from the rigidity that hurts a lot of relationships, as well as to put some emotional distance from those who insist on clinging to oppressive structures within the queer community.
When I told Ledcat that Starbucks granted me Gold Star status, she asked me if I was revirginized and then if they sent me a coupon! LOL
It is good to be able to joke about these things in a manner that’s self-deprecating, not at the expense of others. But it is also important to recognize that we can wield words in a manner that hurts.
And sometimes we can enjoy the free refills life offers us and keep having these conversations.