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Nun of Our Business


Sometimes after our column appears in the magazine, we hear back from the ladies we helped and they tell us if they took our advice or not, if it helped and how things are going. In this case, we heard from a sister of the cloth, who we met after speaking on a college campus. This amazing sister came and told us that she was coming out as a lesbian and was thinking of leaving her order because of it. Here is the original May 2010 column and the nun’s email to us later:

Dear Lipstick and Dipstick: I’m a 25-year-old woman who has dated women in the past. After dabbling in lesbianism, I decided to dedicate my life for God. Despite my best efforts, I still yearn for a woman’s touch and look at woman sexually. I think women are sexy, but I know they cannot get me pregnant and I want to have children. I can deal with having sex with a man. Another problem is that women my age never ask me out at all. I don’t know what to do? Should I just stay celibate?—Godly Do-Gooder

Lipstick: Celibacy shouldn’t be an option, Do-Gooder. How much fun is that? Listen here: Take a deep breath. Everything’s going to be okay—it’s just going to take time. I can only imagine the weight of the cloak you’re wearing, as I dressed up as a nun once for Halloween and I was sure ready to kick the habit. That said, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds, Sexy Sinner. Dipstick, remember when that “sistah” showed up at our event at the University of Wisconsin? She knew she was queer and was still wearing those awful nun shoes.

Dipstick: Lipstick, that nun was really cool, but I don’t think she had the best of both worlds. She was thinking of leaving the Church because it no longer aligned with her beliefs. She still believed in God and loved Jesus, but couldn’t support the anti-gay stance any more. My advice is to find a nice church that welcomes gays. ( You certainly don’t need a man to get pregnant. All you need is some sperm. But before you bring a child into your self-loathing world, I suggest you get some therapy to work through the shame you have around your sexuality. Furthermore, study after study has proven—what you yourself admit—you can’t wish yourself straight. Lipstick, can you explain why women aren’t asking her out?

Lipstick: [Sniff Sniff] Because a smart lesbian can smell shame like a German Shepherd hunting for drugs at the airport. Godly Do-Gooder, you need to get things straight queer within yourself before any hot babe will come knocking. Instead of concerning yourself with how you’re going to have a baby or how you’ll attract women, focus on self-acceptance and self-love—the unconditional kind, you know like your man Jesus taught.

Dear Lipstick and Dipstick,
Many greeting and wishes for the best of summers from the [now former] nun at U of Wisconsin. I am not writing to you for any advice via Curve, but after reading your column in May 2010 “God or Girls?” I certainly had to respond.

I picked up the magazine for the first time ever by chance in the beginning of June at the LGTB center on campus—for a bit of lunchtime reading—and just opened up your column, and well: there I was!!! Anonymously, of course. I was thrilled. My friends are, too.
What you wrote was good and gave the questioner some perspective, though I would want to add that there is room in religious life for lesbians, just like there is room for them in the rest of life. It is just that they will have to be celibate—like their heterosexual counterparts—and they may have to do a lot of searching to find a religious community [read order of “nuns”] willing to accept them as out. Alternatively, they will have to move cautiously in the closet, however still looking for a community that does not actively repress homosexuals. I believe such communities exist. I cannot imagine acting along in my own persecution/repression and I would not advise anyone, as idealistic as she may be, to do that. It won't last. That is truly –how do they put it?--unnatural.

Try reading Lesbian Nuns: Breaking the Silence, Curb, Nancy and Manahan, Rosemary, 1990 2nd. ed.
As for me, eventually, I left my community. It was painful. I left many good people behind, but my circumstances could not be made acceptable to my conscience. I am trying to keep religion more personal and much less structured. I feel I am genuinely Catholic, but that the Church has a lot of room for growth and that I cannot in good conscience, promote much of what is going on in the acceleratingly conservative climate in the Church in the U.S.
I met a fun, intelligent woman shortly thereafter—actually the minute I started looking—and we went out, got together and have been partners, as such for some time now. Things are going well.

Sister Sappho
P.S. The photo was also good, but Lipstick, you do not give off nun vibes. My nundar is top-notch.