One could judge the provocative formula, as if one became a lesbian with the wave of a magic wand, like a cooking recipe. As if we were putting on our super-lesbian cape, after dark, to conquer the world. As if sexual orientation was a choice, argumentative and cliché of certain homophobes. However, once past the back cover of How to become a lesbian in ten stepsby Louise Morel, published last June 3 by Editions Hors d’Atteinte, we realize that it is not about that.
“Many of us have roamed the desolate lands of heterosexuality before joining the lesbian land of plenty,” writes the author who now lives in Berlin. “Whatever your age, your situation as a couple or family, and whatever your past, your future can be lesbian,” she adds, full of promise. In the form of a practical guide in the style of personal development, Louise Morel explores in ten chapters the inner path of those who realize that heterosexuality does not suit them, or no longer, and who sometimes find themselves lost when it comes to to explore their desire for women.
“I had to find my own answers to several questions: where to meet women who love women? How can you discreetly ensure that the woman you’re talking to isn’t straight to the core? But also: how to approach a woman, when you have been used to others always making the first move? continues the author a little further.
Because when you live in a society where heterosexuality is the norm, it is difficult to take other paths.
We are not born lesbian, we become it?
Louise Morel tells us that she had the idea for her second book during the corrections of the first, Human Resource (Editions Hors d’Atteinte), released a few months ago. “I was telling my editor that I was relieved to not be straight anymore, and that it would be cool to do a guide for women who wanted to see the light,” she laughs. From the joke, her editor took her at her word, and Louise Morel writes quickly. “After MeToo, there was an awareness of what was at stake in the intimate, which led us to question how it happens in the fundamental unit of male-female relationships that is the heterosexual couple”. Especially since in recent months, many other works questioning heterosexuality have emerged: Coming out of heterosexuality (Editions Binge Audio) by Juliet Drouar, reinvent love (Editions Zones) by Mona Chollet, or even love revolution (Editions Binge Audio) by Coral Herrera Gómez.
For the author, her book was also born from the observation that the word sexuality was symmetrical with heterosexuality: “When I became a lesbian, it required certain changes, that it was not so simple”. Far from being a whim, questioning our romantic and intimate relationships seems essential. And for some women, starting to have relationships with women is a long-standing desire, sometimes hidden, sometimes terrifying, sometimes recent.
“The reality is that getting out of heterosexuality is sometimes complex. The reality is that some of us spent months wondering who they were, who they loved, what they wanted,” writes Louise Morel.
Practical mini-guide to feeling legit
In the form of a practical mini-guide, Louise Morel discusses places where women meet, the history of lesbian struggles, first times, coming out, internalized lesbophobia, creating a chosen family… “We took over the code personal development by diverting them: the multiplicity of stages makes it possible to show that the path is long, and that it is never finished! This opens up new horizons of questioning, more joyful and free” explains the author.
Especially since the author explains in her book that she spent 30 years being heterosexual, and that she did not immediately feel legitimate to call herself a lesbian. “The first time I went to the Mutiny [bar LGBTQ + à Paris, N.D.L.R.], in a beige coat and long hair, I was not very comfortable! But it opened my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t the only one to have had this type of background,” she adds. In her book, she addresses those who haven’t always known, who discovered themselves late in life, those who are still attracted (sometimes, or often, or a little) by men, those who are afraid of do wrong. And gives them a benevolent look, without judgment.
For those who doubt
If we don’t have the morning routine of a good lesbian or the magic recipe to make a woman come, How to become a lesbian in ten steps opens the way, and reassures those who feel alone. The book is punctuated with references to other works, films, series, podcasts to go further. “For me, it’s the role of literature! Books have played this role of reference persons at certain times. Sexual orientation is also built in the collective, through cultural works,” Louise Morel tells us.
But above all, show the joy it gives him. “We talk a lot about LGBTphobic violence, and rightly so, but it is far from being the only plot of our lives. This lesbian joy, it is hidden, denied all the time” adds the author. Louise Morel posits the exit from heterosexuality as a path to explore, a journey from which one does not return unscathed, where one “doubts a lot and is sometimes mistaken”. Something that changes who we are, our relationship to being in the world. And invites us to explore the lands of the “lesbian land of plenty”, without shame.