A lesbian looks like…Lindsay Lohan?

Is she or isn’t she?  That’s what The Advocate and everyone else is asking about Lindsay Lohan.  “Celeb mags are all agog,” Nicholas Fonseca writes in the Sept 9 issue.  “Lindsay is either lesbian, bisexual, or just another straight girl engaged in an elaborate–albeit genuis–publicity stunt.  But, really, what difference does it make?”

Genuis?  Really? Even Fonseca himself doesn’t really believe this, judging from his own comments on the restrained (even ho-hum) reaction of most major media to Lohan’s very public relationship with DJ Samantha Ronson.   The world-weary tone of the article belies its investment in categorizing Lindsay and, even more, pathologizing her for refusing to confirm or deny that she and Sam are lovers.  On its cover, The Advocate disses Lohan with the teaser “Lindsay Lohan’s Identity Crisis.”  So much for the fluidity of sexuality.

Personally, I live my life by coming out promiscuously, so–despite the limitations of identity politics–I think coming out does make a difference. But the point I want to emphasize is what the buzz about Lohan tells us about the invisibility of queer femininity, and how we use stereotypes to decide what a lesbian looks like.  Tabloids write about “Lohan and her lesbian lover,” implying that the two are lovers but there’s only one “real” lesbian in the relationship and we know it’s Sam.

The article in The Advocate is a case in point.  It offers a plethora of evidence that there’s a romance between Lohan and Ronson, but then concludes by asking breathlessly, “could it be that Lindsay Lohan is a lesbian?”  Meaning, could this beautiful 22-year-old woman–who is considered by many to be one of the sexiest women in the world–actually be queer?!

Yes, as a matter of fact, it could be.