It was on a family trip to San Francisco, in my early tweens, that I saw what I recognized to be a real, true to life lesbian for the first time. Two, actually. I could tell because they held hands. After that, I started seeing lesbians everywhere. Well, not everywhere. But around. Whenever we left home, I saw women, often much older than me, loving other women: On the beach at the Mexican all-inclusive resorts my family vacationed at, walking down the same Main Street in a small Northeastern fishing town, at a second cousin’s wedding and reception in a midwestern town. Vacation, it seemed, was about lesbian-spotting. This was the early aughts, when absolutely no appropriate lesbian television shows or movies or really even books for girls my age existed.
My sixth sense continued as I grew up. I\’d scout out lesbians, studying them as if looking for clues. My overactive imagination would wonder who these women were and where they lived and if their families still talked to them and if they had to lie at their jobs about their personal lives to afford a very nice vacation. I’d look at what books they’d leave on their pool chairs, what they ate and drank, and what they talked about, if I could hear. I was curious, totally unaware of why I was so staunchly fascinated by these strangers, like objects in a museum.