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Interview: Gaza

published on 8 October 2012

Studs model Gaza speaks to Lou Stoppard about lesbian representation in the media in this interview transcript.

Studs model Gaza speaks to Lou Stoppard about lesbian representation in the media in this interview transcript.

Lou Stoppard: So tell me about yourself and your life.

Gaza: Right now I’m just working for an events company. I’m 21 years of age. I want to be a film producer, I like making films about the LGBT community and stuff like that.

LS: What got you into film?

G: I took media in college and I made a few documentaries over the past years and I really enjoyed it.

LS: Is raising awareness about LGBT issues something that’s really important to you then?

G: Yes, it is but more so to do with, like, the lesbian side because there’s not really anything out there for us. If you think about the LGBT community, you’re going to think gay men. Really, there’s not a lot of films of us shown in the media. I wanted to get that across more.

LS: I’m interested by the fact that you say that gay men have an easier time, suggesting that they’re much more openly recognised. Why do you think that is? Do you find it frustrating that people still seem to marginalise lesbianism?

G: I think it’s because girls and girls don’t really seem as an issue. It’s more like men are more taboo, being a gay man is more taboo and being a lesbian’s more kind of, what’s the word, it’s more appealing to certain people, like men, or they find it kind of fashionable. It’s just portrayed in a kind of fun sort of way, if you know what I mean.

LS: Do you find that quite sort of frustrating and, I guess, demeaning, the way that people portray lesbianism as sort of frivolous thing?

G: It is. It is kind of frustrating because you’ve got a lot of girls that are just, well, they think it’s a fashion so they sort of just... they just start to date girls because their friends are doing it. Or they think it’s an attractive sort of thing. They don’t actually think, 'okay, two females could actually have a relationship and it can actually be real, and they can actually be in love.'

LS: Do you think that’s something’s that’s changing? With things like your films that you’re making and other people who are taking similar initiatives.

G: I’ve written something, I haven’t actually produced anything on it yet, but right now I don’t think it’s really changing because you don’t really see the different kind of lesbians there are. If you’re going to think about lesbians, you’re going to think of two Femmes. They don’t show the different kinds, in Britain anyway, they had, like, Sugar Rush and we’ve got Lip Service, but that’s one kind of community. But then there’s other communities like the urban side. So Black people, Chinese, Indian, Asian, all types, Australian. See what I mean? Even though we’re all gay girls, we’re different and I don’t think that’s getting across, like I don’t think people are aware that there are studs out there because I can walk into a shop and they’ll think I’m a dude. Or I can go into a straight place and walk into a female toilet and the toilet person will tell me, ‘come out of the toilets’, because they’re not aware that Studs exist or Butch girls exist. I think that needs to be more shown somehow.

LS: Why do you think it is that one type of very effeminate lesbian that always gets represented?

G: Because I think that’s what the media chooses to portray, I guess.

LS: Why do you think they choose to portray that kind?

G: I don’t have a clue why they choose to portray that type but I think it’s because they wouldn’t get the same reaction if they put a Stud and a Femme rather than two Femmes together, if you know what I mean.

Who said that a man has to act this way? Media told you that. Who said you have to dress this way? Advertisement tells you that.

LS: You freely use terms like Stud and Femme. Are you happy with those terms? Or do you find them a bit limiting?

G: Me? I don’t know. It’s like, what is a Stud? And what is a Femme? It’s a label isn’t it? But, it’s kind of easier to describe someone as a Stud or a Femme. But I don’t think there should be any kind of labels, because that just puts you into a category, then you start acting and thinking you have to act a certain way so that’s where the questions comes in. Then again, it’s like as you put in the description on the website, something like a third gender, so it’s like we’re kind of contradicting ourselves in that sense if we’re saying, ‘okay, you’re a stud you have to act this way’ and ‘you’re a Femme you have to act this way’. And why? It’s the same when you’re a man you have to act this way and when you’re a female you have to act this way, you get what I mean? People describe me as a Stud but I’m just me. I’m more masculine in a sense but then I’ve still got my female side. I’ve still got a feminine side to me where I can still be emotional, you know what I mean?

LS: Do you find that people around you are quite accepting of the way you are and of your sexuality, the way you dress and the way you present yourself? Or has that been quite hard?

G: For me it’s been so easy. I haven’t really, I haven’t had any negative words or anything. Everyone’s taken it well, when I came out, everyone was cool with that. As long as you’re happy, it’s your life get on with it! In that sense, I’m kind of lucky because I know a lot of people have had a hard time. I’m grateful for that, that my friends and family accept me for who I am.

LS: Do you ever get frustrated with other women, not necessarily women, you know, but girls that are so keen to sort of conform to male expectations and societal expectations of what they should be like?

G: I just think, if you want to be, however you want to be, just be it because who said that a man has to act this way? Media told you that. Who said you have to dress this way? Advertisement tells you that. I want to put on leggings, I will put on leggings because that’s what I want to do, isn’t it? Even in, like, being a Stud. Say two Studs get together, people would say, ‘oh that’s gay’ but they’re still females, you get me? I don’t see why people, some people are like, why don’t you wear a dress? Because I don’t want to. If I want to wear jeans, if I want to wear them low, I wear them low, isn’t it? Who told you I couldn’t do that? Do you know what I mean? So in a sense it’s kind of frustrating, but then again I don’t really care, I’m just free. I do what I want basically, I don’t really care what people have got to say about me or anything, as long as I’m happy.

LS: You say as long as you’re happy, what do you hope for in the future? What do you think will make you happy?

G: For myself, I’d just like to see more on the LGBT community, more out there for us. More things we can relate to. That’s why I was happy when they approached me with this project because I was like, ‘yes!’ I’ve always wanted to model as a Stud. A lot of people have told me that I should model, but telling me to model as a Femme, but I don’t want to model as a Femme because that’s so uncomfortable. I’m not comfortable like that, I feel comfortable as a Stud. So when you all approached me with that, I was like, ‘yes, more of this needs to be done.’ There’s not really no stud models out there like that and I think they need a market for that.

LS: Would you like to see yourself as a role model for other women?

G: Yes! Why not? I would just tell people to just be comfortable with who you are, isn’t it? Because at the end of the day it’s your life. Don’t live it how other people want you to live it because you’re just going to be unhappy. If you live it the way you want to live it then there’s no better feeling.

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