LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

LESBIAN
 

Advocate: Salute to Amazing LGBTQ Women of 2021

Lesbian Proposal: COVID Edition

She Likes Girls

Cute Lesbian Couple: Daily Life in Quarantine

Sufi and Anjali: Annoying Each Other During Quarantine

Lesbian Couple Holds Pandemic Wedding at Drive-In Movie Theatre

Cynthia Nixon: Why She Identifies as Queer

Commentary: Why I Am Nobody's Wife

XtraMagazine: No, Lesbians Are Not Disappearing

Butches and Studs

Famous Lesbians

 

 

Am I Really Proud to Be a Lesbian?

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Wikipedia: Definition of Lesbian

Honey by Kehlani

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Info: Sexual Orientation

You Tube: Notable Lesbians

Info: LGBTQ Community

New Research: Lesbians More Accepted Than Gay Men

Music Video: I Wish You Were Gay

Cathy's Coming Out Story

Candid Answers to Questions About Lesbian Sex

Tribute to the Women Who Spoke Up for Lesbian Rights

Video List: Most Famous Lesbians in History

Breanne Williamson: I Am a Lesbian

Queer Girls Googling

 

Definition

 

The word “lesbian” describes a woman who is romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to or involved with other women. As a sexual orientation, it can be further defined as an innate, enduring, inherent, and immutable pattern of feelings and behavior in which a woman has an affectional, romantic, emotional, spiritual, sensual, and/or sexual affinity or desire for other women.

 

Clinically speaking, it refers to homosexual women. Some women prefer to use the term "gay." Other terms related to the word "lesbian" include... Women Having Sex With Women (WSW) and Women Loving Women (WLW).

 

Lesbian Perspective: Hardest Thing About Not Being Straight

Epochalips: Smart Lesbian Commentary

Video List: Most Famous Lesbians in History

Old Lesbians Give Advice to Young Lesbians

Edie and Amanda: First Time

Info: Sexual Orientation

How The L Word Changed Lesbian Television

Endless Love: Audrey and Camille

Famous Black Lesbians You Should Know

Ruth and Jade

Info: Women and Feminism

Metro Station: I Think She Likes Girls

Amy's Coming Out Story

Celebrity Lesbian Couples We Adore

Info: LGBTQ Community

Essential Lesbian Guide to Flirting

Maze and Eve: Wonderwall

Candid Answers to Questions About Lesbian Sex

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lesbian Sex

 

 

History
 

Lesbian as a concept, used to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation, is a 20th-century construct. Throughout history, women have not had the freedom or independence to pursue homosexual relationships as men have, but neither have they met the harsh punishment in some societies as homosexual men. Instead, lesbian relationships have often been regarded as harmless and incomparable to heterosexual ones unless the participants attempted to assert privileges traditionally enjoyed by men.

 

As a result, little in history has been documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality has been expressed. When early sexologists in the late 19th century began to categorize and describe homosexual behavior, hampered by a lack of knowledge about lesbianism or women's sexuality, they distinguished lesbians as women who did not adhere to female gender roles and designated them mentally ill.

 


 

Origin of the Word Lesbian

Movie Scenes: Best Lesbian Kisses

My First Date With a Girl

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Jess and Emily: How Lesbians Do It

Lesbian Insights: Sexual Activity in 1966

You Tube: Notable Lesbians

Info: Women and Feminism

Video: Girl Picking Up Girls

BuzzFeed: Lesbian Stereotypes

Video Montage 2: Lesbian Love and Kisses

Butches and Studs

Candid Answers to Questions About Lesbian Sex

Jill's Coming Out Story

How The L Word Changed Lesbian Television

Iris and Mardou: I Get to Love You

Lesbian Couples: Somewhere Only We Know

Music Video: Girl Crush

Breanne Williamson: I Am a Lesbian

Lesbian Perspective: Hardest Thing About Not Being Straight

Queer YouTubers: Losing Your Virginity

Welcome to the Gay Woman Channel

Healthy Place: Myths About Lesbians

 

 

Women in homosexual relationships responded to this designation either by hiding their personal lives or accepting the label of outcast and creating a subculture and identity that developed in Europe and the United States. Following World War II, during a period of social repression when governments actively persecuted homosexuals, women developed networks to socialize with and educate each other. Greater economic and social freedom allowed women gradually to be able to determine how they could form relationships and families. With second wave feminism and growth of scholarship in women's history and sexuality in the 20th century, the definition of lesbian broadened, sparking a debate about sexual desire as the major component to define what a lesbian is.

 

Women generally exhibit greater sexual fluidity than men and find it easier to become physically and emotionally intimate with the same sex than men do. Some women who engage in homosexual behavior may reject the lesbian identity entirely, refusing to identify themselves as lesbian or bisexual. Other women may adopt a lesbian identity for political reasons. Greater understanding of women's sexuality has led to three components to identifying lesbians: sexual behavior, sexual desire, or sexual identity.

 

Jess Steven: Too Pretty to Be a Lesbian

Queer Girls Googling

Video Montage 1: Lesbian Love and Kisses

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Slate: Some Young Women Don't Like Lesbian Label

Noora, Are You a Lesbian?

Mental Health Issues Lesbian Women Cope With

Lesbians Discuss Their First Time With a Girl

Info: Women and Feminism

Late Bloomers: It's Never Too Late to Be a Lesbian

 

 

Portrayals of lesbians in the media suggest that Western society at large has been simultaneously intrigued and threatened by women who challenge feminine gender roles, and fascinated and appalled with women who are romantically involved with other women. Women who adopt a lesbian identity share experiences that form an outlook similar to an ethnic identity: as homosexuals, they are unified by the discrimination and potential rejection they face from their families, friends, and others. As women, they face concerns separate from men. Lesbians may encounter distinct physical or mental health concerns. Political conditions and social attitudes also affect the formation of lesbian relationships and families.

 

Welcome to the Gay Woman Channel

Metro Station: I Think She Likes Girls

Lesbians Discuss Their First Time With a Girl

Casey and Izzie: Feel Real

Queer YouTubers: Losing Your Virginity

Info: LGBTQ Community

Late Bloomers: It's Never Too Late to Be a Lesbian

Mia and Pauline

Essential Lesbian Guide to Flirting

Kathryn's Coming Out Story

Breanne Williamson: Why I Hate the Word Lesbian

Jess Steven: Too Pretty to Be a Lesbian

 

 

Candid Answers to Questions About Lesbian Sex

Butches and Studs

Lesbian Dating Tips: How to Flirt With a Girl

Noora, Are You a Lesbian?

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lesbian Sex

Multicouple Lesbian Fanvid: Cosmic Love

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Slate: Some Young Women Don't Like Lesbian Label

Nobody by Jade Novah and Cynthia Erivo

Edie and Amanda: First Time

Lesbian Perspective: Hardest Thing About Not Being Straight

Giving Up My Love of Long Nails?

Info: Women and Feminism

Endless Love: Audrey and Camille

Video Montage 3: Lesbian Love and Kisses

Gay Girl Dating Coach
 

 

Eat Pray Love

Being lesbian is a religion. It’s feast, fast, or famine. It’s on our knees begging at the altar between her knees. It’s our tribe, our gaggle of gay girls, and our fighting to be included in some social club, meetup, Facebook group, marriage rights, equal rights and more, or hiding in social awkwardness afraid of that demon called rejection. We portion out our psychic energy and our daily allotted 24 hours in this religion of being lesbian and we eat... we pray... we love.

Eat! Help yourself to delicious lesbian fare. Feel the connection to our global tribe and when you’re full you can push away from this gorgeous table of wise women fare to go live. Be about the business of living and learning; growing and becoming more of your fabulous and amazing self. The wisdom you consume from the lives of other's experiences is the fuel that helps you find direction, meaning, gumption and guts to keep going. Don’t stop eating lesbian wisdom.

 

 

Pray! On our knees, we pray for a great relationship, we pray for equal rights, we pray for those women we want and don’t have. We pray about the one we do have wishing she might be this or that. We pray and rejoice when that ecstatic feeling of love shows up pulling back the covers on our dreams. We pray in our loneliness to find someone. We pray in our pain to let go of the one who isn’t ours anymore. We pray to move on. We pray to find sense in the world. We find the prayer of laughter, the prayer of thoughtfulness, the prayer of found love, the prayer of experience making, the prayer of failed love, the prayer of faith in the goodness of life. Don’t stop praying.

Love! The more time you spend traveling the country and meeting lesbians from all over the world, the more you are confirmed that lesbian culture is messy, full of drama, alive with misunderstandings, misplaced egos, failed dreams, good and bad relationships and the more you love it. We are as human and common in our foibles as any straight folks can be and we are as uniquely special in our love as every individual human being is. Lesbian love is messy but more important is that our love is powerful. It’s life changing and we need more of it. The world needs more of our lesbian love. Don’t stop seeking to create more lesbian love.

Eat, pray, love. Lesbian, be proud. Have no shame. Embrace it, be it, share it. The religion of being lesbian.


[Source: Mary Gorham Malia, Founder of Gay Girl Dating Coach, Gay Girl Love Tour, and Live Your Best Lesbian Life Global Telesummit]

 

 

Video: Famous Lesbians

Redefining Butch-Femme Relationships

Honey by Kehlani

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lesbian Sex

Video Montage 4: Lesbian Love and Kisses

Gay Girl Dating Coach
Mermaid Tavern

Lesbian Insights: Sexual Activity in 1966

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Info: Women and Feminism

How The L Word Changed Lesbian Television

Lesbian Couples Frolicking: I See You

 

 

Short Film: To My Future Girlfriend

Lesbians You'll Date Before You Die

Jess and Emily: How Lesbians Do It

100 Years of Lesbianism

Lesbian Dating 101

Slate: Some Young Women Don't Like Lesbian Label

Jezebel: Girl's Guide to Lesbian Clichés and Stereotypes

Brenda Besó a su Entrenadora

Lesbian Dating 101

Emily and Sue: Shameless

Essential Lesbian Guide to Flirting

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Video Montage: Best Lesbian Kisses

 

 

Sapphic

A Sapphic person is a woman, or woman-aligned person who is attracted to other women or woman-aligned people. A Sapphic person is also known as Woman Loving Woman (WLW).

 

They may or may not be attracted to other genders as well. This attraction does not need to be exclusive, as the label is used as a way to unify all women who love other women such as, lesbians, bisexual women, pansexual women, promoting solidarity among women of all identities.

 



The term is most commonly used as an umbrella term. It's typically used in combination with another identity to specify that one prioritizes their attraction to and relationships with other women. It is sometimes used as an identity on its own for people who know they are attracted to women but may be uncertain if they're attracted to other genders. The term can also be used to describe a relationship between two women.

The word sapphic comes from the name of the Greek poet Sappho. The island she was born on, Lesbos, is where the word lesbian is derived from. The masculine counterpart to sapphic is achillean. The non-binary counterparts are diamoric and enbian.

 

Exploring Sapphic Herstory
Sapphic: An Explanation
 

Pressures of Being a Lesbian

Lesbian women face unique mental health issues (in addition to the ones all members of the LGBTQ community face) because they exist in a marginalized section of an already marginalized community. Exploring the effects of discrimination and prejudice only scratches the surface of their mental health challenges.

More so than other members of the LGBTQ community, lesbian women feel pressure to identify and label themselves with terms they are not necessarily comfortable with. This pressure comes from heterosexuals, gay men, the gay bar scene, on-line dating sites, the media and other lesbian women. Terms like Femme, Alpha, Butch, and Lipstick Lesbian can be frustrating for some lesbian women.

 

Even the word “lesbian” can be controversial. Should we say “lesbian,” “lesbian women,” “gay women” or maybe something else? There isn’t a correct answer or anything close to a consensus in the lesbian community. These identity and labeling issues cause stress and contribute to the social isolation lesbian women deal with.

“Feminist” is another label people pressure lesbians to consider. There are historical and current conflicts between lesbian feminism, mainstream feminism and radical feminism. This makes many lesbian women reluctant to engage in the conversation of feminism or consider feminism part of their identity.

 



People (usually heterosexuals) often make several assumptions about lesbian women that contribute to unwelcomed stereotypes: They hate men. They have “daddy issues.” They are more masculine than heterosexual women. Men molested them as children. There needs to a be a “man” in a lesbian relationship. Lesbians haven’t met the right man yet. Lesbian sex doesn’t count as “real sex.” Lesbians dress like men. Lesbians are not physically attractive. They are more interested in sports. They drive SUVs. They push commitment and establish their romantic relationships too quickly. They are “crazy.” They are trying being with women as some sort of trendy experiment rather than a legitimate sexual preference.

 

Lesbians You'll Date Before You Die

Biggest Lesbian Party in the World

Famous Black Lesbians You Should Know

Noora, Are You a Lesbian?

Dyke vs Lesbian

Music Video: I Wish You Were Gay

Breanne Williamson: I Am a Lesbian

Queer Girls Googling

Carmilla and Laura: Beautiful Moments

Redefining Butch-Femme Relationships

Endless Love: Audrey and Camille

Video Montage 5: Lesbian Love and Kisses

How Do You Know You're a Lesbian

Lesbian Love Songs: Women Singing About Women

Mermaid Tavern

Jess Steven: Too Pretty to Be a Lesbian

Short Film: To My Future Girlfriend

Lesbians Discuss Their First Time With a Girl

Queer YouTubers: Losing Your Virginity

Info: Women and Feminism

Butches and Studs

My First Date With a Girl

Things Lesbians are Tired of Hearing

BuzzFeed: Lesbian Stereotypes

 

 

The L Word

"
Lesbian" isn't a dirty word and more millennials need to use it. The straight male world has convinced young women the L word is a slur.

Some gay women do not feel comfortable calling themselves a lesbian.  From a social perspective, the idea of being a woman not attracted to men can be initially terrifying. There’s the idea of having to overcome a multitude of social obstacles, from being stared at when you walk hand-in-hand with the person you love to having to wonder how you’re going to have children. The same is true for men who find themselves only attracted to men. But why do many millennial men appear comfortable calling themselves "gay," while millennial women shun the term "lesbian"?

It has been observed that many millennial girls who have romantic and sexual feelings only toward other women use the terms “gay” or “queer,” while running away from “lesbian.” Perhaps society has told us that “lesbian” is a bad word.

 


 

Wikipedia: Definition of Lesbian

Honey by Kehlani

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Info: Women and Feminism

Ally and Sam

Queer Girls Googling

Petra and Jane: I Love You

Why Being a Lesbian is Amazing

Giving Up My Love of Long Nails?

You Tube: Notable Lesbians

Juliana and Valentina: Say it Again

Lesbian Dating Tips: How Can You Tell If a Girl Likes You

Curve: Five Types of Lesbians

Jess and Emily: How Lesbians Do It

Say I Love You

Lesbian Dating 101

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Mental Health Issues Lesbian Women Cope With

Info: Sexual Orientation

Mermaid Tavern

How The L Word Changed Lesbian Television

Jezebel: Girl's Guide to Lesbian Clichés and Stereotypes

 

The word "lesbian" has been villainized in the media because lesbians serve no purpose to the people who control it. A 2017 University of Southern California study showed that 96 percent of the top 100 movies made in the past 100 years were directed by men, while a 2016 study from Variety showed that almost 80 percent of showrunners for new scripted shows were men.

The result is two lesbian stereotypes becoming visible in movies and television — that of the oversexualized, two-dimensional woman who serves only to satisfy some pornographic fantasy of a straight man, and that of a bland, largely disinteresting woman who serves just as hollow a purpose. The former is the projection of the only way a lesbian can serve as meaningful to a straight man, and the latter is the straight man’s reaction to a woman being completely uninterested in him sexually by making her as boring and unimportant to the plot as possible.
 

 

At its root, lesbianism represents something beautiful. Being a woman attracted to women. Being a woman who can only fall in love with other women. That used to be something terrifying. Now it is exciting.

 

The label “lesbian” does not have to be what the media has molded it into. Accepting that you don’t have any attraction to men is not something that should feel limiting and scary. Once you accept and understand it, being a lesbian is something that can open you up to so many different possibilities, including a community ready to embrace you.

"Lesbian" is a word that represents something beautiful, and the more girls and women feel comfortable using it, the harder it’s going to be for the world to villainize an identity rooted in love.

 

[Source: Mary Grace Lewis, Advocate Magazine, July 2018]

 

Wikipedia: Definition of Lesbian

Dyke vs Lesbian

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Franky and Bridget: Love Me Like You Do

Essential Lesbian Guide to Flirting

Butches and Studs

Why Being a Lesbian is Amazing

Mermaid Tavern

Noora, Are You a Lesbian?

Ellia and Cassie

Video Discussion: My First Relationship With a Woman

My Dear Friend

You Tube: Notable Lesbians

Make Me Complete

Multicouple Lesbian Fanvid: Cosmic Love

Info: Women and Feminism

Nick and Benedetta

Welcome to the Gay Woman Channel

Endless Love: Audrey and Camille

Lesbian Couples: Somewhere Only We Know

Music Video: Love on Fire

Curve: Five Types of Lesbians

Girl on Girl: What's So Scary About Female Pleasure?

Epochalips: Smart Lesbian Commentary

Petra and Jane

Giving Up My Love of Long Nails?

Lesbian Dating 101

 

 

Lesbians More Accepted Worldwide Than Gay Men

A new study exploring the attitudes toward nonheterosexual men and women in 23 Western and non-Western countries found lesbians are more accepted than gay men around the world. “We found that gay men are disliked more than lesbian women in every country we tested,” according to the study, which was conducted by three New York University psychologists and published in the December 2019 issue of the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science.

Sexual minorities face pervasive discrimination and hostility globally, with same-sex sexual activity still illegal in approximately 70 countries. Broadly, the study found that “attitudes toward sexual minorities are robustly related to beliefs about the gender system, more broadly.”

The study defines “gender norms” as “widely shared societal and cultural beliefs distinguishing personality traits, behaviors, and interests as appropriate and desirable for either men or women but not both.” It says that gender norms “prescribe behaviors that fuel a heteronormative system — that is, men and women conforming to norms are seen as ‘complements’ to one another, and this makes heterosexual coupling seem necessary and normal.”

 



In places like the Netherlands where people are more accepting of gender norm violations, better known as gender nonconformity, there is an association with “positive attitudes toward sexual minorities.” The converse is also largely true: For instance in America, college students who endorsed “traditional gender arrangements” were more likely to report negative attitudes toward gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

Maria Laura Bettinsoli, the study's lead author, said she and her colleagues were surprised "at the consistency of the relationship between gender norm endorsement and sexual prejudice. Even though there were some non-Western countries that did not conform to the pattern, the majority of countries did."


Indeed, in countries including China and India, the survey found that strong gender norms are actually associated with greater tolerance of homosexuality — that is, people with the strongest beliefs in how men and women should behave were more likely to tolerate homosexuality, the opposite of the West, including the Americas and Western Europe. The report speculates that in some Eastern countries, “both gender norms and nonheterosexuality are considered ‘Western’ (or, perhaps, capitalist) concepts, and those who are pro-Western are more likely to feel favorable toward both.”

 

Men vs. Women


The study’s findings also suggest that “men are more likely to be both the targets and perpetrators of sexual prejudice.” In all 23 countries studied, the report found "gay men are rated more negatively than lesbian women,” and that trend was almost entirely driven by the views of men, except in Poland, Hungary and Russia, where women also assigned gay men high negative ratings. In the United States, men who are anti-gays largely direct their prejudice toward gay men, while women who are anti-gays direct their prejudice more equally toward gay men and gay women, the study found.

“In other words, harboring prejudicial attitudes toward sexual minorities is part of the social construction of what it means to ‘be a man’” in many Western countries, according to the report.

In January 2019, the American Psychological Association’s first guide to issues specific to men and boys warned that “traditional masculinity ideology” (what some characterized as “toxic masculinity”)  “has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health” and linked it to both homophobia and misogyny.

 



Global Snapshot
 

The study also shed light on some contours of global homophobia. In Russia, perhaps unsurprisingly due to its 2013 gay propaganda law, “positive attitudes toward sexual minorities” are the lowest of the 23 countries surveyed. A 2018 survey conducted in Russia found that nearly two thirds of people there believe that LGBTQ people are seeking “to destroy the spiritual values generated by Russians, through the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

It also placed American attitudes toward lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the context of other countries around the world: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Spain and Sweden all have more positive attitudes toward sexual minorities than do Americans.


Respondents in Brazil, China, Hungary, Japan, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey all reported more negative attitudes toward gay people than the U.S., while attitudes in France, Germany, Italy, and Mexico largely mirrored America’s.

In conclusion, the study's authors underscored the "important phenomenon" uncovered in their report regarding the differing views of gender norms in the East and the West and how they relate to views on sexuality.

"This work should be a springboard for more focused inquiries into conceptualization of gender and sexuality in understudied populations and to rethink how these things are conceptualized in the Western world," the study stated.

 

[Source: Tim Fitzsimmons, NBC News, January 2020]

 

Am I Really Proud to Be a Lesbian?

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Wikipedia: Definition of Lesbian

Honey by Kehlani

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Info: Sexual Orientation

You Tube: Notable Lesbians

Info: LGBTQ Community

New Research: Lesbians More Accepted Than Gay Men

Music Video: I Wish You Were Gay

Cathy's Coming Out Story

Candid Answers to Questions About Lesbian Sex

Tribute to the Women Who Spoke Up for Lesbian Rights

Video List: Most Famous Lesbians in History

Breanne Williamson: I Am a Lesbian

Queer Girls Googling

 

 

Cynthia Nixon Identifies as Queer

One of the stars of the Netflix series, Ratched, Cynthia Nixon, has proclaimed “queer” as the identity that fits her best. She explains the evolution of the words she uses to label herself. "I could call myself a lesbian, gay, bisexual. But none of them seems really particularly right,” Nixon said in an interview with Attitude. "To say ‘queer’ means, 'I’m over there, I don’t have to go into the nuances of my sexuality with you.'"

The actor, who rose to popularity on Sex and the City, has been with her wife, Christine Marinoni, for 16 years after splitting with partner Danny Mozes. Over the years, she has explained her identity in a few ways. "I feel like ‘queer’ is an umbrella term, and it includes my formerly straight self too," she said.

"Falling in love with my wife was one of the great delights and surprises of my life, but it didn’t seem like I became a whole new person, or like some door had been unlocked,” she said. "It was like: ‘I have fallen in love with different people in my life and they’ve all been men before. Now this is a woman and she is amazing.’”


With Tony and Emmy awards to her name, Nixon has also always been an ardent activist for various causes including LGBTQ rights and the environment. In 2018, she ran against Andrew Cuomo in the New York gubernatorial race. At this juncture, Nixon, whose son Samuel is transgender, has called for LGBTQ people to stick together in the face of opposition from conservatives. "It’s a really peculiar thing, how much the right wing try to separate us as a community,” she said.

 

"But after same-sex marriage was legalized we saw a great divide in our own community too, between those who thought, I got my wedding ring, I can pass my money on to my spouse and not pay taxes, so I’m good, I’m done, as opposed to We have so far to go for so many members of our community, we are still so far from the promised land, we’re so far from having our full civil rights."
 

In 2012, Nixon, who had identified as bisexual, went on the record and confirmed that bisexuality is not a choice after taking a lot of heat for saying it was her choice to be in a “gay” relationship with Marinoni. She previously stated: "My recent comments in The New York Times were about me and my personal story of being gay. I believe we all have different ways we came to the gay community and we can't and shouldn't be pigeon-holed into one cultural narrative which can be uninclusive and disempowering.

 

However, to the extent that anyone wishes to interpret my words in a strictly legal context I would like to clarify: "While I don't often use the word, the technically precise term for my orientation is bisexual. I believe bisexuality is not a choice, it is a fact. What I have 'chosen' is to be in a gay relationship.

"As I said in the Times and will say again here, I do, however, believe that most members of our community (as well as the majority of heterosexuals) cannot and do not choose the gender of the persons with whom they seek to have intimate relationships because, unlike me, they are only attracted to one sex. Our community is not a monolith, thank goodness, any more than America itself is. I look forward to and will continue to work toward the day when America recognizes all of us as full and equal citizens."

 

[Source: Tracy E. Gilchrist, Advocate Magazine, September 2020]

 

Honey by Kehlani

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Ally and Sam

Queer Girls Googling

Petra and Jane: I Love You

Why Being a Lesbian is Amazing

Info: Women and Feminism

Butches and Studs

Giving Up My Love of Long Nails?

You Tube: Notable Lesbians

Juliana and Valentina: Say it Again

Lesbian Dating Tips: How Can You Tell If a Girl Likes You

Nick and Benedetta

Curve: Five Types of Lesbians

Jess and Emily: How Lesbians Do It

Say I Love You

Lesbian Dating 101

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Mia and Pauline

Mental Health Issues Lesbian Women Cope With

Info: Sexual Orientation

Mermaid Tavern

How The L Word Changed Lesbian Television

Jezebel: Girl's Guide to Lesbian Clichés and Stereotypes

 

 

More Than Sexuality

Do you have an "affectional preference" for female companionship”? Hey, world, big news! Gay people are more than our sexuality. It can be downright annoying to be defined by one part of our humanity.

I may live in rural America, but I am not a walking, talking letter “Q” for queer. Not an advertisement for a lifestyle. Not a representation of what-dykes-look-like. Not an object of study or fascination. Not a target of foul words, flung mud, or physical violence.

I am a lover of women, but that encompasses a heck of a lot more than sexual expression. When I was younger even I didn’t know that was true. I didn’t know I could love a woman friend without intimate touch. I believed the homo-hating hype that coming out made me one-dimensional.


Today, we can see photos of people like us who are unencumbered by stereotypes. We watch gay people become champion athletes, TV and film and theater stars, heads of corporations, politicians. I like to think all our efforts have helped to provide solid groundwork for gay lives to be fulfilling.

 


 

It is time to look at how language continues to be one of our stumbling blocks. Change is already happening. Little by little a majority of Americans are becoming respectful of gay people, are realizing they need not focus conversation on gay matters. They are finding out that we are not threats and that we have more in common with them than not.

Both gays and non-gays need new language for the concept that we are the family next door, the gal who pumps gas, the transgender head of the corporation. We need to move beyond words that mark us in a solely sexual way.

I’ve been using the phrase affectional preference. While I enjoy the company of some men, mostly gay men, my closest friends and family are women. If I’m going out somewhere, I go with women. If I join an organization, it’s more likely to be woman-centered than co-ed. If I exercise or swim, I like to do so in the company of women. I do business with women, preferably gay. There is no sexual component in any of those activities. Why am I the only one with a sexual label in a room full of non-gay women who’ve gathered for lunch? I have affection for these women, not attraction to them.

 

 

 

In my marriage, of course there is the kind of intimacy that would scare straight boys. But, we just might be sitting in our living room discussing our day and reading. Or cooking dinner and doing the dishes. We might even be doing the laundry, cleaning the toilets, filling the bird feeders. So call us bird lovers, cooks, readers. Our passion for birds and books have nothing to do with sexual preferences. We simply like to share everyday life together as two loving women.

Let’s stop sexualizing ourselves and come up with words that reflect the greater percentage of our days and ourselves—if we have to be labeled at all. Please note, it’s not the sex itself I want to eliminate, it’s the restrictive branding.

[Source: Lee Lynch, Writer, Epochalips]

 

I Think I Might Be a Lesbian

Lesbian Coming Out at 40

Noora, Are You a Lesbian?

Mermaid Tavern

Queer YouTubers: Losing Your Virginity

Awesome Things About Lesbian Relationships

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Lesbian Literature

Breanne Williamson: I Am a Lesbian

Tribute to the Women Who Spoke Up for Lesbian Rights

Honey by Kehlani

Jess and Emily: How Lesbians Do It

Epochalips: Smart Lesbian Commentary

Dyke vs Lesbian

 


 

Lesbians Holding Hands in Public

 

In 1977 two women were convicted of "obscene behavior" for holding hands on a tram in Melbourne, Australia.  Their story was even the focal point of the Victorian Government’s apology to gays and lesbians convicted of overturned homosexuality laws.

40 years after the lesbians’ arrest, a group of women honored them in Melbourne with an event called "Hold Hands on a Tram," during which they gathered as a demonstration and publicly held hands with each other. "This event was amazing," said organizer and director of Celebrate Ageing, Catherine Barrett. "We had 20 lesbian elders board the tram and a group of LGBTQ community members come to send us off. We also had a number of straight folk who heard about the project and wanted to come along to show their support. This was all very moving and bought a number of us to tears."

But even in 2017 some of the women were still nervous about holding hands in public. Barrett told Gay Star News it was sign that society still has a long way to go. "A number of women told me that they were really nervous. They don’t generally hold hands in public, it has not been safe to do so," she said. "So even though we were travelling in a group they were frightened of the responses from the general public."

Lesbophobia is real.  "Hold Hands on a Tram" was organized to remind people of lesbopobia, the discrimination uniquely faced by lesbians. It was also a chance to highlight some of the struggles older lesbians face.

[Source: Shannon Power, GSN, Melbourne, Australia, Oct 2017]

 

Music Video: I Need a Woman to Love

History of Lesbian Fashion

Lesbian Love Songs: Women Singing About Women

Info: Women and Feminism

List: US Lesbian Periodicals

Breanne Williamson: Why I Hate the Word Lesbian

Why Being a Lesbian is Amazing

Short Film: To My Future Girlfriend

List: Worldwide Lesbian Periodicals

Great Big Lesbian Dictionary

Video Montage: Best Lesbian Kisses

Girls Just Being Hella Gay

Cosmo: Lesbians Reveal Exact Moment They Fell in Love

Video Discussion: My First Relationship With a Woman



Lesbians in Love

 

Aida and Alba

Iris and Mardou

Aisha and Yiren

Paris and Rebecca

Pink and Mari

Chloe and Elly

Natalia and Majka

Alice and Nat

Sara and Roxane

Laura and Esra

Zoe and Mal

Anni and Jasmin

Calle and Poche

Mariah and Tessa

Ally and Sam

Carmilla and Laura

Ji Soo and Yoon Ju

Serena and Bernie

Jean and Lydia

Juan and Emma

Auste and Sangaile

Amy and Karma

Julie and Nikki

Tia and Nadine

Shireen and Atafeh

Andrea and Collette

Ellen and Vera

Janet and Bianca

Mia and Pauline

Kalinda and Lana

Nina and Magda

Bianca and Reese

Sue and Janey

Andrea and Collette

Sue and Janey

Flor and Jazmin

Annisa and Grace

Maya and Carina

Dani and Sophie

Yoon-ju and Ji-soo

Chloe and Mel

Dorrie and Kerry

Anni and Jasmin

Audrey and Camille

Petra and Jane

Aster and Vivian

Alexandra and Veronica

Brenna and Greer

Roma and Diane

Sara and Lexus

Gin and Rose

Kang Ji-woo and Yoon Ji-woo

Elizabeth and Olive

Dana and Alice

Gia and Linda

Raquel and Malu

Juliana and Valentina

Brenna and Margo

Lou and Kenna

Sarah and Mindy

Ellie and Aster

Umang and Samara

Max and Sam

Iris and Mardou

Denise and Marila

Aditi and Rooh

Emily and Sue

 

 

Science: Evolution and Lesbians
 

Straight women are much more likely to get themselves knocked up than gay women. So, in terms of evolution, they would seem to have a better chance of passing on their genes, while at the same time it would seem that the genes that make women gay would quickly vanish from the gene pool. This raises the question, why are there gay women?

Lesbianism is indeed at least 25 percent genetic, as determined by a 2011 study of twins conducted in the United Kingdom. The study found that identical twin sisters (who share 100 percent of their DNA) are more likely to both be lesbians than are fraternal twin sisters (who share just 50 percent), proving that, all other environmental factors being equal, genes matter. While scientists have a theory for how male homosexuality propagates from one generation to the next, no one has yet produced a viable explanation for how the genes that promote lesbianism might do the same.

A female's sexual orientation also appears to be partly influenced by her level of exposure to the male sex hormone androgen when she is in the womb. Greater hormone exposure correlates with more gender nonconformity early in her life (as a child, she may be called a "tomboy"), as well as a same-sex orientation later on. A study by Dutch psychologists published in the March issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that 10 to 12 percent of male and female children who feel discomfort with their gender go on to identify as gay or lesbian as adults. Meanwhile, just 1 or 2 percent of children who are comfortable with their gender identity turn out to be gay or lesbian.

 



Adding to the confusion about what causes lesbianism is the slipperiness of female sexuality itself. Unlike men, who are usually sexually oriented solely toward men or women, and whose sexuality is essentially fixed from puberty on, a decade of research by the University of Utah psychologist Lisa Diamond and others demonstrates that women have greater "erotic plasticity." Their sexual orientation can be shaped by cultural influences, altered by positive or negative experiences and intensified by feelings of love or attachment. Women are far more likely than men to "report remarkably late and abrupt onset of same-sex sexuality, often after heterosexual marriage," Diamond wrote in January in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Their sexual fluidity may emerge from the fact that, across the board, women are sexually aroused by images of both men and women (while men are typically only aroused by members of their preferred sex).

Therefore, the question "why are there gay women?" may be better worded as "why is female sexuality so fluid?" Plenty of women exist at both extremes of the straight-gay spectrum, but it is the formation of this slippery spectrum itself that most needs explaining. Evolutionary biologists have yet to determine what survival or reproductive benefit women's "erotic plasticity" confers.

[Source: Natalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries, June 2012]
 

 

Am I Really Proud to Be a Lesbian?

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Wikipedia: Definition of Lesbian

Honey by Kehlani

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Info: Sexual Orientation

You Tube: Notable Lesbians

Info: LGBTQ Community

New Research: Lesbians More Accepted Than Gay Men

Music Video: I Wish You Were Gay

Cathy's Coming Out Story

Candid Answers to Questions About Lesbian Sex

Tribute to the Women Who Spoke Up for Lesbian Rights

Video List: Most Famous Lesbians in History

Breanne Williamson: I Am a Lesbian

Queer Girls Googling

 

Cheryl Clark: Not Straight, But Crooked
 

In 1982, Black Lesbian Feminist Poet and Scholar Cheryl Clarke wrote a letter to her fellow Black Feminist Poet June Jordan: “No, there is nothing wrong with your eyes,” she reassured her colleague and collaborator, “my letterhead is indeed crooked.” June Jordan saved the letter and I found it almost three decades later in Jordan’s papers at the Schlessinger Archive at Harvard University. Crooked, indeed. Cheryl Clarke’s life and work offer an enduring rejection of straightness and a constant reorientation to alternative space.

 

Cleryl Clark was a poet and scholar of the Black Arts Movement and activist who attended Black Feminist Retreats from 1977 to 1980. She was editor at Conditions (a key lesbian feminist literary journal) for many years, a Rutgers University administrator providing safe space for LGBTQ students, a member of the Newark Pride Alliance board since 2009, and most recently co-owner of an independent bookstore.

 



In the crooked letter, Cheryl Clarke critically asks June Jordan why she does not identify as a lesbian, an identity marker Clarke claimed proudly and, in fact, redefined. In an essay she wrote the next year she explained:

“I name myself lesbian because this culture oppresses, silences, and destroys lesbians, even lesbians who do don’t call themselves lesbian. I name myself lesbian because I want to be visible to other black lesbians. I name myself lesbian because I do not subscribe to predatory/institutionalized heterosexuality. I name myself lesbian because I want to be with women (and they don’t all have to call themselves lesbian). I name myself lesbian because it is part of my vision. I name myself lesbian because being woman-identified has kept me sane. I call myself Black, too, because Black is my perspective, my aesthetic, my politics, my vision, my sanity.”

You can read “New Notes on Lesbianism” and other works in The Days of Good Looks: The Prose and Poetry of Cheryl Clarke, 1980 to 2005.

 

As a queer black identified woman, Cheryl Clarke is one of the reasons why I feel nothing but pride when people call me a lesbian. She gives audacious, specific, and loving definition to a term that would merely conjure up images of herbal tea and cats. And Cheryl has not gotten less audacious or inventive in the decades that have passed since the 70’s and 80’s. In fact, more recently in a 2005 response to the mostly white male-led marriage equality agenda, she controversially reminded our movement of its history saying:

“I am calling upon bulldaggers, dykes, faggots, feminist femmes, fierce sissies, and other outrageous progressive queers to have a major multicultural sexual liberation confabulation to take our movement back from liberals. Because marriage equality with its rhetoric of sameness is not why we came out of the closet in 1969 or before. We came out to dismantle marriage as an institution.”

In October 2013, I attended a historic gathering called "Cheryl Clarke: A Future Retrospective." At that event, we reminded ourselves where we came from and the boldness with which we must move forward as activists, editors, artists, bookstore owners, scholars, performers, mentors, publishers, bulldaggers, dykes, faggots, feminist femmes, fierce sissies, outrageous progressive queers, and everyone else who can boldly honor this visionary in our movement and remind ourselves and each other what a lifetime of badass brilliance feels like!

[Source: Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Feminist Wire, Oct 2013]

 

 

Wikipedia: Definition of Lesbian

Dyke vs Lesbian

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

Franky and Bridget: Love Me Like You Do

Essential Lesbian Guide to Flirting

Why Being a Lesbian is Amazing

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Lesbian Couples: Somewhere Only We Know

Music Video: Love on Fire

Mermaid Tavern

Noora, Are You a Lesbian?

Ellia and Cassie

Video Discussion: My First Relationship With a Woman

 

Tribute to Sappho
 

“Sweet mother, I cannot weave. Aphrodite has overcome me with longing for a girl.”

 

The word "lesbian" is derived from the name of the Greek island of Lesbos, home to the 6th Century poet Sappho (Circa 630 BCE - 570 BCE). From various ancient writings, historians have gathered that a group of young women were left in Sappho's charge for their instruction or cultural edification. Not much of Sappho's poetry remains, but that which does reflects the topics she wrote about: women's daily lives, their relationships, and rituals. She focused on the beauty of women and proclaimed her love for girls. Before the late 19th Century, the word "lesbian" referred to any derivative or aspect of Lesbos, including a type of wine.

Sappho is the most famous female poet of antiquity, but only incomplete poems and fragments remain of her work. Most of Sappho's lyrical love poems were addressed to women. She was sometimes considered the female counterpart of Homer. The Greek philosopher Plato called her the Tenth Muse.

 

Facts about Sappho's life are scant. She was an aristocrat, who wrote poetry for her circle of friends, mostly but not exclusively women. She may have had a daughter. The term lesbian, her presumed sexual orientation, is derived from the name of her island home, Lesbos. The ancients had seven or nine books of her poetry. Only fragments survive. The longest is an invocation to Aphrodite asking her to help the poet in her relation with a beloved woman. Her verse is a classic example of the love lyric, and is characterized by her passionate love of women, a love of nature, a direct simplicity, and perfect control of meter.

In 1890, the term "Sapphism" was used in a medical dictionary as an adjective to describe tribadism and as the sexual gratification of two women by simulating intercourse. "Sapphism" was used for a long time, in a positive way, to mean "lesbian love." The use of the term "lesbianism," to describe erotic relationships between women, had been documented in 1870. The terms "lesbian" and "lesbianism" were interchangeable with "Sapphist" and "Sapphism" around the turn of the 20th Century. The use of "lesbian" in medical literature became prominent.  By 1925, the word was recorded as a noun to mean the female equivalent of a sodomite.

 

Sappho: Poems and Quotations

Poetry Foundation: Sappho

New Yorker: Who Was Sappho?

Ancient History Encyclopedia: Sappho of Lesbos

Origin of the Word Lesbian

Wikipedia: Sappho

 

 

Health Issues for Lesbians and Women Who Have Sex with Women
 

All women face certain health risks. However, sexual minority women, such as those who identify as lesbian or bisexual as well as women who have sex with women, have some specific health concerns. Although your individual risks are shaped by many factors beyond your sexual orientation and practices (including family history and age) it's important to understand common health issues for sexual minority women and steps you can take to stay healthy.

Safeguard your mental health
 

Sexual minority women are at higher risk of depression and anxiety. Contributing factors include social alienation, discrimination, rejection by loved ones, abuse and violence. The problem might be more severe for sexual minority women who are not "out" to others and those who lack social support. If you think you might be depressed, talk to your doctor or seek help from a mental health provider. If you're reluctant to seek treatment, confide in a trusted friend or loved one. Sharing your feelings might be the first step toward getting treatment.

 



Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections


Certain sexually transmitted infections (human papillomavirus (HPV), bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis) can spread between women. Oral sex and sexual behavior involving digital-vaginal or digital-anal contact, particularly with shared penetrative sex toys, can spread infections as well. Female sexual contact is also a possible means of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. There's no cure for HIV/AIDS and many sexually transmitted infections, such as HPV and genital herpes. The best way to stay healthy is to practice safer sex.

To protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections:

--Get tested and have your partner tested. Don't have unprotected sex unless you're certain you and your partner aren't infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections — whether you have sex with a man or a woman. Testing is important because many people don't know they're infected, and others might not be honest about their health.
 

--Practice safer sex. During oral sex, use a small piece of latex (dental dam) or latex barrier. Wash sex toys with hot soapy water between uses or cover them with a fresh condom. During digital vaginal or anal penetration, consider using a latex glove.
 

--Be monogamous. Another reliable way to avoid sexually transmitted infections is to stay in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who isn't infected.
 

--Limit the amount of alcohol you drink, and don't use drugs. If you're under the influence, you're more likely to take sexual risks. If you choose to use injectable drugs, don't share needles.
 

--Get vaccinated. Vaccinations can protect you from hepatitis A and hepatitis B, serious liver infections that can spread through sexual contact. The HPV vaccine is available to women up to age 26.

 



Seek help for substance abuse


Sexual minority women report higher rates of tobacco use and alcohol and drug dependence. If you have a substance abuse concern, remember that help is available. Local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health, mental health or community centers often provide substance abuse treatment. Organizations such as GLMA also might provide referrals.

Recognize domestic violence
 

Domestic violence can affect anyone in an intimate relationship. Sexual minority women might be more likely to stay silent about this kind of violence due to threats from the batterer to "out" you by telling friends, loved ones, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation. A fear of discrimination. Staying in an abusive relationship might leave you depressed, anxious and hopeless. If you don't want to disclose your same-sex relationship or sexual identity, you might be less likely to seek help after an assault. Still, the only way to break the cycle of domestic violence is to take action — the sooner the better. If you're a target of domestic violence, tell someone about the abuse, whether it's a friend, loved one, health care provider or other close contact. Consider calling a domestic violence hotline and creating a plan to leave your abuser.

 



Make routine health care a priority


Some sexual minority women struggle to find a doctor knowledgeable about their specific health issues and with whom they feel comfortable discussing their needs and concerns. Look for a doctor who is curious, empathic and respectful of your specific needs. Share your sexual orientation with your provider, and ask about routine screenings recommended for women in your age group — such as blood pressure and cholesterol measurements and screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer. If you're not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship, schedule regular screenings for sexually transmitted infections. Share any other health concerns you might have with your doctor as well. Early diagnosis and treatment help promote long-term health.

[Source: Mayo clinic]

 

I Think I Might Be a Lesbian

She Likes Girls

Lesbian Coming Out at 40

Noora, Are You a Lesbian?

Mermaid Tavern

Queer YouTubers: Losing Your Virginity

Awesome Things About Lesbian Relationships

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Lesbian Literature

Breanne Williamson: I Am a Lesbian

Butches and Studs

Tribute to the Women Who Spoke Up for Lesbian Rights

Honey by Kehlani

Jess and Emily: How Lesbians Do It

Epochalips: Smart Lesbian Commentary

Dyke vs Lesbian


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