Lesbian glossary

  • Lipstick Lesbian: A feminine woman who is attracted to other feminine women.
  • Femme: A feminine woman who is attracted to masculine women, or "butches".
  • Chapstick Lesbian: An androgynous Lesbian.
  • Sapphist: A Lesbian of culture and refinement.
  • Lesbian Chic: When straight people marvel over stylish dykes.
  • Diesel Femme: A feminine Lesbian who fixes her own car.
  • Fem2Fem: A Lipstick Lesbian couple.
  • Lipstick Butch: A Lesbian who is feminine in appearance and masculine in personality.
  • High Femme: A femme who dresses very femininely: high heels, makeup, skirts, etc.

Source: Belladonna

  • Amazons: In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a nation of strong and powerful women who lived without men in the twelfth century. The term has been adopted by lesbians to mean a particularly strong woman.
  • Artificial insemination: act of attempting pregnancy by manually inserting sperm into a woman's vagina.
  • Baby dyke: young lesbian or someone who is just coming out of the closet.
  • Beard: a person of the opposite sex who marries or dates a closeted lesbian or gay person to cover up their homosexuality. In the past, often lesbians married gay men so that both could "pass" as straight, either for work or for their families.
  • Bisexual: sexually and emotionally attracted to both women and men.
  • Boston marriage: In the late nineteenth century, it was common for two unmarried women to share a home. Many women, particularly those who were college educated, lived in long-term unions with other women. These relationships became known as "Boston Marriages." These relationships offered women of a certain class a socially acceptable alternative to a traditional marriage. Certainly some of these relationships had a sexual component, but it cannot be known how many. Today these women would have been called Lesbians, but the term was not coined until 1890.
  • Bulldagger: term that was used in the 1920s to define a very butch lesbian. Often Africian American.
  • Bulldyke: lesbian with masculine characteristics.
  • Butch: woman with masculine characteristics.
  • Civil union: A Civil Union grants gay and lesbian couples the same rights and responsibilities as marriage.
  • Crone: The word "crone" was (and in some circles still is) a derogatory term for an old woman. In the 1970s, during the feminist movement, lesbians began to adopt the word crone to mean a wise older woman. Today, in lesbian and feminist circles, a crone is a wise older woman whose life experience demands that she be treated with respect.
  • Cross dresser: A person who sometimes wears the clothing and aesthetics of a gender other than the one they typically wear in their daily lives.
  • Defense of Marriage Act: The Federal Defense of Marriage Act does two things. First it says that no state shall be required to recognize the laws of another state in regard to same-sex marriage. Second, it defines the words "marriage" and "spouse" in Federal Law. The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Essentially it: Allows each state to deny any marriage-like relationship between persons of the same sex which has been recognized in another state. * It explicitly states that for purposes of Federal Law marriage is "a legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife" and defines spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. Since 1996 many states have passed their own "Defense of Marriage" Acts
  • Diesel dyke: a very butch or manly lesbian, especially one who is very aggressive. In some lesbian circles Diesel Dyke refers to a very butch Big-Rig (or other heavy equipment) driving lesbian.
  • Drag King: a woman who dresses to look like a man, usually for performance. Drag kings are often lesbian, but not always.
  • Dyke: Another word for lesbian. Usually is only used by people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans. A straight person using this word may offend some people.
  • Ex-Gay Reparative Therapy: attempts to change a person's sexual orientation from gay, lesbian or bisexual to straight. The ex-gay movement is faith-based and believes people can willfully change their sexual orientation through counseling and prayer.
  • Femme: A feminine lesbian.
  • Gayborhood: a gay-friendly neighborhood or an area of town where gays and lesbians are known to live.
  • Gaydar: ability to determine who is and isn't gay is called gaydar.
  • Gender expression: physical manifestation of one's gender identity, usually expressed through clothing, mannerisms, and chosen names. Transgender people usually have a gender expression that matches their gender identity, rather than their birth sex.
  • Gender identity: a person's internal sense of being a man or woman or boy or girl. For transgender people, their gender identity will not match the sex they were born with.
  • Gender Identity Disorder: term used by physicians and psychologists to classify people who are transgender or transsexual. Gender Identity Disorder is a DSM-IV diagnosis that many transgender and transsexual people find offensive because it implies that something is wrong with them. Gender Identity Disorder has been used against gay, lesbian and gender-variant people (frequently children or adolescents) in order to force them into psychotherapy, mental institutions or conversion therapy.
  • Gender variance: behavior that is different from traditionally defined "masculine" in males and "feminine" in females.
  • Genderqueer: someone who transgresses boundaries of gender identity and sexual orientation. This term is growing in popularity because it is seen as more inclusive than transgender and transsexual.
  • Girl crush: when two women have strong feelings for one another, but not in a sexual way. A girl crush is strong infatuation that one woman has for another woman who seems beautiful, sophisticated, charming or accomplished. It usually refers to heterosexual women.
  • Gold star lesbian: lesbian who has never slept with a man and has no intention of ever sleeping with a man.
  • Hasbian: a woman who used to identify as a lesbian and date women, but is now dating men.
  • Homophobia: Fear or dislike of gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
  • Intersex: person born with ambiguous genitalia or genitalia of both sexes. Used to be called Hermaphrodite.
  • Kiki: term that was used in the lesbian bar culture of the 1950s and 1960s to describe someone who was neither butch nor femme. At that time, the bar culture was very much into roles and most women were pressured to choose either butch or femme.
  • Lambda - Gay/Lesbian Pride Symbol: Lambda is the eleventh letter of Greek alphabet. It is also the symbol of kinetic energy. The lambda has been used as a symbol of gay pride and identification since the 1970s. The Gay Activists Alliance first used the lambda as a symbol of the energy of the gay/lesbian movement.
  • Labrys: double-sided axe that the Amazons were said to use as their main weapon. Lesbians have adopted the labrys as symbol of power and independence. Many lesbians wear necklaces or earrings with a labrys symbol as a way to identify themselves to other lesbians.
  • Lipstick lesbian: woman who loves other women, but also loves her clothes and makeup and shoes. She tends to dress on the femmy side. See also: Femme.
  • Lesbian: woman who is sexually and emotionally attracted to other women.
  • LGBT: abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans.
  • Lone Star Lesbian: has only had sex with one person in their life. Straight and bisexual people can be Lone Stars too.
  • Out of the closet: being open about one's sexual orientation.
  • Parthenogenesis: from the Greek word for "virgin birth" is defined as reproduction without fertilization. In other words, it is the ability to reproduce without sperm or any male input. Some plants and insects are able to naturally reproduce this way, but no mammals can yet reproduce this way without the interference of scientists.
  • Pillow queen: someone who likes to be on the receiving end of sex. She likes to be pleasured and not reciprocate.
  • Power dyke: lesbian who has gained a position of power, either within the LGBT community, or in the world at large. She could be the head of a non-profit agency, a politician or successful in business.
  • Second parent adoption: legal procedure that allows same-sex couples (gay and lesbian parents) to adopt their partner's biological or adopted children without terminating the first parent's right as a parent. Second parent adoptions give the child two legal guardians. It protects both parents by giving both of them legally recognized parental status.
  • Sexual abuse trigger: emotional or physical reaction to something in the present that is connected to your past abuse. When you are in the midst of a trigger, you may not be able to distinguish the past from the present. You may have images or memories of the abuse. A trigger can be anything from a certain smell to someone touching a certain part of your body. It is important to understand what your triggers are so you can heal from them.
  • Sexual orientation: who you are attracted to. Can be gay, straight, lesbian or bisexual.
  • Sex reassignment surgery: genital alteration surgery that transsexuals sometimes undergo to change their physical body to match their gender identity. This is sometimes referred to as a "sex-change operation." Sex reassignment surgery is the preferred term.
  • Stone butch: lesbian who gets her pleasure from pleasing her partner. She does not like to be touched sexually.
  • Straight: someone who is attracted to the opposite sex.
  • Stud lesbian: dominant lesbian, usually butch, often African American.
  • Queer: once considered a derogatory word, some people use this term to be all inclusive of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Warning: Some people still find this word offensive.
  • Transexual: person with the urge to be the opposite sex. They may or may not choose to have gender reassignment surgery.
  • Transgender: person whose gender expression is different from how society says they are "supposed" to be. Transgender can be an umbrella term for cross-dressers, transsexuals, intersex people and other gender-variant individuals. Transgender people may or may not decide to take hormones or have sex-reassignment surgery.
  • Trans: inclusive term, encompassing transgender, transsexual and other gender variant people.
  • Womyn: alternative spelling of woman or women.

Source: Lesbian Life at


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