How to be a lesbian

It’s quite simple really. Shall I explain? Let’s start with the basics which quite frankly, are so Goddess-darned obvious you’d think no explanation required but as you’ll see and for reasons that defy logic, some people think anyone can be a lesbian, and since that’s definitely not the case, here we go:

  • First and foremost, by dint of birth or gender reassignment surgery, you must be a female. This is not negotiable.
  • Second, as a female you know/discover/find that your only and exclusive romantic and sexual/life partner interest/activity is with/for/about other females.
  • Third, you like it that way and you want to find a female partner or have several partners — female only — over the course of your life because you want to share your personal, intimate life with a female.

Together, these three elements combine on the periodic chart of human sexuality to form the core of — let’s say it out loud and together — a lesbian! A woman who loves, likes, is and only ever wants to be, with women. That’s a lesbian. I know, I know. It’s a label and we hate labels because labels limit us, hamper our individuality, deny our special unique identity, denigrate Ayn Rand and cause people to make assumptions.

Yes, well, take a deep breath. Let’s for a moment forget about books and covers and judging by appearance and all sorts of human evolution and adaptations that demand we make snap judgments about what we see with our eyes and feel with our senses. And let’s also forget that we can’t definitively know much about any single individual by observing the species or grouping individuals into archetypes, although we think we can and do it all the time and are often wrong, as could be the case about a woman who’s with a man while calling herself a lesbian. But back to the point: Why do I need to explain how to be a lesbian?

Because some girls and women claim to be lesbians while they are partnered with men, hooking up with guys, serial dating them, marrying them. You know them. They’re the ones who say, “I’m a lesbian although I am married to, partnered with and sleep with men too.” Or “In my heart I love women, although not right now.

Sometimes what’s inside doesn’t match the outside. Sometimes, a woman is a lesbian in her heart, mind and soul and yet circumstance and safety make it impossible for her to claim the life and love and label she wants. She can’t express the fact that she’s a lesbian and that’s a different issue entirely.

To be or not to be a lesbian: that’s not the question

A lesbian is a woman whose desires and attachments are to another woman. A woman who is with a man yet identifies as a lesbian — because as we all know, love is pure energy and that energy is blind to our puny, human, culturally constructed gender norms — is not a lesbian, at least not in the way other lesbians know, or as the label, as the term or word is currently understood, defined, lived. Repeat after me: a lesbian is a female homosexual.

While definitions can and do change, I can assure you — the Oxford English Dictionary has no plans to change the definition of lesbian to “a woman who claims the identity of a homosexual female in spite of her sexual, romantic and emotional partnering interests being with men and sometimes dates or has sexual relations with women. See Bisexuality. See also: Isle of Lesbos, inhabitants called Lesbians.”

And yet, there are pretenders among us. Women who say they’re lesbians but aren’t. Women who claim Lesbian as a political/personal identity as a counterpoint to the world’s entrenched patriarchy, but are not in any way interested in women as lovers or romantic or life partners to which I say, oh tosh. Please. We do not need faux lesbians as a fashion or political statement any more than we need middle-class suburban kids dressin’ up acting all faux gangsta. Cool it is not. And confusing as hell if we want to talk to you at a bar frequented by real lesbians who are there for lesbian-type reasons.

There are also, strangely, males who claim to be lesbians. Listen closely: no, no, no, and no. Only women can be lesbians. Only lesbians are lesbians. Everyone else is something else: bisexual, omnisexual, asexual, sapiosexual — and that’s just fine.

How to be a lesbian

Once you have ascertained that biologically you are female, here’s how you too can be a lesbian. Date women. Romance women. Sing songs about women. Write poems about women. Dream about and fantasize about women. Care about women. Share love with a woman. Share yourself and your life, your hopes and dreams and fears and wonders and laundry and morning breath and PMS and bad hair days and celebrations and cuddles and favourite TV shows and movies with a woman. Explore the world with a woman. Commit to being a woman who loves a woman. That’s how to be a lesbian.


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About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween. On hiatus from writing anywhere else but here ... at least for now.
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17 Responses to How to be a lesbian

  1. lsawyer713 says:

    FS; It does seem you have been hurt by some false advertising, that is so unfortunate as by your writing, I see you as a passionate emotional woman who just wants someone to love it and affirm it and be real about it. Hope you find that person!

    • FS says:

      Dear LSawyer… Hmmm. Actually, no… not me, but certainly some of the people I see, and some of the people I hear, and…. a bit of a reaction to straight women who say they’d like a lesbian experience… just for the sex ;-). And…thank you. I do have that person. 😉 and just to add to that: I’m not talking so much about people who are confused, or people who come to understand that they are bisexual, and are working all that through, or people who can’t, for reasons of safety or culture come out. Those are entirely different things. It’s more about people who take a label, not knowing or caring what it might actually means, and yet expecting that they can wear the label without responsibility of it and that people will treat them accordingly. Hope that makes sense.

  2. Honey says:

    While I find your post cute, I think it relegates “Bi” ladies as some faux lesbian. I resemble that remark. I just wish that the stigma was removed from it. As if in being bi, we are just insatiable with either sex, so we must have both? I know that I identify with lesbians. I may not live a lesbian lifestyle, but it’s not because I don’t want to….That’s like saying a single lesbian is not a lesbian because she is not in the process of wooing a woman. What makes her a lesbian? She does. Not the woman she’s with. It’s inside her very being.
    I think you are funny and perhaps you have been burned by bi chicks, but any self respecting lesbian wouldn’t want an outwardly “straight” chick anyway. I know I wouldn’t, so I get it. But know that if she’s a lesbian in her heart, however closeted she may be, she’s still a lesbian.

    • FS says:

      Hello, Honey … oh dear: Certainly not my intention. I’ve no issue with bisexual women who are honest about it, or straight women who are honest about being straight, or curious women being curious, or people who refuse to assume any label. Some of my best friends are bi and/or confused ;-). It’s more the false advertising … (If you ever have the chance, I have written some other stuff about lesbians and straight women…)

      • Honey says:

        I’ll definitely read more. I’m following your blog now. I understand the false adverting thing. That sucks. I personally wouldn’t want to be with a lesbian in a real relationship. It definitely wouldn’t be fair to her. I just had to put my two cents in….cause that’s how I roll. 😉

      • FS says:

        Dear Honey; Thank you — hope you enjoy what you read. 🙂 Fairness is important. Or at least, making an informed decision so that the opportunity for fairness is there. Love, though, when it comes knocking, sometimes doesn’t bother with silly things like fairness. Never a dull moment in that arena. Please know that I appreciate your comment — definitely worth several times more than two cents.

  3. I envy those who fall so neatly into a prefabricated slot in the universe.

    • FS says:

      Dear Princess Wordplay — Me too. I tend to think of prefab as interesting starting points that we use as we create our own universe. And sometimes those slots are far too rigid to do anyone any good. However, if someone is going to stick up a sign, the sign might or perhaps should, at a minimum, be true. In Canada, we have a thing about truth in advertising. (How the heck are you by the way?????)

  4. oh and I forgot, e.e cummings, love, love, I’ve always thought of him as an honorary lesbian:-P

  5. As usual a joy:-) What leads to lesbianism? Lesbians!! yep:-)

  6. MakingSpace says:


    Also, the quote starting “When I first met her…” just happened to me last week. Really.

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