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what's the difference or definitions?

what is the difference between a lesbian, queer, etc... we need a list does any one know the answers or broad definitions of the common labels? You know for us baby lesbians.

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I think labels mean different things for different people. Some people use 'queer' as a political statement meant to demistify its "odd" connotation and rather adopt a sense of pride with the word. Others say 'queer' as a way to cover all possibilities - they will date a woman, man, trans, or other irrespective of gender. I'd say that 'dyke' and 'lesbian' pretty much mean the same thing, but again, it's all about personal taste. Some women are offended by 'dyke'. 'Trans', 'transgender', 'transsexual'. simply mean someone who identifies as a gender that is different from what was assigned to them at birth.

Whatever ya are, it's all good.

That's Dandy 

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I feel like "dyke" has more negative connotations... I think people use it as a slur more often than lesbian.

"Lesbian" reminds me of greek islands and Sappho, so maybe its just me.

I would never feel comfortable using the word "dyke" just as I wouldn't use the word "fag" but again this is personal preferences and I'm sure other people feel differently.

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Odd, Carrie, because I would identify with 'dyke' before 'lesbian'. Taking a derogatory nickname ('nigga', 'dyke', 'fag', 'wog' ... whatever) and using it within your own group imasculates the word to a certain degree.

Any of these identities can sound derogatory, even the most respectable of them, with the right inflection. I've heard 'lesbian' used in a more disgusting manner than any of the others.

But to answer the initial question, all of the sexual identities that are listed in the name of this forum are really just different ways to describe oneself.

Oh, and I think 'omnisexual' is another term for 'bisexual'; perhaps it is a little broader, pertaining to transgender as well ('bi-' meaning 'two' and 'omni-' meaning 'all'). Pansexual is the same thing - again, it all comes down to what you want to be called ... and it's good to see that the bisexuals out there have something to call ourselves other than 'lesbo lite'!

Best thing to do is what you're doing ... someone brings up a word, just ask what it means! 

Hope this helps!

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Oh my god... Lesbian Lite... I love it. HHAHAHAHA Actually I might use that 

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hello, new here so be gentle, 

Queer is just a slur, could be used as slang, or as an insult to gays. Do what I did: I used Google to look up the meanings. There's so many new labels that's what I ended up doing. heh.

I maybe behind the times somewhat but, for me dyke all the way. When I was younger and growing up there was only two Identities: you were either described as dyke or lesbian. Dyke was male, lesbian female so all that seems to have changed these days. Was simple back then lol. There's far too many labels now. Meh. I describe myself the way I am. So what are the terms these days? Butch & femm???? I perfer dyke over butch for my own reasons. Butch to me means your a 'tomboy' but, l feel 'politically correct' labels are stupid. I personally, don't like to be labelled as 'butch.' Now all of a sudden dyke is racial slur? Not where I come from. I've been surfing lots of gay sites lately and some of the labels boggle my mind, I'm like what the heck??? How 2 simple terms for so long grew into so many is beyond me. Someone somewhere sitting behind a desk thinking: we need more labels for lesbians to describe themselves, hmmm. lmao. 

(my 2 cents)

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This might be off topic but...whatever...I just had to say this...

Quote
Taking a derogatory nickname ('nigga', 'dyke', 'fag', 'wog' ... whatever) and using it within your own group imasculates the word to a certain degree.

I totally disagree with this statement...that whole taking a derogatory nickname, and using it to imasculate a group of people is total bullshit...I say this because if the wrong person...(lets say a homophobic individual) came out and called any woman here...a dyke, or any off the wall term for that matter...I think that it would offend them somewhat...the same goes for if a white racist, came up behind me...and said something like "hey nigga...wheres the sky?"...I might just go to jail again 

People tend to respond...differently...to different things...

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Quote
How 2 simple terms for so long grew into so many is beyond me. Someone somewhere sitting behind a desk thinking: we need more labels for lesbians to describe themselves, hmmm. lmao. 

 

*laugh*

Hi dm, i know what you mean about the labels. they're spreading like crazy! *grin* sometimes i feel that using more and more labels to make finer and finer distinctions just keeps us separated. but then other times i think it can help us understand each other better. so i guess i can see both sides of this one!

if it were just about me and how i feel, i probably wouldn't be fussed with labeling my sexuality much at all. sometimes i get turned on, sometimes i get turned off, sometimes it relates to another human (or 2  ).

on the other hand...

a (somewhat speculative) story: for a long time, in England, male homosexuality was illegal. but female homosexuality was simply not mentioned in lawbooks. basically, people didn't think it existed. so you had heterosexuals (men and women), and homosexuals (who were all men).

eventually, intimate or erotic connections between women came to be recognized. maybe some early woman-loving-women tried to join gay men's groups, and found themselves denied membership because "real" homos couldn't be women (after all, women are immature and irresponsible and can't make up their minds *grin*). those women started calling themselves "sapphists" and "lesbians". i suppose that at the time, lots of people rolled their eyes and said "How 2 simple terms for so long grew into so many is beyond me..."

yours in sapphist sisterhood,

troublemaker

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but female homosexuality was simply not mentioned in lawbooks. basically, people didn't think it existed.

ha! so true! wasn't it queen victoria who declared this? ah, queen victoria - you and your colonialist ideas about race AND sexuality. what can we say? queen and queer are just one letter apart!

actually, the history of naming is soooo interesting. 'Homosexuality' and 'heterosexuality' as identities didn't exist until the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the West. i find it remarkable that since then, a plethora of available namings have erupted to describe not only identities, but also sexualities...

i love my identity labels. i've moved inside and within categories my whole life, and i know that fer sure at times they can be fluid - but at other times, they can be so static, as to box you in. for example, my racial identity in Canada is solid - non-white. But when i travel to the Caribbean, so many facets of my racial history are at play depending on what circles I am in - black/indo/dougla...

queer works best for me at the moment as it does feel like there is more room to move. but then again, "lesbian" is more intelligible to folks - even if at this time in my life, i don't identify as a 'woman who loves other women."

i know that keith boykin, a US black gay man, believes that black folks don't ID as queer as they believe it to be a white term. his solution is "same gender loving" - hmm...kinda marginalizes those of us whose gender id isn't all that easily recognizable and/or stable now does it?

 

(edited by lesbotronic to remove dead link)

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I'm with Michael Stipe on this (he actually talked about it in an interview), i prefer "queer" all the way. I understand that some people might think it's offensive because of its connotation of something that's off, "bent," or otherwise abnormal...but really i don't think the term 'normal' has any meaning in the first place...i think "queer" is liberating to me because it doesn't limit me to being a lesbian, or being bisexual, but just to being my own quirky, irregular, unpredictable self.

if that makes any sense at all.

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See I have to agree that identity changes over time. There are so many labels out there, and so many subtle variations in meaning. I would consider myself a stud, boi, dyke, gender-bender. And the definitions mostly overlap, so I guess it is hard to find distinction for myself in just the term :lesbian:. Being a lesbian is all of me but I'm not just a typical lesbian so what to do? Label, label, label....and considering some of the above that I mentioned are instantaneously judged by most grrls, I run into walls all over the place.

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hey... well, i think we all can agree that labels mean something different to everyone, so everyone might not agree with my answers to these, but i'm just giving you the perspective from my location (i've noticed that the "definitions" of some of these labels definitely vary with location) and social group, i guess.

lesbian seems all-encompassing, i.e female being attracted to female (yes, i know "female" is subjective)

dyke, in my experience, is usually used by those who consider themselves or the person they are talking about to be "butch"

homo is usually used to identify gay males

bi, meaning bisexual, attracted to "both sexes" (again, subjective, in that some don't see only two sexes)

i'll admit, i've never heard of omnisexual...

pansexual i've heard to refer to being attracted either to any type of sex (including transgendered), or being attracted to *only* transgendered

queer, around here, is used either to denote "not your typical lesbian" ("typical" relating perhaps to those archtypal and stereotypical ideas of what it means to be a lesbian, as there really is no "typical" lesbian, just like there's no "typical" heterosexual); or one who is particularly into gay activism

"trans" i can only take to mean transgendered, for which there are alot of "definitions" out there... if you're confused about the name, there's alot of books/information out there on it, it's too big of a topic to breach here

hope this helps a little, and please don't take any of this as gospel, because each of these labels does mean something different to each person, and i'm just listing what i've come to associate with each label; due in part to my location, social circle, age, or whatever other factors may determine how one looks at things like this.

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Wow, I would definately identify as being a lesbian first then femme. Hmmm, I guess to each her own. But I think we can all admit it's better than being called a freak.

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i primarily identify as lesbian because i feel it sounds the most, well, i guess sophisticated. being a lesbian is also very political for me. it's about as clear as you can get, and that's important to me because my feminism/lesbianism are so closely tied together. it's about being openly womyn identified...

i occasionally use the term 'queer' depending on the context, like in a community where i am relating to people other than lesbian and identifying a unity among us...

i try not to use 'gay' because, although people pretty much know what you mean when you say it, i feel it's a gendered word (kinda like trying not to use the word 'guys' when addressing a group of wimyn)...

i always try ask someone what they mean by their self-definitions and try to be clear about mine so that everyone's on the same page, because, as we're seeing already, it can be a little tricky.

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All this talk about identity! Isn't it exhausting? There's so much that encompasses an identity how can one word express who you really are to the world!? Really!

Anyway, to get back to my initial thought...I work for a queer anti-violence organization in Burlington, Vermont called "SafeSpace." Our mission is to end physical, sexual, emotional, and hate violence in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) people. At SafeSpace, we use the word "queer" as an umbrella term to encompass the entire spectrum of identities. I identify as queer and so do many of my co-workers. However, some people take offense, so we try to listen to how our service users identify before labeling.

By the way...SafeSpace's website is under construction & in need of major updates, but please check it out.

www.safespacevt.org

all the best,

cb

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There are a lot of terms that started out having neutral definitions, but picked up negative connotations because of societal norming pressures. If you look up the definition of the word "queer", the word means odd, different, an odity, and strange. Yet, listed under the connotations you will find homosexual, lesbian, even child molester. The definition of transexual is usually one who has changed his or her sex to resemble a member of the oposite sex. The connotation, however, has been tainted by the plethora of poorly produced "Tranny-Porn" which mainly stars pre-op or non-op transexuals.

If we come up with some new labels today that have totally neutral definitions, by tomorrow they will have tainted and negative connotations attached to them by the basically homophobic world in which we live and work.

I guess what I am trying to say is that labels have contextual meaning and vary with the group using them. Personally, I try to use words according to their definitions, rather than their connotations. If everyone did that, think how much easier it would be to communicate! 

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I've come out as me, why should a label myself as something other than myself? Infact, why should one 'come-out' at all if heterosexuals aren't going to? If we want to be treated like everyone else then why are we acting differantly?

Telling someone your sexual pref happens to be other women shouldn't be any differant than saying it's a toned body, or red hair.

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I say in this matter I am a trisexual, I will try anything at least once. The rest does not matter to me, other people can call themselves anything they like! 

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urbandictionary.com is great for getting the definitions of slang/terms that aren't widely known

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