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what's the difference or definitions?

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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.
Sometimes you stand on the edge of a cliff and you jump. You jump because you're tired of being scared. Sometimes you jump just to feel the fall


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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.
"We are not separate from spirit, we are in it." --Plotinus


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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.


all the best,
"even if i knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, i would still plant my apple tree."-MLK


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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! :roll:


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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.
Not quite cold in the ground, not quite warm in my bed. - Nightwish


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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! :P

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