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"But male lesbians!"


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(Preamble:  We've received more email in response to this and this and the initial posts in this section.  We're offering zero guarantee of a personal reply to anyone sending questions via email, especially non-members.  But if we get same or extremely similar more than a few times, we might write about them here just so we can point to this section as a broader reply.

Questions in quotes were asked via email unless otherwise indicated or credited.  Some are approximate with same meaning, as we standardized the language and removed some profanity and a few words many consider slurs for clarity, plus a bit more politeness.)

"But male lesbians!**"

Actually, competing themes in the messages we've been receiving:

"But male lesbians!**  Make sure you never admit any!"


"But male lesbians** everywhere means you can't even call yourselves lesbian any more!  You'll only attract deranged porn-obsessed biological males!"

but also:

"No lesbian today is allowed to discriminate against male lesbians!**  It's not inclusive!"


. . .


SO:  We're aware "male lesbian" even offends some trans women.

Like, they needn't have bothered transitioning?

As if all any XY ever needed to do if he'd like an XX to feel he's "more feminine" or "less dangerous" or in any way "more her type" is  . . . announce that she's required to feel that way for no reason other than the XY decreed it . . .

. . .  then shame her after her material reality never warps accordingly?

. . . 


Some feminists feel XYs calling themselves "male lesbians" are an existential threat.  Because if you take away words XXs have traditionally used to describe themselves, particularly those they use to distinguish themselves as having profound needs that are different from and require separation from XY, you take away XXs' ability to organize politically around them.

In this instance, it would be taking away our ability to describe a particular form of sexism:  trying to prevent us from defining our sexual and intimate boundaries in any way that would exclude XYs.
And is no accident that sexism would like to remove the ability of XX to have any boundaries around their own sexuality that could exclude XY, OBVIOUSLY.

So I do see their point.

But it's all confusing, because even though I do see their point, we (at lesbotronic) are not and could never be the language police.  

Speaking for myself, that would land like sanity-destroying futility.  

Because men have been calling themselves "male lesbians" in my presence since I was 14.  Often with a lecherous grin and the apparent idea their self-identification meant we'd be spending more time together.  And this was even before *I* started calling myself lesbian?

Yes, it continued after I did start calling myself lesbian, duh, but it happened even before.  And this is far from unusual.

So I've never realistically expected men to stop calling themselves "male lesbians."  And yet, I've never gone on a date with one.  Ba dum pum?

I know that sounds facetious or reductive.

But also nope, because any word for XXs-into-other-XXs that becomes trendy for half an hour will attract XYs now fancying exactly that, then declaring themselves now entering your dating pool! 

Even if your "pool" isn't dating right now and/or yours is already full, they're still comin' in!

Again, some minority percentage XYs, not all of course, ffs.  But for that minority, you might be obligated to consider having sex with them!  In theory at least!

So even though "male lesbian" is a phrase that seems to be offending more in the last few years, and we've lately received more questions regarding . . . honestly, from our perspective, same as it ever was.

Also feeling just like compulsory heterosexuality?


. . .


As a Generation X who's already been on this particular merry-go-round an exhausting number of times, when women invent new words, men who find those labels sexually appealing subsequently appropriate them.  Then women who notice and get annoyed but haven't been on this merry-go-round long enough to finally hurl themselves off invent even more new words and . . . round and round it goes.

When you're young and inexperienced, you hope the next label will be your freedom from sexism or appropriation of your sexuality in any obviously sexist way or even crybullying toward your sexuality in any obviously sexist way . . . which is totally understandable.

But bad news, your optimism for your new label won't survive any XYs hearing it too.  Nope.

Your freedom can only be your ability to assert your own boundaries. 

Should you be required to uncomfortably and repeatedly assert stuff?  Especially stuff regarding biological sex and sexual orientation?  Do you deserve that awkwardness?  

I mean, probably not, right?  We don't want that for you, no.

But what we'd prefer here won't matter much all by itself in terms of outcome with XYs.

With the understanding that XY appropriation will continue no matter what words XX-into-other-XXs use or even entirely invent, more and more labels will only confuse anyone not from your precise micro-socioeconomic environment, much less anyone from another culture or country. 

SO:  I will continue to call myself lesbian.  

For ME, nope, that doesn't include XYs with penises in my sex life, nope.  

For our online lesbian bar they are included, because bisexual XXs date them, because we are 100% fine with that, because why would we not be?  

But my personal sex life = nope to penises and that's my boundary.  

It remains. 

No, I won't capitulate to aggressively "queer" sexists that there's a single thing wrong with my sexuality (ugh nope).

And also no, I won't capitulate to porn-addled male nitwits that "lesbian" is nothing now nothing but a porn category catering to men (double ugh and seriously nope).

. . . 

Overall, you can't force anyone's feelings.

To ALL consenting adults who "identify as" anything at all:  You might not imagine your inability to force the feelings of any XX is what's best for you.

But it's still best for her.

She should perceive you according to her life history instead.




  • "male lesbian" (but obviously XY physically, reporting exclusive interest in XX)
  • "genderqueer/non-binary" (but obviously XY physically, reporting exclusive interest in XX)
  • category FOUR described here


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Um, yeah. I'll trynot to wander off into the weeds TOO much here. 

I've loved gender theory since I first discovered it back in the day. Judith Butler gave me new ways to understand my own struggles with identity that didn't seem to fit into well-defined categories. And I continue to maintain that labels can be useful in providing short informational bios but do not define who we are, nor are they set in concrete forever and ever. 

Reading the words "male lesbian" made me cringe. I belonged for a long while to an international site that was quite lovely and still have friends among the women I met there. From time to time, though, we'd have to chase off trolls who would post obviously (to us) fake profiles, either for profit or just plain ickiness. That's one thing that came to mind. Another was the leering face of a male college student who accosted me and my GF on campus when I was an undergrad. Drunken frat boy type. He said, "Hey,girls! You're lesbian, right?" We walked on, trying our best to ignore the idiot. He followed us, saying, "I wanna be a lesbian, too." We ended up going into the commons building to find the safety of a crowd. We never discussed that incident, either between ourselves or with anyone else. I think we felt that to do so would give him outsize power. But I felt like I needed a shower afterwards. That memory has remained and still disquietens. 

I've not run across any earnest self-identified "male lesbians" IRL. I know nonbinary people both male and female. They tend to be really careful with their terms. Most would find that identifier disrespectful and baffling, I suspect. But Idk. I've also known a very few mtf trans people who were lesbian. But they would not call themselves "male" lesbians. They weren't male. So again, Idk. 

I could very well be too old, too rural, too ignorant to know what I'm talking about here. If this is the case, I'm sure someone will let me know!

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