It’s been my recent discovery that there are baby dykes* out there running around wondering why now that they are with a woman, they’re still feeling uncomfortable in their own skin. One of my friends thought she had to be a femme when she first came out the closet, only to discover that even though she was in a lesbian relationship she still did not feel comfortable. Later on she experimented with being the butch and found her “nook in the rainbow”. Yup, I made that one up and I am going to wear it out…lol
Another friend recently came out after a 20 plus years married to a man. After 5 years and 2 lesbian relationships later she still didn’t know what type of lesbian she was. When she came to me with the question “What is a femme and a butch?” I knew then I needed to get this “Lesbian Labels” blog out for everyone to read.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THESE WERE NOT CREATED BY ME. They have been around for a long time. I for one don’t care much for the labels but it does help new lesbian understand what choices are out there and what they can expect. I can almost bet WEBSTER’S does not acknowledge many of them and those it does may not have the same meaning.
The reason that lesbians have so many terms to classify themselves is that each one is a little different and they don’t like to be pidgeonholed into arbitrary categories, as has happened in the past when lesbians were classified into strict gender roles as either butch or femme. In-betweens, or kikis, were looked down on, and even considered traitors to the lesbian community. The intention with so many terms nowadays is to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
I gathered as many labels as I could and put them together here in hopes that it can help. I skipped a lot of them I thought would only confuse people. Words in parenthesis are just the categories the words apply to.
A lesbian who is neither masculine nor feminine in appearance or behavior. Universally known as Unisex.
*Baby Dyke (Studs and Femmes)
A young lesbian or someone who is just coming out of the closet. Also know as Dyke in Training.
Common Misspellings include: baby dike.
This is a woman who can form meaningful relationships with both sexes. When she is with a woman, she is with her, and fits totally into the gay world with no problems. When she is with a man, she fits totally into the straight world, and totally loves him. She is not really confused, she just falls in love with a person and not a gender. She usually prefers sex with women, but some can enjoy both equally. She is usually attracted to stud/tomboy types but may have a lot of problems in the relationship, because of the stud`s/tomboy`s fear that she is not true to the game, and will eventually go back to men. Sexually she is usually aggressive in bed.
Alternate Definition: To be bisexual is to be attracted to a person regardless or gender or sex. It does not mean that you cannot make up your mind, it does not mean you are sex-crazed, and it does not mean that you will by default participate in orgies every night.
A Blue Jean Femme is a lesbian who identifies as femme, or feminine, but prefers jeans and more casual clothing to dresses and skirts.
For lesbians, a boi is a woman who is biologically female, but has a boyish appearance or presentation. A boi may be lesbian identified or s/he may be trans identified. For gay men a boi is a gay man who is boyish or young in appearance or identity.
Alternate Definition: This spelling of the word originated in a gay magazine called, “XY” in the early to mid 1990’s. XY is targeted at gay male teenagers. This spelling describes a youthful, hip, and attractive male. While completely embraced in the gay community to mean any young, sexually attractive male, this spelling also appears in heterosexual contexts to mean similarly, a young, handsome guy.
However, now A boi is a lesbian or gender-queer person who identifies most with their male energy and presents themselves as male in their appearance. They may consider themselves to be of either gender although they are anatomically female.
A woman who adopts what would be considered masculine characteristics.
Alternate Definition: A (traditionally) masculine man or woman, and especially a masculine lesbian. Often the “dominant” partner in a lesbian relationship, and especially of a butch/femme lesbian relationship.
Dressing masculinely does not make a woman into a lesbian, contrary to popular belief; it’s usually more convenient. Acting masculinely only means that’s the gender role that the person identifies with; it has nothing to do with their sexual life. A highly masculine man could be gay for all we know and a very feminine man could be straight for all we know, and both of these cases are frequent.
A chapstick lesbian, while she shares some of the behavioral traits of a soft butch, prefers to retain her feminine identity. However, chapstick lesbians are more practical than lipstick lesbians in several respects. She usually dresses quite casually and does not wear make-up and they don’t waste the money to “have their hair done” They feel that long, natural hair is much prettier and a friend can trim it a little if need be without getting carried away and doing a butch job. A chapstick lesbian, is sometimes called ++a soft femme or androgynous. To summarize, a chapstick lesbian is characterized by her practical, fun-loving, feminine identity.
Origins: Introduced in the late 1990’s to take on all those lipstick lesbians out there! The term Chapstick Lesbian was popularized after an episode of the TV show Ellen. Someone asked Ellen if she were a lipstick lesbian or what. Ellen replied, she was more of a chapstick lesbian. This fact is confusing cause Ellen would not fall under chapstick Lesbian. I believe she was trying to do what she does best being a comedian not realizing that the Chapstick lesbian term did already exist. Her butch haircut alone removes her from the category.
Alternate Definition: A female homosexual whose gender identity is slightly to the femme side of neutral on the femme-butch continuum of gender presentation but whose appearance and preferences stop short of those of a “lipstick lesbian.”
A Diesel Dyke is 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. Also known as a Bulldagger.
Alternate Definition: A lady (often quite large,) that prefers the (very) close company of other ladies, known as femmes. Regularly seen wearing a lumberjack shirt, boots and dungarees/bib & braces overalls.
Origin: Due to the normal extreme mass of these ‘ladies,’ it has often been assumed that locomotion could only be facilitated with the assistance of a powerful Diesel engine.
A drag king is a woman who dresses to look like a man, usually for performance. Drag kings are often lesbian, but not always.
Alternate Definition: A woman who, generally for public entertainment, dons men’s clothes and adopts a stereotypically masculine demeanor while on stage. As with drag queens, a drag king’s performance can range from a silly, overdone parody to a more natural, subtle depiction of masculinity.
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.
Alternate Definition: Although originally a derogatory term for lesbians, it is now often used with pride by lesbians themselves, especially the younger and hipper lesbian crowd. Some lesbians (especially older or super-sensitive ones) still object to the term, but it is becoming increasingly common and mainstream (at least within the gay community), with events such as “Dyke Nights” or “Dyke Marches” being held around the country. In fact some dykes resent being called a lesbian, as they feel it is much less cool than being called a dyke.
A feminine lesbian. Also known as a Lipstick Lesbian. Sometimes spelled Fem.
Alternate Definition: A (traditionally) feminine woman. Mainly used to refer to a feminine lesbian, and especially a feminine lesbian who is attracted to masculine, or butch lesbians.
Often thought of as passive, dulcet, timid little things with long locks of hair; prissy dresses; great big fawn eyes; a high, baby-doll voice; the courage of a lamb and the intelligence of a gardenia. But we’re all human, so don’t expect that stereotype of finding every femme to be submissive, faint-hearted little fairies. Plenty of femmes kick butt and are even the dominant over their butch partners.
Dani Campbell, a lesbian firefighter from Florida who was one of the contestants on MTV’s Shot at Love with Tila Tequila coined the word “Futch.” She says the word describes someone who is neither feminine nor butch, but a cross between.
Alternate Definition: A lesbian, dyke or other variety of queer woman who possesses or displays qualities and identifiers of both butch and femme. (noun)
Futch (adjective) describes:
a) a non-standard display of female masculinity, which contains elements of the feminine (such as clothing, walk, cosmetics, shoes).
b) a non-standard display of queer femininity, containing elements of the masculine (such as clothing, walk, cosmetics, shoes).
If butch/femme is a spectrum, a futch may be found at any or all of the points in between.
A futch presentation may occasionally be ephemeral, caused by the migration of an woman’s queer self-identity, but is much more likely to be ongoing and deliberate; reflecting an individual’s own position of comfort on the queer gender presentation scale.
Tila Tequila’s date, Dani Campbell, a lesbian firefighter from Florida, claims she invented the word “futch” to describe herself as being part butch, part femme. However, a spot of research will reveal that the word has been in moderate usage in the dyke community since at least 1990. Dani would have had to be a very inventive little futch at 11 to be the word’s progenitor.
Sometimes futch sighting is a false positive, as in the case of many rural women who make the gaydar spang wildly, but who are merely hetero women who portray common lesbian markers, such as speaking firmly, gesturing strongly, taking no nonsense, and using no botox. While wearing boots.
A gold star lesbian is a lesbian who has never slept with a man and has no intention of ever sleeping with a man.
A hasbian is a woman who used to identify as a lesbian and date women, but is now dating men.
Alternate Definition: A term meaning a lesbian who now partakes in heterosexual activities. However, it does not mean that a woman has CHANGED her sexual orientation, that is something which does not change. She may however have changed her sexual behavior or identity. The woman may truly be straight and have previously been questioning, or the woman may have been a lesbian who has retreated into the closet, or the woman may be bisexual, omnisexual or something else of that nature but by no means can a person change their orientation.
Kiki is a 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.
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an adjective, to describe characteristics of an object or activity related to female same-sex desire.
Alternate Definition: A woman who loves or is sexually attracted to women. I read through other descriptions of lesbian and some people who made definitions on this word are just plain retarded.
A lipstick lesbian is a woman who loves other women, but also loves her clothes and makeup and shoes. She tends to dress on the femmy side. Also known as Femme or Fem.
Alternate Definition: A feminine lesbian. It can be used interchangeably with femme to indicate a feminine lesbian, but strictly speaking, a femme is usually attracted to masculine, or butch, lesbians and a lipstick lesbian is attracted to other feminine lesbians.
Often thought of as demure, submissive creatures, many, if not all femmes and lipstick lesbians are quite strong, independent women.
A Lone Star Lesbian is not a lesbian from Texas. A Lone Star Lesbian is someone who has only had sex with one person in their life. Straight and bisexual people can be Lone Stars too.
LUG stands for “Lesbian until Graduation“. A LUG is a woman who experiments with women during her college years, but eventually decides she is straight and marries a man.
Alternate Definition: Someone who for whatever personal/logistical reasons decides to be a lesbian until graduation. The seriousness of this can range from officially identifying as a lesbian (possibly accompanied by an elaborate coming out process) to avoidance of the official term and simply fucking around with girls. Rather like cinderella after midnight, these are the girls who revert back to the male half of the species after leaving the college bubble. A very common occurrence at women’s colleges. Also has a counter-part in the term bi until graduation (BUG). Most frequently used on women’s college campuses, the term may also be used as an insult or warning and is oftentimes by other women who have more romantic or sexual experience with other women (AKA lesbians/bi chicks who have come to terms with their sexuality earlier on and are talking about the chicks who’re just now starting to explore).
A Pillow Queen is someone who likes to be on the receiving end of sex. She likes to be pleasured and not reciprocate. This is the type that usually gets with a “touch me not” Butch/Stud. She is used to being taken care of by her butch. She is also used to being pleasured totally in bed. She will not give her women head (because she does not know how, or never has had to learn how.) She will treat her butch like a woman would treat a man. Their roles are old-fashioned and rigid.
A Power Dyke is a 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. Also known as Power Lesbian or a Suit.
This is the type of stud that is a pretender. She is hard on the street, around her boiz and femmes that she is not dating. When she goes home to her femme, however, she drops the facade. Her girl takes control and may even dominate her in bed. She may even allow her girl to use a strap-on with her. Her girl may sometimes wonder who the femme really is in the relationship. This type of stud may also have a secret attraction to fem-studs, new age studs and in some cases butches. A lot of white dykes fall in this category (u see them walking around holding hands, butch with butch.) On rare cases you see them in the black community. You know the type, where you are constantly wondering who’s the daddy. This is the type of stud that needs to have her stud card revoked!!!
A soft butch is a lesbian whose appearance is generally androgynous. She may dress and act in a masculine manner, but be soft and more feminine in the inside. Also, a soft butch can be someone who falls somewhere between butch and femme, but closer to the butch side.
A sport dyke is a lesbian, who more than anything, identifies with being an athlete. She may also dress in a manner that would give the impression she is an athlete, like baseball caps, sweatshirts and jeans.
A stem is a lesbian who identifies somewhere between “stud” and “femme”.Also known as Kiki.
A stone butch is a lesbian who gets her pleasure from pleasing her partner. She does not like to be touched sexually.
Alternate Definition: Most masculine of the Butches – may pass as male without actually trying. May identify as transgender, that is identifying outside of the gender usually associated with females. Does all or most of the above in masculine gender expressions. May or may not be sexually aggressive. Will not be made love to as one would a “woman”. Will have questioned their gender at some time in their lives. Will not be totally comfortable with their female body. May think of Butch as a separate gender from man & woman.
A femme lesbian who never tries to flip or “melt” her Stone Butch lover, but prefers to pleasure her lover by taking a passive role in sex.
Alternate Definition: A second definition is a femme lesbian who does not like to be touched, much like a stone butch.
A dominant lesbian, usually butch. This is usually the type of dyke that has gender identity disorder (she thinks and wants to be a man). She takes on the very dominant role in relationships, the male role to be exact. She dresses like a man and acts like a man. There is nothing feminine about her. She is sometimes more of a man than some men. In bed she will only want to make love to her women with a strap on. She will not want women to touch her breast, or her vagina, go down on her or provide her with any type of pleasure. She wants to do all the pleasuring. She does not want women to touch her breast etc, because it reminds her that she is a woman.
References and Credits
:trirainbow: by =MistressRaven1605
Lesbian on Wikipeda
About.com: Lesbian Life