URLF Project: PromotingQueerLiteracy

What does it mean to be a Lesbian?

Out of all of the commonly recognized queer communities, lesbians have been among the most visible for the longest time, and have gone through the most radical change in culture. Existing primarily as a word for the experience of women loving women, inside the community lesbians have been challenging gendered labels, presentations, and expectations longer than anyone. As queerness has diversified however, culture has homogenized leading to the disappearance of some of the key traits that once marked the community, such as Lesbian specific bars, a strong alternative community in response to societal rejection, and a semi-rigid system of roles. While today the term lesbian provides identity to many people, one can only imagine what it will mean to be a lesbian in the future.
Lesbians represent a significant challenge to cultural norms and expectations for the role of women in society by decentralizing the role of men in their relationships allowing for a greater diversity of experiences. As a consequence of this, lesbians have historically faced a significant amount of stigma forcing them out of most spaces. This, however, encouraged lesbians to build their own culture and define the roles they want to pursue in society.
Lesbians Through History           Lesbians and Queerness                             

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