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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lesbians versus Lesbians

Well, it looks like the Lesbians have lost the right to exclusively use the term Lesbian.

Lesbians from Lesbos took a case to court in Athens demanding that a Greek gay representative organisation stop referring to the female homosexuals they represent as Lesbian.

Apparently, the inhabitants of the island of Lesbos are in general a bit miffed at how the name of their island, which is as stolidly hetero as the rest of the Greek isles, has been nicked by gay women.

This led to the immortal line uttered by one (male) witness during the case:

"My daughter is a Lesbian, my wife is a Lesbian and I'm a Lesbian too."

It's a little difficult to overturn the common usage of a century, and I'm inclined to look at this court case as a Canute-type attempt to hold back a tide.

At the same time, I do have sympathy for the inhabitants of the isle of Lesbos. The only reason that their name has been co-opted by gay women is because 2,500 years ago, one bisexual lassie who lived there once wrote some smutty verses about lady-loving.

And her name, rather than the name of the entire island, could perhaps more appropriately be used as a descriptor for gay women. And anyway, isn't the term 'Sapphic' so much more, um, poetic than 'Lesbian'?

Of course, 'Sapphic' has been around a long time, and never really caught on. So perhaps a whole new term could be introduced to replace Lesbian and give the poor people of Lesbos their name back.

It would also be a very magnanimous gesture from the Sisterhood to offer to give back the word. Not to mention a rare opportunity to redefine themselves.

A few options come to mind:

Galwegians might work. After all, Ireland's notoriously bohemian West Coast town is so laid back they certainly wouldn't mind sharing their name with the lady-lovers.

Or perhaps Irises. In honour of that gay friendly pillar of tolerance up in Belfast, Mrs Robinson.

Any other suggestions?


Informer said...

Beaver Eater sounds 21st century me thinks, being gay myself allows me freedom to say this none PC JC?!

JC Skinner said...

I think you're being Beaverist, Informer.
And before you get started, I will not tolerate any rug-ist or bean-ist language on this site either!

Missing Neighbour said...

I think that Irish lesbians should be known as 'Irises'. If only to piss-off that paragon of tolerance and virtue Mrs Robinson.

Conan Drumm said...

Muffs? Might it annoy the heteros from Muff, Co Donegal?

JC Skinner said...

Probably not, Conan, given how they cleverly trade on that double meaning down at the Muff Diving Club:
Though perhaps gay women might not appreciate being reduced to their genitalia, any more than you or I would appreciate being called pricks?