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All about Lesbians

What does it mean to be a lesbian?

Written by Fiachrá Duffy | View this authors Twitter page and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

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Many ideas spring to people's minds, either fact or fantasy, when they hear the term lesbian, but what does it actually mean to be a lesbian?

What is a lesbian?
A person that identifies as a lesbian is a female that would be attracted to other female in the same manner that a person that identifies as straight is attracted to a person of the opposite sex.

What a lesbian isn't:
Being a lesbian does not mean that a female is going to publicly perform sexual acts for the pleasure of those around, nor does it mean she is going to be up for a threeway. Being a lesbian is not a life choice and a person that identifies as a lesbian is not just waiting for the right guy to "cure/fix her".

Terms you should use:
Any terms can be used in a derogatory way but these are the more publicly acceptable ones.

Terms you shouldn't use:

Questions you can ask:

Are you fully out?
Some people are out [have told people that they are lesbian] in some social settings but not in all and other people or family might not know so it may be important you're aware of who knows so you don't put your foot in it or tell people that you shouldn't.

Questions you really shouldn't ask:

  • When did you choose to be a lesbian? 
    When did you choose to be straight?!
  • Do you ever fancy/want to get with guys?
    Consider you being asked do you ever fancy someone of the same sex!
  • How do you know if you never tried?
    How do you know you’re straight if you’ve never been with someone of the same sex?
  • Up for threeway?
    What you watch online rarely happens in real life!
  • So how do two girls have sex?
    That definitely isn’t any of your business; use your imagination!!
  • Does scissoring actually work?
    Yes. If it's done right. Lesbian sex is just as varied as heterosexual sex!
  • Do you ever just want the D?
    Consider someone asking you if you ever want to have sex with someone of the same sex!
  • Which one of you is the man in the relationship?
    Neither, both are females that are into females. That's just trying to apply straight "norms" to a different situation.

Issues faced by people that identify as lesbians:

Marriage Equality
Problem: Currently no lesbian can marry their partner. They can have civil partnerships but this isn't the same legally as being married. The real question around that is who are we (as a society) to tell a couple that their love isn't real enough to be allowed to be married.
Solution: The marriage equality referendum in 2015 allows marriage to be equal to all. DIT Students Union is in full support of marriage equality.

Adoption Rights
Problem: A single person that identifies as a lesbian can adopt however only straight couples can adopt, a lesbian couple can’t. This means there be a case in which a lesbian woman may have a child either through pregnancy or adoption, however her partner has no legal rights with that child.
Solution: There is an Adoption Bill being introduced at the moment that would deal with these issues.

Problem: There exists the myth that lesbians can’t contract STI’s. This is untrue and can lead to unsafe sexual practices.
Solution:  ALWAYS engages in safe sex!!

Employment Equality
Problem: Under Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act someone who identifies as a Lesbian, Gay, Bi or Trans* are not protected from discrimination in the workplace. If the religious ethos of the school/business etc… is against LGBT they can be fired as a result. This is why a lot of teachers must remain “in the closet” for fear they might be fired.
Solution: Lobbying of the Government to amend this Act to protect all employees regardless of sexuality.

Useless Fact:
Citizens (male and female!) of the Greek island of Lesbos are known as Lesbians (it’s where the term Lesbian actually came from!).

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Published January 22nd, 2014
Last updated January 25th, 2014
Tags lgbt lesbian lgbt equality
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