Lesbian is a term that defines queer attraction to women. This attraction is most commonly used as exclusively wlw/nblw attraction, as communities surrounding exclusive wlw/nblw have become the primary part of the lesbian community. However, there is no one perfect definition that encompasses all experiences of lesbianism. This term includes butch, femme, non-binary, anonbinary, cusper, and multigendered individuals.
The majority of lesbians are exclusively wlw/nblw, including all NBLW, WLNB, and NBLNB attractions. However, despite this, for some lesbians, the attraction is not exclusive, as m-spec lesbianism (especially bi-lesbianism) is a historically seen identification.
The modern idea that non-men are the only ones allowed to use the lesbian label excludes non-binary men who feel as though the term lesbian best fits their attraction. It also forces identifying as a man into a binary, which is simply not the case, as manhood does not have to be strictly binary in nature. In almost all scenarios (excluding individual trans men who identify with the label for personal reasons), binary men can't be lesbians, but non-binary manhood is different from binary manhood, and forcing it into a binary is harmful to non-binary men.
If one is to exclude non-binary men from lesbianism, they are endorsing in exorsexist behaviour. Additionally, not all non-binary individuals feel comfortable being included under lesbian attraction, and that should be respected and validated.
The term lesbian isn't about the form of attraction one experiences (sexual, romantic, etc.) but about being a woman or non-binary individual who is queerly attracted to women, whatever form of attraction that may be. That means that someone can experience lesbian attraction romantically, sexually, etc., but since the term is independent of relation to any specific form of attraction, it's not necessary for individuals to be lesbian in all forms of attraction to identify as lesbian, as their lesbian orientation is still lesbian and not negated by their other non-lesbian orientation(s). So, someone could be romantically a lesbian, but sexually pansexual, or any other combination. Many lesbians who use the split attraction model use this concept of lesbianism to define their orientation(s).
Many lesbians use different definitions to specifically label themselves and their specific identities. Many lesbians use the term lesbian to describe their being exclusively wlw, while others use it to describe their being exclusively nblw. Still others use it to describe their being queerly attracted to women, and others use it to represent their prioritization of attraction to women. So many members of the community use different interpretations to specifically represent themselves, and all of those are valid and can both coexist in the same community and form their own sub-communities. No interpretation or experience of lesbianism is more or less real or important. No one has to use an interpretation or definition of lesbianism they're not comfortable with, but it's important to respect all the different ones and aspects nonetheless.
Exclusive Lesbian Attraction
The majority of the lesbian community is exclusively attracted to women and/or non-binary individuals. This is not something that is in question, nor is it something that is invalid. Lesbians with exclusive attraction are welcome to their label, and often have a separate community from m-spec lesbians. This is because m-spec lesbians have vastly different experiences, and while they can respect one another and speak together on lesbianism, they both will likely remain in separate spaces, with some overlapping spaces as well.
It is important to remember that lesbians with exclusive attraction and lesbians with non-exclusive attraction both face different issues, and thus should not speak for one another, but rather speak together on the many sides of lesbianism.
Many lesbians who are not attracted to men face the same issue where men believe they can "force" lesbians to like men. This harmful idea has resulted in wrongdoings against lesbians across the world, especially in countries which are more conservative and traditional and which are unsafe countries for queer individuals in general. As a result of this idea, the idea that lesbians can be into men can be very traumatic to many lesbians, which is why many have formed their own communities with other lesbians who are strictly into women/non-binary individuals.
However, while this idea has harmed and continues to harm a large part of the lesbian community, and it should never ever be encouraged to tell any lesbian that they "can like men" if they don't, that harmful idea does not stop the fact that some lesbians are attracted to men. This in no way means that all lesbians do or should ever be "forced" to, just that some do, due to the history of lesbian definition and identity when it comes to m-spec lesbianism. No one who doesn't like men can be "forced" to be attracted to them, but at the same time, that harm should not be wielded against m-spec lesbians, as they face similar trauma, harm, and issues, and they are not to blame for the horrible crimes against the lesbian community committed by Queerphobic men.
Compulsory heterosexuality tend to affect lesbians with exclusive attraction.
Non-Exclusive Lesbian Attraction
Although lesbian attraction is typically exclusive attraction towards women, historically there has been usage of non-exclusive lesbian labels, which have since fallen out of the dominant narrative, but have nonetheless retained their validity as well as expanding to incorporate new definitions as concepts like variorientations and fluid orientations become more explored in queer spaces. Since the term lesbian itself doesn't refer to any specific form of attraction, many individuals who are varioriented interpret that in their identity and use lesbian to describe one form of their attraction, but not another/others.
Additionally, since originally the term lesbian never actually implied exclusive attraction, some m-spec wlw/nblw use the term to emphasize being wlw/nblw, while also emphasizing their being m-spec. Though by far not the common definition anymore, if someone feels a connection to that definition then it is a valid way for them to identify. Additionally, the common definition nowadays that lesbians are non-men attracted to non-men, is inherently open to being m-spec, as 'non-men' includes a vast amount of genders.
One common misconception about m-spec lesbians is that they promote the harmful idea that lesbians can be forced to like men. However, this sentiment doesn't acknowledge the existence of different forms of attraction and having varied orientations, and assumes that m-spec attraction automatically includes men, which it doesn't. Variorientation is a thing, so while lesbianism doesn't inherently include attraction to men, through identities like variorientation, abrosexuality/abromanticism, system-exclusive experiences, among others, some lesbians are. Lesbian attraction itself is not to men, but it can coexist with other forms of attraction that may involve attraction to men. Again though, many m-spec lesbians also aren't attracted to men.
Bi-Lesbians are individuals that either use the split attraction model and experiences lesbian attraction in one form (but not another,) has a fluid orientation that goes between bi and lesbian, and is also sometimes used by individuals who prioritize their attraction to non-men/women. This term has been around since the 1970s, and sources on this topic can be found here, as well as on the bi-lesbian page.
Pan-Lesbians are individuals that either use the split attraction model and experiences separate forms of attraction, have a fluid orientation between pan and lesbian, and similar. There is not much history around this identity, however this is only due to the fact that m-spec lesbianism is often forgotten, or only remembered as bi-lesbianism. It also has to do with the fact that the pan label has not been around for as long as the bi label has.
Omni-Lesbians are individuals that either use the split attraction model and experiences separate forms of attraction, have a fluid orientation between omni and lesbian, and is also sometimes used by individuals who prioritize their attraction to non-men/women. There is not much history around this identity, for the same reasons as pan-lesbianism.
Poly-Lesbians are individuals that either use the split attraction model and experiences separate forms of attraction, have a fluid orientation between ply and lesbian, and is also sometimes used by individuals who are trixen or trixenflexible, attracted to multiple genders other than male or prioritize their attraction to non-men/women.
Straightbians are individuals that either use the split attraction model and experiences separate forms of attraction, have a fluid orientation between straight and lesbian, are multigender and thus experience attraction differently with their separate genders, or similar. There does not appear to be much history around this label, however it has been seen to be used by multigender individuals a decent amount since its coining.
Before more extensive terminology developed to describe specific queer identities, the term lesbian referred to any woman who was currently in a relationship with a woman. It didn't imply exclusive attraction, as the concept of attraction being either exclusive or non-exclusive was still widely unexplored. As a result, many lesbians weren't actually strictly wlw/nblw, but were m-spec and also lesbians because they were w/w/nblw.
As terms like bisexual and pansexual gained more attention, and exclusionism took root in the form of political lesbianism, a large part of the lesbian community shifted to separating lesbian labels from m-spec labels; however, many still feel connection to those labels, and additionally, they have also evolved as more and more individuals started exploring variorientation and abrosexuality/romanticism. So, while some individuals continue to use m-spec lesbian terms due to their history/original meanings, many have also started using them in more modern contexts of SAM usage and fluid orientations.
Along with the evolution of variorientation labels has come not only the development of possibility for multiple different orientations, but also the possibility for no orientation at all. As attraction is categorized more and its nuance has been realized, many individuals realized they didn't actually experience one or more forms of attraction at all, or experienced them much less/in a much different way than "normal". From that came spectrums like the asexual spectrum and the aromantic spectrum, as well as the split attraction model to describe individuals who didn't experience one or more form(s) of attraction, but did experience another/others, and therefore had orientations in some forms of attraction, but not others.
If someone doesn't experience one form of attraction, but is a lesbian through another form, they may identify as an a-spec lesbian, as they are both of those things, yet in different forms of attraction.
Asexual lesbians are lesbians who are asexual or on the asexual spectrum, and who are lesbian through another form of attraction, most commonly romantic. If one is fully asexual, then they are a lesbian through another form of orientation, but if they're not strictly asexual, then they may experience the aforementioned or they may simply have attraction to women that is ace-spec (for example- experiencing demisexual or greysexual attraction to women).
Aromantic lesbians are lesbians who are aromantic or on the aromantic spectrum, and who are lesbian through another form of attraction, most commonly sexual. If one is fully aromantic, then they are a lesbian through another form of orientation, but if they're not strictly aromantic, then they may experience the aforementioned or they may simply have attraction to women that is aro-spec (for example- experiencing demiromantic or greyromantic attraction to women).
As more individuals discovered and explored a-spectrums, they began to realize that the binary of romantic and sexual attraction was incomprehensive. Attraction is not either romantic or sexual- it can be social, platonic, emotional, and it doesn't have to be romantic or sexual in nature. It could be a little of both, somewhere in between, completely outside, or some other form, but the point is, attraction exists in deep forms outside of the standard romantic and sexual attraction. These forms of attraction are largely explored by a-spec communities, as many have realized that despite not experiencing romantic and/or sexual attraction, they still do experience attraction.
Tertiary lesbianism is when one has a lesbian orientation that is neither sexual nor romantic. They may have a lesbian orientation that is one or both of those things, but they also have a lesbian orientation that is neither. For example, one could experience lesbian alterous attraction, lesbian queerplatonic attraction, etc. These terms are mainly used by a-spec communities, but they're also used less commonly by allo- members of the queer community.
Although females and feminine-aligned individuals are the ones typically seen identifying as lesbian, there are exceptions and non-female lesbians, despite them not being in the majority.
Female Lesbians are women (non-binary women can be included) that identify as/are lesbian. While they are the majority, they do not have more or less validity than other non-female lesbians.
Non-Binary Lesbians are individuals who identify somewhere on the non-binary spectrum, as well as identifying as lesbian. Non-binary lesbians can be of any gender on the spectrum, including multigenders, masculine-aligned genders, and even male-aligned genders. Non-binary lesbianism has much history, all of which is very vast, with many different experiences.
Any non-binary can identify as lesbian if they want, but they don't have to if they're not comfortable doing so.
Masc Lesbians are individuals who identify as male or masculine in a non-traditional sense (through being multigender, non-binary men, agender men, women-aligned men, etc.) that have lesbian attraction towards women. Male lesbians may or may not identify with terms such as Lesboy and/or Lesboi. Cisgender binary men are the only men, queer or not, who can't identify as lesbians.
Men who are women-aligned are inherently non-binary, so women-aligned men, as well as neutral-aligned men, feminine-aligned men, xeno-aligned men, and other non-binary men with varying alignments, are queer and their experiences should never be forced to fit binary manhood, as they are unique, and they are non-binary and therefore deserve to be respected in queer and lesbian spaces.
In general, binary men cannot be lesbians. However, while being trans makes them no less of men in any way, some binary trans men may choose to still identify with the label/community if they identified as such before realizing they were men and still feel some form of connection to the term and community despite realizing they were men. This is up to the individual trans man, as they may feel more safe continuing to identify as lesbian/be part of lesbian spaces, either due to personal history, discomfort with male spaces due to trauma from cis men, or other personal reasons.
The idea that trans men can be lesbians is based purely in a respect for the autonomy of individual trans men who previously identified as such and due to complexity in their identity, trauma, comfort levels, or other personal reasons, still choose to identify as such- but that being said, trans men are absolutely 100% real men. While identifying as a lesbian in no way makes a trans man less of a man, a common form of transandrophobia holds that trans men are actually just lesbians because lesbians often feel some sense of detatchment from their gender. The label lesbian shouldn't be applied to trans men as a whole in any way, but individual trans men who feel comfortable with it should be respected. Identity is complex. While a large amount of trans men may be completely uncomfortable identifying as lesbian, and they should never be treated like they're "just confused lesbians" and should have their identities fully respected, individual trans men who do are no less of men for doing so and should be respected as well.
PNC Lesbians are individuals that use pronouns not expected for their identity. Typically, when individuals think of lesbians, they think of individuals who use she/her pronouns, however this is not the case for many non-binary and non-women lesbians, as well as for some pronoun non-conforming lesbians who are women.
The word lesbian comes from the name of the Greek island Lesbos, the birthplace of the poet Sappho (the origin of the word sapphic). The use of lesbian to mean gay woman or female homosexuality dates back to 1732. Before this was used, the word lesbian meant "of Lesbos", such as "Lesbian wine" or "Lesbian culture".
Romantic and sexual relationships between women go back far in human history, including to ancient times. Most ancient civilizations were surprisingly LGBTQ+ friendly, thinking that it was just human nature to crave sexual or romantic contact from the same gender.
As mentioned above, the Greek poet Sappho was a major part in developing the terms lesbian and sapphic. She was believed to love women or be a lesbian. Little of Sappho's poetry survives, but what has survived provides deep description of women's daily lives, relationships, and rituals. Many of her poems proclaim her love for girls, as she deeply studied the beauty of women.
Ancient Greece had thriving homosexual culture, as men were sequestered with other men, and women with other women. Sexual relationships between men were recorded, but almost nothing about relationships between women were recorded. Records of female sexuality are often few and far between in this society. There is generally no clear evidence to suggest that women were encouraged to have same-gender relationships with each other, but with the poetry of Sappho, many historians believe that lesbians were quite abundant in Ancient Greece.
Lesbians and same-gender relationships between women were viewed in a negative light in Ancient Rome. Women in ancient Rome were subject to male sexuality. In modern scholarship, it was revealed that men viewed relationships between women with hostility. They viewed these relationships as "biological oddities" that completely shattered a man's view of his sexuality.
Ancient China and Japan
In these societies, homosexuality was commonplace in comparison to heterosexuality. Erotic art prints called shunga depicted sexual relationships between individuals of the same gender. This was just considered regular art for many citizens.
With the term "sodomy" growing to describe homosexual men, same-gender relationships were viewed in a negative light. This was usually only to describe men who would partake in sexual relationships with other men, though. Female homosexuality went unnoticed - and therefore was not discriminated against in the early stages of modern Europe. The earliest law against female homosexuality appeared in France, circa 1270. In Spain, Italy, and the Holy Roman Empire, sodomy between women was put on the list of acts punishable by death, although few instances of executing lesbians have been recorded.
Relationships between Catholic nuns have surprisingly been recorded during this time as well. Forty days' penance was demanded of nuns who "rode" each other (engaged in sexual behavior) or were known to touch each other's breasts. An Italian nun named Sister Benedetta Carlini was documented to have seduced many of her fellow sisters when being possessed by a Divine spirit. To end her relationships with other women, she was placed in solitary confinement for the last forty years of her life. However, contrary to this, female eroticism was almost fashionable during this time in England.
Victorian era (17th-19th century)
same-gender relationships between women were also fashionable and encouraged at this time. Other terms for "lesbian" to describe these relationships were "romantic friendships", "Boston marriages", and "sentimental friends". Whether genital contact was present in these relationships or not was not a public matter for discourse, but these relationships were still considered innocent and chaste either way.
World War II-era
As military mobilization engaged millions of men, women were also enlisted. Plans were in place to screen out male homosexuals, but nothing was present for lesbians. Discharge was presented to lesbians if found in sexual contact with each other.
Many women were also at home without their husbands, which gave birth to a wave of education on what being a lesbian was. Independence of these women gave them an opportunity to shape lesbian networks and environments. This fueled the gay rights movement post-war.
Post-war & Stonewall
Homosexuality became an undesirable characteristic for women in the workforce, which further silenced the lesbian community. Some homosexual women still persisted, and reclaimed the pink triangle, a symbol given to gay men in Nazi concentration camps.
A solution to isolated lesbians became lesbian pulp fiction in the 1950's. It was also a replacement for the little knowledge of female homosexuality. It started with a paperback titled Women's Barracks which described a woman's experience in the Free French Forces. It was published in 1950. The book contained a description of a lesbian relationship this woman witnessed. When this book sold 4.5 million copies, more lesbian-themed fiction arose. Between 1955 and 1969, over 2,000 books were published with the main topic being lesbianism or lesbian relationships. They were sold in corner drugstores, train stations, bus stops, and news stands. Surprisingly, most were written by heterosexual men and also marketed to heterosexual men. Lesbians did enjoy this fiction and create an identity out of it. Coded words and images were used on the covers of these books, such as instead of the word "lesbian", words like "strange", "twilight", "queer", and "third sex" appeared. As a result, lesbian pulp fiction helped to proliferate a lesbian identity to closeted and isolated lesbians.
The Stonewall Riots was the first gay rights movement recorded in history. This started when a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in New York was attacked. This is when many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals started fighting for their rights.
Gay rights parades, or gay and lesbian pride days, took place all the way through the 1960's to the mid-1980's, when it became more mainstream and were just called Gay Pride Parades or Pride parades.
In the 1970s, a movement known as lesbian feminism (and more specifically political lesbianism) arose for the purpose of redefining and promoting lesbianism as a feminist concept, instead of a queer one. This movement believed lesbianism to be the natural result of feminism, and that lesbianism was not an orientation, but a political action wherein a woman completely excluded men from all aspects of her life. Not only is this associated with extreme misandry which now characterizes harmful, radical feminist and TERF ideologies, but it was also promoted with the belief that trans women were disgusting (as was the belief of one of the most prominent promoters of political lesbianism, Shiela Jeffreys) and that m-spec women who were attracted to men were disgusting because they were "sleeping with the enemy"- in other words, the drive for this movement was to be exclusionist towards trans and m-spec women.
This is where the now dominant belief that lesbianism is strictly women who are exclusively attracted to other women came from.
Many lesbian characters appeared in sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends, but only in relation to previous male lovers ("My wife's a lesbian!" and other phrases were common). Pride parades still took place.
In 1997, Ellen DeGeneres's character, Ellen Morgan, came out on her hit sitcom "Ellen". The sitcom was cancelled in 1998 due to sagging ratings following the controversy.
Lesbian-feminism was another movement that appeared. It is now frowned upon, as one of its stereotypes is "man-hating" and misandry.
In the 2000's and 2010's, many lesbians identified themselves and developed a distinct community, creating their own pride flags and slang words. In Western society, being a lesbian is mostly accepted.
Evolution of the Lesbian Label
For a lot of history, the term lesbian was viewed by general society to refer to wlw. Before concepts of strict attraction, exclusive attraction, and m-spec attraction, really took root as being a possibility, the term lesbian didn't connote a woman who was exclusively attracted to other women, but instead, a woman who was in a relationship with another woman. If a woman was in a romantic/sexual relationship with another woman, they were considered lesbian, but if that woman was later in a romantic/sexual relationship with a man, they were considered straight.
Though overwhelmingly, history and dominant narrative highlighted lesbianism as wlw, this is why there has historically been community between lesbian and m-spec labels. For a lot of history, before non-binary and varioriented identities were more explored, a lesbian was simply a "woman-oriented woman", or a woman who engaged in romantic and/or sexual relationships with another woman. So, many bisexual women who were into women, fit under both the label bisexual and the label of lesbian, and the importance of highlighting one's wlw identity caused community and overlap between the bisexual and lesbian communities, which is why many individuals identified as, and still do today, bi lesbians.
Despite the erasure of non-binary identities for a large stretch of history, and hence the lack of exploration of those identities on a societal-wide level, non-binary lesbians have always existed, and lesbianism has never actually excluded them.
As time passed, and more and more individuals started to explore exclusive vs. non-exclusive attraction and monosexuality vs. multisexuality, the lesbian and bisexual communities started developing more on their own, and lesbian began to be a term that was seemingly for exclusive wlw/nblw, while some individuals still cherished and identified with m-spec lesbian labels due to a connection to heir history and context.
Now, the lesbian label is evolving again as the concept of fluid attraction and variorientation are becoming more highlighted in queer spaces. It's not changing its definition, nor is it losing its significance to queer women and non-binary individuals, but rather it's evolving along with the evolution of queer terminology and identity. Just decades ago, the idea that someone could be fluid between different sexualities was not really a thing. Now, with terms like abrosexual and abromantic, individuals are becoming more comfortable with the concept, and individuals who are fluid between being lesbian, and being another sexuality, may feel connected to m-spec lesbian labels in that way.
Similarly, the concept of variorientation is also becoming more popular among queer individuals, with individuals beginning to recognize the difference between different forms of attraction, and how one can have both a romantic orientation and a sexual orientation (as well as tertiary orientations), and that they don't have to be the same. So, individuals who are lesbians in one form of attraction, but non-lesbians in another form of attraction, may feel connection to m-spec lesbian labels as well, as they highlight variorientation and the importance of all of one's orientations, not just one of them.
The Kinsey report
In 1953, more than 8,000 American women were interviewed for an in-depth report on female sexuality (Sexual Behavior in the Human Female), led by Alfred Kinsey and his staff. They reported that 28% of women had been aroused by another female, and 19% had sexual contact with another female. Of these women, half to two-thirds of them had experienced an orgasm. Single women had the most prevalence of homosexual behavior, the next being widowed, divorced and separated women.
Most of the women who reported homosexual behavior had not experienced it more than ten times. 51% of women reporting homosexual behavior had only one sexual partner.
Based on Kinsey's scale where 0 represents an exclusively heterosexual response and 6 represents an exclusively homosexual one, 6% of those interviewed ranked as a 6 (exclusively homosexual). In between 1 and 6, the most common response was 1.
The Hite Report
In 1976, sexologist Shere Hite published a report on the sexual encounters of 3,019 women. Hite's questions were different than Kinsey's, and focused on what these women identified as and what they preferred rather than experienced. Her respondents indicated that 8% preferred sex with women and 9% answered that they identify as bisexual and refuse to indicate preference.
Lesbians in the U.S. are estimated to be about 2.6% of the population. A survey of same-gender couples in the U.S. showed that between 2000 and 2005, the number of individuals claiming to be in same-gender relationships increased by 30%.
At present, there have been at least sixty four different lesbian flag design proposals.
In 1999, Sean Campbell introduced the labrys lesbian flag, the first flag design specifically for lesbians. The design involves a labrys on a black triangle with a purple background, since all three have historical significance in the lesbian community. The labrys was associated as a weapon used by the Amazons of mythology and in the 1970s it was adopted as a symbol of empowerment by the lesbian feminist community. The black triangle was used by the by the Third Reich to identify "asocial women", which included lesbians. Some lesbians reclaimed this symbol as gay men reclaimed the pink triangle. The violet background is because violet associated with lesbians because of the poetry of Sappho. This flag is sometimes associated with TERFs but it is still widely used by many lesbians, who seek to fight against the association with TERFs.
In 2010, Wordpress blogger Natalie McCray announced her proposed design for a lipstick lesbian flag, using a design plagiarized from Fausto Fernós' 2008 cougar pride flag. McCray's lipstick lesbian flag is not intended for all lesbians, just lipstick lesbians, meaning all other kinds of lesbians are excluded. Variations upon this stolen design have since become very popular on Tumblr. However, the creator is problematic, as she has made several racist comments (and tried to justify them by saying she herself is a POC), has been actively biphobic, anti-sex worker, butchphobic, and lesbiphobic. She and her flag have caused a lot of harm to gender non-conforming lesbians and the lesbians her flag was designed to exclude, exclusion which promoted even greater exclusionism from the individuals who started using the flag.
There were a large amount of alternate lesbian flags made around 2018, one of those flags was the orange and pink version, created by Tumblr user Sadlesbiandisaster on out before June 6, 2018, originally created by Tumblr user shapeshifter-of constellation in July 3, 2017, with a saturated version. The color meanings are as follows: Dark orange is for gender non-conformity as many lesbians are gender non-conforming. Orange is for independence from men and individuality. Light orange is for community. White represents unique connections to womanhood, and how lesbians are all connected to womanhood in their own unique ways. It encompasses trans and non-binary lesbian experiences, and butch and femme experiences with womanhood. Light pink represents serenity and peace. Pink represents love and sex. Dark pink represents femininity. A five stripe design was created for the purpose of more easily producing merchandise with it. According to polls conducted by lesbianflag on Twitter a large amount of individuals prefer this design for the lesbian flag. This is currently the most commonly used lesbian flag on the internet.
Though her design is currently the most popular lesbian flag, Sadlesbiandisaster is a problematic user who does not support m-spec lesbians, usage of queer as an identity, or the diverse history of the terms butch and femme. She was previously exclusionary of cis ace-spec individuals, but changed her position on this in 2019 (though in the post where she stated this, she maintained her lack of support for m-spec lesbians). She has harmed individuals with those harmful ideals, and she also plagiarized her design from both the butch and femme flags, once made invertedly by another Tumblr user on July 3, 2017, under the username shapeshifter-of-constellation, before Sadlesbiandisaster.
Another flag design is by Tumblr user Apersnicketylemon. The color associations are as follows: purple for non-binary and trans lesbians (also to represent how violets were historically given between women to represent their love), pink for lipstick and femme lesbians (and to represent the beauty of feminine love), grey for aspec lesbians (and to represent the difficulty to navigating a "grey area" of society), and blue to represent butch lesbians and gender nonconformity.
Another flag design is by Tumblr user ferretwlw. The color associations are as follows: Dark blue represents the community, and solidarity with each other. This is for the current lesbian community, and the unification of everyone in it. Purple represents diversity in experiences and expression. This is not just for the trans, non-binary, GNC, and/or mspec lesbians, but also for lesbians of every kind of expression and subculture- butches, femmes, those who are neither, and everyone else who considers themselves a lesbian. Pink represents self acceptance and pride. It is also for those who are still coming to terms with being a lesbian, questioning, in the closet, and so on. Yellow represents lesbian history and culture. This stripe reflects back on lesbian history and all the experiences lesbians have had. It’s also for lesbian culture, and all the subcultures within it. Mint represents inclusivity, tolerance, and acceptance.
The lykoi lesbian flag design was created by wiki user Wemrotung on June 1, 2021. The color associations are as follows: Raspberry represents gender non-conforming and pronoun non-conforming lesbians, such as he/him and they/them lesbians, as well as complex or non-normative connections to womanhood. Pink represents sapphic love, sex, attraction, and relationships. Yellow represents community and inclusion. White represents transgender, non-binary, and intersex lesbians. Blue represents lesbian history, culture, and solidarity with the rest of the LGBTQ+ community. Purple represents mspec lesbians. Dark purple represents aspec lesbians. Lykoi lesbian is a term coined by wiki user Wemrotung, intended to represent inclusive lesbians and fight back against longsword lesbians and similar exclusionists. It is similar to lesbians of the longbow, but with less violent phrasing, using cats rather than weapons to symbolize acceptance and inclusivity. The lykoi symbolism is meant to be cute and cuddly, yet fierce and energetic. Wemrotung is a lesbivincian butchwink.
A more inclusive lesbian flag was designed by YouTuber Astri-Nomical on June 29, 2021. The darkest red stands for masculinity, followed by a lighter red for non she/her lesbians, a lighter red for POC lesbians, white for love and freedom, the lightest pink for ND lesbians, a darker pink for non-cis lesbians, and the darkest pink for femininity. (citation needed)
Another alternate lesbian flag was made by FANDOM user Astarte Snow on November 28th, 2021. It was created to replace the sunset flag. 
On February 6th, 2022, another lesbian flag variant known as the Lavender Labrys flag was coined by Tumblr user the-gender-thieves. The color meanings are: dark violet: POC lesbians, neurodivergent lesbians, disabled lesbians, and lesbians of other minorities | sappho's writings of women wearing violet flower crowns or violets woven around their necks, violets became associated with lesbianism because of her poetry, the violet flower was also used historically by lesbians to symbolise their love for one another since the 6th century, rising again in 1926. pink: lesbian love in all forms | featured heavily in the sapphic flag and many current lesbian flags, also connects to roses, often associated with love and sexuality. yellow: liberation of all lesbians | lesbian history as a whole and a celebration of where we are now as a community. teal: trans, non-cisgender, and gender non-conforming lesbians | celebration of the stonewall riots and those with huge positive impacts on lesbian rights. labrys axe: similar to the labrys flag, it represents lesbian strength and feminism. lavender: plays a huge part in lesbian activism (for example the lavender menace movement and reclamation, and the fight against the anti-queer campaign known as the 'lavender scare')
- Independent Voices on JSTOR
- ♡youre safe here♡ — Lavender Woman, Volume 2, issue 5, August, 1973 (tumblr.com)
- Butch-Femme (glbtqarchive.com)
- Butch and femme - Wikipedia
- The "Sodomite" and the "Lesbian" (archive.org)
- Psychopathia Sexualis - Wikipedia
- Bisexuality in the United States - Wikipedia
- Love Your Enemy - The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism and Political Lesbianism (scribd.com)
- Bisexual Movements (glbtqarchive.com)
- Bisexual Movement – Robyn Ochs
- when the bisexual community began to form separately
- 👤 on Twitter: "Lesbian Psychologies; Explorations and Challenges, 1987. Edited by the Boston Lesbian Psychologies Collective https://t.co/klUSNYYOb7" / Twitter
- m-spec lesbian history sources
- a twitter thread showing articles/books about male lesbians
- a tumblr post explaining why sadlesbiandisaster is problematic with screenshots
- lipstick lesbian flag creator being biphobic, butchphobic, and anti-sex worker
- lipstick lesbian flag creator being racist, ableist towards people with eating disorders, rude to people with acne, and generally a rude person
- Etymonline: lesbian (adj)
- Merriam-Webster: lesbian (adj)
- The Lesbian Flag: How did we get here?
- Gilbert Baker - Rainbow Flag
- How Did the Rainbow Flag Become an LGBT Symbol?
- The Complete Guide to Queer Pride Flags
- Lipstick Lesbian Flag
- Medium post "The Lipstick Lesbian Flag idea was stolen from a drag queen."
- Cougar Pride Flag designed by Fausto Fernós.
- Archived Tumblr post on the meaning of the seven striped orange-pink lesbian flag.
- Tumblr post announcing "7-stripes Orange-Pink Lesbian Flag."
- Twitter post on the saturated orange-pink lesbian flag.
- Twitter post with a simplified version of sadlesbiandisaster's flag.
- Tumblr post on apersnicketylemon's flag.
- Tumblr post on ferretwlw's flag.