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State persecution prevented the formation of associations until AIDS became a concern, when educational efforts forced sexual minorities to band together.

The first lesbian organization was Nosotras , founded in The meetings of feminist lesbians of Latin America and the Caribbean, sometimes shortened to "Lesbian meetings", have been an important forum for the exchange of ideas for Latin American lesbians since the late s.

With rotating hosts and biannual gatherings, its main aims are the creation of communication networks, to change the situation of lesbians in Latin America both legally and socially , to increase solidarity between lesbians and to destroy the existing myths about them.

Cross-gender roles and marriage between women has also been recorded in over 30 African societies. The Hausa people of Sudan have a term equivalent to lesbian, kifi , that may also be applied to males to mean "neither party insists on a particular sexual role".

Lesbian relationships are also known in matrilineal societies in Ghana among the Akan people. In Lesotho , females engage in what is commonly considered sexual behavior to the Western world: they kiss, sleep together, rub genitals, participate in cunnilingus , and maintain their relationships with other females vigilantly.

Since the people of Lesotho believe sex requires a penis, however, they do not consider their behavior sexual, nor label themselves lesbians.

In South Africa, lesbians are raped by heterosexual men with a goal of punishment of "abnormal" behavior and reinforcement of societal norms. Corrective rape is reported to be on the rise in South Africa.

The South African nonprofit "Luleki Sizwe" estimates that more than 10 lesbians are raped or gang-raped on a weekly basis.

China before westernization was another society that segregated men from women. Historical Chinese culture has not recognized a concept of sexual orientation, or a framework to divide people based on their same-sex or opposite-sex attractions.

Outside their duties to bear sons to their husbands, women were perceived as having no sexuality at all.

This did not mean that women could not pursue sexual relationships with other women, but that such associations could not impose upon women's relationships to men.

Rare references to lesbianism were written by Ying Shao , who identified same-sex relationships between women in imperial courts who behaved as husband and wife as dui shi paired eating.

The liberty of being employed in silk factories starting in allowed some women to style themselves tzu-shu nii never to marry and live in communes with other women.

Other Chinese called them sou-hei self-combers for adopting hairstyles of married women. These communes passed because of the Great Depression and were subsequently discouraged by the communist government for being a relic of feudal China.

In Japan, the term rezubian , a Japanese pronunciation of "lesbian", was used during the s. Westernization brought more independence for women and allowed some Japanese women to wear pants.

In India, a 14th-century Indian text mentioning a lesbian couple who had a child as a result of their lovemaking is an exception to the general silence about female homosexuality.

According to Ruth Vanita , this invisibility disappeared with the release of a film titled Fire in , prompting some theaters in India to be attacked by religious extremists.

Terms used to label homosexuals are often rejected by Indian activists for being the result of imperialist influence, but most discourse on homosexuality centers on men.

Women's rights groups in India continue to debate the legitimacy of including lesbian issues in their platforms, as lesbians and material focusing on female homosexuality are frequently suppressed.

The most extensive early study of female homosexuality was provided by the Institute for Sex Research , who published an in-depth report of the sexual experiences of American women in More than 8, women were interviewed by Alfred Kinsey and the staff of the Institute for Sex Research in a book titled Sexual Behavior in the Human Female , popularly known as part of the Kinsey Report.

The Kinsey Report's dispassionate discussion of homosexuality as a form of human sexual behavior was revolutionary. Up to this study, only physicians and psychiatrists studied sexual behavior, and almost always the results were interpreted with a moral view.

Single women had the highest prevalence of homosexual activity, followed by women who were widowed, divorced, or separated.

The lowest occurrence of sexual activity was among married women; those with previous homosexual experience reported they married to stop homosexual activity.

Most of the women who reported homosexual activity had not experienced it more than ten times. Fifty-one percent of women reporting homosexual experience had only one partner.

Twenty-three years later, in , sexologist Shere Hite published a report on the sexual encounters of 3, women who had responded to questionnaires, under the title The Hite Report.

Hite's questions differed from Kinsey's, focusing more on how women identified, or what they preferred rather than experience.

Hite's conclusions are more based on respondents' comments than quantifiable data. She found it "striking" that many women who had no lesbian experiences indicated they were interested in sex with women, particularly because the question was not asked.

Lesbians in the U. The study attributed the jump to people being more comfortable self-identifying as homosexual to the federal government. The government of the United Kingdom does not ask citizens to define their sexuality.

However, polls in Australia have recorded a range of self-identified lesbian or bisexual women from 1. In terms of medical issues, lesbians are referred to as women who have sex with women WSW because of the misconceptions and assumptions about women's sexuality and some women's hesitancy to disclose their accurate sexual histories even to a physician.

The result of the lack of medical information on WSW is that medical professionals and some lesbians perceive lesbians as having lower risks of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases or types of cancer.

When women do seek medical attention, medical professionals often fail to take a complete medical history. In a study of 2, lesbian and bisexual women, only 9.

Heart disease is listed by the U. Department of Health and Human Services as the number one cause of death for all women. Factors that add to risk of heart disease include obesity and smoking , both of which are more prevalent in lesbians.

Studies show that lesbians have a higher body mass and are generally less concerned about weight issues than heterosexual women, and lesbians consider women with higher body masses to be more attractive than heterosexual women do.

Lesbians are more likely to exercise regularly than heterosexual women, and lesbians do not generally exercise for aesthetic reasons, although heterosexual women do.

Lack of differentiation between homosexual and heterosexual women in medical studies that concentrate on health issues for women skews results for lesbians and non-lesbian women.

Reports are inconclusive about occurrence of breast cancer in lesbians. The risk factors for developing ovarian cancer rates are higher in lesbians than heterosexual women, perhaps because many lesbians lack protective factors of pregnancy, abortion, contraceptives, breast feeding, and miscarriages.

Some sexually transmitted diseases are communicable between women, including human papillomavirus HPV —specifically genital warts — squamous intraepithelial lesions , trichomoniasis , syphilis , and herpes simplex virus HSV.

Transmission of specific sexually transmitted diseases among women who have sex with women depends on the sexual practices women engage in. Any object that comes in contact with cervical secretions, vaginal mucosa, or menstrual blood, including fingers or penetrative objects may transmit sexually transmitted diseases.

Bacterial vaginosis BV occurs more often in lesbians, but it is unclear if BV is transmitted by sexual contact; it occurs in celibate as well as sexually active women.

The highest rate of transmission of HIV to lesbians is among women who participate in intravenous drug use or have sexual intercourse with bisexual men.

Since medical literature began to describe homosexuality, it has often been approached from a view that sought to find an inherent psychopathology as the root cause, influenced by the theories of Sigmund Freud.

Although he considered bisexuality inherent in all people, and said that most have phases of homosexual attraction or experimentation, exclusive same-sex attraction he attributed to stunted development resulting from trauma or parental conflicts.

Although these issues exist among lesbians, discussion about their causes shifted after homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in Instead, social ostracism, legal discrimination, internalization of negative stereotypes, and limited support structures indicate factors homosexuals face in Western societies that often adversely affect their mental health.

Women who identify as lesbian report feeling significantly different and isolated during adolescence.

Women also limit who they divulge their sexual identities to, and more often see being lesbian as a choice, as opposed to gay men, who work more externally and see being gay as outside their control.

Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common mental health issues for women. Depression is reported among lesbians at a rate similar to heterosexual women, [] although generalized anxiety disorder is more likely to appear among lesbian and bisexual women than heterosexual women.

Studies have shown that heterosexual men and lesbians have different standards for what they consider attractive in women. Lesbians who view themselves with male standards of female beauty may experience lower self-esteem, eating disorders , and higher incidence of depression.

A population-based study completed by the National Alcohol Research Center found that women who identify as lesbian or bisexual are less likely to abstain from alcohol.

Lesbians and bisexual women have a higher likelihood of reporting problems with alcohol, as well as not being satisfied with treatment for substance abuse programs.

Lesbians portrayed in literature, film, and television often shape contemporary thought about women's sexuality.

The majority of media about lesbians is produced by men; [] women's publishing companies did not develop until the s, films about lesbians made by women did not appear until the s, and television shows portraying lesbians written by women only began to be created in the 21st century.

As a result, homosexuality—particularly dealing with women—has been excluded because of symbolic annihilation.

When depictions of lesbians began to surface, they were often one-dimensional, simplified stereotypes. In addition to Sappho's accomplishments, [note 14] literary historian Jeannette Howard Foster includes the Book of Ruth , [] and ancient mythological tradition as examples of lesbianism in classical literature.

Greek stories of the heavens often included a female figure whose virtue and virginity were unspoiled, who pursued more masculine interests, and who was followed by a dedicated group of maidens.

Foster cites Camilla and Diana , Artemis and Callisto , and Iphis and Ianthe as examples of female mythological figures who showed remarkable devotion to each other, or defied gender expectations.

En-hedu-ana , a priestess in Ancient Iraq who dedicated herself to the Sumerian goddess Inanna , has the distinction of signing the oldest-surviving signed poetry in history.

She characterized herself as Inanna's spouse. For ten centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, lesbianism disappeared from literature. Physical relationships between women were often encouraged; men felt no threat as they viewed sexual acts between women to be accepted when men were not available, and not comparable to fulfillment that could be achieved by sexual acts between men and women.

Physical and therefore emotional satisfaction was considered impossible without a natural phallus. Male intervention into relationships between women was necessary only when women acted as men and demanded the same social privileges.

Lesbianism became almost exclusive to French literature in the 19th century, based on male fantasy and the desire to shock bourgeois moral values.

Reflecting French society, as well as employing stock character associations, many of the lesbian characters in 19th-century French literature were prostitutes or courtesans: personifications of vice who died early, violent deaths in moral endings.

Gradually, women began to author their own thoughts and literary works about lesbian relationships. Until the publication of The Well of Loneliness , most major works involving lesbianism were penned by men.

Some women, such as Marguerite Yourcenar and Mary Renault , wrote or translated works of fiction that focused on homosexual men, like some of the writings of Carson McCullers.

All three were involved in same-sex relationships, but their primary friendships were with gay men. As the paperback book came into fashion, lesbian themes were relegated to pulp fiction.

Many of the pulp novels typically presented very unhappy women, or relationships that ended tragically.

Marijane Meaker later wrote that she was told to make the relationship end badly in Spring Fire because the publishers were concerned about the books being confiscated by the U.

Postal Service. Following the Stonewall riots , lesbian themes in literature became much more diverse and complex, and shifted the focus of lesbianism from erotica for heterosexual men to works written by and for lesbians.

Serious writers who used lesbian characters and plots included Rita Mae Brown 's Rubyfruit Jungle , which presents a feminist heroine who chooses to be a lesbian.

Further changing values are evident in the writings of Dorothy Allison , who focuses on child sexual abuse and deliberately provocative lesbian sadomasochism themes.

Lesbianism, or the suggestion of it, began early in filmmaking. The same constructs of how lesbians were portrayed—or for what reasons—as what had appeared in literature were placed on women in the films.

Women challenging their feminine roles was a device more easily accepted than men challenging masculine ones. Actresses appeared as men in male roles because of plot devices as early as in A Florida Enchantment featuring Edith Storey.

Hollywood films followed the same trend set by audiences who flocked to Harlem to see edgy shows that suggested bisexuality.

However, the development of the Hays Code in censored most references to homosexuality from film under the umbrella term "sex perversion".

German films depicted homosexuality and were distributed throughout Europe, but 's Mädchen in Uniform was not distributed in the U.

Because of the Hays Code, lesbianism after was absent from most films, even those adapted with overt lesbian characters or plot devices.

Biopic Queen Christina in , starring Greta Garbo , veiled most of the speculation about Christina of Sweden's affairs with women.

The reason censors stated for removing a lesbian scene in 's The Pit of Loneliness was that it was, "Immoral, would tend to corrupt morals". After MacLaine's character admits her love for Hepburn's, she hangs herself; this set a precedent for miserable endings in films addressing homosexuality.

Gay characters also were often killed off at the end, such as the death of Sandy Dennis ' character at the end of The Fox in If not victims, lesbians were depicted as villains or morally corrupt, such as portrayals of brothel madames by Barbara Stanwyck in Walk on the Wild Side from and Shelley Winters in The Balcony in Lesbians as predators were presented in Rebecca , women's prison films like Caged , or in the character Rosa Klebb in From Russia with Love The first film to address lesbianism with significant depth was The Killing of Sister George in , which was filmed in The Gateways Club , a longstanding lesbian pub in London.

It is the first to claim a film character who identifies as a lesbian, and film historian Vito Russo considers the film a complex treatment of a multifaceted character who is forced into silence about her openness by other lesbians.

Personal Best was criticized for engaging in the cliched plot device of one woman returning to a relationship with a man, implying that lesbianism is a phase, as well as treating the lesbian relationship with "undisguised voyeurism".

An era of independent filmmaking brought different stories, writers, and directors to films. Desert Hearts arrived in , to be one of the most successful.

It received mixed critical commentary, but earned positive reviews from the gay press. In the film, a lesbian actress named Valerie, who was killed in such a manner, serves as inspiration for the masked rebel V and his ally Evey Hammond, who set out to overthrow the dictatorship.

The first stage production to feature a lesbian kiss and open depiction of two women in love is the Yiddish play God of Vengeance Got fun nekome by Sholem Asch.

Rivkele, a young woman, and Manke, a prostitute in her father's brothel, fall in love. On March 6, , during a performance of the play in a New York City theatre, producers and cast were informed that they had been indicted by a Grand Jury for violating the Penal Code that defined the presentation of "an obscene, indecent, immoral and impure theatrical production.

Two months later, they were found guilty in a jury trial. The play is considered by some to be "the greatest drama of the Yiddish theater".

A performance from The Prom was included in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and made history by showing the first same-sex kiss in the parade's broadcast.

Television began to address homosexuality much later than film. Local talk shows in the late s first addressed homosexuality by inviting panels of experts usually not gay themselves to discuss the problems of gay men in society.

Lesbianism was rarely included. The first time a lesbian was portrayed on network television was the NBC drama The Eleventh Hour in the early s, in a teleplay about an actress who feels she is persecuted by her female director, and in distress, calls a psychiatrist who explains she is a latent lesbian who has deep-rooted guilt about her feelings for women.

When she realizes this, however, she is able to pursue heterosexual relationships, which are portrayed as "healthy".

Invisibility for lesbians continued in the s when homosexuality became the subject of dramatic portrayals, first with medical dramas The Bold Ones , Marcus Welby, M.

These shows allowed homosexuality to be discussed clinically, with the main characters guiding troubled gay characters or correcting homophobic antagonists, while simultaneously comparing homosexuality to psychosis, criminal behavior, or drug use.

Another stock plot device in the s was the gay character in a police drama. They served as victims of blackmail or anti-gay violence, but more often as criminals.

Beginning in the late s with N. One episode of Police Woman earned protests by the National Gay Task Force before it aired for portraying a trio of murderous lesbians who killed retirement home patients for their money.

In the middle of the s, gay men and lesbians began to appear as police officers or detectives facing coming out issues. CBS production made conscious attempts to soften the characters so they would not appear to be lesbians.

Law shared the first significant lesbian kiss [note 17] on primetime television with Michele Greene , stirring a controversy despite being labeled "chaste" by The Hollywood Reporter.

Though television did not begin to use recurring homosexual characters until the late s, some early situation comedies used a stock character that author Stephen Tropiano calls "gay-straight": supporting characters who were quirky, did not comply with gender norms, or had ambiguous personal lives, that "for all purposes should be gay".

Recurring lesbian characters who came out were seen on Married The episode was instead the week's highest rated. Publicity surrounding Ellen's coming out episode in was enormous; Ellen DeGeneres appeared on the cover of Time magazine the week before the airing of " The Puppy Episode " with the headline "Yep, I'm Gay".

Parties were held in many U. Even still, "The Puppy Episode" won an Emmy for writing, but as the show began to deal with Ellen Morgan's sexuality each week, network executives grew uncomfortable with the direction the show took and canceled it.

Dramas following L. Law began incorporating homosexual themes, particularly with continuing storylines on Relativity , Picket Fences , ER , and Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine , both of which tested the boundaries of sexuality and gender.

In the fourth season of Buffy , Tara and Willow admit their love for each other without any special fanfare and the relationship is treated as are the other romantic relationships on the show.

What followed was a series devoted solely to gay characters from network television. Showtime 's American rendition of Queer as Folk ran for five years, from to ; two of the main characters were a lesbian couple.

Showtime promoted the series as "No Limits", and Queer as Folk addressed homosexuality graphically. The aggressive advertising paid off as the show became the network's highest rated, doubling the numbers of other Showtime programs after the first season.

The invisibility of lesbians has gradually eroded since the early s. This is in part due to public figures who have caused speculation and comment in the press about their sexuality and lesbianism in general.

The primary figure earning this attention was Martina Navratilova , who served as tabloid fodder for years as she denied being lesbian, admitted to being bisexual, had very public relationships with Rita Mae Brown and Judy Nelson , and acquired as much press about her sexuality as she did her athletic achievements.

Navratilova spurred what scholar Diane Hamer termed "constant preoccupation" in the press with determining the root of same-sex desire. Other public figures acknowledged their homosexuality and bisexuality, notably musicians k.

In , lang and self-professed heterosexual supermodel Cindy Crawford posed for the August cover of Vanity Fair in a provocative arrangement that showed Crawford shaving lang's face, as lang lounged in a barber's chair wearing a pinstripe suit.

Between and , Mademoiselle , Vogue , Cosmopolitan , Glamour , Newsweek , and New York magazines featured stories about women who admitted sexual histories with other women.

One analyst reasoned the recurrence of lesbian chic was due to the often-used homoerotic subtexts of gay male subculture being considered off limits because of AIDS in the late s and s, joined with the distant memory of lesbians as they appeared in the s: unattractive and militant.

In short, lesbians became more attractive to general audiences when they ceased having political convictions. A resurgence of lesbian visibility and sexual fluidity was noted in , with celebrities such as Cynthia Nixon and Lindsay Lohan commenting openly on their relationships with women, and reality television addressing same-sex relationships.

Psychiatrists and feminist philosophers write that the rise in women acknowledging same-sex relationships is due to growing social acceptance, but also concede that "only a certain kind of lesbian—slim and elegant or butch in just the right androgynous way—is acceptable to mainstream culture".

Although homosexuality among females has taken place in many cultures in history, a recent phenomenon is the development of family among same-sex partners.

Before the s, the idea that same-sex adults formed long-term committed relationships was unknown to many people. Unlike heterosexual relationships that tend to divide work based on sex roles, lesbian relationships divide chores evenly between both members.

Studies have also reported that emotional bonds are closer in lesbian and gay relationships than heterosexual ones. Family issues were significant concerns for lesbians when gay activism became more vocal in the s and s.

Custody issues in particular were of interest since often courts would not award custody to mothers who were openly homosexual, even though the general procedure acknowledged children were awarded to the biological mother.

They found that children's mental health, happiness, and overall adjustment is similar to children of divorced women who are not lesbians.

Sexual orientation, gender identity , and sex roles of children who grow up with lesbian mothers are unaffected.

Differences that were found include the fact that divorced lesbians tend to be living with a partner, fathers visit divorced lesbian mothers more often than divorced nonlesbian mothers, and lesbian mothers report a greater fear of losing their children through legal means.

Improving opportunities for growing families of same-sex couples has shaped the political landscape within the past ten years. A push for same-sex marriage or civil unions in western countries has replaced other political objectives.

As of [update] , ten countries and six U. The ability to adopt domestically or internationally children or provide a home as a foster parent is also a political and family priority for many lesbians, as is improving access to artificial insemination.

Lesbians of color have often been a marginalized group, including African American, Latina, Asian, Arab, and other non-Caucasian lesbians; [] and experienced racism, homophobia, and misogyny due to their many identities.

Some scholars have noted that in the past the predominant lesbian community was largely composed of white women and influenced by American culture, leading some lesbians of color to experience difficulties integrating into the community at large.

Many lesbians of color have stated that they were often systematically excluded from lesbian spaces based on the fact that they are women of color.

Many feel abandoned, as communities of color often view homosexual identity as a "white" lifestyle and see the acceptance of homosexuality as a setback in achieving equality.

Lesbians of color, especially those of immigrant populations, often hold the sentiment that their sexual orientation identity adversely affects assimilation into the dominant culture.

Historically, women of color were often excluded from participating in lesbian and gay movements. Scholars have stated that this exclusion came as a result of the majority of whites dismissing the intersections of gender, race, and sexuality that are a core part of the lesbian of color identity.

Lesbians that organized events were mostly white and middle-class, and largely focused their political movements on the issues of sexism and homophobia, rather than class or race issues.

The early lesbian feminist movement was criticized for excluding race and class issues from their spaces and for a lack of focus on issues that did not benefit white women.

The many intersections surrounding lesbians of color can often contribute to an increased need for mental health resources.

Lesbians of color are more likely to experience a number of psychological issues due to the various experiences of sexism, racism, and homophobia as a part of their existence.

Within racial communities, the decision to come out can be costly, as the threat of loss of support from family, friends, and the community at large is probable.

Lesbians of color are often exposed to a range of adverse consequences, including microaggression , discrimination, menace, and violence.

Category:LGBT culture. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Lesbian disambiguation. Homosexual woman. Further information: History of lesbianism.

Further information: Homosexuality in ancient Greece and Homosexuality in ancient Rome. Further information: Butch and femme. See also: Lesbian literature.

Further information: LGBT rights by country or territory. Further information: Media portrayal of lesbianism. Further information: Lesbian literature.

Further information: LGBT parenting. LGBT portal. Inhabitants of Lesbos claimed the use of lesbian to refer to female homosexuality violated their human rights and "disgrace[d] them around the world".

Retrieved on February 3, Faderman [], p. Faderman, [], p. The student's grandmother reported the teachers to the authorities, who were skeptical that their actions were sexual in nature, or that they extended beyond the bounds of normal friendship: "Are we to say that every woman who has formed an intimate friendship and has slept in the same bed with another is guilty?

Where is the innocent woman in Scotland? The view that Roosevelt's relationship with Hickok may have been sexual, therefore deserving of the lesbian label, created controversy among Roosevelt's biographers.

Faderman [], pp. I just loved Thelma. The compiler of the study reported on 23 of her colleagues, indicating there was an underground lesbian community in the conservative city.

Bullough remarked that the information was being used to support the attitude that lesbians were not abnormal or maladjusted, but it also reflected that women included in the study strove in every way to conform to social gender expectations, viewing anyone who pushed the boundaries of respectability with hostility.

Bullough wrote, "In fact, their very success in disguising their sexual orientation to the outside world leads us to hypothesize that lesbianism in the past was more prevalent than the sources might indicate, since society was so unsuspecting.

It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women. Kinsey, pp. Gates, Gary [October ]. King, p. As Freud's views were the foundation of psychotherapy, further articles agreed with this, including one in that asserted that homosexuals are actually heterosexuals that play both gender roles, and homosexuals are attempting to perpetuate "infantile, incestuous fixation s " on relationships that are forbidden.

Cochran, et al. She has been used as an embodiment of same-sex desire, and as a character in fictions loosely based on her life.

Castle, pp. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies , 4 3 , pp. Capsuto, p. Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. The authors of most medieval penitentials either did not explicitly discuss lesbian activities at all, or treated them as a less serious sin than male homosexuality.

The Old French legal treatise Li livres de jostice et de plet c. It prescribed dismemberment on the first two offences and death by burning for the third: a near exact parallel to the penalty for a man, although what "dismemberment" could mean for a medieval woman is unknown.

There exist records of about a dozen women in the medieval period who were involved in lesbian sex, as defined by Judith Bennett as same-sex genital contact.

All of these women are known through their involvement with the courts, and were imprisoned or executed. In the early fifteenth century, a Frenchwoman, Laurence, wife of Colin Poitevin, was imprisoned for her affair with another woman, Jehanne.

She pleaded for clemency on the grounds that Jehanne had been the instigator and she regretted her sins, and was freed to return home after six months imprisonment.

She was declared the victim of a "diabolical obsession" and placed in the convent's prison for the last 35 years of her life. In the medieval Arab world, lesbianism [note 3] was considered to be caused by heat generated in a woman's labia , which could be alleviated by friction against another woman's genitalia.

Between and Maimonides , one of the foremost rabbis in Jewish history, compiled his magnum opus, the Mishneh Torah.

It is the only Medieval-era work that details all of Jewish observance, and as regarding lesbianism states: [30].

For women to be mesollelot [women rubbing genitals against each other] with one another is forbidden, as this is the practice of Egypt, which we were warned against: "Like the practice of the land of Egypt A man married a man, and a woman married a woman, and a woman married two men.

Therefore, [one who does this] is not forbidden to the priesthood because of harlotry, and a woman is not prohibited to her husband by this, since it is not harlotry.

But it is appropriate to administer to them lashings of rebellion [i. And a man should be strict with his wife in this matter, and should prevent women known to do this from coming to her or from her going to them.

Female homoeroticism, however, was so common in English literature and theatre that historians [ who? In early modern England, female homosexual behaviour became increasingly culturally visible.

Some historians, such as Traub, have argued that this led to increasing cultural sanctions against lesbian behaviours.

The literature of the time attempted to rationalise some women's lesbian activities, commonly searching for visible indications of sapphic tendencies.

Despite the onlookers' failure to see anything unusual about the woman, the lion identified her as "no true Virgin". For instance, there was probably a lesbian subculture amongst dancers and prostitutes in eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Paris, and in eighteenth-century Amsterdam.

Laws against lesbianism were suggested but usually not created or enforced in early American history. In , John Cotton proposed a law for Massachusetts Bay making sex between two women or two men a capital offense, but the law was not enacted.

However, in in Plymouth Colony , Sarah White Norman and Mary Vincent Hammon were prosecuted for "lewd behavior with each other upon a bed"; their trial documents are the only known record of sex between female English colonists in North America in the 17th century.

Close intimate relationships were common among women in the midth century. This was attributed to strict gender roles that led women to expand their social circle to other women for emotional support.

These relationships were expected to form close between women with similar socioeconomic status. Though women developed very close emotional relationships with one another, marriage to men was still the norm.

Yet there is evidence of possible sexual relationships to develop beyond an emotional level. Documents from two African-American women use terms describing practices known as "bosom sex.

Late 19th century and early 20th century saw the flourish of " Boston marriages " in New England. The term describes romantic friendship between two women, living together and without any financial support by men.

Many lasting romantic friendships began at women's colleges. This kind of relationship actually predates New England's custom, there being examples of this in the United Kingdom and continental Europe since the 18th century.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries also saw an increase in lesbian visibility in France , both in the public sphere and in representations of lesbians in art and literature.

Fin de siecle society in Paris included bars, restaurants and cafes frequented and owned by lesbians, such as Le Hanneton and le Rat Mort, Private salons, like the one hosted by the American expatriate Nathalie Barney , drew lesbian and bisexual artists and writers of the era, including Romaine Brooks , Renee Vivien , Colette , Djuna Barnes , Gertrude Stein , and Radclyffe Hall.

One of Barney's lovers, the courtesan Liane de Pougy , published a best-selling novel based on their romance called l'Idylle Saphique Many of the more visible lesbians and bisexual women were entertainers and actresses.

Some, like the writer Colette and her lover Mathilde de Morny , performed lesbian theatrical scenes in cabarets that drew outrage and censorship.

Descriptions of lesbian salons, cafes and restaurants were included in tourist guides and journalism of the era, as well as mention of houses of prostitution that were uniquely for lesbians.

Toulouse Lautrec created paintings of many of the lesbians he met, some of whom frequented or worked at the famed Moulin Rouge.

The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations, when members of the gay i. LGBT community fought back when police became violent during a police raid in the early morning hours of June 28, , at the Stonewall Inn , located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan , New York City.

Political lesbianism originated in the late s among second wave radical feminists as a way to fight sexism and compulsory heterosexuality see Adrienne Rich 's essay Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.

Sheila Jeffreys , a lesbian, helped to develop the concept when she co-wrote "Love Your Enemy? They argued that women should abandon support of heterosexuality and stop sleeping with men, encouraging women to rid men "from your beds and your heads.

The Leeds Revolutionary Feminist Group definition of a political lesbian is "a woman identified woman who does not fuck men". They proclaimed men the enemy and women who were in relationships with them collaborators and complicit in their own oppression.

Heterosexual behavior was seen as the basic unit of the patriarchy 's political structure, with lesbians who reject heterosexual behavior therefore disrupting the established political system.

When elected she was in a heterosexual marriage. Lesbian feminism , which was most influential from the mids to the mids primarily in North America and Western Europe , encourages women to direct their energies toward other women rather than men, and often advocates lesbianism as the logical result of feminism.

As with Gay Liberation , the lesbian feminist understanding of the lesbian potential in all women was at odds with the minority-rights framework of the Gay Rights movement.

Many women of the Gay Liberation movement felt frustrated at the domination of the movement by men and formed separate organisations; some who felt gender differences between men and women could not be resolved developed " lesbian separatism ", influenced by writings such as Jill Johnston 's book Lesbian Nation.

Disagreements between different political philosophies were, at times, extremely heated, and became known as the lesbian sex wars , [65] clashing in particular over views on sadomasochism , prostitution and transgenderism.

The Lesbian Avengers began in New York City in as "a direct action group focused on issues vital to lesbian survival and visibility. Newsweek reporter Eloise Salholz, covering the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation , believed the Lesbian Avengers were so popular because they were founded at a moment when lesbians were increasingly tired of working on issues, like AIDS and abortion, while their own problems went unsolved.

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