Posted by: eshne | May 6, 2008

Only A Lesbian If From Lesbos?

Sappho Lesbian PoetI’ve just found a hilarious article – Who are the real lesbians? – about a guy who lives on the Greek Island Lesbos (home to the lesbian poet Sappho) who filed a lawsuit on 10 April against the Greek Gay and Lesbian Union with an aim to remove the word “lesbian” from the group’s name.

“It’s not an aggressive act against gay women,” Mr Lambrou said. “Let them visit Lesbos and get married and whatever they like. We just want them to remove the word lesbian from their title.”

In the world of Mr enlightened Lambrou you can only be a Lesbian with an upper-case L if you are “descended from the inhabitants of Lesbos.” If you are not a descendant then it’s lower-case l all the way.

I think the millions of Lesbians (Lesbian with a capital L, how wicked of me!) across the globe may have something to say about Mr Lambrou’s rather out-dated ideas. (And surely it also has ramifications for our much beloved The L Word? l Word just doesn’t work as well does it?!)

It’s taken me years to even semi-embrace the word “lesbian” as a term I use to describe myself – and I still find it doesn’t fit all that comfortably (see rant about when sexual identity can get in the way). But hearing that a silly narrow-minded man in Greece wants to take it away has suddenly made me feel rather protective of it.

I wonder if there is a capital-L Lesbian petition I could sign…. 🙂



  1. This guy needs to get a clue. There are many words that share a meaning with someone totally unrelated and we’re getting along just fine with those. I think he’ll be ok really… it irks me though that this assumingly white male is taking on the lesbians for some outdated and rather stupid purpose.

  2. i’ve seen a lot of blogs talking about this topic. this dispute over a name should not be blown up this way, everyone’s sensationalizing the issue probably because homosexuals are involved. that guy’s seems really juvenile too, the term lesbians has been used to mean either one of both parties and it was only now that he felt impeded by this fact.

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  3. So how are the males from the Greek island Lesbos called?

  4. Wow! That’s hilarious!

    Talk about trying to gain “ownership” of a word. It sounds like the “marriage” debate…who’s right is it to limit the definition of a word?

  5. What’s funny is that as far back as the 7th century BC, the Spartan poet Anacreon was using “lesbian” as the punchline for one of his humorous love poems: at the end of one he laments that the object of his affections is from Lesbos, so she’s “gaping after some girl.”

    Apparently the reputation goes far back, and can’t all be blamed on Sappho! Complaining about it now is like someone complaining about St. Patty’s Day perpetuating the stereotype of the drunken Irishman.

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