JULY 18, 2005
OutcomeBuffalo > Columnist

THE MANY SHADES OF A RAINBOW - From both the Gay & Lesbian Perspective

Let's face it. Lesbians come in all sorts of colors - from femme to butch and everything else in between. However, I wasn't aware of this kind of categorization when I first came out, until a friend of mine teased me about being attracted to "femmes". Okay, I thought, whatever that means. Since then I've heard about a billion and one different names to describe this or that type of lesbian. So I did a little digging to see what the most common categories were. I talked with friends, looked on the Internet and consulted some magazines. Here is what I came up with. (Some of which flat out made me laugh!)

Butch Lesbian Generally wears her hair very short, can be fairly box'ish in build and/or muscular. She would never be seen in make-up or dresses, but can get away with it if necessary.

Tomboy Lesbian Otherwise know as the "soft butch." Usually athletic and can fluctuate between boyish and girlish styles fairly easily.

Sporty Femme Into athletics (obviously) and isn't afraid to sweat. Gets dolled up once the game is over and let's her hair down. Isn't afraid to show off her "girly" side.

Femme Lesbian Usually very feminine, very comfortable in dresses, make-up and styled hair. Most femmes are mistaken for heterosexual women.

Lipstick Lesbian Wears make-up and dresses in a very feminine manner. Some believe that the lipstick lesbian is experimenting sexually and will soon return to the safety of a heterosexual life.

Business Lesbian I'm guessing she's a Lipstick Lesbian in a business suit, probably very career oriented and into climbing the corporate ladder.

Political Lesbian (Manhater?) Rejects the patriarchal society and surrounds herself with womyn only. Pretty much wants nothing to do with men in general.

Wannabe Lesbian Most often found in colleges, dates men and has physical relationships with her roommates or friends. When one of her roommates/friends falls in love with her, she will declare she is not a lesbian, cause well - she's not really gay. Crunchy-Granola Lesbian (Yes, I have actually heard this before) Pretty much a Tomboy who loves nature and is into camping, hiking, PETA, environmental causes and of course, Birkenstocks.

Some of these so-called (stereo?) types are a little ridiculous. But unfortunately they exist. In fact, the above list is just icing on the cake. Apparently, there are many more sub-categories that I haven't even touched on. But I don't think I'll go there. I'm still amused by what I've found so far.

When I was out with a group of friends not to long ago, we took turns deciding what type of lesbian we thought we might be. Funny thing is, we all came up with the same conclusion. Why do we need to label ourselves? It's quite obvious that everyone else does that for us. But we lesbians aren't the only ones who categorize. Friend and uber-gay socialite Jeffrey Folck gives us a look at the other side of the rainbow:

For as many lesbians as there are, there are just as many of their gay male counterparts, and with them comes a whole different set of classifications. Gay men also seem bent on "labels," be them on their clothing, or on themselves. I've found that some of the following terms can be applied to some people I know. Do any fit you?

Auntie An aging gay male, typically known to be friendly and fun.

Bear He's basically a hairy, typically larger gruff man.

Bear Cub The younger version of a bear, typically seeks guidance from a bear.

Chicken A younger, new-to-the-scene, typically attractive gay male.

Chicken Hawk An older gay male that seeks out Chickens.

Closet Case He's overly obsessed with not being "out."

Drag Queen Gay male that essentially becomes female (this term should have its very own set of classifications, such as Bag Lady - an ugly drag queen)

Fairy/Flamer/Femme/Queen An effeminate gay male.

Gym Bunny A gay male that frequents the gym and works out to improve his pecs.

JockBoy A gay male that excels in athletics; typically masculine.

Mother A typically older gay male that assumes a protective role over his younger gay friends.

Otter The slimmed down version of a bear; a skinny and hairy gay male.

Twink A younger gay male typically known for his looks, not his intelligence.

Upon going over these, I find it amusing how incorrect they can be. Surely, there are smart twinks, or effeminate jocks, yet there are no terms for these. I agree with Lyndsey... labels can be fun, but who needs them? —- Lyndsey D'Archangelo

Previous Columns by Lyndsey D'Archangelo
WANNA BE PLAYER August 2004
PAYING FOR LIVING RENT FREE September 2004
GRANDMOTHERLY ADVICEOctober 2004
CASTING MY VOTENovember 2004
NO MORE DRAMADecember 2004
TOO GAYJanuary 2005
THE U-HAUL SYNDROME April 2005
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?May 2005
THE MANY SHADES OF A RAINBOW - From both the Gay & Lesbian Perspective June 2005
BASKETBALL DIARIESJuly 2005
A TOMBOY AT HEART August 2005
YAY FOR GAY CORPORATE AMERICA September 2005
KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLEOctober 2005

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