Your concern for lesbian visibility

The conversation seemed to start well.

But it didn’t go on well.

…”you drawing the lines of who gets to be one” – well if there are no such lines then what are we even talking about? What even is a lesbian?

This is laughably basic but apparently not everyone gets it – the reality is we can’t talk about anything if we don’t have common meanings for the words we use to talk about things. One broad hint at this state of affairs is that we can’t go prancing all over the globe striking up conversations with everyone we encounter, because the world contains many different languages, and it takes time and effort to learn new ones.

The word “lesbian” has a meaning. Lesbians are women attracted to women. That’s it, that’s the meaning. It’s not an issue of who gets to be one, it’s an issue of who is one, who can be one. It’s not a country club that the members can hand out guest passes to, it’s a word with a specific narrow meaning. Some words have broad meanings, like “beautiful” for instance. There’s room for argument there, and people do argue over what is or isn’t beautiful. Are the Sainte Chapelle and the Chrysler building both beautiful or do you have to pick one? That kind of broad meaning. But “lesbian” isn’t like that. It isn’t evaluative, it’s just factual. Men can’t be lesbians, because that’s not what the word means.

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