Thursday, June 12, 2008

Will the real Lesbians please stand up?

Residents of the island of Lesbos have lodged a suit in the Greek courts to have exclusive rights to use the adjective "Lesbian" to describe themselves. In the BBC World news coverage, reporters interviewed several "male Lesbians who are married to women". The residents of Lesbos say that the word "Lesbian" as it is used to describe homosexual women, insults them. Protesters have unfurled banners saying "If you are not from Lesbos, you aren't Lesbian", "Proud to be Lesbian and straight!"

The most famous Lesbian is a woman poet named Sappho who in her poetry expressed her love for women. The adjective "lesbian"comes from the name of her island. So that's the reason why the residents of Lesbos are up in arms.

Perhaps a compromise can be had. Lesbos residents can have "Lesbian" and homosexual women can have the more accurate Victorian term "Sapphist" to describe themselves. That word fell out of use in the early 20th century. By the 1930s the word lesbian replaced it.

But the word "Sapphist" is so close to "Sapper"! Will sapphist sappers be sent to defuse mines in Afghanistan?

Or the islanders can call themselves "Lesbosers"or "Lesbosians" and the female homosexuals can call themselves "Lesbians"

Some commentators say that if the Lesbos islanders win their suit, they can file a case with the EU and other international courts and win it.

It may even embolden and inspire happy people and middle aged bachelors to reappropriate the word "gay" from the homosexuals.

After all happy people have the right to call themselves "gay". It would be a riot to see the a banner that says "Proud to be gay and heterosexual" , "If you aren't happy, then you aren't gay!"

Bachelors in their 40s should be happy if that happens. They had traditionally been called "gay"not because they are homosexuals but because they attract and bring to bed beautiful women!

Now should heterosexual middle aged unmarried men fight for their right to be "gay"?

Isn't "gay marriage" a nice thing? Two happy people of the opposite sex getting married and staying happy till the end of their lives?

BTW the word "gay" began to get its present meaning at about the same time "sapphist" fell out of use.

2 comments:

amateur misanthrope said...

Lesbosian sounds good.

Weird people, these lesbosians. They even resent the tourism in their island. It's a mecca for lesbians, wanting to see their "roots."

blackshama said...

Well, fights over words really can make media attention. I only read about Lesbos in Lawrence Durell's books until now.

Maybe lesbians are cheapskate tourists. The Lesbosians probably realized that a family friendly tourist draw earns more.