One who identifies in whole or in part as a lesbian. Because of the diversity of experiences of individuals who self-identify as lesbian, the term encompasses a wide range of individual life histories, as well as genders. Primarily, the term embraces those with strong ties and history within the lesbian community who wish and does not apply, as rule, to male-bodied cross-dressers.
As well as female-bodied or transsexual women who are exclusively homosexual, the term lesbian-identified may encompass gynephile bisexual or pansexual trans women, or female-bodied bisexual or pansexual women, a group which includes some (but not all) and trans men of various sexual orientations, as well as those who consider themselves off the traditional gender spectrum. At the other extreme, some women may identify themselves as lipstick lesbians.
Self-identification does not always equate to acceptance. Often bisexual and especially trans women have felt somewhat marginalized from some facets of the lesbian community. Other lesbian groups, however, have fully accepted and welcomed them. The inclusion of lesbian-identified trans men within lesbian communities is sometimes called into question, especially when lesbian-identified trans women are excluded, for the reason that this practice implies the trans men are seen as still just women, while the trans women are not seen as women. This is like saying that gender identities contrary to birth-assigned genders are not accepted as legitimate.
- Julia Serano, "Rethinking Sexism: How Trans Women Challenge Feminism", AlterNet, August 5, 2008.
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