Even if you aren’t a lesbian you’ve probably heard people use descriptors like “power lesbian” or “baby dyke.”
Sure, you might have an inkling of what each word means, but when taken as a whole you have no clue what those in question are talking about.
Plus, as a straight person, it’s really disrespectful to start using words like this at all, let alone with no understanding of what you’re actually saying.
Remember, this list is a broad generalization. Every person is different, we can’t (and shouldn’t) put everyone in an easy-to-understand box. This is more of a fun and sort of silly way in which lesbians refer to one another than some actual, real-life categorization system.
If you don’t know how to identify a person, talk to that person and find out what they are the most comfortable with. And know that every person is more than just a label.
Here are 13 different types of lesbians you need to know
1. The Activist Lesbian
The activist lesbian is characterized by her passion for social justice especially as it pertains to being a lesbian.
Butch, femme, young, and old, the activist lesbian can look like any other type of lesbian you might meet. She’s inspirational, passionate, and a lover of justice.
2. The Lipstick Lesbian
A lipstick lesbian, or femme lesbian, loves to dress in a highly feminized or “girly” manner. She is the kind of lesbian that wears skirts, dresses, jewelry, lipstick, elaborate blowouts, and more because these ladies go all out. You can find them lurking in Sephora or shopping up at a store.
3. The Chapstick Lesbian
The chapstick lesbian is the dividing line between a lipstick lesbian and a butch lesbian.
While butch lesbians revel in looking masculine and lipstick lesbians like looking ultra-girly, a chapstick lesbian (also known as soft butch) can go either way. She likes dressing up, but she’s equally happy in jeans and button-down.
4. The Butch Lesbian
The butch lesbian presents herself as tough, make-up free and masculine to one degree or another. This doesn’t mean she’s trying to look like a man, she’s just subverting your idea of what a woman should look like and looking hot as hell in the process.
5. The Stone Butch Lesbian
Stone butch lesbian is a butch lesbian (see above) who derives sexual pleasure from giving other women pleasure. She is a giver — not a receiver — so do not under any circumstances get that noise twisted, my friends.
6. The Boi Lesbian
There are bois in the gay community and the lesbian community. In the lesbian community, the boi lesbian is biologically female but presents as looking boyish. Bois tend to date older partners.
7. The Power Lesbian
The power lesbian is a lesbian with her life together! She’s the leader in her field, the top of the top. She’s the best surgeon, the best lawyer, the most influential policymaker. She’s all about taking on that head honcho role and crushing it. Think Tabitha Coffey.
8. The Hasbian Lesbian
A “hasbian” is a woman who once identified as a lesbian but now dates men and doesn’t identify themselves as being straight or bi. They were a lesbian, now they are dating a man, and who knows what the future might hold.
9. The LUG Lesbian
LUG stands for “lesbian until graduation.” This is the undergraduate lesbian-curious girl, who is finally exploring her sexuality and discovering that she is attracted to women. It could be a phase, but that’s up to them.
10. The Sport Dyke Lesbian
The sport dyke isn’t characterized so much as being attracted to other women as much as she is obsessed with her sport of choice. Not all lesbians are sport dykes, but all sport dykes are definitely lesbians.
11. The Baby Dyke Lesbian
The baby dyke lesbian is a fond title given to a woman who has just come out of the closet and started becoming a part of the lesbian community. She could be femme, butch, chapstick, or anything else, but for now, she is characterized by her newness to the scene.
12. The Femme Lesbian
The femme lesbian is a title for the lesbian who identifies as a woman and falls into the traditionally feminine mannerisms and style. Femme lesbians are sometimes mistaken for straight as they are very feminine and like to dress up and wear makeup and look like a straight girl, however, therefore sometimes they feel like they have to prove their gayness.
13. The Stud Lesbian
The stud lesbian is a butch woman or a non-binary person who is of Black or LatinX descent. Only Black and LatinX women or non-binary people can use this lesbian term as it’s a part of their community and not to be mistaken or meant to be seen as a stud if someone is butch. A stud and butch lesbians are two different types of lesbians and not all butch Black people are studs.
Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She’s an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.