A lesbian is a homosexual woman. The concept of "lesbian", to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation, is a 20th-century construct. Throughout history, women have not Lesbian so the same freedom or independence to pursue homosexual relationships as men, but neither have they met the same harsh punishment as homosexual men in some societies.
Instead, lesbian relationships have often been regarded as Lesbian so and incomparable to heterosexual ones unless the participants attempted to assert privileges traditionally enjoyed by men. As a result, little in history was documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality is expressed.
When early sexologists in the late 19th century began to categorize and describe homosexual behavior, hampered by a lack of knowledge about homosexuality or women's sexuality, they distinguished Lesbian so as women who did not adhere to female gender roles and incorrectly designated them mentally ill—a designation which has been reversed in the global scientific community.
Women in homosexual relationships responded to this designation either by hiding their personal lives or accepting the label of Lesbian so and creating a subculture and identity that developed in Europe and the United States.
Following World War IIduring a period of social repression when governments actively persecuted homosexuals, women developed networks to socialize with and educate each other.
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Greater economic and social freedom allowed them gradually to be able to determine how they could form relationships and families. With second wave Lesbian so and growth of scholarship in women's history and sexuality Lesbian so the 20th century, the definition of lesbian broadened, sparking a debate about sexual desire as the major component to define what a lesbian is.
Some women who engage in same-sex sexual activity may reject not only identifying as lesbians but as bisexual as well, while other women's self-identification as lesbian may not align with their sexual orientation or sexual behavior. Sexual identity is not necessarily the same as one's sexual orientation or sexual behavior, due to various reasons, such as the fear of identifying their sexual orientation in a homophobic setting.
Portrayals of lesbians in the media suggest that society at large has been simultaneously intrigued and threatened by women who challenge feminine gender roles, and fascinated and appalled with women who are romantically involved with other women. Lesbian so who adopt a lesbian identity share experiences that form an outlook similar to an ethnic identity: As women, they face concerns separate from men.
Lesbians may encounter distinct physical or mental health concerns arising from discrimination, prejudiceand minority Lesbian so. Political conditions and social attitudes also affect the formation of lesbian relationships and families in open.
She focused on the beauty of women and proclaimed her love for girls. In Lesbian so Charles Swinburne 's poem Sapphics the term "lesbian" appears twice but capitalized both times after twice mentioning the island of Lesbos, and so could be construed to mean 'from the island of Lesbos'.
The terms lesbianinvert and homosexual were interchangeable with sapphist and sapphism around the turn of the 20th century. The development of medical knowledge was a significant factor in further connotations of the term lesbian. In the middle of the 19th century, medical writers attempted to establish ways to identify male homosexuality, which was considered a significant social problem in most Western societies.
In categorizing behavior that indicated what was referred to as " inversion " by German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeldresearchers categorized what was normal sexual behavior for men and women, and therefore to what extent men and women varied from the "perfect male sexual type" and the "perfect female sexual type".
Far less literature focused on female homosexual behavior than on male homosexuality, as medical professionals did not consider it a significant problem. In some cases, it was not acknowledged Lesbian so exist. However, sexologists Richard von Krafft-Ebing from Germany, and Britain's Lesbian so Ellis wrote some of the earliest and more enduring categorizations of female same-sex attractionapproaching it as a form of insanity Ellis' categorization of Lesbian so as a medical problem is now discredited.