Yes! You heard me correctly. I did not stutter or anything. Being a lesbian is a disease. So don't kill me just yet. Well, according to the American Psychological Association during the mid 1900's, that is. When the APA decided to make homosexuality a disease, or in this case, a mental disorder, they did not leave out the lesbians. Unfortunately, many people still think this is a disease.
Lesbian is a 20th century term describing the sexual relationship between two women. This does not include those who had fleeting encounters of experimentation. This term is used to describe the women who “reject man” and embrace the woman. But then again a majority of modern men would find this hot, or claim that the Lesbian just has not had the right man yet and propose themselves and their sexual prowess as the “cure”. The same thing could be said about the homosexual male, but hey, we are focusing on the woman today.
The term lesbian takes its honor from the women on the Isle of Lesbos (in Greek Lesvos). More specifically, Sappho, the most widely known Lesbian of Greek times. Who is the woman who we have been given the term Lesbian? Sappho was one of the great Greek lyrists and few known female poets of her time. She was born some time between 630 and 612 BCE (hey, I am Jewish after all). She was part of a new wave of Greek lyrists who moved from writing poetry from the point of view of gods and muses, to the writing about the individual, or person. She was one of the first poets to write from the first person, describing love and loss as it affected her personally. One brief selection of her poetry shows how she loved living, loved life, loved love, and love women!
For that girl, that beautiful girl; her dress's
clinging makes you shake when you see it,
And I laugh for joy.
My dear Lesbian friends, while Sappho was reported to have been married, scholars became suspicious when they translated the name of her "husband" as something like "prick-boy" (I know... laugh all you want at the gay boys you suddenly thought of). She was also reported to have a daughter name Cleis. She was also supposed to have hurled herself off a cliff into the sea out of unrequited love for some guy, but hey, that’s only rumor, or in this case, Greek drama (I wonder if she was the first Drama Queen)! It is even said when she leaped off the cliff, she did so while stating poetry and playing her lute (now really talk about DRAMA).
...slick with slime...
...Pollyana is satisfied...
Playing such music upon these strings
Wearing a dildo of leather...
Such a thing as this ... enviously
...twirls quivering expertly
...and has for a fragrance
This randy madness I joyfully proclaim.
Just remember ladies, this woman envied the love of women, just like you… 2600 years ago!
So, while the APA may think it was a disease, or thought so. While others say being a Lesbian is a disease (hey gay too). While the religious right will tell you its wrong, do not fret. Be proud of your heritage. Be proud a woman like Sappho was, especially when she was so out there when it came to expressing love. Be proud of the women who have identified as lesbian over the years and accomplished so much with their lives.
Whether you call yourself a lesbian, a dyke, a homosexual, or gay… be proud. Take honor in your heritage. And above all… be yourself like Sappho was!
Jason P. Ruel
Gay Lesbian Editor
For further reading, might I suggest the following excellent books: