Hello! I'm here to explain why "bi/pan lesbian" is a harmful label.

First of all, it needs to be clear that the reason bi/pan lesbians aren't valid isn't because we hate their identity. The experiences they're trying to label are absolutely okay.

However, the specific term "bi/pan lesbian" does way more harm than good, and shouldn't be used at all. This is what I'm going to explain.

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What is a bi/pan lesbian?

There's no solid agreement on what the actual definition is. However, these are the most common meanings:

◦ A bisexual woman with a preference for women
◦ A lesbian who is attracted to non-binary people
◦ A lesbian who is attracted to trans women
◦ A homosexual biromantic woman, or a bisexual homoromantic woman

These are all harmful because of different reasons.

Lesbian shouldn't be used as an umbrella term

It's important to understand that men-attracted people being discouraged from using the word "lesbian" to describe themselves will not hurt them. They have many other words to describe their experiences.

If the term "lesbian" included men, sapphics who are attracted to men would have the bisexual label, the pansexual label, and the lesbian label. Sapphics who aren't attracted to men would have nothing.

Lesbian is the only term that non-men attracted sapphics have. All they ask is that men-attracted sapphics don't use it, because it's the only word they can use to differentiate themselves from them.

Having a preference doesn't make you any less bisexual

More often than not, the attraction bisexual people have is not split evenly between genders. There is nothing wrong with being bisexual and experiencing mostly sapphic attraction, and you are still bisexual even if you have a lean.

Being bisexual doesn't mean being half straight and half gay. Every bisexual person's experience is their own, and most of the time, this means having a preference.

"But, historically, the term lesbian has been used to describe all sapphics!"

This is because, historically, bi and pan identities have not been acknowledged.

Bisexuals and pansexuals used to be identified by the relationships they were in. For example, a bisexual woman in a relationship with another woman would be considered a lesbian, and a bisexual woman in a relationship with a man would be considered heterosexual.

These simplifications were grown out of as LGBT+ people created more spaces and labels to describe themselves more accurately. Bisexuals and pansexuals have fought for their identities to be recognized as unique. The definitions of lesbian, bisexual and pansexual have grown and changed.

Yes, lesbian used to be the term that described all sapphics, but not anymore, and that's a positive thing. Having more specific labels allows bisexuality and pansexuality to not be erased in common language, and it helps get rid of the pressure for bisexuals and pansexuals to "pick a side".

Terms like bi/pan lesbian reinforce that notion. If "lesbian" becomes more popularized as an umbrella term, it will only serve to further erase bi and pan identities.

Having distinct spaces for unique experiences is important

Bisexual, pansexual, and lesbian women share many hardships, but there are also differences in their experiences that make it beneficial to create distinct spaces for them.

For example, a lesbian will most likely have a different experience with compulsory heterosexuality than a sapphic who can experience genuine attraction to men.

"Bi/Pan lesbian" erases the distinctions between these spaces, which makes it more difficult to:
1. Create safe spaces for individuals discussing sexuality-specific experiences
2. Discuss topics relating to a specific sexuality
3. Seek out people with a specific sexuality-linked experience when in need of help

Non-binary people are, and have always been, included in lesbian attraction

Lesbians have always been attracted to woman-aligned and non-aligned non-binary people. They aren't a third gender; they're the only ones who can define who can be attracted to them, and if they're comfortable being included in lesbian attraction.

"Non-binary" is not a gender. Non-binary people don't share one gender. This means they're included in every sexuality and identity they chose to be included in, because they define themselves.

Loving non-binary people doesn't make you any less of a lesbian, as long as they decide they're comfortable being included in lesbian attraction. Non-binary lesbians exist, too.

Trans women are women

Trans women are women, and therefore they are included in lesbian attraction. There doesn't need to be a label specifying attraction to them.

Wanting to separate trans women into a different label of attraction than cis women is incredibly transphobic.

Transphobes have, historically, used the term "bi lesbian" to describe lesbians who dated trans women. It's not okay to bring that definition back.

The split attraction model

The split attraction model was originally used by asexual and aromantic people to describe their experiences. Many "bi lesbians" use it to describe theirs, saying they're biromantic and homosexual or homoromantic and bisexual.

If you want to identify as biromantic and homosexual, that's fine. It's not hurting anyone to label your experiences that way. However, lesbians do not experience attraction to men, even if you use the split attraction model.

Being a lesbian isn't just about liking women, it's also about not liking men. Not experiencing attraction to men is a huge part of lesbian culture, and if you are attracted to them, sexually or romantically, you are not a lesbian.

A homosexual and aromantic woman is a lesbian because they aren't attracted to men, even if they aren't attracted to women romantically. A homosexual biromantic woman isn't a lesbian because they are attracted to men.

Saying you're a biromantic homosexual is fine; saying you're a biromantic lesbian is not.

Lesbians are still lesbians even if they experience compulsory heterosexuality

A lesbian isn't any less of a lesbian because they've dated men in the past. Many lesbians experience comphet or otherwise are pressured by heteronormative society to be in relationships with men. This does not invalidate their identity.

However, if you are currently and knowingly attracted to men, the lesbian label is not for you.

Because of comphet, this can make it hard for questioning individuals to know how to identify. Some people aren't sure if their attraction to men is compulsive or legitimate.

This is okay! You can always try out different labels if you want to. But please, acknowledge what the identities actually mean. Don't combine the labels into a single identity.

Other labels to use

If you aren't comfortable calling yourself bisexual or pansexual, you can always use the term sapphic. It unites all WLW under one identity, and many people have been pushing for it to be more popularized.

Other terms that have been suggested (Will add more if I find them):
-Pink bisexual
-Bi/pan sapphic

You don't have to label yourself if you don't want to, and you can even make up your own terms to describe yourself, as long as you respect that other people need their own labels too.

Thanks for reading!
I hope I could clear things up for you.
Remember that your experiences are valid no matter what, but it's important to respect labels and what they mean.