The L in LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian. What’s interesting is that the word Lesbian was not originally meant for women who love women. It is derived from the Latin root lesbos, which was the word for denizens of the Island of Lesbos. In Algernon Charles Swinburne’s 1866 poem Sapphics, the word Lesbian (capitalized) appears twice, meaning that they are from the Island of Lesbos.
Within history, there is very little recording in poetry, literature, or otherwise of women in general. There is also very less information about women-on-women love or sexual intimacy. Keeping this in mind, we know about Sappho, the lyricist poet from Lesbos.
Lesbos is an island where Sappho and many young women lived.
At this island, Sappho trained the many young women in social conventions and in educating them in the sciences. Similarly, pedantry is the custom of an older man taking in a younger man and teaching him the ways of manhood. There was no such custom for women, though the belief was that it would happen in Lesbos.
In 1890, lesbian as an adjective was used in a medical dictionary, to describe tribadism. It wasn’t until after German sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing began to use the word more often that it began to be used almost exclusively to refer to women who are homosexual and the act.
Women, although they may seem as complicated creatures when it comes to love and money, are really not complicated at all when it comes to their sexuality. Women identify themselves as women. Through history, both mythological and recorded women have struggled for acceptance from the male population to be seen as equals.
The word Lesbian, the derivative of Lesbos, came to be used to describe the love between two women, the identification of a woman who has sex with other women. Throughout history, we have very little depictions of women having sex with women. Although there is more than enough art on male erotica.
In history, we do have women that dressed and behaved as a men. However, most of those instances was for the betterment of the woman herself. Such as education in medicine, sciences, religion, and art. They did not dress as men because they were Lesbians. Although, maybe they did. We will never know for sure.
From the 1800’s, with the advent of women’s rights, more women came out as Lesbians. There were group studies, weekly meetings, newspapers and magazines created for the enjoyment of women. Most people think that only men took pictures in the nude for other men. There were women who did the same. It’s just not as well known.