my opinion on bisexual lesbianism
A/N 18 July 2023: This is pretty disjointed! I've spent a lot of time philosophizing over the stuff on this page and I fear that my presentation has suffered. I'll be returning to this page to add sources and clean up my sentence structure.

[cracks knuckles] time to bring up niche internet queer discourse.

i do not think you should call yourself a lesbian if you are attracted to1 cisgender2 men.

a core part of the lesbian experience is that we cannot honestly take part in the heterosexual contract.
it is important for bisexuals to recognize the privilege in being able to form honest relationships with cisgender men.

this is not to say that there are no downsides! biphobia is real. being read as heterosexual can steamroll over and erase nuances in you and your partners' identity.

i believe that this privilege excludes one from claiming lesbianism.

i have seen so many of my lesbian peers talk about how isolating it was to realize that they did not like men.
it is important that people struggling with their identity know that there are others like them, and we are called lesbians.
when those people seek out lesbian groups, they should be able to talk about their lack of attraction to men and connect with others who feel the same.

i do think we need a stronger sapphic community, for sapphics of all orientations to get together on the common ground of our queer attraction to women.
i also think it'd be disingenuous to suggest that bisexuals have not had or do not have a place in "lesbian spaces" (marches, bars, book clubs, etc). there are not and should not be gatekeepers for these spaces.

i have seen some bisexual lesbians define their identity as bisexual with a strong preference for women.
the idea that this somehow makes you less bisexual and more lesbian is something the bisexual community has fought against for decades. bisexual does not mean 50/50 attraction!
this is also very similar to what the political lesbians did in the 1980s. these women were not lesbians, but prioritized their bonds with women, and used that to appropriate the lesbian label.

many historical citations used to support the bisexual lesbian label are interpreted with a misunderstanding of how sexuality labels worked when they were written.
until very recently (the 1990s), lesbian and gay were things that you did, not things that you are.
bisexuality was largely erased and treated as illegitimate by hetero- and homosexuals alike. therefore, a lot of bisexuals would be considered lesbian when dating a woman, and straight when dating a man.
many of the folks who identified as bisexual lesbians did so because they were bisexual and in a lesbian relationship.
the lesbian and gay community at the time would not accept them as bisexual, so they had to put a qualifier of "lesbian". this was bad and biphobic! we shouldn't bring that back.

the term also has some ties to TERFism. TERFs use bisexual lesbian to describe lesbians who date trans women, supposedly invalidating their lesbianism.
fucking obviously trans women are women and a lesbian loving one is lesbian activity. in a similar vein of trans erasure, non-binary people are included in every sexuality. you can be attracted to women and non-binary people and still be a lesbian.

1not to be confused with sleeping with cisgender men in the present or past. there are lots of complicated reasons why this may happen.

2the line around trans men is set on an individual basis.
some trans men are okay with dating lesbians; others would be uncomfortable and feel invalidated by dating a lesbian.