14 things you should NEVER say to a lesbian

Ireland lesbians kiss

LGBT+ rights and awareness have come on leaps and bounds in much of the world in recent decades, but that doesn’t mean that all the battles have been won.

When it comes to the L-word there’s plenty of progress still needed, even among well-meaning members of society.

Two women kiss as they attend a rally of gays and lesbian

Two women kiss as they attend a rally of gays and lesbians in front of the Brandenburg Gate (Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images)

So here’s a list of 14 things often said to lesbians, frequently by straight men it must be noted, and the reasons why they’re so very annoying.

1. Who’s the man in the relationship?

This one’s really, really simple. Neither of us is the man, because we’re both women.

Lesbians sharing a kiss

Lesbians sharing a kiss (Click_and_Photo)

Now stop with the rigid and outdated ideas about gender roles and remember that women can exist together sans male figures or influences.

2. How do you have sex?

Despite how obviously intrusive and offensive this question is, lesbians are subjected to it quite regularly. Presumably, the confusing part is the lack of penis, being that some lesbians don’t have them.

If you really can’t figure it out (and we’re pretty sure you can, cough… it begins with *cl* and ends in *itoris*), Google it – or check out our handy explainer on the age-old, mind-boggling mystery of girl-on-girl right here.

3. Have you ever had sex with a man?

Some of us have been with loads of men, some of have been with one man, some of us haven’t been with any at all… what does it matter?

Sex under the shower

Sex under the shower (bialasiewicz)

Have you ever been with a woman?

4. How do you know you’re a lesbian if you’ve never done it with a man?

Ah, that’s why you asked the above question. What a clever thought! Oh wait, no it’s not.

Rodin's The Thinker (CC0 Creative Commons)

Just… think about it, okay? (CC0 Creative Commons)

How does a straight man know they’re straight if you’ve never been with a woman? Oh, you just know, do you? Same. IT IS THE SAME.

5. Will your friend be coming with you?

No, but my wife will be! Remember when same-sex marriage in the UK (bar Northern Ireland) came into force back in 2014? Yep, we’re allowed to get married now!

Delegates of the Greens cut a wedding cake in rainbow colors

Delegates of the Greens cut a wedding cake in rainbow colors (Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images)

Also, if I call her ‘my wife’, don’t then refer to her as my partner – you wouldn’t do that to a straight couple.

Partner is totally fine if that’s what we’re calling each other, though, or if we’re not married. Basically, listen to what I call her, then do the same.

6. You don’t look like a lesbian.

What does a lesbian look like? Half-phoenix, half-woman? Nope, we just look like people. Of course, what this actually means is: “You don’t look butch.”

Wife and wife - not wife and "partner"

Wife and wife – not wife and “partner”

Well, not all lesbians are butch – some are boyish, some are femme. Like everyone else, we differ.

7. You’re too pretty to be a lesbian.

Much like the above statement, this is offensive – an insult dressed up as a compliment.

Ellen Page

Ellen Page is not impressed with you

The implication is that all lesbians are ugly, or at least not pretty. Check out our list of famous lesbians and bisexual women if you’re not convinced.

8. You just haven’t met the right man yet.

No, you just haven’t met the right woman yet. See how this logic can be applied to almost everything?

Liz Lemon is equally unimpressed (NBC Universal Television)

Liz Lemon is equally unimpressed (NBC Universal Television)

9. Is it like being in a relationship with your best friend?

NO! Sure, we’re friends in the same way any other couple is – we rely on each other and have fun and all that, but, like everyone else, we argue and piss each other off.

Lesbians protesting in Chile

Lesbians protesting in Chile (Getty Images)

We don’t sit around braiding each other’s hair, drinking wine and eating chocolate. (Ughhhh.) We probably wouldn’t even BE friends under different circumstances.

10. If you like girls who look like boys, why don’t you date boys?

Well, if you like boys, then why don’t you date girls who look like boys? No? Cool. Same.

Spain World Pride

World Pride Madrid (CURTO DE LA TORRE/AFP/Getty Images)

11. I know a lesbian – I should set you two up!

I know a man – I should set you two up! Are we making this good and simple?

Belfast Gay Pride

A happy couple at Belfast Pride (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

12. But you used to date boys / had a boyfriend…

A happy couple in the park (DC_Studio)

A happy mixed-sex couple in the park (DC_Studio)

Here are some reasons why lesbians might have dated / slept with men…

  • She fancied him.
  • She fell in love with him.
  • She just wanted to.
  • Hetero-normative codes.
  • Desire to experiment.
  • Societal pressure to be with a man / conform.
  • Loads more reasons which don’t involve being straight.

13. I can turn you straight.

Only ignorant, chauvinistic homophobes say this. Also, you definitely couldn’t, even if you looked like Luke Evans / Zayn Malik / Idris Elba / Aidan Turner / Tom Hardy.

Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid

You are not Zayn Malik. And even if you were….(Getty)

Which you DON’T.


Fannies (Creative Commons)

Fannies (Creative Commons)

We’re not sure how many lesbians have actually been subjected to this, but my then-girlfriend-now-wife and I were innocently holding hands once when a man in a van drove past and shouted “FANNIES!” at us.

Good one, van man – you grasped basic biology.