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Sexuality

  • ... albinos aren't reproached for having pink eyes and whitish hair, why should they hold it again me for being a lesbian? It's a question of nature: my queerness isn't a vice, isn't 'deliberate,' and harms no one.

  • ... if you removed all of the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would be pretty much left with Let's Make a Deal.

  • I'm a heterosexual. I don't know why I'm like this. I was just born this way.

    • Roseanne Barr,
    • in Geraldine Barr with Ted Schwarz, My Sister Roseanne ()
  • They say lesbians hate men. How can they? They don't have to fuck them.

    • Roseanne Barr,
    • in Geraldine Barr with Ted Schwarz, My Sister Roseanne ()
  • ... being homosexual doesn't determine a man's whole character any more than being heterosexual does.

  • It is so true that a woman may be in love with a woman, and a man with a man. It is pleasant to be sure of it, because it is undoubtedly the same love that we shall feel when we are angels ...

    • Margaret Fuller,
    • in Mason Wade, Margaret Fuller, Whetstone of Genius ()
  • Oh, you mean I'm a homosexual! Of course I am, and heterosexual too, but what's that got to do with my headache?

    • Edna St. Vincent Millay,
    • replying to psychoanalyst who asked if she was aware of "an occasional impulse toward a person of your own sex," in Jean Gould, The Poet and Her Book ()
  • Once you know what women are like, men get kind of boring. I'm not trying to put them down, I mean I like them sometimes as people, but sexually they're dull.

  • ... sex has never been private and it never will be. We perform the act in private but we must be public about the connection. Sex is how we pass down worldly goods. It's how we create the primary unit of our society, the couple. ... This rule applies to gay people as well as straight people. ... The community absolutely must know who is straight, who is gay, who is married, and who is single. Without that information we make painful mistakes and lose time.

  • If Michaelangelo were a heterosexual, the Sistine Chapel would have been painted basic white and with a roller.

  • Martina was so far in the closet she was in danger of being a garment bag.

  • I became a lesbian out of devout Christian charity. All those women out there are praying for a man and I gave them my share.

  • ... many lesbians were so far in the closet they were in danger of being mistaken for garment bags.

  • The only people who are queer are the people who don't love anybody.

  • As a Black lesbian feminist comfortable with the many different ingredients of my identity, and a woman committed to racial and sexual freedom from oppression, I find I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of self. But this is a destructive and fragmenting way to live.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "Age, Race, Class, and Sex," speech (1980), Sister Outsider ()
  • The love expressed between women is particular and powerful, because we have had to love in order to live: love has been our survival.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • in Joan Wylie Hall, ed., Conversations with Audre Lorde ()
  • The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Judy Oringer, "Anaïs Nin on Women," Ramparts Magazine ()
  • The suppressed lesbian I had been carrying in me since adolescence began to stretch her limbs ...

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Split at the Root," Blood, Bread, and Poetry ()
  • A woman / who loves a woman / is forever young.

  • [On gay men:] Let me say, a more artistic, appreciative group of people for the arts does not exist ... They are more knowledgeable, more loving of the arts. They make the average male look stupid.

  • The loves of women for each other grow more numerous each day, and I have pondered much why these things were. That so little should be said about them surprises me, for they are everywhere ... In these days, when any capable and careful woman can honorably earn her own support, there is no village that has not its examples of 'two hearts in counsel,' both of which are feminine.

  • Celibacy is not natural to men or to women; all bodily needs require their legitimate satisfaction, and celibacy is a disregard of natural law.

  • All coming-out stories are a continuing process. Strangers take a long time to become acquainted, particularly when they are from the same family.

    • M. E. Kerr,
    • "We Might As Well All Be Strangers," in Marion Dane Bauer, ed., Am I Blue? ()
  • Monogamous heterosexual love is probably one of the most difficult, complex and demanding of human relationships.

  • The time has come, I think, when we must recognize bisexuality as a normal form of human behavior.

  • Homosexuality was invented by a straight world dealing with its own bisexuality.

  • We're like the Evian water of the '90s. Everyone wants to know a lesbian or to be with a lesbian or just to dress like one.

  • Lesbianism has always seemed to me an extremely inventive response to the shortage of men but otherwise not worth the trouble.

  • ... she recently began contemplating celibacy ('Everybody's not doing it,' she told me last winter) ...

  • Georgeann, Rose-Johnny is a Lebanese. That's all I'm going to tell you. You'll understand better when you're older.

  • In itself, homosexuality is as limiting as heterosexuality: the ideal should be to be capable of loving a woman or a man; either, a human being, without feeling fear, restraint, or obligation.

    • Simone de Beauvoir,
    • in John Gerassi, "The Second Sex 25 Years Later: An Interview With Simone de Beauvoir," Society ()
  • Nowadays there is movement that wants to liberate male homosexuals, but female homosexuals don't have to be liberated — they always have been.

  • Without homosexuals there'd be no Hollywood.

  • Lesbian is the word, the label, the condition that holds women in line. When a woman hears this word tossed her way, she knows she is stepping out of line.

    • Radicalesbians,
    • "The Woman Identified Woman," in Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine, and Anita Rapone, eds., Radical Feminism ()
  • A lesbian is the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion.

    • Radicalesbians,
    • "The Woman Identified Woman," in Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine, and Anita Rapone, eds., Radical Feminism ()
  • ... I believe the transsexual urge, at least as I have experienced it, to be far more than a social compulsion, but biological, imaginative, and essentially spiritual, too.

  • I felt the unordinary romance of / women who love women for the first time.

    • Dionne Brand,
    • "Hard Against the Soul," No Language Is Neutral ()
  • Historically, this culture has come to identify lesbians as women who over time, engage in a range and variety of sexual-emotional relationships with women. I, for one, identify a woman as a lesbian who says she is.

    • Cheryl Clarke,
    • "Lesbianism: An Act of Resistance," in Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds., This Bridge Called My Back ()
  • For a woman to be a lesbian in a male-supremacist, capitalist, misogynist, racist, homophobic, imperialist culture, such as that of North America, is an act of resistance.

    • Cheryl Clarke,
    • "Lesbianism: An Act of Resistance," in Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds., This Bridge Called My Back ()
  • I was so excited to be able to say that I was a lesbian that I would shake hands with strangers on the street and say, 'Hi! I'm Sally Gearhart and I'm a lesbian.' Once, appearing on a panel program, I began, 'I'm Sally Lesbian and I'm a gearhart!' I realized then that I had put too much of my identity into being lesbian.

    • Sally Gearhart,
    • in Leigh W. Rutledge, ed., Unnatural Quotations: A Compendium of Quotations by, for, or about Gay People ()
  • The bisexual experience calls into question traditional definitions of the nature of sexual identity development. Fluid, ambiguous, subversive, multifarious, bisexuality can no longer be denied.

    • Rebecca Shuster,
    • 1987, in Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu, eds., Bi Any Other Name ()
  • I resent like hell that I was maybe eighteen before I ever heard the 'L' word. It would have made all the difference for me had I grown up knowing that the reason I didn't fit in was because they hadn't told me there were more categories to fit into.

  • What transsexuality emphatically is not is a 'lifestyle,' any more than being male or female is a lifestyle. Gender is many things, but one thing it is surely not is a hobby. What it is, more than anything else, is a fact.

  • ... the most grievous wrong of that day ... was to be found in the establishment of the celibacy of the clergy. ... This hideous doctrine of a celibate priesthood was maintained only by a constant struggle against the better and truer instincts of the heart.

    • Lillie Devereux Blake,
    • 1883, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • There is one thing new in sexual mores and that is today's bisexual chic. ... if you can't truthfully claim to be bisexual yourself, the next best thing is to reveal that one, or both, of your parents was.

  • Love between women is seen as a paradigm of love between equals, and that is perhaps its greatest attraction.

  • There's no gay way to brush your teeth, wash your clothes, or drive a car.

    • Judy Richard,
    • in Brandon Judell, ed., The Gay Quote Book ()
  • Women who love women, who choose women to nurture and support and to create a living environment in which to work creatively and independently, are lesbians.

  • Do you think a man is the only creature with whom one may fall in love?

  • Except two breeds — the stupid and the narrowly feline — all women have a touch of the Lesbian: an assertion all good non-analytic creatures refute with horror, but quite true: there is always the poignant intensive personal taste, the flair of inner-sex, in the tenderest friendships of women.

  • Are there many things in this cool-hearted world so utterly exquisite as the pure love of one woman for another woman?

  • I will be quiet, be still, and know that it is God who put the love for women in my heart.

    • Brigitte M. Roberts,
    • "Be Still and Know," in Naomi Holoch and Joan Nestle, eds., Women on Women 2 ()
  • If you swing both ways, you really swing. I just figure you double your pleasure.

  • Closets stand for prisons, not privacy.

  • The Pope runs all over the world condemning homosexuality dressed in high drag. Now I ask you!

    • Robin Tyler,
    • speech at the march on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights ()
  • If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work. 'Hello, can't work today, still queer.'

    • Robin Tyler,
    • speech at the march on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights ()
  • If you're straight then I'm crooked, but if I'm gay then you're morose.

    • Robin Tyler,
    • on her album Always a bridesmaid, never a groom ()
  • One of the first things a typical lesbian learns is that there is no such thing as a typical lesbian.

  • I truly believe that bisexuality is the natural human condition.

  • In this country, lesbianism is a poverty — as is being brown, as is being a woman, as is being just plain poor. The danger lies in ranking the oppressions.

    • Cherríe Moraga,
    • "La Güera," in Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds., This Bridge Called My Back ()
  • I do believe deeply that all human beings, male and female, are sexual beings, most likely bisexual beings channeled this way and that by cultures terrified of boundary crossings without passports stamped gay or straight.

  • If anybody wants to engage in any kind of sexual activity with any consenting partner, that is their business. Anybody can do anything they damn well please, as long as the relationship isn't exploitive. And I don't feel that legality should have anything to do with it. There are certain bodily functions of mine which I will not allow to be supervised.

  • In the heterosexist imagination, everything that gay people do becomes sexualized. They think that's all we're doing, and unfortunately, it's not. I wish that being a lesbian were as juicy as I think Jesse Helms thinks it is.

  • Because our society is so polarized between homosexuals and heterosexuals, the bisexual closet has two doors.

    • Loraine Hutchins,
    • in Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu, eds., Bi Any Other Name ()
  • The word [androgyny] is misbegotten — conveying something like 'John Travolta and Farrah Fawcett-Majors scotch-taped together.'

  • Where sexism and homophobia meet, you get a viciousness the likes of which you have never seen.

    • Sandra Lowe,
    • speech (1989), in Rosemary Silva, ed., Lesbian Quotations ()
  • I think it's interesting that when you play a lesbian, people ask you if you're a lesbian, but if you play a serial killer, nobody asks you if you're a serial killer.

    • Nora Dunn,
    • in Brandon Judell, ed., The Gay Quote Book ()
  • Heterosexuality is dangerous. It tempts you to aim at a perfect duality of desire.

  • We lavender folk spray up, spontaneously flowering in the color we had learned as an identifying mark of our culture when it was subterranean and secret.

  • The tribal attitude said, and continues to say, that Gay people are especially empowered because we are able to identify with both sexes and can see into more than one world at once, having the capacity to see from more than one point of view at a time. And that is also an Indian way of seeing.

  • The walls of the closet are guarded by the dogs of terror, and the inside of the closet is a house of mirrors.

  • Gay culture is far from 'marginal,' being rather 'intersectional,' the conduits between unlike beings.

  • I'm enormously less interested in whom you sleep with than I am in with whom you're prepared to die.

  • Since the beginning of the Movement, lesbianism has been a kind of code word for female resistance.

  • Feminism is the theory; lesbianism is the practice.

    • Ti-Grace Atkinson,
    • in Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine, and Anita Rapone, eds., Radical Feminism ()
  • I hate being called a homosexual because I don't feel that way. It really upsets me ... Being gay can happen in any walk of life, in any world. If you have one gay experience, does that mean you're gay? If you have one heterosexual experience, does that mean you're straight? Life doesn't work quite so cut and dried.

  • It's funny how heterosexuals have lives and the rest of us have 'lifestyles.'

  • All women are lesbians except those who don't know it ...

  • Bisexuality is not so much a cop-out as a fearful compromise.

  • We're here to talk today about everybodyexceptyou. We're working for the rights of everybodyexceptyou. The oppression of everybodyexceptyou has got to end.

    • Susan Carlton,
    • "This poem can be put off no longer," in Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu, eds., Bi Any Other Name ()
  • Gays have always been in the military. Alexander the Great was originally Alexander the Fabulous. A gay man invented C-rations. He claims he could never talk anyone into the cilantro garnish. Obviously, gays were not allowed to design the outfits, because we never would have stayed with the earth tones for so long.

  • [On being lesbian:] One pointer: don't come out to your dad in a moving vehicle.

  • [On being asked 'Are you still a lesbian?':] Are you still the alternative?

  • I'm not a one-sex person, and yet I hate the term bisexual. It sounds creepy to me, and I don't think I'm creepy. There are times when I feel downright romantic.

  • Celibacy is exhausting.

  • I claim emphatically that the true invert is born and not made.

    • Radclyffe Hall,
    • in Michael Baker, Our Three Selves: The Life of Radclyffe Hall ()
  • [On homosexuality:] Our love may be faithful even unto death and beyond — yet the world will call it unclean.

  • [On homosexuality:] You're neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; you're as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else; only you're unexplained as yet — you've not got your niche in creation.

  • Being queer is like being on a lifetime assignment as a secret agent in some foreign country.

  • Bisexuality invalidates either/or formulation, either/or analysis ... If you are free, you are not predictable and you are not controllable. To my mind, that is the keenly positive, politicizing significance of bisexual affirmation: To insist upon complexity, to insist upon the equal validity of all of the components of social/sexual complexity.

    • June Jordan,
    • "A New Politics of Sexuality," in Progressive ()
  • What tyranny could exceed a tyranny that dictates to the human heart?

    • June Jordan,
    • "A New Politics of Sexuality," in Progressive ()
  • I don't know what I am, dahling. I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic. And the others give me either stiff neck or lockjaw.

  • If homosexuality were the normal way, God would have made Adam and Bruce.

  • I don't hate homosexuals. I love homosexuals. It's the sin of homosexuality I hate.

  • [On homosexuality:] I'm more inclined [now] to say live and let live.

  • Our very strength as lesbians lies in the fact that we are outside of patriarchy; our existence challenges its life.

    • Charlotte Bunch,
    • "Not for Lesbians Only" (1975), Passionate Politics ()
  • Passionate love between women has always existed. In all parts of the world, through all periods of history, women have found ways to be together.

    • Becky Butler,
    • "A History of Lesbian Partnerships," in Becky Butler, ed., Ceremonies of the Heart ()
  • The lesbian is a mental energy which gives breath and meaning to the most positive of images a woman can have of herself.

  • Lesbians are the poets of the humanity of women ...

  • The lesbian is a threatening reality for reality.

  • A lesbian is a radical or she is not a lesbian.

  • A lesbian who does not reinvent the world is a lesbian in the process of disappearing.

  • What do I care if they love men, women or canaries!

    • Countess G.,
    • in Natalie Clifford Barney, Traits et Portraits ()
  • I don't consider my homosexuality a political thing. I consider it a sexual and spiritual thing. I only started going to political rallies to meet women.

    • k.d. lang,
    • in David Blanton, Queer Notions ()
  • There is nothing more engaging and amazing than a gay man or woman who is completely comfortable with his or her orientation and self. I've always loved being around queer people who refused to — saw no need to — feel ashamed or to apologize for what and who they are. Quite simply, they loved themselves. What a breath of fresh air that was after the dank, miserable odors of the closet!

  • [On gays in the military:] If we wanted to be part of an institution that is hostile to gays and women, we'd just stay home with our families.

  • If Lesbians were purple, none would be admitted to respected places. But if all Lesbians suddenly turned purple today, society would be surprised at the number of purple people in high places.

    • Barbara J. Love,
    • in Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love, Sappho Was a Right-On Woman ()
  • Once a woman is known as a Lesbian, both she and society often feel that no other fact about her can rival the sexual identification. ... No matter what a Lesbian achieves, her sexuality will remain her primary identity.

    • Barbara J. Love,
    • in Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love, Sappho Was a Right-On Woman ()
  • A Lesbian who consents to guilt for her sexual preference is her own worst oppressor. She accepts and internalizes prejudices and uses them against herself.

    • Sidney Abbott,
    • in Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love, Sappho Was a Right-On Woman ()
  • The Lesbian is one of the least known members of our culture. Less is known about her — and less accurately — than about the Newfoundland dog.

    • Sidney Abbott,
    • in Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love, Sappho Was a Right-On Woman ()