• Throughout historical time, “queer” has changed its meaning, yet always have referred to people, places, or things that are considered to be the opposite of the societal norm. Originally “queer” was used to describe something as “odd,” “strange,” or “quaint.” In the early 18th century, the term “queer” meant something was “bad” or worthless (Bronski, xvii).
  • Later on in the 1920’s, “queer” was negatively used as an expression for homosexuals. Today, some LGBTQIAPK communities have politically reclaimed “queer” to challenge the heteronormative mainstream culture (Bronski, xvii). 
  • Queer is an umbrella term that includes all sexual and gender identities within the LGBTQIAPK (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Kink) community (Serrano, 3).  


a homosexual women who loves other women.

a term coined by sexologist Havelock Ellis in the 1897, referred to the Isle of Lesbos and the home of Sappho (Bronski, xvii). 


a sexological theory that explains the result of same-sex desire is from a person’s reversed “physical, emotional, or psychological” gender (Bronski, 95).

Theories of inversion proposed the idea about a “third sex” or “invert,” and thus manifested stereotypes towards “the mannish lesbian and the effeminate homosexual” (Bronski, 96).  



Sexuality is a historical and theoretical identity category, expressed similarly and differently, throughout sexual systems within particular moments of time.

Sexuality is not a natural fact, rather a cultural and historical production that is imposed onto the body according to ideological discourse (Halperin, 416).

Sexuality is “what we find erotic and how we take pleasure in our bodies” (Stryker, 16). 

Sexuality is an endless intersecting “constellation of factors” that culturally inform people their understanding about sexual intimacy, desires, and activity. Bronski uses the terminology of sexuality to connect the past with the present, in order to comprehend the relationship between both (Bronski, xviii).

mannish lesbian

Society embraced this conception because sexual desire was seen to be masculine, so if a woman desired another woman, then is must be a trait of her masculine identity. Therefore, masculinity granted lesbian’s access to sexuality. During the early twentieth century, the image and reference of the mannish lesbian was used to demonize women who were active and outspoken in public politics, including suffragettes (Bronski, 96).