Changes in Lesbian identity in the 21st century

Curr Opin Psychol. 2023 Feb:49:101508. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2022.101508. Epub 2022 Nov 1.


A review of influential research on lesbian identity since the turn of the 21st century suggests changes in the experience and meaning of lesbian identity and community. The journey of adolescent women to lesbian identity is marked by an exploration of attractions and sexual behavior with people of different genders. Whereas some lesbians come to see their identity as immutable, others see it as fluid. With shifts in political goals and the dismantling of the gender binary, the meaning of lesbian identity is contested. The multiplicity in meaning and differences among lesbian women challenges a sense of belonging in lesbian communities, nevertheless, the centrality of lesbian friendship and networks of care sustain lesbians across their life span.

Keywords: Lesbian coming out; Lesbian communities; Lesbian identity; Sexual minority women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Friends
  • Gender Identity
  • Homosexuality, Female*
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Male
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*