Greek Islanders of Lesbos Want the Name ‘Lesbian’ Back

A group from the Greek island of Lesbos, said to be the birthplace of the female Greek poet Sappho and also a huge holiday draw for girls who love girls, is taking the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece to court to stop them from using the word “Lesbian” in their name, saying that it usurps the identity of the island:

Lesbos_2“Three islanders from Lesbos — home of the ancient poet Sappho, who praised love between women — have taken a gay rights group to court for using the word lesbian in its name. One of the plaintiffs said Wednesday that the name of the association, Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece, “insults the identity” of the people of Lesbos, who are also known as Lesbians. ‘My sister can’t say she is a Lesbian,’ said Dimitris Lambrou. ‘Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos,’ he said.”

Said Dimitris Lambrou, one of the plaintiffs: “My sister can’t say she is a Lesbian. Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos. This is not an aggressive act against gay women. Let them visit Lesbos and get married and whatever they like. We just want (the group) to remove the word lesbian from their title…We have been Lesbians for thousands of years.”

Now there’s a Sisyphean pursuit if I’ve ever heard of one.


  1. Cory says

    “My sister can’t say she is a Lesbian. Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos.”

    Ahahahahahahahahahahaha… Oh, wow… Just… wow… Is this going to be on Judge Judy?

  2. Joey says

    What about the countless lesbians who will forever be confused with Greeks? Who is looking out for them?

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    Agreed DAVIDD & CORY,

    As good-looking as Greeks are, they don’t have anything better to do with their time.

    Two of my friends went to Greece a few years ago, and had a ball… had lots of balls (you don’t have to put a condom on balls). Of course, they were “queens” not Lesbians (actually, they were gay men. They’d be angry if they knew I called them “queens”…who cares?)

  4. Red says

    “Now there’s a Sisyphean pursuit if I’ve ever heard of one.”

    I hope they get that joke out in the Styx! :)

  5. mike_in_lancaster says

    We get the joke out here in the “Styx”/sticks, but its definitely an uphill battle.

  6. Chris says

    Maybe Lesbians have no connection but the word has. He should go back to school. But as I know modern Greeks they do ignore that part of their history.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    Thanks, RED, the stone just keeps a rollin’ and they have nothin’ to do with their time.

    But you know, RED, I was called a Sisyphean years ago way down in Georgia. I just thought the effemiphobic fool had a speech impediment. Now, I understand. And people think folks from way down south aint sophisticated.

  8. Rad says

    Interesting read… and coincidentally, I am off for a weekend at Gay Head on Martha’s Vineyard.

  9. Marco says

    In San Francisco, many of our Saphhic sisters have begun a movement to be called “Gayelle”. Let the Lesbos islanders have their nominclature, the girls have already moved on.

  10. DCN says

    They should definitely take “lesbian” out of their name, or change “homosexual” to “gay,” since lesbians are homosexuals. Unless there’s a translation issue…

  11. Wil Barrow says

    Impressive reference to Sisyphus Andy…is there a classical education in there somewhere?

  12. GV says

    Maybe that guy and his sister can clarify introductions by refering to themselves as “heterosexual Lesbians.”
    I’ve never liked the word “Lesbian” anyway. I agree with Ellen that sounds like a disease, and I don’t see why gay women should be singled out by sex. Expressions like “gay and lesbian” and “homosexual and lesbian” sound to me like a parallel to “doctors and women doctors” or “people and women.”

  13. nic says

    i came to this conversation late, but i have a suggestion. if dimitri’s sister is a heterosexual, she could say, “i am a lesbian, but not in a good way.” otherwise, i like the “lesbosian” suggestion. what about lesbotarian or indigi-lesbo?

  14. Caligula says

    I am from Greece and I have not heard much about this story, but I do know that there has been a surge in Hellenistic nationalism in Greece the last few years. First with Macedonia, Lesbos and even feta cheese. We actually won the feta case in the EU courts. I can see why they are complaining. When you here Greeks say “lesbia”, it is confusing to what they are referring to. If there were a nation called “gay” it would be the same thing. I think this is quite silly and I am not at all concerned. I am concerned with the Macedonia issue which could result in a confrontation with our neighbours.