How is it possible that a woman feels “like a gay man” or a man feels “like a lesbian”?
Sex and gender are not linked to each other and neither is sexual orientation to sex, gender or gender performance.
Are girlfags and guydykes trans?
Many GF/GD are cis, but there are also many GF/GD who are trans, non-binary, questioning or gender-non-conforming. Many understand GF/GD as a spectrum between cis, trans, homo and hetero. Ili wrote about this topic here.
Is this a new trend? Or why else is everybody suddenly coming out as GF/GD?
The identities were formed after the anthology “PoMoSexuals” was released in 1997, where Carol Queen and Jill Nagle wrote about their gay-male desires. But we exist much longer: Magnus Hirschfeld, a pioneer in sexology, described women who felt “as if they were gay men” in 1920. So no, it’s not that new. There just wasn’t a name for it. One can read some historical figures as girlfags, too, like Katharine Hepburn or Carson McCullers. Uli Meyer wrote about this in the essay “Almost Homosexual”. (See also: This article about the history of GF/GD.)
Keep in mind that for a long time the concept of homosexuality did not exist, that people tried to “cure” homosexuals (and still do). They couldn’t believe that romantic love between people of the same gender exists. Remember that trans people were/are seen as weird or that transgender was declared a fetish, and so on. As soon as people started a movement more and more people came out. It’s the same with girlfags and guydykes. After a term was coined and after the movement started, many people suddenly realized what was going on with them. They finally realized that they are not alone. If you’re part of the LGBTQ community, you may know that feeling.
“Fag” is a slur. Why are you using it?
Okay, so some GF/GD are non-binary. But then why do you use terms like “girl” and “guy” that imply a particular gender?
Identity is a complicated matter and the diversity of non-binary people is also not to be underestimated. So there are genderqueer people who use neutral pronouns, others don’t. Some non-binary GF/GD use the terms, even though they don’t really like the “girl” and “guy”, while others identify to a high degree as “girl” or “guy”, but not exclusively. Still others are bigender and understand “guy” as a marker for male and “dyke” as a marker for female, in addition to sexual orientation. How non-binary GF/GD deal with their identity, how they use the terms and interpret them, may vary from individual to individual. But it’s clear that there is no contradiction to have a non-binary gender and to use seemingly binary self designations.
Do girflags only like gay men? And guydykes only lesbian women?
No, not necessarily. Many girlfags dream of a male partner who desires and appreciates their male aspects. When the right partner is found, it can be irrelevant if he identifies as gay, bisexual or even heterosexual. Besides that GF/GD can be attracted to various types of people and genders.
However, as GF/GD identity is about homosexual desire, it’s not a surprise that GF/GD are attracted to homosexual people.
It’s important to understand however that girlags and guydykes do not want to “turn around” anyone! We don’t want heterosexual relationships with gay men or lesbian women, but dream of being in a gay or lesbian relationship ourselves.
But for GF/GD frustration with finding a partner and rejection are inevitable!
That’s only half the story, as there are many GF/GD for whom it’s more important how they’re perceived and desired by a potential partner, than the person’s identity. GF/GD can also be attracted to other genders and types of people, not just gay men and lesbian women. There are GF/GD in relationships with (other) non-binary people. There are girlfags in relationships with bisexual men and guydykes in relationships with bisexual women and it also happens, that girlfags are in relationships with gay men or guydykes in relationships with lesbians, even if it sounds unlikely.
It should be noted that sometimes there may be attraction that (seemingly) contradicts with people’s sexual identity: Lesbians who have BDSM sessions with gay men are not so rare and sometimes erotic and/ or romantic tensions can arise between heterosexual women and gay men.
There are also girlfags who are attracted to other girlfags or girlfags, who are in relationships with guydykes.
Yes, GF/GD experience heartbreak and rejection: It can be very frustrating to have a sexual identity that complicates typical dating and getting to know potential partners, but this is not an exclusive problem of GF/GD.
Isn’t being a girlfag or a guydyke just the same as crossdreaming?
Being GF/GD is definitely very similar to the concept of crossdreaming. Jack Molay describes crossdreaming as:
The phenomenon that some people get aroused by the idea of being the “other sex” (relative to the gender assigned to them at birth). Since then the term has gained a broader meaning and is now used in reference to all kinds of cross-gender expressions, dreams and fantasies, erotic or not erotic.Source: https://www.crossdreamers.com/2014/08/crossdreaming-described.html
One can say that most – if not all GF/GD (who don’t identify as transgender) crossdream, since they dream of being gay men or lesbian women and have gay-male or lesbian erotic fantasies. Some GF/GD identify as crossdreamers, others don’t.
The main difference is that crossdreaming is something most GF/GD do but the GF/GD identity inhabits more (social) aspects such as the identification with gay, lesbian and queer communities and subcultures, the romantic, emotional and sexual attraction to gay/bi/queer men or lesbian/bi/queer women, the desire to be in a gay-male or lesbian relationship etc.
But isn’t GF/GD just a fetish? Aren’t you fetishizing gay men/lesbians?
On the one hand, yes: We find homosexual sex arousing. But aren’t gay men “fetishizing” themselves, too? Or lesbians? Or straight people other straight people? So what’s the problem if there are really some “straight girls” who love to watch two men making out? Is it worse than a straight guy watching a man or a woman make out? Or a gay guy watching two guys make out?
On the other hand, no: We are not reducing gays and lesbians to their sexual identity and no, we’re not objectifying them.
Of course it’s about sex – as well as homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality is about sex. But it’s not just sexual. It’s about more: It’s about who we feel emotionally and romantically attracted to. It’s about which (sub)culture we want to belong to and feel that we belong. It’s about our self-view, our struggle with gender norms, how we feel about ourselves and our bodies, how we want to be perceived by potential partners. In short: It’s about who we really are, deep inside. It’s about our self-identity as “gay” or “lesbian” and not just about how our potential partner identifies.
This is what Janet W. Hardy, the author of “Girlfag: A life told in sex and musicals”, has to say about this question:
Girlfags and guydykes are sometimes accused of objectifying gay male/lesbian sexuality — to which I answer, resoundingly, “Duh”: Sexual fantasy is inherently objectifying in that it tends to focus on a projected image of the fantasy object rather than on the entire, complex human being. But a well-behaved girlfag or guydyke, like a well-behaved person of any gender or orientation, does not project their fantasies onto non-consenting partners.Source: https://www.fairobserver.com/region/north_america/the-wonderful-and-confusing-world-of-girlfags-and-guydykes-99856/
But gays and lesbians are not all the same. Aren’t you generalizing?
We are aware that not all gays and not all lesbians are the same. Neither are all girlfags and guydykes. There are guydykes who could be called lipstick lesbians and/or like lipstick lesbians. And then there are those who are butch and/or interested in butches.
Among girlfags you will find those who are interested in twinks, bears or drag queens – or those who like the guys who are more “straight acting”. Some girlfags are visually indistinguishable from butch lesbians, some are binding their breasts, while others are more flamboyant and feminine.
Some GF/GD are not interested in the codes of the LGBTQ scene at all, they are simply interested in the dynamics of a romantic/erotic relationship between people of the same gender.
So: Some GF/GD generalize for sure – we are only human. But also many people from the LGBTQ community generalize GF/GD.
How do girlfags and guydykes have sex?
As with people of all sexual identities, there is no general answer: GF/GD have all sorts of sexual fantasies, preferences, kinks, etc. just like the rest of the world. However, all GF/GD share the desire to live out their gay or lesbian aspects in a sexual way – unless they are asexual.
Many girlfags satisfy their gay-male desires with sexual practices associated with gay-male sex, such as pegging/BOB (Bend over Boyfriend), anal sex, rimming, etc. Many girlfags report that they prefer the active, masculine-connoted role in bed. Many can’t stand heteronormative vaginal sex at all.
Other girlfags are more passive or submissive in bed, but this is not necessarily a feminine thing: They imagine being passive/submissive men. Some girlfags like sexual roleplay in BDSM scenarios, where they crossdress, get called “boy” or “man” by a male partner or are addressed with a male first name – even if they don’t use a male name in their everyday lives. Others are interested in threesomes/group sex with queer men.
Some girlfags don’t express their identity in the bedroom at all, but use a creative medium like homoerotic literature or comics to imagine themselves in the role of a gay man: This phenomenon is called “creative transvestism”.
It’s similar with guydykes: Sexual roleplay associated with cross-dressing is also popular among guydykes. Many guydykes report that they prefer sexual practices such as cunnilingus/oral sex over penetrative sex, and like to take the passive, female-connoted role in bed. Others are active and dominant in bed but identify with active/dominant women, not men.
Aren’t girlfags just Yaoi, Boys’ Love or Slash fiction fangirls?
No. Girlfags are not just Slash Fiction or Yaoi fangirls!
However, there is a overlap between girlfags and Slash Fiction/Yaoi fans (fujoshis): Yaoi author Sakakibara Shihomi described themself as a “gay man in a female body” in the book “Yaoi Genron” (1998) and speculated that many other Yaoi fans feel the same way. Some girlfags use Yaoi/Slash Fiction to satisfy their gay-male desires and to imagine themselves as gay men (creative transvestism).
Several authors have analysed the parallels between girlfags and fujoshis: For example Uli Meyer (Hidden in Straight Sight – Transgendering Gender and Sexuality via Boys Love) or Dru Pagliassotti (Are women who draw/read yaoi girlfags?)
See also this section in the literature list: Girlfags & Yaoi/Boys’ Love/Slash Fiction.
Aren’t guydykes just cis-men who want to invade WLTI-/lesbians-only spaces?
No, not all of us are cis, remember? Of course there are cis-guydykes, but they usually don’t go to WLTI-/lesbians-only spaces (WLTI: women, lesbians, trans, inter) because they respect the exclusion of cis-men. They rather go to open, mixed queer events.
Behind this question is usually the idea of a peeping tom or sexist guy who is looking for an excuse to hit on lesbians. Guydykes are very aware of that prejudice and therefore even more careful with their activities and presence in queer/lesbian spaces.
Even guydykes who are non-binary hear this question often, which is very hurtful, because it shows that their gender identity is not taken seriously and that trans/non-binary people who were assigned male at birth are seen as a threat in WLTI spaces. We hope it’s clear how transphobic that is!
Reading Yaoi, watching gay/lesbian porn or going to a queer bar does not make you gay or lesbian!
This is true. Most Yaoi fans would never call themselves girlfags. No girlfag says: “I like to read Yaoi, that’s why I’m a girlfag” or “I like going to gay bars – that’s why I’m a girlfag.”
We are not GF/GD because we do that, it’s the other way around: We do it BECAUSE we are GF/GD. A trans woman is not trans because she wears skirts – she wears skirts because she is trans. So, wearing skirts can be her “doing gender” – a way to express and live her gender identity. For GF/GD visiting a gay/lesbian bar, reading homoerotic literature, or seeing gay porn is a way of “doing sexual identity” – a way to express our sexual identity.
If you’re a woman who’s into men or a man who’s into women you’re simply straight!
Right and someone born with XX chromosomes is necessarily female, right? No… see?
According to the common definition of heterosexuality many GF/GD are heterosexual but a large part is also bisexual, pansexual, etc. and not all girlfags and guydykes are women or men but non-binary.
The common definition implies that a person of one sex who is exclusively attracted to people of the “opposite sex” is heterosexual.
Hetero- and homosexuality is just another binary besides male and female. Although many GF/GD are heterosexual according to the binary definition, it’s clear that this definition does not sufficiently cover our self-view, experiences, feelings and identity. Just like the gender binary does not sufficiently cover the identities and experiences of non-binary people.
Are there any famous girlfags and guydykes?
Yes. Girlfags: Janet W. Hardy, Carol Queen, Jill Nagle, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Anne Rice, Isa Genzken, Sakakibara Shihomi.
Guydyke: Eddie Izzard.
Is there a symbol or a flag for girlfags and guydykes?
Yes, several! You can find all GF/GD symbols and flags here.
Why are so many ressources on GF/GD in German?
Originally the GF/GD movement started in the USA, but after 2007, when Uli Meyer wrote the first academic research explicitly about girlfags in German, it inspired German activists to build a community and later the German director Jennifer von Schuckmann to make the first movie about a girlfag.
German-speaking journalists noticed the phenomenon and released more articles about it which again brought more attention to the topic and reached more people in German-speaking countries. This is why GF/GD is mostly visible in German media.