History of GF/GD activism

Knowing one’s history as a queer minority is very valuable. Knowledge is useful to pass it on to the next generation of activists.
And it is a good basis for a discussion, for example, when people accuse us of being just a trend or a new phenomenon: then we can point to what came before us.
Of course, the history of GF/GD activism is much shorter than that of other queer identities. Nonetheless, there are also small milestones in our community.

!GF/GD activism may be young, but GF/GDs are nothing new!

The pioneer in sexology Magnus Hirschfeld described women who felt like gay men in 1920:

The bisexual women, who love feminine men and masculine women, relate to men in a homosexual sense. (Hirschfeld 1920: 206) A student who falls into this category who had a lot of masculinity in her looks and characteristics, while being completely “normal-sexual” since she only had erotic feelings for men, once told me not incorrectly “she felt like a gay man.” (ibid. 230)

Magnus Hirschfeld: Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes, 1920.
Quoted by Uli Meyer: „Almost Homosexual“ – Schwule Frauen und Schwule Transgender. Liminalis 1/2007, p. 73

There are also some historical figures that from today’s perspective can be interpreted as girlfags, like Katharine Hepburn, Carson McCullers, Greta Garbo or Vita Sackville West. Uli Meyer has written more about this in the essay “Almost Homosexual”.

Girlfag symbol, created in the LiveJournal Community
  • 1997: Girlfag as a concept goes back to the anthology “PoMoSexuals”
    •  Book description: “PoMoSexual: the queer erotic reality beyond the boundaries of gender, separatism, and essentialist notions of sexual orientation.”
    • Editor Carol Queen (bisexual activist) and Jill Nagle (feminist, sexwork activist) wrote essays about their gay-male desires.
  • 1999: The term “girlfag” was coined by Jill Nagle (article in the “Curve” magazine)
  • 2000: First girlfag online community on Yahoo Groups, up to 3000 users
  • In 2001, the term “guydyke” emerged as guydykes were looking for solidarity in the Yahoo group, due to the similarity of the phenomena
  • 2001: First website for girlfags www.girlfags.com (Clare)
  • 2003: Girlfags community on LiveJournal
  • 2006: Three girlfags came to Tyra Banks’ talk show (Bianca, Sarah, Clare)
  • 2007: First academic article explicitly on girlfags and transfags (Uli Meyer)
  • 2008: First German website for girlfags and guydykes, moved in 2013 to the domain: www.girlfags.jimdo.com (Ili)
  • 2012: German discussion board for GF/GD was founded
  • 2012: Autobiography by Janet W. Hardy: “Girlfag: A life told in sex and musicals”
  • 2013: The German queer zine Queerulant_in published a “GF/GD in focus” issue (initiated by Ili)
  • 2014: Regular support meetup for GF/GD in Berlin (Paul’a)
  • 2017: First feature film about a girlfag: “Mimicry” (Lars von Schuckmann)