Girlfags are (more or less) female identified people who feel like gay men. Most girlfags were assigned female at birth.
They are attracted to gay/bi/queer men and gay-male sexuality but are not limited to this and can be attracted to more types of people and genders. Many girlfags dream of being in a relationship with a man – as a man. Girlfags are often interested in sexual practices associated with gay-male sex and/or in polyamorous (not necessarily sexual) relationships with gay/bisexual couples. Girlfags are often non-binary which means they identify as neither male nor female, but as something in between, both or something else. Girlfags can identify as cisgender, (cis)genderfluid, transgender or genderqueer. One way of understanding this identity is that girlfags are sufficiently “in between” the categories of gay and straight, cis and trans: not to call themselves straight cis women or gay trans men, although the identification as girlfag can be a kind of “interstage” for some gay trans men.
Guydykes are (more or less) male identified people who feel like lesbians. Most guydyes were assigned male at birth.
They are attracted to lesbian/bi/queer women and lesbian sexuality but are not limited to this and can be attracted to more types of people and genders. Many guydykes dream of being in a relationship with a woman – as a woman. Guydykes are often interested in sexual practices associated with lesbian sex and/or in polyamorous (not necessarily sexual) relationships with lesbian/bisexual couples.
Many guydykes are non-binary which means they identify as neither male nor female, but as something in between, both or something else. They can identify as cisgender, (cis)genderfluid, transgender or genderqueer.
One way of understanding this identity is that they are sufficiently “in between” not to call themselves straight cis men or lesbian trans women – although the identification as guydyke can be a kind of “interstage” for some lesbian trans women.
See also: Am I a girlfag or a guydyke? (Test)
What does it mean to be a girlfag? (by Ili)
On girlfags.com, the first website for girlfags from 2001, you could find a quite simple answer to this question:
[A girlfag is] a woman who is very attracted to gay/bi men. She may (or may not) also feel she is (fully or partly) a “gay man in a woman’s body”. Girlfags may identify primarily as bi or straight or lesbian, and are often attracted to more types of people than just gay/bi men.Quoted by Uli Meyer: „Almost Homosexual“ – Schwule Frauen und Schwule Transgender. Liminalis 1/2007, p. 74
“A man who is very attracted to lesbian/bi women. He may (or may not) also feel he is (fully or partly) a “lesbian in a man’s body”. Guydykes may identify primarily as bi or straight or gay, and are often attracted to more types of people than just lesbian/bi women.”
The description of the Yahoo group (created in 2000) answered it this way:
Girlfags are women who are very attracted to gay/bi men; females who identify with gay male culture. (…) Famous girlfags include Carol Queen, Jill Nagle and Anne Rice. (…) Do you dream of “hot bi boys”? Do you fantasize about watching or playing with multiple gay/bi men (do you want to honestly arrange such situations: either polyamory or swinging)? Would you smile to see (watch) your boyfriend kiss another man (or much more), fostering your own lust and/or compersion? Or do you just want to know that they like guys that way too, just like you do (monogamy)? Some girlfags feel like a gay or bi man in a woman’s body. (Note: Girlfag is not “fag hag”.)Quoted by Uli Meyer: „Almost Homosexual“ – Schwule Frauen und Schwule Transgender. Liminalis 1/2007, p. 74
Uli Meyer’s article “Almost homosexual – Girlfags and trans*fags” (2007) draws the line as follows:
This text is about those who were female assigned at birth but had “gay male feelings” some time in their lives. I don’t want to include those (…) who see themselves definitely as straight women, who wish to have a straight relationship with a gay man.Uli Meyer: „Almost Homosexual“ – Schwule Frauen und Schwule Transgender. Liminalis 1/2007, p. 59
It’s obvious that the focus has changed from the first definition to the last one by Uli Meyer. While in the beginning of the GF/GD movement the focus was more on the attraction towards gay/bi/queer men and sexuality, it’s now more important to talk about the self-view, feelings and (gender) identity. So it’s less about the question: “Who do girlfags feel attracted to?” and more about: How and in which way do they feel attracted to queer men?
More or less all girlfags that I met during the last years saw themselves in one way or another as a “gay man in a woman’s body”. The attraction to gay-male sex and queer men was a product of their desire to live out their own identity.
Janet W. Hardy, the author of “Girlfag: A life told in sex and musicals” for example describes her identity as a girlfag like this:
This experience is more likely to happen with gay/bi/queer partners than with heterosexuals. To be attracted to gay/bi/queer men is still an important part of being a girlfag, but the recent criticism from some members of the LGBT community who claimed that GF/GD are fetishizing homosexuals, showed how problematic the original definition can be. It sounds as if being attracted to M/M sex is what makes a person a girlfag – as if it’s the “cause” rather than one of the symptoms. Being attracted to gay/bi/queer men and M/M sex alone doesn’t make a woman a girlfag.
This is why in the GF/GD community we changed the original definition, so that it will fit today’s needs and ideas.
I want to reach people who identify (more or less) as women and who feel gay-male, who dream to be with men… as men, who feel (romantically and sexually) attracted to gay/bi/queer men.
So not women who just think that gays are hot and who love to watch gay porn, who want to have a gay best friend – or who think it’s a pity that their best friend is gay, because “gays are the better men”. For a girlfag it’s not a pity that a man is into other men – it’s a positive thing. They appreciate the queerness.
Attention: Girlfags are not fag hags!
However, there are some fictional characters that are presented as fag hags, but can also be interpreted as girlfags, as they not only identify with the gay subculture, but also feel sexually and romantically attracted to queer men – so the lines are blurry.
Examples are Debbie from “Queer as Folk” or Dani from “Sense 8” who is in something like a polyamorous relationship with the couple Lito and Hernando: Lito and Hernando don’t have sex with Dani, but Dani is occasionally part of their sex life as an observer and the relationship between the three has elements of a family aswell as romantic aspects.
See also: Frequently Asked Questions
What about guydykes?
As with girlfags the variety of who defines themself as guydyke is very large. Similar to girlfags, the question who guydykes feel attracted to is not as important for the identity as their self-view. Guydykes don’t want a heterosexual relationship with lesbian/bi/queer woman and are not (contrary to prejudices) interested in “lesbian porn” made for the male gaze. Guydykes dream of being in a lesbian relationship and wish that potential partners would appreciate and desire their feminine aspects. Many guydykes also report that they suffer greatly from the heteronormative ideals of masculinity.
Here you can find a list of resources (links, articles, videos) specifically for guydykes.
And since we mentioned pop culture characters like Debbie from “Queer as Folk” and Dani from “Sense 8” earlier, let’s not forget about Lisa, the lesbian-identified man from “The L-Word”.