Speak Lesbian Fluently
Learn the buzzwords in the lesbian lexicon with this fun new web series.
TotallyHer Media’s AfterEllen (afterellen.com), the largest site for lesbian and bi women, has announced the launch of The Lphabet, a new original series that puts a humorous spin on Sapphic buzzwords. To assist you to understand the current state of play in lesbian lingo, 7 experts have been selected, and these comedians, writers and actors define and demystify (often with hilarious results) the key terms and labels that cause consternation, comfort, or comedy in the les-bi community. Each episode tackles one letter in the alphabet, and new episodes appear on AfterEllen.com each Tuesday. To get the lowdown on the lesbian lexicon I spoke with fellow editor-in-chief, Trish Bendix.
How did you come up with the idea for “Lphabet”—what was the light bulb moment?
There are so many talking head shows on television and so many times they will have only one queer woman, if any, involved and rarely queer-specific topics. I thought we deserved one of our own, where funny, smart lesbian and bi women could give their thoughts on phrases or ideas that are part of our community—things that are either said by us or about us, and how we feel about them. I wanted to come up with a good way to organize it all, and the idea of having it be alphabetical popped up one day, and the Lphabet seemed like a fitting name.
Why these 7 experts? What were you looking for in a commentator?
I am lucky enough to know a lot of comedians, actors and writers, so I immediately began thinking of the women I knew who would be ideal for the project after it started coming to fruition. I wanted to make sure that we were diverse in a lot of ways, from gender presentation to sexual identity to ethnic background, and the end result was so great because no one ever had the exact same answer. And that’s what I was hoping for because so many times lesbians/bi women are all seen to feel and think the same one way about things that affect us and our community. We’re individuals with our own experiences and ideas, and the seven women who were part of The Lphabet’s first round are great proof of that.
Narrowing the vocab down to 2 words per letter seems tough. What words did NOT make the cut?
It was really tough for some letters. “B” has so many—we could have done anything from “beersexual” to “bi-curious” to “Biebian.” But for others like “X,” you really have to be creative. (We cheated and went with “eX-girlfriends.”) So far we’ve only shot the first seven letters and are going back to shoot more at the end of this month, so we’re constantly figuring out the best two words to go with for each letter. The nice thing is that only going with two for now leaves it open to do more in the future. We could just keep doing The Lphabet until we all stop creating new ways of communicating things to ourselves, which would obviously be never. We’re such a creative community, us queers!
Can you nominate a couple of your favorites?
I look forward to filming the “U is for U-hauling” segment. Also I really enjoyed seeing all of the participant’s baby dyke photos when we did “B is for Baby Dyke”—all kinds of amazing looks and fashion fads!
Anything completely surprising for readers or words you'd actually never heard of? And what do you have for ‘z’!
Some words that I haven’t heard but we are trying out: “Noodle” (had to look that one up!) and “Wusband.” I told the women that if they had no idea what a phrase was that they shouldn’t look it up—that their responses to figuring out what the hell it is would be just as good if not better because it’s not like we’re all immediately aware of what all the lingo means as soon as we come out. It’s a constant learning process, being a lesbian, and half the time it’s pretty hilarious.
To watch all episodes of The Lphabet, visit: http://www.afterellen.com/tag/the-lphabet/