Signs That a Girl Is a Lesbian

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A lesbian is a homosexual or gay woman who is either romantically, sexually, and/or emotionally attracted to other women. This term is used to express one's sexual identity or behavior as well, not just her sexual orientation.

Whether you personally identify as lesbian or not, at some point you've probably wondered if a girl you met was a lesbian. Despite what you may have heard, there are no real signs to know if the person you have in mind is truly a ​lesbian or not. In fact, the only way to be sure is if she tells you directly.

Signs That a Girl Is a Lesbian

There are many stereotypes about lesbians—like how they like cats, don't shave their legs, or have radical politics. While you're likely aware that most stereotypes don't apply to all lesbians, many people still continue to look at certain attributes as signs that a girl or woman identifies as lesbian or queer. Additional stereotypes may include her:

  • Accessorizing with rainbow and/or LGBTQ signage (like pins, t-shirts, and belts). This may include more overt fashion, like a gay or trans rights tee, a marriage equality pin, or a hat that says, "I'm a lesbian!"
  • Dressing like a tomboy.
  • Having short hair or an alternative haircut (like a Justin Bieber haircut or a faux haux).
  • Having met you at a gay or lesbian bar, gay pride parade, or other related events.
  • Holding eye contact with you longer than others.
  • Sporting short fingernails. Women who have sex with other women often keep their fingernails short so they can be sensitive to their partner's body.

While there may be hints that a girl is a lesbian, there are no clear signs that apply to everyone all the time. However, some people are convinced that they have finely tuned gaydar and can bypass the uncertainty.

It's One Thing If You're Straight, Another If You're Queer

Straight people usually try to find out if a girl is a lesbian, but it's often more important for lesbians or bisexual girls to figure it out. For instance, this might happen when a teen is trying to see if she can come out safely to a peer, or if she's looking for a friend with similar interests. It might also happen if she's interested in another girl and wants to know if she has a shot or not.

One teen lesbian described her confusion,

"I'm a 15 year old girl and I have a crush on my close friend. I'm confused by the way she acts when she's with me. She touches me and flirts with me when she isn't around her friends. She invites me over to her place when her parents aren't home. I'm confused and don't know if she's really a lesbian."

Unfortunately, the "signs" described in this scenario aren't clear-cut. They could be an indication of this girl's sexual orientation, or they could just be a personality trait of an affectionate straight girl. You could spend all day looking for signs, or you could just come right out and ask her if she's a lesbian. Really, that's the only way to know someone's sexual orientation. It's understandable, however, that many people aren't comfortable outright asking.

When You Don't Want to Ask

Asking directly is the most probable way for you to get the answer you want, but there are always times where you just won't—and don't—do that. Instead, you could ask her some leading questions, like:

  • "So, what do you think of the latest marriage equality ruling?"
  • "Think you might join the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at school?"

Keep in mind that the answers might not prove to be anything conclusive, but they might be a good way to start a conversation about lesbian issues.

While a lot of the signs you might be looking for (like an interest in certain music, fashion, or political causes, for example) may be stereotypically associated with being a lesbian, some lesbians might embrace them and others simply won't. Lesbians, like straight women, have a huge range of interests and mannerisms; sometimes these passions and hobbies are related to their sexual orientation, but a whole lot of times, they just aren't. Muster up the courage to get the conversation going so you can find out if your friend is a lesbian, but be respectful if you feel she doesn't want to disclose that information.