Homosexuality was illegal in Germany, though sometimes tolerated, as some functions were allowed by the police who took the opportunity to register the names of homosexuals for future reference. During the 17th through 19th centuries, a woman expressing passionate love for another woman was fashionable, accepted, and encouraged. Many women took advantage of their new social freedom to try new experiences. However, by the term "lesbian" had such a negative meaning that the DOB refused to use it as a descriptor, choosing "variant" instead. However, postwar masculinization of women's clothing became associated with lesbians. In fact, these relationships were promoted as alternatives to and practice for a woman's marriage to a man.
Women had to broach the subject about their interest in other women carefully, sometimes taking days to develop a common understanding without asking or stating anything outright. Unlike processes to screen out male homosexuals, which had been in place since the creation of the American military, there were no methods to identify or screen for lesbians; they were put into place gradually during World War II. Combining Greek influences with contemporary French eroticism, she attempted to create an updated and idealized version of Lesbos in her salon. As women found each other, they formed into tight groups on base, socialized at service clubs, and began to use code words. In the s and s, however, the roles were pervasive and not limited to North America: As lesbian-feminists asserted, a sexual component was unnecessary in declaring oneself a lesbian if the primary and closest relationships were with women. Most women in the U. Bohemians —intellectuals who rejected Victorian ideals—gathered in the Village. Homoerotic elements in literature were pervasive, specifically the masquerade of one gender for another to fool an unsuspecting woman into being seduced. For a while, masturbation and lesbian sex carried the same meaning. Lillian Faderman argues that Western society was threatened by women who rejected their feminine roles. Berlin had a vibrant homosexual culture in the s: When British women participated in World War I, they became familiar with masculine clothing, and were considered patriotic for wearing uniforms and pants. The novel's plot centers around Stephen Gordon, a woman who identifies herself as an invert after reading Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis , and lives within the homosexual subculture of Paris. Speaking of homosexuality in any context was socially forbidden, and women rarely discussed lesbianism even amongst themselves; they referred to openly gay people as "in the Life". The sexual revolution in the s introduced the differentiation between identity and sexual behavior for women. Clubs varied between large establishments so popular that they were tourist attractions to small neighborhood cafes where only local women went to find other women. No historical documentation exists of women who had other women as sex partners. When they decided to make it a regular meeting, they became the first organization for lesbians in the U. During the 17th through 19th centuries, a woman expressing passionate love for another woman was fashionable, accepted, and encouraged. Bannon, who also purchased lesbian pulp fiction, later stated that women identified the material iconically by the cover art. Ancient Greece and Rome Further information: Women who appear on Greek pottery are depicted with affection, and in instances where women appear only with other women, their images are eroticized: Whereas sodomy between men, men and women, and men and animals was punishable by death in Britain, acknowledgment of sexual contact between women was nonexistent in medical and legal texts. These were members of the " third sex " who rejected the roles of women to be subservient, feminine, and domestic.
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