Skip To Content
    Posted on Apr 30, 2015

    The Ornithology Of The American Lesbian

    The definitive guide to spotting lesbians in the wild.

    by ,
    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    As queer ladies navigating the complex world of identity and dating, we were starting feel overwhelmed by all the terminology.

    Who counts as a Baby Gay? What's the difference between a Soft Butch and a Hard Femme? Do we actually know any lumberjills?

    Learning the different and completely arbitrary criteria for all these labels started to feel a little like we were back in biology class. So we decided to put together this very scientific* guide to the many different varieties of lesbian that you may encounter. (Although we're still confused about which ones we are, tbh.)

    *Not At All Scientific

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Baby Gay Observation Notes:

    Fledglings in the community, these types are not easy to classify as they have yet to mature into their adult markings. Can be found on most college campuses or standing nervously at the entrance to a gay bar (which they are likely too young to enter).

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Pitbull Stud Observation Notes:

    Aggressive when mating, tender when mated. Can be seen wintering wherever you are, beautiful ;)

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Power Lesbian Observation Notes:

    Found in boardrooms and courtrooms and other places with an echo. Suits, attitude, underlings. Won't take your shit.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Gold Star Observation Notes:

    Has never once been seen mating with the Homo Sapien Male. An even rarer breed is the lone star (Sola Stella), a gold star whose breeding trend is to mate for life.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Stone Butch Observation Notes:

    Exhibits dominance in both courtship and mating rituals. Not interested in binaries. Will take a beer.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Pillow Princess Observation Notes:

    Can often be seen from below. Doesn't flip. Secretive and obscure, but common.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Lipstick Lesbian Observation Notes:

    Blends in effortlessly with the surrounding heterosexual population. Displays intricate patterns of preening. Easily recognizable from its bright and bold markings from Sephora. Usually above average height, thanks to ankle-breaking heels.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Soft Butch Observation Notes:

    Easily identified by tattoo markings, hair that is short in length, and a dapper aesthetic. Tends to be antisocial in winter, preferring to nest with a gal-pal.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Celesbian Observation Notes:

    Exhibits a profitable combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style. Summers in Montecito.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Hard Femme Observation Notes:

    Favors dark colors, piercings, and feminist theory. May attack if provoked or mansplained to.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Boi Observation Notes:

    Can be seen in the underbrush with an undercut.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Lumberjill Observation Notes:

    Can be found outdoors and around various campsites. Flannel markings can be seen for miles on a clear and snowy day. Fond of bourbon and beanies.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Shane Look-Alike Observation Notes:

    Nonmonogamous mating habits. Easily recognizable by their shaggy plumage, confident swagger, and knowing glances.

    Illustration by Lucy Bellwood for BuzzFeed

    Tomboy Femme Observation Notes:

    T-shirts and lipstick. Sneakers and lingerie. Often seen wearing glasses and still kicking your ass at sports.