Thursday, May 01, 2008

What's in a name?

Quite a lot if you have followed the row between Greece and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. However, this is not all. Now the natives of Lesbos are seeking to "stop a gay rights organisation from using the term 'lesbian'." They hope that this will be the start of a challenge to the use of the word world-wide.

The man spearheading the case, publisher Dimitris Lambrou, claims that international dominance of the word in its sexual context violates the human rights of the islanders, and disgraces them around the world.

I suppose if Hull gave its name to some form of sexual orientation I might have a view on it, though I wouldn't see it as a "disgrace" and it would be considerably better than what Channel 4 and a book called Crap Towns have said about us in the past. However, I think that these (upper case) Lesbians may be tilting at windmills. In the remote event of them being successful, what will the (lower case) lesbians call themselves? I don't think that Sapphic would meet with approval with the islanders either. Perhaps we could have an international competition for the place that would proudly donate its name. Any suggestions?

Thanks to the ever vigilant Will

Julie Bindel visits Lesbos and finds a more tolerant island than that represented by the right wing Lambrou.


hakmao said...

Disgrace? Pure bigotry and homophobia at work there.

[A]ccording to Mr Lambrou, new historical research has discovered that Sappho had a family, and committed suicide for the love of a man.

As if many lesbians don't have families and human sexuality is binary ... and there's always 'new research' isn't there -- just ask David Irving.

KB Player said...

"Perhaps we could have an international competition for the place that would proudly donate its name. Any suggestions?"

There's a place in Edinburgh called Dumbiedykes.

Anonymous said...

Even in the time of Aristophanes [ca 448-380 BCE] the women of Lesbos had a name for sexual raffishness. Liddell & Scott's Greek Lexicon gives 'lesbiazo', 'to behave like a woman of Lesbos, Lat. fellare.' I love the way they translate one dirty Greek word with another dirty Latin word.....