No Lesbian Is an Island, Greek Court Rules

Greek court dismissed a request to ban the use of the word lesbian to describe homosexual women

A Greek court dismissed a request from residents of the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos to ban the use of the word lesbian to describe women who love other women, as reported in Reuters on July 22.

Three residents of Lesbos brought a case in June arguing that the word, when used to describe same-sex loving women, insulted their identity. Lesbos is the birthplace of Sappho, the poet from the seventh century b.c. whose work features infatuation for women. Recently, sex columnist Dan Savage told The Advocate that her reported penchant
for younger women made her the first lesbian cougar.

In its decision on July 18, the Athens court said that the word lesbian did not define the identity of the Lesbos residents, and that it can be used by LGBT groups in Greece and abroad. The ruling also ordered the plaintiffs to pay court expenses of 230 euros, or $366.20. Plaintiffs may appeal the decision in a higher court.

Lesbians from around the world gather at Lesbos, just off the Turkish Coast, and help to boost tourism to the island.

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