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Abstract

Though LGBTQ individuals, experiences, and communities have been increasingly recognized as valuable subjects of research, the existing body of research on and about this population is still significantly lacking. In a field so young and full of controversy, it is vital that research be done that gives voice and agency to LGBTQ individuals, their experiences and lifestyles. This paper will introduce readers to the concept of “female masculinity” and, specifically, the complicated relationships many lesbian identities have with different configurations of masculinity. I will introduce the concepts of “butch” lesbian identities and “femme” lesbian identities as well as their relation to one another. I will dispel stereotypes about butch/femme identities and behaviors, and explore some of the diversity of lesbian identities and gender performance in which gay women have participated within the community. Using existing research and scholarship on the subject of lesbian masculinity, this paper expands the academic discussion on the ways that gender identity is performed in lesbian spaces. I will explore and explain the current theoretical and empirical research related to the subject of lesbian masculinity, summarize contributions to this scholarly dialogue, and incorporate my own vision for the future of queer studies.