When early sexologists in the late 19th century began to categorize and describe homosexual behavior, hampered by a lack of knowledge about homosexuality or women's sexuality, they distinguished lesbians as women who did not adhere to female gender roles and incorrectly designated them mentally ill—a designation which has been reversed in the global scientific community.Women in homosexual relationships responded to this designation either by hiding their personal lives or accepting the label of outcast and creating a subculture and identity that developed in Europe and the United States.
A Greek and Italian were arguing over who had the superior culture.
The Greek says, "We have the Parthenon."Arching his eyebrows, the Italian replies, "We have the Coliseum."The Greek retorts, "We Greeks gave birth to advanced mathematics"The Italian, nodding agreement, says, "But we built the Roman Empire."And so on and so on until the Greek comes up with what he thinks will end the discussion.
Political conditions and social attitudes also affect the formation of lesbian relationships and families in open.
Little of Sappho's poetry survives, but her remaining poetry reflects the topics she wrote about: women's daily lives, their relationships, and rituals.
With second wave feminism and growth of scholarship in women's history and sexuality in the 20th century, the definition of lesbian broadened, sparking a debate about sexual desire as the major component to define what a lesbian is.