Over a period of a few months, the BBC spoke to dozens of young lesbians in a country where homosexuality is illegal. They told us about their day-to-day lives and how they use secret memes to connect with each other on social media platforms and chat apps. We have substituted those images with that of a violet for the purpose of this report. The women are in high spirits, chatting animatedly, playfully sketching patterns on each other using body paint, and sharing a picnic.
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Sexual identity is a lot less rigid than you'd think. In recent years, celebrities like Amber Heard and Cynthia Nixon have made headlines for dating or marrying women after spending years in heterosexual relationships. Turns out the phenomenon has been going on for quite some time. The conference focused specifically on women who make these transitions at midlife or later. Once a woman reaches menopause and can no longer have children, having a male sexual partner is no longer as biologically important. Diamond has been studying sexual fluidity for nearly two decades and presented her research during the session.
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At an event earlier this year, I met two women who, as it turned out, were not only business partners but also life partners. They left their marriages and grown children in their 50s and have been together ever since. My curiosity piqued, I'm afraid I monopolized their time with my many questions. As someone who writes about midlife reinventions on my site, Next Act for Women , I am always on the lookout for women who have made major life changes, whether personal or professional, later in life.
A lesbian is a homosexual woman. The concept of "lesbian" to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation evolved in the 20th century. Throughout history, women have not had the same freedom or independence as men to pursue homosexual relationships, but neither have they met the same harsh punishment as homosexual men in some societies. Instead, lesbian relationships have often been regarded as harmless, unless a participant attempts to assert privileges traditionally enjoyed by men.