Is the term “dyke” offensive?

Is the term dyke offensive?

You’ve heard the term “dyke” thrown around, but you’re not sure if it’s offensive. Here’s the truth.

Any term is offensive if you use it derogatively. But in and of itself, “dyke” is just a word like any other word… kind of.

In case you’re unfamiliar with lesbian slang, “dyke” is a word that refers to gay women, particularly those of us who are more butch or androgynous. In the past, this word was used as an insulting label to put down gay women. But in recent years, we’ve taken back the term (as a way to raise a middle finger to society), which explains why you may have heard it used in lesbian circles.

Dyke marches, for example, are protests that, like pride parades, give lesbians a safe space to raise their voices and be heard by the masses. The term “baby dyke” kindheartedly refers to a woman who recently came out of the closet, and a “granola dyke” (my personal favorite) is a lesbian who resembles a flower child from the 60s.

So is it offensive? No – just use it with compassion, and make sure the person or group of people you’re referring to aren’t offended by it. Communication is key, friends!