1988 Advice for Straight Women Encountering Lesbians is Bonkers


Feast your eyes on a genuine relic from the late 20th century: “When You Meet a Lesbian: Hints for the Heterosexual Women.” It is a handout from a women’s studies class at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, circa 1988, and it is really something.

The document, tweeted by New York‘s Jody Rosen after a friend found it while moving, seems to be written for a population that believes lesbians are potentially hostile aliens from the planet Lesbos. Advice includes: “Do not run from the room. This is rude,” “Do not tell her it is sexist to prefer women,” “Do not assume she is attracted to you,” and “Do not assume she is not attracted to you.”

But the best is: “Do not ask her how she got this way. Ask yourself how you got that way.” Useful in so many situations, really.

The handout concludes with an assignment: “Pretend to be a lesbian for 24 hours. What kinds of things do you notice about how different this feels?”

See it in full for yourself:

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