By Emilia Marcyk
As you probably guessed, “celesbian” is a portmanteau of “celebrity” and “lesbian.” It usually refers to someone who is a famous lesbian, though can also refer to a celebrity posing as a lesbian for publicity, or spreading false rumors about their sexuality to gain attention. Wikipedia claims the term was coined in 2008, though a 1998 Cosmopolitan article entitled “Celesbians on coming out” predates that mention by 10 years. Visibility and use of the term seems to have increased in the early 2010s.
Uses of the word “celesbian” range from celebrations of beloved lesbian celebrities, as in this article from The Talko, to critiques of performing queerness for attention, as in this Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece and accompanying discussion.
Perspectives and Examples
Brink, Rebecca Vipond. “NY Post Declares That Hot “Celesbians” Are Totally On Trend.”
Cobb, Shelley, and Neil Ewen. First Comes Love: Power Couples, Celebrity Kinship, and Cultural Politics. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.
Duggan, Tim. “The dangers of fauxmosexuality.”
Elyafi, Mona. “Why the Word ‘Celesbian’ Reinforces Stereotypes.”
Ohara, Kelly. “15 Celesbian Couples Who Are Too Cute To Handle.”
Schwartz, Stef. “Gothip Girl’s Top 10 Most Important Celesbian Moments of 2014.”
Vaysburd, Karina. “Celesbians on Coming Out.” Cosmopolitan, vol. 225, October 1998.