25 Pictures Of The Lesbian Internet, 1997-2007


hey clarissa, let’s meet up later on technodyke.com

The internet changed everything for a lot of marginalized, disconnected groups of human beings, especially the gay ones. Lesbians took to the web in droves and with great passion and enthusiasm, some establishing their own dykey webnooks but mostly creating pages and pages of links to various dykey webnooks. (Remember when Google didn’t exist yet and the only way to find what you were looking for was to wade through the corresponding Yahoo! Directory?) PlanetOut.com was the primary destination for internet LGBTQs for the first few years, even obtaining millions upon millions in financing which we’re not even remotely jealous of. Now, PlanetOut has been absorbed into Here! Media, which also owns Gay.com, SheWired, OUT and The Advocate.

The other day Laneia and I were playing lesbian website portal bingo on Wayback Machine for funsies and I thought we’d share some of these throwbacks with you. For the record, some of these sites still exist — AfterEllen, obviously, but also Lesbian.com is now under new ownership (very lovely new ownership, if we do say so ourselves), GO Magazine and Curve.

25 Pictures of The Lesbian Internet, 1997-2007


Planet Out – Feb 22nd, 1997


Girlfriends Magazine – Jan 10, 1998


Bad Attitude – Feb 10, 1998


Lesbian.com – December 12th, 1998


Anything That Moves – November 24, 1998


LesbiaNation – December 12, 1998


Women Loving Women Webring- Jan 17, 1999


The Girlie TV Network – April 16, 1999


Lady Lovers – April 28, 1999


Butch-Femme.com – May 5, 1999


[visit butch-femme dot com]

Planet Out’s Dykesville – October 4th, 1999


Gay.com – October 10, 1999


Girlfriends Magazine – October 13, 1999


Lesbian.com – November 3, 1999


Dyke Diva – November 28 1999


Dyke’s World – November 16, 1999


Dyke Test – January 23, 2000


click to enlarge

DykeDiva.com – August 17, 2000


Wishing Well – August 19, 2000


F2F Dungeon – October 14, 2000


Dyxploitation – June 5, 2000



Shoe.com – November 19, 2001


AfterEllen – June 1, 2002


AfterEllen – October 12, 2002


Lesbian.com – March 22, 2004


PlanetOut Women- September 19, 2004


Afterellen.com – December 10, 2004



GO! Magazine – July 14, 2007



OurChart- July 30, 2007



and then this happened…

Autostraddle.com – March 16, 2009


And here we are today.


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Riese is the 34-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City and mellowed out in California before returning to the Detroit area to be a grown-up. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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  1. Thumb up 8

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    Hah! I am so glad that I live now, it seems like it’s the best of times for being a gay girl (your own way).

    (I’m pretty much -30 gay, apparently)

    Also, lol at dyxploitation, the only one out of those (exception for AS <3, obvs) with any sense of humour.

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    Wow, the dyke test totally solves the mystery of femme invisibility: If you wear pretty tights, high heels, make-up, and when you own tons of nail polish, your score might turn out to be a negative number.

    It’s -22 for me. Which makes my crappy old bicycle and my fancy, fancy ass more invisible and less existent than zero… Interesting.

    Now, where is my Nobel Price? Or my honorary Sherlock Holmes badge or something? (I will also be fine with Lucy Liu licking across my face…)


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        no it’s ‘femmephobic’ because it seems to suggest femme women can’t be lesbians.

        Which is ridonkidonc as we all know.

        Context is probably rly important though, I feel you.

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        On the upside, it would seem “dyke” is not so stigmatized as it once was. Some lesbians would be offended if they were even called dyke let alone identify as one. And frankly, it was usually femme lesbians that were offended by “dyke”.

        So, I guess it’s interesting that it’s being read the other way around. Where dyke identified lesbians were once marginalized and stigmatized as “wanna-be-men” and radicals, now some think that expression of gender rebellion and resistance is being femme-phobic. Totally takes all the history out of it though.

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          No one is saying that *being* more masculine or gender-non-conforming is femmephobic. You do you. What people are calling out is the idea that being femme = not being a lesbian, which fuck that noise.

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            Unfortunately, that was the vibe I got when I came out, in 89/90. If you could “pass” then maybe you weren’t really in it for the long term. I’m glad things have changed.

            Of course, now I’ve come out as (theoretically) bi again. 🙂

  3. Thumb up 13

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    I can remember just being so incredibly grateful that there was ANY LGBT presence on the web circa 1997. It was huge. Even if there was no real information…it just existed…and that, at the time, was plenty.

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    Oh man, this is the best! I remember so many of these from when I was coming out circa 2006. There was also this really scary FAQ on how to have lesbian sex for the first time…I think it involved looking at your partner’s junk and whispering about how beautiful she was.

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    Such a blast from the past. I forgot all about PlanetOut.

    I got a 43 on the Dyke test. I would’ve gotten a higher score in the 90s though. I don’t have my 5 speed manual pickup truck anymore.

    Is Dyke even still it’s own identity? It seems like folks here believe it to be synonymous with lesbian or gay.

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      I think the term is generally accepted to be synonymous with lesbian nowadays, rather than relating to gender presentation. Butch and boi and masculine-of-center and so forth have sprung up to take the place ‘dyke’ used to hold.

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    Wow, this article makes me feel really young. I don’t think I ever did any internet surfing in the 90s. When I was a little kid in school we’d only use the internet to play supervised math games. I didn’t have a home computer till the year 2000 (when I was still in elementary school). The internet has really grown up! And so have I!

  7. Thumb up 2

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    There’s so much going on in the lesbiandotcom one from 1998. Boys!

    I got a 6 on the test, thanks to tattoos and sleepwear. My favorite question is: “45. Do your friends call you by your initials?” (The answer, sadly, is no. For now.)

    Great post. I’m glad we’re here today (winks forever).

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    Wow! Autostraddle looked so cool in 2009!
    …Not that it doesn’t look nice now, but that, I thought to look quite visually literate. I never had to use it, though, so I imagine this iteration’s probably easier to use. 🙂

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    I lived on the world wide web when I was a kid, so this post makes me ridiculously nostalgic… I was too young to know what being a lesbian was, so I never visited these sites but it’s soo interesting to see what they looked like!! My fav places were bust.com & gurl.com 🙂

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    Failed that Dyke Test miserably. Who the hell exercises to Jane Fonda & Richard Simmons? I know that test came out in 2000, but they would’ve played out even then. I think Tae-Bo was popular during that time. I remember Girlfriends magazine. I used to be so embarrassed to go up to the checkout with it, hoping the cashier wasn’t judging me.

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    This is so cool! And re:the quiz – I went and found page two out in the web, and got 13 which would make me a “Bumbling Bisexual” I’m apparently getting a lot of points for wearing my watch the way I do, and I have no idea why. Is the watch-face worn on the inner wrist a thing? Am confused. Also, I remember being a young thing stumbling onto Bad Attitude (I remember a slightly different page, but that could just be my brain) and wishing I could subscribe. I had forgotten all about that! Ah, nostalgia.

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    About the Dyketest… I wonder if, given the date, it means the gender identity “dyke” not dyke as in lesbian. A few of my friends who grew up in the 90s see “dyke” as pretty synonymous with tough, soft butch.

    If it’s not… then yeah. All the femme invisibility. And I’m a -44 lesbian.

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      Obviously! You better find yourself a men to marry, young lady.

      Or … Just turn your watch around, start working out (preferably outdoors), put a f-o-l-d-e-d dental dam into your wallet and purchase a fancy vehicle + some tools. That should be enough to make you gay again.

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    That skaterdyke website looks so rad.

    On a related note. I loved Geocities so much when I was a kid. I had so many accounts. The best site I made was one dedicated to female skateboarders that included very bad photos of me attempting to do kickflips and stolen images of Elissa Steamer.

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    after everybody scoring low scores in the dyke test i feel worried about my score i got 104… i guess i better start building that time machine to be sent back to the 90s 🙁

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    I feel like the “dyke test” is out dated and based on stereotypes. I don’t wear flannel or know how to change oil or drive a truck. But I do date women, kiss women, sleep with women and the male genitalia is not for me. So i guess I’m pretty much a dyke.

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    okay, the simple fact that any kind of bisexual community/support/pride/etc. existed on the internet as early as the 90s is kind of making me tear up because it’s so awesome

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    Everyone’s negative scores on the dyke test makes me question my 41… did I subconsciously cheat?

    My favorite part was definitely on Lady Love Personal Ads when Debbie from Upstate New York claimed that she was looking for a long term relationship but wanted to “take things slow at first” .. and she said this immediately after detailing the activities in which she and her partner would partake during the long term relationship. Slow at first indeed, Debbie. Slow at first indeed.

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