Stud Lesbians, Explained

If I could go back 14+ years to tell my closeted and shy, high school self that in the future I’d be writing an article explaining what a stud is — I would tell me to firstly keep it down, and secondly to just private message me on Myspace (or email me at babiek2sweet4u@msn.com) to continue this conversation.

The early aughts were a wild and exciting time. The internet was getting more social with more websites, forums, and communities popping up every day exposing me to new queer worlds I could explore in the semi-privacy of my home. As much as I obsessed over any queer content I could find, I still felt detached due to the lack of Black queer women — especially masculine identifying ones. There were Black entertainers like Queen Latifah and Da Brat, that I thought might be queer, and I watched films like Stranger Inside and connected slightly with the character Treasure played by Yolanda Ross; but those artists weren’t confirmed queer at the time, and Treasure was a fictional person — so I still felt that queer disconnect.

It wasn’t until I started high school in the fall of 2003 that I saw openly queer, masculine Black women in person. I went from not knowing any queer people — regardless of race — to seeing a whole hall of studs in my high school and I was in quiet awe of just how unapologetic they were! Studs are some of the most easily recognized queer people in our community, and because of that they often deal with the most hate. Before I keep going let’s get into my quick definition.


Ok so — wtf is a Stud lesbian?

The Kris Definition:

Stud (stəd) — A Black masculine identifying lesbian. Not all Black masculine identifying lesbians consider themselves studs, but all studs are most certainly Black. Stud is racially specific because it was created by Black lesbians to differentiate their experiences from their white counterparts and express gender roles developed within the Black community.

slang //

synonyms: Masculine of center (MOC), AG, Staddy, Studsband, and my personal identifier — diet stud.

Though she was drawn to her through her nearly perfect sports bra selfie — she stayed with her because of her strong attraction to the stud aesthetic and the blend of her style, her charm… and her commanding demeanor.

The mannerisms, The charm, The Swag, and The Style. Studs (who are thrice marginalized folks) are in part influenced by the Black cishet men in our lives and the Black community — hence why stud is a racially specific term. The Black community laid the blueprint on how to create a rich culture from nothing within a society that excels at devaluing, exploiting, and misunderstanding people who don’t fit the “norm.” All of this adds to the importance of not allowing non-Black MOC lesbians with zero stud lived experiences, to co-opt or erase this inherently Black identity in the lesbian community — both IRL and in the hashtags of the virtual TikTok community and beyond.

Many studs may have unknowingly formed their masculinity (and femininity) in the sacred spaces where their cishet family and friends were allowed to be their full selves. The weekend kickbacks, family reunions, the church, and even the club. Places, where everyone wore their absolute best to dance, eat, talk shit, and commune after what may have been a heavy-laden week. These spaces revealed how Black men engaged with Black women and with each other, young studs to be watched (and often internalized) masculinity playing out in real-time. Watching how these men would sweet-talk women, how they asserted their dominance, and even how they joked around with each other. Those influences and learnings — the good and bad — later allowed them (us) to create a distinct queer identity that felt more authentic to who they were in the world.

How to spot a Stud lesbian

It used to be pretty rigid on who could consider themself a stud. How “hard” you were, how many girls you could turn or get at, and how fly you were all part of the criteria. In my previously small queer 00’s world, stud identifiers included:

  • The latest & flyest streetwear
  • Jordans or Foams
  • Sharp Church Suits & button-ups
  • A Brush cut / the waviest waves / fades / locs
  • Snapbacks & durags
  • And many other looks that were popular for the time in early aughts Black masculine culture

Some of those same identifiers exist for today’s younger studs (Jordans are forever) — but thankfully the style and presentation have GREATLY expanded. Today’s studs, daddies, and MOC’s like Danielle Cooper, Young Ezee, DJ Dapper, Miriam Hyman, and, of course, Lena Waithe are just a few who are showing the range on what we can look like. There will however always be at least one designer sports bra, tank top, and/or boxer brief selfie on a stud profile — complete with a lip bite, squinty eye, or an angled head turn.

Final thoughts

The gift and curse of the internet is that it has allowed our queer world to grow — and the stud world certainly has along with it. We’ve realized we don’t have to look to cishet masculinity to define what masculinity is and that’s big growth because frankly, why should we let the cishet boys/men define us? I’ll give a lot of credit to Gen Z (shout out to TikTok creator TheTylerJean in the video above) — they have brought fresh energy to the community as they have been able to fully be themselves at an earlier age. New identities, thoughts, and revelations on what masculinity is (and can be) have become more visible with the help of their fearless generation.

It’s spilled over into others, older generations of studs are unlearning the toxic masculine traits of their past. Embracing feminine traits we feel most comfortable with, expressing feelings openly, challenging lesbian relationship norms (I love seeing stud for stud relationships & studs carrying babies!), and doing all this and more without fear of losing our masculine identity.

It’s a stud renaissance y’all — and It’s a beautiful thing to behold.

Feature Images by Jakayla Toney via Unsplash


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Kris Chesson

Kris is a VA native with roots in DC and the Bay Area. As a reformed shy kid, Kris has found her voice by sharing, centering, and celebrating her experiences as a Black Queer folks. When she’s not working as an Account Manager at HER Social App and co-hosting the Bad Queers Podcast @badqueerspod, she enjoys filling her belly with pho, ramen, or any non-American foods, binging documentaries, and enjoying time with her family and friends. You can follow Kris on IG @kris.chess and on Twitter @kidnamedkris

Kris has written 2 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for this article. I was vaguely aware of the term “Stud” and am now very appreciative that I know whom it should (and shouldn’t) apply to. But goddamn do I wish I could ever have that much swagger…

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