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What does sapphic mean and how does the flag look?

Robyn Exton

May 31, 2022

What does sapphic mean and how does the flag look?
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  • You may have heard the term sapphic floating around or even seen the sapphic flag, but are you unsure of what that means? Don’t worry! The queer community is constantly becoming more inclusive and normalizing detailed ways to describe your gender or sexual identity. 

    Here’s a rundown of what it means to be sapphic, how the term came to be and what the sapphic flag looks like.

    Sapphic meaning

    It’s an umbrella term that unites lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer and many other communities. It’s also connected to the acronym WLW (woman-loving woman), but sapphic does include nonbinary people and is also used to describe a relationship between two women.

    Despite it having been used interchangeably with lesbian, there are not necessarily the same.

    Sapphic refers to anything related to the Greek poet Sappho, who wrote about her attraction to “lesbians” from the island of Lesbos. It also refers to any woman or non-binary person who is gay af.


    Then, in a nutshell, let’s see the meaning of sapphic:

    Sapphic is used to describe a woman of any sexual orientation who is attracted to other women. The term can help those who are attracted to women but are unsure of attraction to other genders describe their preferences.

    What is the origin of sapphic?

    Sapphic started being used around 1500 about the feelings of the poet Sappho. It was used about her having feelings for and being in relationships with women. Though she never said it outright, as being a lesbian was shunned during this time, in her poetry and songs she discussed deep emotion toward women.

    Sappho invented a four-line schema, and her style of poetry became known as a sapphic stanza. In addition to writing about her love of lesbians, she also wrote about her attraction to men. This means Sappho was technically queer/bi/pan, so all women who love women (WLW) are represented under the “sapphic” umbrella, not just lesbians.

    Source: https://www.thoughtco.com

    There’s even a sapphic flag so we can all remember what team we play for as you can see below.

    Now that you know who Sappho is, you can impress your HER date with some 7th-century love poems. It’s what Sappho would want. 


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    Sapphic flag

    The sapphic flag has two pink stripes on the top and bottom, symbolizing love. In the center there is a violet, which was historically given to women to symbolize their sapphic love.

    sapphic flag with two pink stripes on the top and bottom, symbolizing love. In the center there is a violet, which was historically given to women to symbolize their sapphic love

    There’s also a version of the flag with a pair of violets in the center that represents the love between two women.

    Source: https://pride-color-schemes.tumblr.com

    This is part of our official queer glossary – check it out!


    Sapphic vs Lesbian

    Popular questions are also asking what is the difference between sapphic and lesbian.

    Sapphic and lesbian have been used interchangeably but they don’t necessarily have the same meaning. Sapphic is generally an umbrella term including all sexualities in which women are attracted to women.

    Lesbians typically are women who are only attracted to women, though recently the term has been expanded to be more inclusive.

    Pansexual and non-binary people who like women would be considered lesbians, but the line between sapphic and lesbian is ambiguous. 

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    HER is the queer dating & community app for connecting with LGBTQ+ women, nonbinary, and trans folks in your area. Unlike most dating apps, HER is for making authentic, lasting connections with others.


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    Robyn Exton

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER the world's largest brand for LGBTQ womxn & queer people. Also runs London Queer Fashion Show. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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