Interracial dating and partnerships among lesbians

Artist painting of interracial painting
Interracial couple sexually attracted to each other

We’ve posed the question to a number of lesbians over the years and the answers have always been accompanied by a broad range of opinions. And of all those who are tied down to committed relationships, we can think of very few interracial partnerships within the mix. However, we believe that interracial dating and relationships are more common among lesbians than among heterosexuals since they’re already breaking barriers and defying norms by dating members of the same-sex.


You might think that interracial dating would become second nature among lesbians, as they’d be more open-minded about dating outside of their race because they’d had to experience and embrace differences, and welcome diversity. But to be automatically rejected due to preconceived notions about who someone is sexually, or their gender identity, or the colour of their skin is just wrong. We seem accepting of relationships relating to gender identity, but when it comes to skin colour it’s less acceptable.

Rapper Angel Haze with girlfriend Ireland Baldwin
Ireland Baldwin and girlfriend, Angel, at a music awards ceremony

Pigeonholing someone to fit your idea of whom they should or shouldn’t be, or on how they should or shouldn’t behave, is not okay when racial differences are identified as the culprit. And this usually means they have already decided who that person is long before giving them a fair chance. However, there is still a visible divide among lesbians and that probably has more to do with the fact that the most visible lesbians are still those highly representative of the white middle to upper classes.


Rarely do we see lesbians of colour accurately or well represented within LGBT community. And we believe that this causes ripples and internal feelings of resentment among women of colour. But not having that recognition within the LGBT community can be doubly polarizing. There are more important factors to consider in why interracial lesbian’s visibility isn’t as solid as it could be. Some people believe it has a lot to do with famous black lesbians still hiding in the closet, even though it’s well known they’ve been gay for years.

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An interracial lesbian wedding with all the trimmings

Quite often, due to personal or internal conflicts, it may take years for them to come out publicly, indirectly affecting those lesbian who will never have their presence or impact on society. White lesbians don’t seem to struggle with this problem as much within their own families and communities, because their religious influences aren’t as tied into their entire community as it is among black and other ethnic families.


It is not uncommon for lesbians of colour to feel a certain amount of pressure to choose a girlfriend or potential partner from within their own race. These pressures have usually arisen from family and friends, and from sexual associates within the lesbian community who frown upon interracial dating. Lesbians involved in interracial relationships quite often experience the same negativity that many interracial heterosexual couples often do.

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It is not unusual for black lesbians to go to a club or bar with a white lesbian, where there are a majority of black lesbians, and the reactions from them when walking through the door have often ranged from looks of disgust to uncomfortable stares, to comments like “aren’t there enough black women to go around?” This animosity masked or otherwise, has most often and specifically come from feminine (outwardly appearing) black lesbians.


Black men no longer seem to have a problem with this and are usually given the ‘heads up’ greeting by their peer group, especially when the woman on their arm is found to be aesthetically pleasing to the senses. However, all forms of interracial relationships must confront not only their cultural differences, but be recognized as an essential part of understanding and respecting each other’s diversity.

Sandra Oh as Cristina and Ellen Pompeo as Meredith, in the TV series, Grey's Anatomy
Teri Polo (left) and Sheri Saum play a multiracial lesbian couple in ABC's The Fosters.

Even though there are many gay women of varying ethnic backgrounds who have never considered dating a woman of another race because of her own fears, which are often coupled with worries of negative reactions from family and friends, and the social constructs that frown upon anything different or outside of the norm. But if you’re truly seeking the person you wish to spend the rest of your life with, you shouldn’t sell yourself short.


Instead, you should expand your horizons and recognize that your options will be far more plentiful when you set aside fears of the unknown and truly began to embrace cultural differences. If however, you have never stepped outside of your comfort zone with regard to relationships or dating, because of preconceived prejudices based on ethnicity, you might well consider the rich virtues and benefits of dating outside of your race or culture.

Asian and black lesbian couple
Asian and white lesbian couple