The new “lesbian: is being oppressed” meme is helping people pay tribute to fictional characters and real-life people who they see as lesbian allies.

The meme was popularised on March 3 by a Twitter user who referenced Japanese manga character Naruto Uzumaki while tweeting: “lesbian: *is being oppressed* naruto, jolting awake at 3am while drenched in sweat: something is wrong.”



This tweet attracted more than 17,000 retweets and likes, and a meme was born. The format has since been adopted by floods of users to heap praise on actual and imagined friends of the queer community.

Famous people honoured by the meme have included American actor Danny DeVito, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and South Korean singer Do Kyung-soo. In each case, the exact same phrasing has been used, with only the name changed.

“Lesbian: is being oppressed” meme honours fictional people

The majority of people using the meme have chosen to aim their praise at fictional people like Thor, who has a history of being identified by fans as a lesbian ally.

“Lesbian: *is being oppressed* Ursula from The Little Mermaid, jolting awake at 3am while drenched in sweat: something is wrong.”

— @freverhalloween

There have been at least a dozen tweets in the past two weeks paying tribute to the Avengers: Endgame character in this way.

Other Marvel heroes have been subjects in this meme too, like Nick Fury and Captain Marvel, whose film was made for LGBT+ people, according to queer Twitter.

A tweet using the "lesbian: is being oppressed" meme to praise Captain Marvel.
Some have paid tribute to Captain Marvel using the meme. (yikes_its_me/twitter)

Users haven’t stopped there in spotlighting animated characters who they see as friends to the lesbian community.

Steven Universe, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Kim Possible character Ron Stoppable and Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove are among those classified by fans as allies.

The format is almost always the same, with one user writing: “Lesbian: *is being oppressed*.

“Ursula from The Little Mermaid, jolting awake at 3am while drenched in sweat: something is wrong.”

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Countless animated heroes created in Japan have also been targeted for praise.

Animated character Steven Universe being praised in a tweet using the "lesbian: is being oppressed" meme.
Steven Universe, an animated boy with magical lesbian guardians, was also honoured. (DlSTANTSHORE/twitter)

In terms of video games, this has included Super Mario Bros. antagonist Waluigi, Tenko Chabashira from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony and Snow Villiers and Lord Haurchefant Greystone from the Final Fantasy series, and Corvo Attano from Dishonored.

Samatoki Aohitsugi from Japanese manga Hypnosis Microphone has also been name-checked, along with Magnus Burnsides from an American role-playing podcast called The Adventure Zone.

Other queer allies commended by “Lesbian: is being oppressed” meme users

Because the internet—and particularly the queer internet—is infinitely creative, there are some who have taken the meme down other paths.

One person wrote: “bisexual: *is being oppressed* general li shang from mulan, jolting awake at 3am while drenched in sweat: something is wrong.”

Many LGBT+ Disney fans have long been convinced that Li Shang is bisexual.

A tweet about Li Shang, a Mulan character, which plays with the "lesbian: is being oppressed" meme.
Many queer fans are convinced that Li Shang is bisexual. (patriciaudrine/twitter)

Another tweeter referenced a character from the video game Overwatch, writing: “bisexual: *is being oppressed* Jesse McCree jolting awake at 3am while drenched in sweat: something is wrong.”

A player in Japanese role-playing video game Granblue Fantasy was mentioned by a commenter who tweeted: “trans people: *are being opressed* Cagliostro, jolting awake at 3am while drenched in sweat: something is wrong.”

And another user of the meme name-checked a character in the Death Mark video game, saying: “wlw: *is being oppressed* towako yasuoka, jolting awake at 3am while drenched in sweat: something is wrong.”




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