The Lesbian Master Doc is a PDF that has helped many women – including Eleanor from our docuseries Dating While Asian – realise their sexuality.

Re: News contributor Sherry Zhang explores how this resource floating around the internet has become so influential.

When did it drop for you? When you thought – huh, hang on. I don’t think I’m a standard cookie-cutter hetero straight-o.

Was it the butterflies when you met your Flippa Ball coach? Nah, it’s probably just because she’s 15, cooler and older, and her mum lets her wear lavender lacy bralettes.

Was it later then? Like a scene out of a shitty Wattpad fanfic, when you formed a big fat lesbo crush on the mysterious new transfer student in Year 10 science class.

And what about crushes on boys? I always had those too. Or my smutty Doctor Who/Sherlock fan fiction phase? What about the sex dream I had once about a dragon? 

It was only in my early 20s that I settled into the fluidity of my sexuality. 

Saying I’m Queer currently sits in a more liberating space for me. 

But far out, it took me a hot messy moment to get there. 

So when my flatmate sat me down at the kitchen table, and asked if I’d read the Lesbian Master Doc, I was ready for a good yarn.

A snippet of the Lesbian Master Doc from Eleanor’s episode of Dating While Asian

The Lesbian Master Doc is a 30-page document targeted towards women on questioning their sexuality. (Although I feel like everyone could benefit from deconstructing gender roles and expectations.)

I had seen parts of the text on Tumblr back in the day when it was created by Anjeli Luz in 2018. 

More recently, it’s made a resurgence on TikTok and social media which is where Eleanor Field, a 19-year-old law student in Wellington, first came across the resource. She shares in Dating While Asian how the Lesbian Master Doc made her realise she was never attracted to men in the first place.

“I just wanted to feel like I was a person that could be desired by men,” she says.

“And I was therefore a person of value.”

Eleanor in Dating While Asian

‘It means a lot to a lot of people’

Hannah, 18, only read it last year, but says it struck a chord with her: “I'd give a little nudge to anyone who’s even trying to explore their identity. Because why not? You don't have to resonate with it. And that's okay too.”

“It seems sort of like silly – it’s this random document someone wrote on the internet,” they say. 

“But it means a lot to a lot of people. It definitely helped me figure out who I was a little bit faster.”

Hannah says reading the PDF made her realise that she’d only been identifying as bisexual out of fear and repression. 

“I identify with lesbian. I know you don't need to have a label to feel secure in your identity, but it makes me feel validated and that I have a community,” they say.

‘What if I had figured this out years ago?’

Anna, who asked Re: News not to use her real name because of personal reasons and her job in the education sector, says a friend sent the Lesbian Master Doc over Facebook Messenger. 

Anna had been complaining about finding no one interesting on Tinder. “I was reading the doc, and my holy shit! It was quite shocking! The pennies were dropping every other page. Everything made so much sense,” she says. 

Eleanor swiping Tinder with her friend Liya in Dating While Asian

But being in her early 30s, Anna felt older than most to have these realisations. 

“It was both exciting and sad. Because I wonder, what if I had figured this out years ago? But what is meant to be, will be. 

“There were a few times where I questioned my sexuality, but didn’t because I was too scared to think or do anything about it,” she says, encouraging people to be more open with themselves.

The PDF was a gentle nudge for her to start by changing her settings on Tinder to all genders. She then shifted her dating preferences to genders other than men. 

‘My marriage is separate to my sexuality’

For Anya, who asked Re: News not to use her real name because of the stigma queer people face in her community, says her religion has created a challenging and interesting intersection with her sexuality. 

As a Hijabi Muslim woman, she has found labels stressful and restrictive due to the complex intersecting nature of her religion and culture. 

“I’ve always liked women more. But the term lesbian doesn’t go well with me now because I’m married to a man,” she says. 

“My marriage is separate to my sexuality. I can still be with my husband, who is a cis-male and has feminine traits, even though I'm not attracted to men. So that's why I used the term queer, to have some room.”

Having gone to a religious all-girls boarding school, it was difficult for Anya to talk to anyone supportive when she realised the feelings she’d developed for her dorm-mate.

Abstract interpretation of a romantic encounter in Dating While Asian

With no PDF or Buzzfeed quiz, she says music was what gave her solace and direction.

“I had a whole playlist I’d only listened to when everyone was asleep. Many people were saying bad things about the [queer] songs and artists like Troye Sivan and Hayley Kiyoko. However, the music industry made me feel like I was normal.” 

Most importantly, she says, it was the support and friendship from her queer friends and allies who helped her feel safe and protected when she decided to come out a while later. 

The ‘too long; didn’t read’ of the Lesbian Master Doc

Māori Pākehā artist Rewa Fowles says the document is on the deep side and there’s only so much information someone can take in. 

“At 30 pages, that’s a whole thesis … at the end of the day, it’s what you feel comfortable with.” 

She resonated with parts of the PDF. 

And like me skipped straight to the TLDR summary. 

And so, in TLDR, the sections that jumped out for Rewa, Anna and Hannah: 

  • How are the men in your fantasies or sex scenes positioned? Is it missing detail? Are they faceless or symbolising an emotion? Are you not really into the man or the fantasy? Do you imagine a woman in place of yourself, or imagine you’re the man in the fantasy? 
  • Do you like the idea of being in a relationship with a man but you don't actually like him? For example, you have a crush on a famous handsome guy, or married guy, but it’s because it’s unattainable. 
  • The difference between platonic attraction and romantic attraction. 

Rewa identifies as queer and feels grounded in its fluctuations. And through the unfortunate but necessary messiness of exploring sexuality, gender and identity, she hopes there are more resources like the Lesbian Master Doc, but also advice on how to settle this sense of fluidity.  

“Most people feel different from how they felt in high school about life. So why can't that be the same with sexuality and gender? Why can't we just ebb and flow through life?”

Sherry Zhang 章雪莉 works across journalism, creative writing and theatre. She is currently the Kaiwāwahi – Editor of The Pantograph Punch, and seeks to uplift marginalised and intersectional perspectives through storytelling and kōrero. 

This is a supplementary article to our docuseries Dating While Asian, made with the support of NZ On Air. You can watch the full series on YouTube here.

More stories:

When your Asian parents won’t let you date until marriage

“No one lives a better double life than the oldest daughter of an Asian family.”

Why I kept my ex’s clothes

Breakups suck but sometimes you get a new jumper out of it.

Shaneel Lal wants to get sluttier | Dating While Asian

Experiencing love (or a fun hoe phase) shouldn’t feel like a privilege.