Diesel Dyke - What is it? What does it mean?

Last Updated: 12/16/2022
3 min read
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Diesel dyke is a slang term which typically refers to a large, masculine lesbian who enjoys working with cars and motorcycles. Diesel dykes prefer to date femme women. The term dyke was recently reclaimed by lesbians, but should not be used in an offensive or derogatory manner. 

Diesel dykes like working on their vehicles, get sweaty and dirty. A diesel dyke may even resemble a young man with short hair wearing a plaid shirt, work boots, bandana. 

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According to Oxford Reference dictionary, the word refers to a gay woman with aggressively masculine tendencies. It stems from stereotypically male associations of trucks, diesel engines, bikes. 

Although the term diesel dyke often refers to dykes of a larger complexion, it is not exclusive to them. They do not have to always be in work boots and present themselves as aggressively masculine. But hey, sometimes a diesel dyke at a bar will be covered in motor oil to attract a femme woman who tend to wear dresses and be cute. 

These dykes can be cisgender, transgender, genderqueer and agender people. The word is not exclusive to AFAB people who have sex with femmes. 

Synonyms may be: bull dyke, butch, boonch, butz, dyke 


There is no set answer on the term's history to date. Some say diesel dyke came from the days when truck drivers had to move diesel engines themselves. Trucks with diesel engines were bigger and thicker, so gay females of a larger stature who have sex with feminine girls were deemed “diesel dykes”

Today the term is gaining a new meaning with many lesbian ladies who are of different shapes and sizes identifying with it. Although it may be considered offensive to some, the term has been reclaimed by wlw on bikes and cars. 

Flag and Symbols

Since diesel dyke is typically associated with butch, they may use the same flags and symbols. Some prefer using a lesbian flag which features different shades of pink. 

Lesbian flagLesbian flag

There is an inclusive butch flag that may be used by diesel dykes. It has red and orange shades. The red-orange stripe represents a variety of people under the umbrella. The light red-orange stripe is for the connection with the community of butches. The small light orange stripe is for gender non-conformity. The large yellowish-white stripe showcases the richness of identity and culture. The small yellow stripe represents stone butches. The yellow-orange stripe represents a connection with femmes and the orange stripe is for the inclusion of other marginalized identities. 

Butch Inclusive flagButch Inclusive flag

There are two symbols currently associated with butch identity. One of them was designed by a group of non-binary Brazilians which is a male symbol with longer prongs.

Butch symbolButch symbol

The other features a female symbol with longer prongs. 


The term diesel dyke may be considered derogatory to some women, especially those of a larger, more masculine complexion. Most use she/her pronouns, but some can also use they/them. It is always best to share your pronouns first and ask what pronouns a person uses. 

Present Day Uses

Dyke was reclaimed by several lesbian organizations, one may see a group of women riding bikes and wearing plaid shirts stained with motor oil during pride parades in cities across the world. 

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Julia Sotska is a former Senior PR Manager at Taimi. She hails from Toronto, Canada where she studied Communications and Journalism Broadcasting. Julia is an experienced journalist, TV producer, editor and communications manager. Her work has been featured in prominent publications in Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and more. Julia is passionate about LGBTQ+ and disability rights, mental health, wellness, and parenthood.

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