Barbara David

In my first adult life I trained at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in order to teach music in high school. In the late 1980s, I became involved in the Lesbian community, in particular with Witch Theatre and the periodical Lesbian Network and was able to call on my training to write what I think of as patter songs for the frequent concerts and reviews we organised. In the thirty years since, I had a totally different career (in academic psychology), Because I was never a professional musician, the only record I have of my songs are some very ratty tape recordings.

The photo I sent was from a time that Sarah Hoagland visited Australia to publicise her book “Lesbian Ethics” (1988) and she has just heard “What do Lesbians Do?”. I am more than happy to have both of us since it captures the community spirit of the time.

barbara david australian songwriter

Listen to Songs By Barbara David

What Do Lesbians Do?

“What do Lesbians Do?” was written as a “send up” of what was at the time a question posed by a largely uninformed heterosexual community. The world has changed for the better and most people are awake and aware enough to have no need to ask such a question.


Song Lyrics

I was sitting one day in biology class, I was only a youngster of twelve; The lesson was boring, the teacher quite slack, so we chatted and laughed ‘mongst ourselves. Conversation was idle, the topics diverse, though they mostly verged on the taboo, When one girl posed a question that had us all stumped: she asked “What do lesbians do?”

Chorus Bee doo bee doo, doo, doo , bee doo bee doo doo doo bee doo bee doo bee doo bee doo bee doo bee doo doo doo

I was sitting one day on the grass in the park with the love of my life by my side. We were innocent lasses self-conscious as hell and our ignorance eager to hide. We discussed being queer and decided we were but that wasn’t what made us feel blue; The problem we had when it came to the crunch, was what do lesbians do?


I was sitting cross-legged on the footpath one day as part of a protest for peace. Reporters had called us all “Communist dykes”, we were closely patrolled by police. The cops were beginning to cart us away when I heard one big fellow in blue ask a mate in a whisper not quite soft enough ask “What do lesbians do?”


I was sitting one evening at dinner for eight, it was really a formal affair, The boss and his wife had asked us all round, it was terribly boring and square. When the wife of a work mate as pissed as a newt, with the air of the sweetest virtue , leaned over the table and asked with a blush, “tell me, What do lesbians do?”


It’s an interesting question, it keeps getting asked, I’m sure they’re all dying to know: Do we hang from a lampshade with face painted mauve as, excited, we swing to and fro? We must have to do something quite wild and bizarre for they know we can’t “properly” screw, I fear that they’ll have to continue to guess, I’m not going to tell them, are you?