This is a piece I wrote for the upcoming anthology: Spinning and Weaving: Contemporary Radical Feminist Theory
Lesbians are under attack. Some of the attacks are coming from the usual places: heterosexual women throwing us under the bus, ignoring our contributions to feminism, and ignoring their own privilege[i]; bisexual women appropriating our lives and culture by claiming to be lesbians or worse, “bisexual lesbians” (context: there is no such thing – it’s a lesbophobic concept)[ii]; and of course, men beating, raping, and killing us in the most grotesque ways possible. Oh, we experience violence from heterosexual and bisexual women as well,[iii] but not to the degree, the depth, the depravity of men.[iv] We lesbians have been dealing with the aforementioned for centuries. We’re used to it. We expect it. It’s part of what makes us such strong women, sisters, and friends. But there is another group of people attacking, both verbally and physically, lesbians and lesbianism today: transgender activists and their allies.
I saw a joke on Twitter the other day. It said that “the homophobia is coming from inside the community,” humorously referencing the tag line of an old horror movie, A Stranger Calls, where the police trace phone calls coming into the house to terrorize a woman and the police tell her, “the calls are coming from inside the house!” It’s terrifying because we are supposed to feel safe in our own homes. Surrounded by our things, our family, our pets, and behind locked doors, we all feel safe inside our own homes. Lesbians have never had that safety inside of the LGBT community. We were on the front lines of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, taking care of our gay brothers, marching with them to bring attention to the crisis, etc.[v] But those deeds were never reciprocated. Most gay men don’t really care about lesbians or women in general and some are downright misogynistic. For decades, they took most of the LGBT resources and used those resources on themselves, not bothering to address anything to do with their lesbian sisters.
But, as bad as all of that seems, nothing prepared us for what came next: transgenderism. The vast majority of trans women are heterosexual: straight men claiming to be lesbians[vi]; and a good number of trans men are straight women claiming to be gay men. Almost all of them are homophobic to one degree or another, hence “the homophobia is coming from inside the community.” For the past few decades, heterosexuals have been encroaching on LGB spaces, lives, and culture. They go to our bars, they take over our Gay Pride events, and pretty much the only people calling themselves “queer” these days are heterosexuals, in an attempt to be cool and edgy.[vii]
There’s another reason for that phrase about homophobia coming from inside the community: young lesbians (and gay men, but I am focusing on lesbians for this essay) are transitioning due to homophobia – their own internalized homophobia and/or the homophobia they face from family, friends, their church, and/or their government. That homophobia pushes young lesbians into transitioning so they don’t have to be homosexuals, they can be “men” loving women, aka, “straight.”[viii] This makes transgenderism the new gay conversion therapy for young lesbians (and young gay men).[ix] The young lesbians of today feel lost and without community. That is, until they start searching online and find the transgender community, made up of mostly men claiming to be women, most of whom call themselves lesbians. They drill the transgender ideology into young lesbians’ heads, convincing them that they are attracted to other women because they are, in fact, not women at all, but are really men, trans guys. Transgender activists convince young lesbians that they are not homosexual, but they are actually straight men interested in women. Because so many people are in their ears about transitioning, these young lesbians take testosterone, bind their breasts, causing permanent damage – or worse: have radical mastectomies – and start living “as men.”[x] As I stated earlier, these young lesbians are then preyed upon by men calling themselves lesbians. You can see this happening everywhere; even the media supports this by publishing essays about how lesbians have sex and focusing almost entirely on PIV (penis in vagina) sex and how to have sex with trans lesbians who still have their penises, because almost all of them keep and use their penises.[xi]
Young lesbians are also being coerced into having sex with trans women (men), lest they be labeled “transphobic” and shunned from the community they so need, especially at a young age.[xii] Of course, this isn’t just happening to young lesbians. Lesbians the world over are being called bigots for not wanting to date and sleep with males calling themselves lesbians.[xiii] Transgender activists call this the “cotton ceiling” (its counterpart for gay men being the “boxer ceiling”) and it describes what trans women feel they are entitled to and how they should go about getting: what is on the other side of our cotton underwear.[xiv] I mean, that’s exactly what it is: male privilege and entitlement to women’s bodies. Men the world over tend to get violent when women say “no” to them and they can lash out in myriad ways: beating, raping, throwing acid, killing, etc., the women who say “no” to them;[xv] and since studies prove that trans women commit violent crimes (rape, murder, etc.) at the same rate as other men,[xvi] lesbians have to endure not just being shunned and name called, but also the possibility of violence and rape from men claiming to be women who feel entitled to our bodies when we say “no.”
The transgender lobby is very, very powerful.[xvii] They have lots of money and backing by the left who have taken “politically correctness” to a whole new level. Laws and languages are changed in the name of “inclusivity” – including everyone but women. Women become things – objectified and dehumanized by being called misogynistic terms such as “menstruators,” “uterus havers,” and “bleeders” instead of women.[xviii] Lesbians of color are attacked for the same reasons, but also when talking about the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that they have endured because transgender activists and their allies object to the use of “female” in FGM. Lesbians of color are even accused of lying about their FGM.[xix] Women who dare to stand up and be heard when it comes to our bodies, our lives, our language, and basic biology are not just called “transphobic,” we are harassed both on and offline, we get rape and death threats, we are doxxed, our employers are contacted in an attempt to get us fired (which happens all too often to women), and we are no-platformed from speaking and performing in venues from public libraries to universities – the very places where ideas are supposed to be exchanged, challenged, and debated.[xx] We have to hide behind pseudonyms online and keep our online groups private, vetting each person requesting to join so that we are not infiltrated by transgender activists and/or their allies wishing to attack or out us; and we have to keep our offline meeting places secret, sending out emails at the last minute with their locations so that transgender activists and their allies don’t show up to harass and attack the women attending the secret event. This all isn’t just happening to lesbians, but lesbians are taking the brunt of it.
For us older lesbians, this is both heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time because we remember what it was like to be young lesbians (in my case, a “baby dyke”) trying to navigate in a world that hates us because we have no need or use for men or sometimes, femininity itself. We remember the lesbian book stores, the stores where we got our Gay Pride gear, going to Gay Pride to get even more gear, riding with the Dykes on Bikes in Gay Pride parades, visiting with and meeting each other at Gay Pride festivals and even festivals like the Michigan Women’s Music Festival (MichFest) held each August for 40 years, until its closing in 2015. We remember lesbian bars where we would hang out on the weekends or after softball games in lesbian leagues, where we could meet, dance with, and pick each other up in relative safety. We remember all of this and are deeply saddened that these things are not available for today’s young lesbians. We all want so badly to be there for young lesbians as friends and mentors, to help them navigate a world that hates them, to help them to love themselves and their bodies, to convince them that hormones and radical surgeries are not needed, that they don’t have to transition, and that they can be out and proud women and lesbians. So we write blogs, make videos, take to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and Tumblr in an effort to be visible and to try to find young lesbians. We create groups on Facebook specifically for lesbians and hope that they can find us. We are doing everything we can to find our young sisters and to help them find a community of lesbians, not a community of homophobes and lesbophobes who only want to use them for their bodies and as fodder for the transgender ideology movement.
But it’s hard. So many young women are being brainwashed into believing the transgender narrative and rejecting us older lesbians as transphobic, bigots, and TERFs, which is an acronym created by a straight woman[xxi] and it stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, but has now been characterized by courts and other organizations as a slur to silence women who understand biology and know that one’s sex is immutable.[xxii] This slur is sometimes used on men and even transsexual males who understand that they are men and not women, but overwhelmingly, TERF is directed at women, most especially lesbians. See, transgender activists and their allies don’t want us talking to young lesbians. They know that their smoke and mirrors of misogyny and lesbophobia gets blown away when young lesbians actually talk to the older generations and realize that they have been sold a bridge to nowhere. That’s why they no-platform, doxx, and threaten women and lesbians: to keep us silent. Because they know if they let us speak, more women and lesbians will follow and our movement against their hate will grow as their movement crumbles.
Now, thanks to women like J.K. Rowling, who came out in support of women a short time ago and has been battling a sustained attack on Twitter and in the media by transgender activists and their allies who have been threatening and harassing her,[xxiii] every day people who never knew this battle was going on are starting to see with their own eyes the madness that women, especially lesbians have been dealing with for decades. People are seeing how transgender activists operate: threatening women, “canceling” women, calling women names, heaping all manner of misogyny and hate onto women who know that the transgender movement is based on misogyny and homophobia. More women are becoming gender critical, gender abolitionists, and even radical feminists than ever before because they can see that what transgender activists are doing to Rowling and other women is wrong on so many levels. I’ve seen women and even lesbians subjugating themselves to men who call themselves women and lesbians. It is maddening because I can see that they want to be good people and that they think they are doing the right things, but they are merely throwing other women and lesbians under the bus in order to gain male approval. My hope, though, is that now that this issue is becoming more mainstream and more and more women & lesbians are waking up to the misogyny it takes to call women “menstruators,” etc., we will start to see a change for the better.
My hope is to be able to give these women whose eyes are opened to the misogyny of the transgender movement a soft place to land so that they can start to undo their conditioning and start centering women instead of men. So, I will keep writing, keep running lesbian and radical feminist groups on Facebook, still tweet about lesbians and the hatred, lesbophobia, and misogyny we face on a daily basis. All of this so that other women, but especially lesbians can see that it is possible to be ok in your own body, it is ok to love other women, it is ok to exclude men from our spaces and our beds. Because the only way we are going to be able to defeat the misogynistic homophobes in the transgender movement is if we all stick together and center women. Women are powerful. Lesbians are powerful. Together, we can defeat transgender activists, come out of hiding, meet whenever and however we want, and show the world that we not only don’t need men, but we can exist happily without them because we have our sisterhood.
[i] Giang, Vivian “Stop Throwing Hairy Lesbian Feminists Under The Bus.” FEM News Magazine 2015, https://femmagazine.com/stop-throwing-hairy-lesbian-feminists-under-the-bus/; Czyzselska, Jane. “Lesbophobia Is Homophobia With A Side-Order Of Sexism.” The Guardian 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/09/lesbophobia-homophobia-side-order-sexism.
[ii] Valens, Ana. “The Phrase ‘Bisexual Lesbian’ Is Perfectly Valid.” @acvalens 2019, https://twitter.com/acvalens/status/1152601292717641728?s=20; Lana_003. “Top Definition of ‘Bisexual Lesbian.’” Urban Dictionary 2020, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Bisexual%20Lesbian.
[iii] Newberry, Laura. “Two Women Face Civil Rights Violations After Allegedly Attacking Lesbian Couple at Six Flags New England.” Advance Local Media 2015/2019, https://www.masslive.com/news/2015/07/women_facing_civil_rights_viol.html.
[iv] Listening2Lesbians, https://listening2lesbians.com/.
[v] Taylor, Jeff. “Watch Lesbian Activists Talk About Their Work During the AIDS Epidemic.” Logo-NewNowNext 2018, http://www.newnownext.com/lesbians-hiv-aids-epidemic-round-table/08/2018/.
[vi] “Transgender Sexuality.” Wikipedia 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender_sexuality.
[vii] Levin, Sam T. “Too Straight, White, And Corporate; Why Some Queer People Are Skipping SF Pride.” The Guardian 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/25/san-francisco-gay-pride-corporate-orlando-shooting.
[viii] “Lesbian Erasure.” Wikipedia 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian_erasure.
[ix] Gender Heretic. “BBC Newsnight: Gay, Lesbian Kids Pushed To Transition.” BBC Newsnight via GenderHeretics.substack.com 2020, https://genderheretics.substack.com/p/bbc-newsnight-gay-lesbian-kids-pushed.
[x] Doward, Jamie. “Politicized Trans Groups Put Children At Risk, Expert Says.” The Guardian 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/27/trans-lobby-pressure-pushing-young-people-to-transition.
[xi] Ferguson, Sian. “How Do Lesbians Have Sex? 28 Things to Know Before Your First Time.” Healthline 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/how-do-lesbians-have-sex.
[xii] Robertson, Julia Diana. “Anonymous Letter By A Terrified Lesbian.” The Velvet Chronicle 2019, https://thevelvetchronicle.com/anonymous-letter-from-a-terrified-lesbian-thoughtcrime/; Anonymous. “Get The L Out: Shame Receipts.” Lesbian Rights Alliance, Aotearoa 2020, https://lesbian-rights-nz.org/shame-receipts/.
[xiii] Anonymous. “Lesbophobia – Violence Against Lesbians Online.” Google Drive 2020, https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/13vfYxPdJ-HeeLfk_EDg9fR9lUx2NFWpd?fbclid=IwAR2tYUzwEU6C7_GPY5PbpgefGJ0zsDbPzBvSlN8q6oDb7gnkMUaMyVyTlkE.
[xiv] Girl Dick. “The Cotton Ceiling And The Cultural War On Lesbians And Women.” https://medium.com/@mirandayardley/girl-dick-the-cotton-ceiling-and-the-cultural-war-on-lesbians-and-women-c323b4789368; Anonymous. “Get The L Out.” Lesbian Rights Alliance Aotearoa 2020, https://lesbian-rights-nz.org/shame-receipts/; Wild, Angela C. “Lesbians At Ground Zero: How Transgenderism Is Conquering The Lesbian Body.” Get The L Out UK Report 2019, http://www.gettheloutuk.com/attachments/lesbiansatgroundzero.pdf.
[xv] When Women Refuse, https://whenwomenrefuse.tumblr.com/.
[xvi] Dhejne, Cecilia; Lichtenstein, Paul; Bowman, Markus; Johansson, Anna L.V.; Langstrom, Niklas; and Landen, Mikael. “Long Term Follow-up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden.” Edited by James Scott. The National Center for Biotechnology 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043071/.
[xvii] Williams, Joanna. “How Trans Ideology Took Over.” Spiked 2020, https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/06/19/how-trans-ideology-took-over/; Bindel, Julie. “International Women’s Day Has Been Hijacked By Trans Activists.” The Telegraph 2020, https://www.peaktrans.org/international-womens-day-has-been-hijacked-by-trans-activists-julie-bindel-in-the-telegraph-06-03-20/.
[xviii] Berger, Miriam. “A Guide To How Gender Neutral Language Is Developing Around The World.” The Washington Post 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/12/15/guide-how-gender-neutral-language-is-developing-around-world/; Sole, Elise. “People Are Angry Over This Safe Sex Guide Which Calls A Vagina A ‘Front Hole.’” Yahoo Lifestyle 2018, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/people-angry-safe-sex-guide-calls-vagina-front-hole-012527170.html; Murphy, Meghan. “Are We Women Or Are We Menstruators?” Feminist Current 2016, https://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/09/07/are-we-women-or-are-we-menstruators/.
[xix] Cornel, Jana. “Thread On FGM Harassment.” @RadFemJana 2019, https://twitter.com/RadfemJana/status/1206052001399873536?s=20.
[xx] Anonymous. “Object’s Doxxing Dossier.” ObjectNow.org 2019, https://objectnow.org/objects-doxxing-dossier/; Forester, Maya. “I Lost My Job For Speaking Up About Women’s Rights.” Medium 2019, https://medium.com/@MForstater/i-lost-my-job-for-speaking-up-about-womens-rights-2af2186ae84; Pettersen, Thistle. “Thistle Pettersen: How I Became The Most Hated Folk Singer in Madison.” UncommonGroundMedia.com 2019,
[xxi] Smythe, Viv. “I’m Credited With Having Coined The Acronym TERF, Here’s How It Happened.” The Guardian 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/29/im-credited-with-having-coined-the-acronym-terf-heres-how-it-happened.
[xxii] Jaspert, Bea. “Twitter Thread On TERF Being A Slur.” @HogoTheForsaken 2019, https://twitter.com/hogotheforsaken/status/1158355043667664896?s=09.
[xxiii] Rowling, J.K. “Tweet About Menstruation.” @jk_rowling 2020, https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/1269382518362509313?s=19; Rowling, J.K. “Tweets About Biological Sex.” @jk_rowling 2020, https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/1269389298664701952; Rowling, J.K. “J.K. Rowling Writes About Her Reasons For Speaking Out On Sex And Gender Issues.” JKRowling.com 2020, https://www.jkrowling.com/opinions/j-k-rowling-writes-about-her-reasons-for-speaking-out-on-sex-and-gender-issues/; Tausz, Ramona. “J.K. Rowling Stands Up For Feminism Against Trans Extremism.” New York Post 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/06/17/j-k-rowling-stands-up-for-feminism-against-trans-extremism/; Boodleoops. “J.K. Rowling And The Trans Activists: A Story In Screenshots.” Medium 2020, http://archive.is/DGKqt.
Thank you for expressing so concisely my objections to transgender activists. I am an older lesbian feminist. My heart breaks for my 20 year old daughter who is also a feminist and lesbian and finding it so hard to meet like minded women her age. She hates being asked what pronouns she prefers every time she attends an event. She longs for lesbian spaces not queer spaces where bisexual women bring their boyfriends while claiming to be queer. She hates the smell of unisex bathrooms. She wants to attend feminist events without worrying about transgender women invading or being included as women speakers. There are virtually no women only events in our city now. Our International women’s day march is no longer attended by lesbian feminists as it has been taken over by transgender women who insist on marching in the front line with banners attacking terfs. I wish my daughter had access to the women only spaces we used to enjoy, the lesbian camps, festivals, conferences and women’s bookshops and cafes. I found my community there, She is struggling to find her community.
I feel so badly for young Lesbian feminists! Our community has been decimated & almost wiped out by men & their handmaidens. It breaks my heart knowing young women like your daughter are out there, trying to find a community that no longer exists – these young women might have join us older Lesbians to fight for our own spaces while we all have to start over w/fighting to exist all over again. It’ll be a battle, but one I think we can win.
As hellish as it was trying to find my community 40 years ago, I can’t imagine how horrific it is for young lesbians today … well, I can actually… and that is the real tragedy here, isn’t it?
This IS the truth about being a lesbian. A REAL-lesbian, not a “bi-lesbian” or a “trans-lesbian”! Solidarity with the writer. I’m @Belstaffie.