* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Lesbians are being called "transphobic bigots" for daring to define who we are - and who we are attracted to
Angela Wild is a lesbian feminist activist, researcher and co-founder of Get The L Out, lesbian activist group.
When a few of my lesbian friends and I decided to march uninvited in front of the Pride march in London last year to promote lesbian visibility within an increasingly misogynistic and anti-lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender (GBT) movement, we had no idea this would cause such a huge backlash from the GBT community itself.
We had no idea that we would be attacked by officials of GBT organisations as well as by most of the British press.
From being called “transphobic bigots”, “hateful” and “Nazis” who should be “dragged out by our saggy tits”, to having our personal details published on social media and receiving rape and death threats, the supposedly progressive mainstream seemed to have slightly overreacted to the fact that a small group of lesbians were simply marching at Pride in London.
Our crime? We simply dared to reclaim the right to define what a lesbian is.
The definition is – and should remain – “a woman – in the biological sense of the word – exclusively emotionally and sexually attracted to women”.
As lesbians we retain the right to say what we find sexually attractive, irrespective of gender identity, thank you very much.
The fact that such a statement is now labelled hateful says much about the misogyny of those who condemned us.
Lesbians in 2019 are constantly vilified and excluded from the GBT community for stating their exclusive sexual preference.
Interestingly, we are routinely told there is no research to support our stance by a GBT movement that is funded precisely to do this research and stand up for us, but is clearly too busy looking the other way or burying its head in the sand to care.
To confront this bias, Get The L Out has just published research on what we have termed the "cotton ceiling".
If you have never heard the term, you can just translate it into “the first research on the sexual pressure and sexual violence experienced by lesbians at the hands of what we define as ‘transwomen’”.
Our research findings show that lesbians are under huge pressure within their LGBT+ groups to accept transwomen as sexual partners so as not to be labelled as trans-exclusionary radical feminists – or Terfs – and subsequently excluded by their GBT groups.
Our research shows the invasion of lesbian dating sites by men (whether they identify as women or not); women’s fear of going on a date with a person who could potentially turn out to be biologically male; and the complete disappearance of lesbian-only spaces leading to difficulties in meeting like-minded women.
Lesbians who responded to our survey also reported experiencing sexual violence from transwomen ranging from online grooming, domestic and sexual violence as part of a relationship, sexual harassment, sexual assault (including in women’s toilets), coercion and rape.
Women who are critical of gender ideology are routinely accused of being on the “wrong side of history”.
However, our findings throw up several questions:
- Who is on the wrong side of history when the GBT community operates a large-scale gaslighting of lesbians to accept the mantra that “trans women are women”; penises are deemed to be a female organ; and heterosexual intercourse is now redefined as a lesbian sexual practice?
- Who is on the wrong side of history when the GBT community uncritically supports a population of transwomen who identify as lesbians to coerce lesbians into having sex with transwomen against their will?
- Who is on the wrong side of history when lesbians’ sexual boundaries are disrespected and publicly demonised as hateful by the very charities whose purpose it is to defend them?
- Who are the GBT organisations protecting by refusing to engage with lesbians’ very serious concerns?
Major gay, bisexual and trans organisations such as Stonewall and Pride in London should hang their heads in shame for ignoring our rights.
They do not represent us.
The Cotton Ceiling Report: http://www.gettheloutuk.com/blog/category/research/lesbians-at-ground-zero.html