For those that prefer listening…
Recently there has been conflict over the inclusion of queer and trans women in lesbian spaces between the two main websites for women, Autostraddle and AfterEllen. And more specifically between their editors, Heather Hogan and Memoree Joelle. The conflict is due to the fact that Joelle, the newly hired editor of AfterEllen signed a “L is out of GBT” petition that states lesbians’ interests are not being served by LGBT organizations. It specifically mentions focusing on trans issues as being one of the problems. One of the previous pro LGBTQ writers for AfterEllen tattled on Joelle for this, calling it bigotry. It’s hardly a firebrand petition in my opinion. And it was tame compared to the Dropt the T petition headed by a gay man. This incident is the perfect example of what has been happening with LBQT identity politics in general. Gay men are spared much of this as they are a somewhat larger populations than lesbians and they are men. And bisexual men and gay trans men are a much smaller group relative to the gay male population.
I touch on these issues in “Lesbians and Queer Culture” and in this video, “The Collapse Of The Lesbian Community & Why You Should Resist It,” that covers the cotton ceiling mentally, the poor quality of women’s websites, and how the insistence of inclusivity has actually become oppressive.
The Other McCain, a right-wing Christian blogger has an interesting post on the incident. Not that I am a supporter of right-wing Christianity. I most certainly am not. But he documents all of Hogan’s tweets and does a fairly good job of summing up the conflict.
For the past few years, there has been an ongoing battle within the online LGBT community between (a) so-called “queer feminists” who favor an “inclusive” approach toward sexual identity, and (b) actual lesbians, who are tired of being told by their alleged allies that it’s wrong for them to prefer the exclusive companionship of women.
Heather Hogan paints lesbians who are frustrated by issues that arise with always having shared space with bisexuals and trans people as akin to the alt-right and white supremacy.
And here in her post “the lesbophobia thing” she says, “That kind of rallying cry feels very much like the “Save Our White Neighborhoods” rallying cry of the alt-right”
Heather Hogan is Wrong
The queer community has become a place that at times is in fact anti-lesbian. I’m saying that as someone who doesn’t identify as a lesbian. Technically I’m bisexual, even if it is extremely lopsided towards women. There are lesbians that are vehemently anti-bisexual and anti-trans. That exists, as prejudices and infighting are part of human nature. But looking at this issue objectively, on queer women’s websites, LGBT websites, and other liberal media outlets, there is an actual anti-lesbian bias. Some if this is overt but most of this is because of lack of direction and willful neglect of relevant issues. Heather Hogan’s position is wrong and actually hypocritical. Autostraddle had a major triggered meltdown because they featured a movie review that failed to call out the racism of an animated taco character in a movie that made fun of everyone, Sausage Party. The review also participated in horrific bi-erasure by labeling her a lesbian taco when she really was a bisexual taco. Hogan blocked me for pointing out her hypocrisy which is to be expected.
These are the problems with women’s websites and queer culture in general and how it negatively affects lesbians listed in order of less serious to more serious.
1) Bisexuals and trans woman affect the quality of discourse for lesbians in spaces that cater to queer women.
It’s the unfortunate truth. But I’m middle-aged so I had access to lesbian focused and controlled magazines and books when I came out. It’s not that there is anything inherently wrong with queer spaces. There may be times when lesbians benefit from and want shared queer spaces. It’s just that’s all there is now. All-inclusive LBQT spaces sound like a good thing. And many people in the LGBT community believe this, even some lesbians. In fact, most of the far-left lesbians that control queer women’s websites and civil rights organizations believe this. As well as some that control the more informal message boards where I have seen graphic descriptions of fellatio, numerous stories of “lesbians” bailing on their identity for a man, bisexuals with husbands asking for advice on how to pick up women, and lots of tone policing, mostly from women that will never wind up in a long-term relationship with another women. The only lesbian-only website is on Zetaboards, a very harsh place with almost no moderation so even people who mostly agree with each other can be really nasty. This is what young lesbians have out there to support them now.
I just find it odd that so many bisexuals don’t seem to understand why some lesbians get angry being forced to be exposed to all of this when they are looking for spaces that prioritize women, that prioritize homosexuality, and make them feel supported in their identity as a group of people who are under 1.5% of the population. Bisexuality and homosexuality have some overlap but also in many ways are very different life experiences. The entire world supports a woman being attracted to a man. Gay men and lesbians don’t relate to all of the romantic plot lines, in the barrage of heterosexual romantic comedies and episodes on television the way that bisexuals can. Only being able to be happy with a woman, having all of your emotional and sexual needs dependant on women, and all from an excruciatingly tiny and incestuous dating pool, is not the same experience as falling in love with a women because you are attracted to all genders. And you would also be perfectly happy to settle down with a man and never touch another women again as long as you live. Lesbians go to these places because they want a break from the dominant heterosexual culture. In addition, having gender dysphoria and transitioning also isn’t the same experience as being a biological female. One isn’t better or worse than the other and people should celebrate their identities. They just aren’t the same. And acknowledging this isn’t necessarily hatred or bigotry.
Bisexual women absolutely should have bisexual centered spaces. There is no quality news or pop culture website for bisexuals. And bisexuals deserve that as well. They should have places where they don’t have to censor their attraction to males or risk lesbians rolling their eyes at them. But for some reason bisexual women don’t seem motivated to connect with bisexual men and create these spaces. Most of the energy is focused on making websites that were mainly for lesbians supportive of them and their heterosexual relationships. If you can’t see why this creates conflict you lack an understanding of basic human nature and of what minority stress is all about.
And trans people defend their right to gather with each other to focus on their needs. But then use their status as “the most oppressed group” to argue that lesbians should not be allowed to insist on the same. This is despite the fact that FBI stats show higher rates of gay bashings than trans bashing, that lesbians are raped and murdered in gay hostile countries, and just genuinely have some differing experiences.
So this is what happened to lesbians for wanting to get together in the physical world in Portland,Oregon documented in Who Crushed the Lesbian Bars? A New Minefield of Identity Politics (Willamette Week)
someone who didn’t identify with traditional female conventions like the pronoun “she”—confronted her…The person was hostile, and wanting to pick a fight…This person was offended and said they would tell their friends that we were a group of people who were non-inclusive and not respectful of their gender.
Then the Portlandia lesbians were accused of “trans women exterminationism”
in August, the organizers of Temporary Lesbian Bar apologized for imagery used to promote the inclusive monthly event at Mississippi Pizza. The offense? Using the labrys—a double-sided ax often associated with Greek goddesses and a symbol of female strength—as the group’s icon. “Hold this group accountable,” wrote a transgender lesbian, on Facebook, noting the image’s connection to Greek fascism and violence against trans women.
I like inclusivity for most things. I don’t like forced inclusivity all of the time. It’s oppressive. I don’t even like cake lawsuits against homophobic bakers. But those cases involve public businesses where I am equally forced to serve people whose beliefs I find offensive in the interest of existing in a civil society. Michfest was harassed by trans activists and other LGB liberals and shut down as a private event. I don’t have a problem with people excluding me, as long as they respect my civil and human rights.
2) The only infighting that is acceptable to discuss on queer women’s websites and other liberal media is to call out biphobic and transphobic lesbians. All other conflicts or even outright abusive behavior is no platformed.
Biphobia is a real thing and relevant topic. But queer women’s websites print articles calling out lesbians’ biphobia almost to the point of obsession. In general, these articles don’t really solve any problems, often centering on women in heterosexual relationships and laying all the blame for these tensions on the lesbian community. Here is a list of just some of these articles that do that.
“What Lesbians Think About Bisexuals” Is Hopefully Not What Lesbians Think About Bisexuals” (Autostraddle), “Becoming Visible: On Coming Out As Bisexual” (Autostraddle), “You Need Help: Your Girlfriend Is Jealous Of Hypothetical Boys” (Autostraddle), “What Do You Do With A Problem Like Romi Klinger: On Bisexuality, Biphobia and Media Representation” (Autostraddle), “The AfterEllen Bisexuality Roundtable (Part 1): Real Talk About Stereotypes and Misconceptions” (AfterEllen), “The AfterEllen.com Bisexuality Roundtable (Part 2): Dating While Bisexual” (AfterEllen), “How Lesbians Can Be Better Allies to Bisexual Women” (AfterEllen), “The L Word” Reinforces Negative Bisexual Stereotypes” (AfterEllen), “What it’s like to be a bisexual woman on Tinder” (AfterEllen), ”Lez Be Honest: Isn’t it Time We Said Bye to Biphobia? (Diva), “I WISH I WAS GAY-Bisexuality is still a touchy subject for the LGBT community” (Diva), “Bisexual Bias – Why Can’t We All Get Along?(Curve), “Bisexual Visibility: Yup, We Are Real” (Curve)
And on other queer and liberal websites
“Biphobia: Why Is Everyone So Threatened By Bisexuals?” (Metro), “Why are lesbians so biphobic?” (Disrupting Dinner Parties), “Bisexuals Lack Support — and It’s Literally Killing Us” (Advocate), “Being Bi in a Gay World” (Huffington Post), “Are Bisexuals Shut Out of the LGBT Club?” (Daily Beast), “Why are gay people even more biphobic than straights?” (Gay Star News), “New Report from the UK Highlights Biphobia Within and Outside of the LGBT Community” (HRC), “Biphobia: The Author Strongly Argues That Bisexuals Face Their Own Discrimination, Especially from Straight Population” (AlterNet), “3 Ways Biphobia Hurts Bisexual People’s Mental Health” (Everyday Feminism), “5 Ridiculous Reasons People Won’t Date Bisexuals” (Pride).com, “It’s Time To Get Over These 7 Misconceptions About Bisexuality” (EliteDaily), “11 Ways To Be A Good Lesbian Ally To Your Bi Girlfriend” (Curve), 5 Outdated Myths Everyone Still Believes About Bisexuality (Cracked), ”5 Common Myths About Bisexuality & Pansexuality Debunked!” (Bust), “8 Common Myths About Bisexuality” (Huffington Post), “11 Myths About Bisexuality Dispelled On OkCupid” (BuzzFeed), “Just a phase’? This is why we need to talk about biphobia” (Metro), “Eradicating Biphobia Within Gay Communities And Gay Media” (Feministing), “This Video of Bisexuals Taking Down Biphobia + Talking About Dating Lesbians Is *So* Important” (Pride.com), “AfterEllen’s “The Trouble With ‘Bisexual” Aand Why I am not a Cheetoh” (Feministing)
And I found one article that actually conceded there are maybe hurt feelings on both sides of the lesbian bisexual world, “BYE, BIPHOBIA-Can lesbians and bisexuals find love together?” (Diva)
I don’t have a problem with productive discussions about biphobia. Bisexuals are an extremely diverse group you can’t lump into one category. What bothers me is the one-sidedness of all of these articles. The treatment of lesbians as if every single issue they have with bisexuals are all due to things that are just figments of their imagination. That lesbians never really get left for a man because their bisexual girlfriend got bored with women. That bisexuals have never ever used lesbians to make themselves feel edgy. That the appearance of the fact that no matter how many women bisexuals may have dated in their twenties, they almost always wind up marrying men in their thirties is just an illusion. Or if it isn’t an illusion, it’s just a numbers game and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that heterosexual relationships have higher status, men have more money and power, and can provide biological children. And none of these issues can be discussed because they aren’t real. They are just one of the 3, 5, 11 myths about bisexuals in the paranoid minds of man-hating, bigoted lesbians.
There are also conflicts between some lesbians and the trans community
Here are some articles focusing of transphobic lesbians.
“What is the cotton ceiling and how does it affect trans women in the lesbian and bi community?” (Diva), “A trans woman and cis lesbian fall for one another in “Her Story” (AfterEllen), “NOUS SOMMES TOUS TRANS-Why trans rights are our business but trans identities are not” (Diva), “HOW TO BE A TRANS ALLY-Listen and ask lots of questions, but don’t be an asshole, says Paris Lees” (Diva), “Dear Lesbians: How to Be a Good Ally to Trans Friends and Family” (AfterEllen), “Intersectionality and the Lesbian Community: How Minorities Can Help Support One Another & Work Together” (AfterEllen), “Michfest Could Change Its Trans Female Exclusionary Intention Only If It Tried, Only If It Wanted To” (Autostraddle), “Getting With Girls Like Us: A Radical Guide to Dating Trans* Women for Cis Women” (Autostraddle), “So You Can Fuck Us; What’s Next? Going Beyond Sex With Trans Women” (Autostraddle)
If someone actually delves into this topic of the “TERF” (trans exclusionary radical feminist) lesbian, you find that the vast majority of them fully support trans rights to anti-discrimination laws in housing and employment and deplore violence against them. They mostly just want the freedom to gather amongst themselves without harassment, they question the legitimacy of trans women that make no effort to pass to get access to any female space, and whether or not a 7 ft trans woman should compete on a women’s basketball team. It’s not really unreasonable to debate these issues.
I see actual transphobic things and I say so when I do. That exists. I’m sure there have been lesbians that have been verbally abusive on-line towards trans women. But why is that the only topic relevant for the call out culture in the world of queer women’s websites is lesbians’ transphobia and biphobia? Radical lesbian feminists, and even other more moderate women are harassed, even sexually, and threatened with violence by trans activists all the time. There are dozens and dozen and dozens of screen shots documenting this reality. Graphically violent threats, complete with pictures of trans women posing with knives threatening women that disagree with them. I’m not asking these sites to take a radfem position. I’m not a radical feminist, more of a skeptic type. I’m asking them to expose this abusive behavior once in a while. AfterEllen felt the need to call out Cathy Brennan and Diva magazine felt the need to call out Julie Bindle with little intelligent analysis of what these women’s arguments actually are. But a lesbian gets called a “fucking cis white bitch”, at Reed College, as the director of Boys Don’t Cry was, and it is crickets from them. But commit the atrocity that is bi-erasure by calling a bisexual animated taco a lesbian and Autostraddle is on the case.
For just some of these violent threats visit Terfisaslur.
Here are just some of the articles that guilt lesbians for not making themselves emotionally and sexually available to trans women written not by Tumblrites, but by virtually all of the top MtF leaders of the trans movement, “Can Cis Lesbians and Trans Women Learn to Get Along?” (Parker Molloy), “ENOUGH WITH “I DATE WOMEN AND TRANS MEN” (Jos Truitt), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’: Lesbian Trans Exclusion Gets Noticed” (Dana Beyer), “The Cotton Ceiling is Real and it’s Time for All Queer and Trans People to Fight Back” (Avory Faucet non binary), “The Transgender Dating Dilemma” (Raquel Willis), “The Struggle To Find Trans Love” (Julia Serano).
Here again there is a bias against lesbians, including actually shaming and patronizing them over their sexual orientation. This attitude is often directed at young lesbians, most who want to be seen as nice and progressive on social media and in the real world. You can find many examples of young lesbians describing the negative impacts of this in their actual lives.
This dovetails into another example of a lesbian given no support whatsoever, Lily Cade, the victim of a sexual harassment campaign on Twitter. This was due to the fact she doesn’t want to have sex with or feature trans women in her porn business. She was then put on BlockBot, a censorship list for supposed bigots and trolls. As if there is such an over representation of lesbians doing porn that genuinely like having sex with other women, that it is now her job to direct her energy, time, and money to make trans women feel sexy and wanted, Even though that is not her sexuality. It’s part of the cotton ceiling mentality documented here in “Queer Culture is Normalizing Shaming People for their Sexuality.”
Here is the article that the “lesbian press” should have written about what happened to Lily Cade. Lesbians’ greatest champions are NOT queer women’s websites, but the Real Porn Wiki Leaks, ‘Why is your battlefield my pu$$y?’ Lily Cade on gender war and the politicization of sexual entitlement.”
I think most trans people are respectful. I don’t criticize “trans people.” It’s not a monolithic community. I just criticize screwed up ideas regardless of the individuals that hold them, regardless of where they come from. But why is this mainly coming from trans women? There is hostility sometimes between some bisexuals and lesbians. They argue online all the time. They say mean things to each other. But there aren’t dozens of screen caps of bisexual women posing with knives saying “I’m going to cut a biphobic lesbian bitch.” Why does poor behavior get a free pass just because it is coming from the trans community. But that is how these left-wing lesbian editors treat this issue. Violent threats, sexual harassment, no platforming, verbal abuse, guilt tripping over sexual access is all perfectly acceptable to the editors of queer women’s’ magazines. Currently lesbians have no queer websites and no lesbian rights organization to prioritize them. All people should be responsible for their bad behavior. In the world of queer women’s websites only transphobic and biphobic lesbians are. That’s a fact.
3) Serious issues that affect lesbians are knowingly being censored/no platformed/swept under the rug/etc on queer women’s websites.
And this comes to the main reason why I care about this issue and why I wish there was a healthier, stronger lesbian culture, like there was when I was younger, regardless of how I personally label myself. The centering of queer and trans issues on these websites takes away from things that I think are much more relevant to females that have actual long-term homosexual relationships. Lesbians have high divorce rates, white/Asian lesbians are making more money than straight women but black and Latina women are getting left behind, and women and homosexuals have no rights in a large percent of the world where they are being raped and murdered. These issues are rarely, if ever talked about on queer women’s websites. These sites’ creators are allowed to cater to whomever they wish. And sites like AfterEllen and Autostraddle are more pop culture websites than sites that report the news. But who then is supposed to report this news? A site like that doesn’t exist.
And here is a serious example of neglecting to perform even the most basic caretaking of one’s own community by these often lesbian identified editors. There is a growing number of detransitioned lesbians happening at the same time there is a huge increase of female teenagers seeking sex reassignment surgery. In addition to this, children as young as five are being socially transitioned and given hormone blockers. Since most dysphoric kids grow up to be gay, lesbian, or even bisexual and not trans this is a very relevant issue. In fact, next to the abuse of homosexuals in homophobic countries, this is THE most relevant topic to the gay/lesbian community since same-sex marriage. But so far this topic hasn’t seen the light of day, despite the fact that I and many other people via social media have sent links about the downsides of youth transitions to the editors of Diva Magazine, Autostraddle, AfterEllen and other LGBTQ sites. All the LGBTQ sites treat anyone questioning this as bigots.
The writing on some of these detransitioners’ blogs is more socially relevant and of better quality than a majority of the articles featured on these queer women’s sites. As well as some writings by parents of mostly lesbian teenagers dangerously affirmed as trans by irresponsible gender therapists. And they will probably never see the light of day on any mainstream queer women’s site because the editors of these magazines would rather treat these people like a dirty little secret, which is exactly what they are knowingly doing, than appear unsupportive of the trans community. Diva magazine doesn’t seem able to absorb that you can discuss these issues AND be supportive of Jack Monroe at the same time. It is possible. But hey, these detransitioners at least have a little support group at Michfest. Oh wait…
At the end of the day lesbians, bisexuals, and trans women have some overlapping experiences but there are some very distinct and important differences between these groups. Sometimes these differences put these groups at odds with each other. The unfortunate effect has been to suppress speech, neglect problems, and weaken support in some ways for everybody. The frustrations some lesbians are feeling around LGBT politics are valid. Bisexuals and trans people’s frustrations over lack of access to quality resources are valid. But yes, there is in fact an anti-lesbian bias on queer women’s websites. And the problem isn’t just the forcing of tiny minorities with differing needs into one tiny box. It’s also the fact that the entire queer narrative is controlled by PC far leftists, when the lesbian (and queer community in general), is a lot more diverse than that. This isn’t blaming anyone. It’s just the reality. And Heather Hogan, it’s ok to talk about it.
Update 9/9/17: There are actually some new writers at AfterEllen.com. The site is actually circuiting some tweets in support of sexual boundaries, which is great to see as every other “LGBT” website is too cowardly too. And they are keeping the site focused on lesbians and not just every other queer incantation. It’s good to see this change. It still includes bisexuals.
Here is another good article related to this post.