A campaigning group, called ‘Get the L Out’, protesting harassment of young lesbians for same-sex attraction are being smeared in the media as marching against ‘against trans women’.
Reading the coverage of Pride today, you wouldn’t know that the defining moment in the history of the gay rights movement, which led to Pride being celebrated each June, was the Stonewall riots at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City when patrons fought back against police discrimination–a fight, the apogee of which, it could be argued, was the arrest and scuffle of butch lesbian Storme with the police. Sadly, the celebration has become no more than corporate willy-waving–a chance for the big beasts of business to show how ‘woke’ they are with some rainbow-clad public relations. Those who exist in the shadow of the rainbow, are women like me–and we are angry and worried. In an effort to bring Pride back to its protest origins, this year a group called ‘Get the L Out’ took action at Pride London.
In an audacious move, lesbian feminist campaigners Get the L Out marched to the front of the Pride bearing banners with the words ‘Lesbian = Female Homosexual’ ‘Lesbian Not Queer’ and ‘Transactivism Erases Lesbians.’ Pride London organisers told them their banners were ‘offensive’ and bystanders harassed and swore at the women.
In defiance at being asked to leave, ‘Get the L Out’ lay down in the road, holding up the start of the parade. The image of lesbians lying in the road, seemingly daring those who have marginalised them to walk over them, was powerful.
Explaining why she took action, one of the campaigners explained:
“We protested the LGBT movement as a whole and Pride specifically because many lesbians feel erased and betrayed by a movement which claimed to represent us. The L in “LGBT” is meaningless when the LGBT organisations claim that a man can identify as ‘lesbian.’
“We either respect women’s sexual boundaries to refuse penises under whatever name or we don’t . And right now the LGBT organisations and Sadiq Khan naming lesbians “hateful” and “anti-trans” for daring to say “no” is disgraceful, misogynistic and anti-lesbian.”
As the LGBT movement has grown to encompass ever more niche identities, women who are exclusively attracted to women have been side-lined. Effectively, same-sex attraction has been redefined to mean same ‘gender’ attraction, in order not to exclude transwomen who identify as lesbian. There is now a hostile take-over of the lesbian community, waved on by well-funded organisations like Stonewall which were supposed to exist to advocate for lesbians.
The news that we are not one big happy LGBT glitter family has come as a shock to many of our well-meaning straight allies. ‘Get the L Out’ have had their inconvenient lesbianism ignored and the group have been lazily branded as ‘anti-trans’. There has been no attempt to understand who the group was at Pride London yesterday and why they protested.
Perhaps a good place to start thinking about why ‘Get the L Out’ have become necessary, after so much struggle to get lesbianism accepted and protected, is to have a look at the logic behind the slogans.
Lesbian = Female Homosexual
This surely is an uncontroversial statement, as it’s simply the dictionary definition of lesbian, right? Apparently not, because according to all of the mainstream LGBT organisations in the UK (and indeed the US), some lesbians have now have penises.
Over the past few years, the numbers of straight men transitioning to become transwomen have sky rocketed. This is generally cited as evidence of a freer society where people are able to be their ‘authentic selves’ with the help of surgery and synthetic hormones. It should be noted that even trans advocacy organisations like GIRES admit that around eighty percent of transwomen never have, or intend to have, surgery or to take hormones. As such, it is becoming difficult to differentiate between men who identify as cross-dressers and transwomen who are ‘lesbians with penises.’
This is having a catastrophic impact on the already marginalised lesbian community. Lesbian groups are unable to exclude transwomen for fear of being accused of transphobia. Understandably, for those who want to see themselves as female, joining a woman-only group, or entering a woman-only space, is touted as affirming their ‘womanly’ identity. The logical endpoint of the ‘transwomen are women’ mantra is that same sex attraction itself is transphobic; lesbians are now routinely told online that they are ‘vagina fetishists’ for excluding male bodied transwomen.
Outside of shouty, blue-fringed students, the idea that ‘some lesbians have penises’ is ridiculous. And yet, empowered by late-transitioning transwomen, the law is at risk of being changed to make questioning this statement a crime.
A Tumblr-inspired trend, it is tearing apart the youth lesbian community. Researchers estimate that 95 – 100 percent of the girls who identify as boys would otherwise grow up to be lesbian. This should, in itself be a cause for caution in relation to the spike in transgenderism among young people. Many are turning online to make sense of their feelings, and a dearth of information about female same-sex attraction is leading girls to conceptualise their discomfort in their growing bodies as evidence of being transgender.
There is a crisis facing young lesbians, and the so-called ‘LGBT’ community has abandoned them. ‘Get the L Out’ at Pride London yesterday are not ‘anti-trans campaigners’; they are lesbians fighting for their younger sisters to not be side-lined and ignored.
‘Get the L Out’ have been smeared as a ‘hate group’, ‘anti-trans’, and ‘transphobic’, when all that they asserted was the right to same-sex attraction and to not apologise for it. It says much more about the abuse of terms like ‘transphobic’ and ‘anti-trans’, rather than the group.
While Tesco and Barclays negotiate the size of their sponsorship of Pride London, women like me get on with life. We still look around before holding hands, we laugh to hide the anger when men make threatening and perverted comments, and we pretend to be ‘friends’ when we arrive somewhere new. I want life to be easier for the next generation of girls who come out, but when I look at what LGBT movement has become, I see a bloated celebration of men and money. What Get the L Out did yesterday at Pride London was not only brave, it was vital. I for one salute my brave lesbian sisters who put protest back at the heart of Pride.