U.K: Lesbian couple hurt in ‘unprovoked homophobic assault’ outside Asda, Worcester

A LESBIAN couple was punched and kicked in Worcester during what they believe was an unprovoked, homophobic attack by up to three men.
“It all happened so fast. They started hitting me and then my partner stood in front of me, trying to defend me. She got kicked in the face and I also got kicked two or three times in the face and punched four times as well.”

Continue reading at: https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/
16882345.lesbian-couple-hurt-in-unprovoked-homophobic-assault-outside-asda-worcester/
(source)

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Thoughts on the words “queer” and “lesbian” from a twenty-two year old who only connects to one of them

Thoughts Essay Photo - Erin

Guest Post by Erin

It started in 6th grade with an offhand comment to a classmate I thought was my friend. We were in our one shared class, gym, talking about – as girls of this age often did – boys. I never understood why so many hours could be spent talking about them. Sure, some were cool, and they were my friends, but why are we always talking about them? Aren’t there cooler things going on?

Confessing this confusion was my first mistake. An offhand comment led to a rumor that persisted in at least some form for seven years and led to nearly a decade of strong and unrelenting self-hatred. “Who do you like?” she asked, as we did jumping jacks in gym. Unable to pick a random boy fast enough, I answered simply “I don’t like boys yet.” Spoiler alert: even though I pretended to because girls are supposed to like boys, I never did start liking them.

This wasn’t so strange, right? I was only eleven. Didn’t I have better things to worry about then whether or not the cute boy that sat next to me in math looked at me? Was it so strange I was more interested in staring at numbers than boys?

Yes. It was. Soon after this small conversation in the middle of warm-ups in our tiny gym, I first heard it. “Lesbian,” they called me. I didn’t understand why. Of course I knew what a lesbian was. My parents were pretty progressive and didn’t shelter me from things like this. A lesbian is a girl who only likes other girls. But that wasn’t me. I just didn’t like boys yet. That didn’t mean I liked girls. This logic didn’t stop them. They continued, among other taunts, to call me a “lesbian,” the most common taunt.

I started liking boys. I pretended to, at least. I was so good at pretending that I fooled myself. It didn’t matter that I barely knew these boys. Every other girl liked him. I did too. It didn’t matter the thought of actually talking or getting close to him created an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. That was just the butterflies, right? Easier to pretend with were the few boys I was friends with. I was mostly comfortable around them, and I liked talking to them. That’s all a relationship was supposed to be right? We were friends. I could like him and not have to do anything about it for fear of “ruining the friendship.” Just because I never did anything about these crushes didn’t mean I didn’t actually like boys. I was just shy.

The taunts continued. I still didn’t understand. I had relented; I was behaving like a normal girl should. I could point to a growing list of crushes as evidence. This was when I began to understand. I was using the wrong definition of the word “lesbian.” Their definition, the definition they were trying to communicate when they threw the word at me with a sneer and hate in their eyes, was much darker. To them, a lesbian is a girl who only likes girls. But that’s not all they meant. A lesbian is also gross. She’s dirty. She’s wrong and predatory. A lesbian is someone unworthy of love or kindness. The only part of this they didn’t know or care to communicate was the “girl who only likes girls” part.

I understood now. I was gross. I was dirty. I was wrong and predatory. I was unworthy of love and kindness. When this definition became known to me, it’s the one that started to bury itself into my brain every time I heard the insult. Every time I saw one of the ones that called me it. I started to withdraw. I talked less. I stopped hanging out with friends so much. I began to see myself as they did. At age eleven, I began to believe I was gross, dirty, wrong, and predatory. I didn’t deserve love and kindness.

When you are eleven, and your brain is still developing, it develops with the environment you are in. Despite a loving family, I was losing friends and surrounded by hate for most of my day. So I started to internalize it. I isolated myself from the love I believed I didn’t deserve. I hated myself, most of the kids at school hated me, even my friends started forgetting about me the more I ignored their texts and invitations.

All of this started because I was known as the lesbian of the school. I was terrified of this word. It was scary and ugly every time I saw it. It reminded me of all the torment I faced at school, and later online. There are never positive stories about lesbians. They’re beaten up or murdered in the news. They are a porn category for men online. They are mocked in public. They are predatory monsters in movies and television Every time I saw the word lesbian, I believed more and more than lesbian meant someone dirty, predatory, and unworthy.

Fast forward seven years and I’m in college. I don’t know anyone here. No one here knows me. I don’t have to be what I’ve been told I am all these years. Then something terrifying happens. A couple friends I reconnected with take me to a meeting of the campus LGBT club. Suddenly I’m surrounded by people who are what I’ve been called all my life, and they don’t fit the definition of “lesbian” I had had forced upon me. They are women who like other women. They aren’t gross or predatory or unworthy. Scarier still, I realize I may be like them.

Years of telling myself I was all parts of the definition of “lesbian” except the only true definition caught up with me. I avoid this word at all costs. I am pansexual. No, I am asexual. No, I am bisexual. No, I am bisexual with a preference for women. No, I am bisexual with a strong preference for women. No, I am bisexual with a very strong preference for women. No, I…suddenly realize I am what I’ve been avoiding.

I am a lesbian. So, what does this word mean now? Does it still mean dirty, predatory, and unworthy? I don’t know. I don’t think it does, not anymore. At least not fully. I am nineteen now, and the fears I held at age eleven aren’t so scary anymore. I begin to reach out. I follow lesbians online. I look for positive representation in media. I start to identify with the word bit by bit.

But then, I’m back in school after winter break ends and there are people all around and now the fears I held at age eleven seem more real. I start throwing up every day and making jokes about my sexuality. If I make jokes about it then it’s not so scary and I can maybe eventually confront it, right? But the jokes don’t stop and neither does the throwing up. I wasn’t okay. But I was trying to be.

I begin to have more lesbians in my life. I follow more lesbians on Tumblr and other social media. I join some lesbian-centric Facebook groups. I find a musical celebrating what it is to be a butch lesbian. I watch rom-coms where lesbians get to end up happy. I listen to lesbian singers. I meet and work with lesbians at my summer job, and see them being happy and secure.

Lesbian begins to take on a whole new meaning for me. These women I know, through work or the Internet, through stories on stage or screen, aren’t what I’ve been told and internalized a lesbian is my whole life. They are not gross or predatory or unworthy. These women are strong. They are powerful. They are full of love and light and confidence in who they are. They have people who love them.

And I am like them. I am strong and powerful and full of love and light. I am worthy. “Lesbian” is no longer a scary concept for me. I am a lesbian, and no one will take that away from me ever again. Being a lesbian is a beautiful thing to be. I am proud.

But as I began to assert my new proud identity, words like “gay” and “lesbian” and “bisexual” started to disappear. The new word that took their place was the word “queer.” Originally meaning words like strange, odd, ruin, and spoil, the word became used as a slur against the LGBT community. Slurs typically have a way of becoming reclaimed. They are taken from the negative group and turned into a war cry.

Suddenly, so many things are becoming queer. More and more people are dropping more “standard” LGBT identities and choosing to identify as queer. There aren’t lists of lesbian, or bi, or trans, or gay, or LGBT musicians – there are lists of queer musicians. The formerly “gay & lesbian” section has become the “queer” section. The LGBT groups are disappearing, and queer groups are taking their place. In retrospect, this isn’t such a bad idea. Reclaiming slurs can be a powerful concept, and reclaiming them on such a large scale can show more power. But forcing people to identify with the term, even accidentally, isn’t powerful – it takes away their personal choice.

I never identified as queer. To those that do, you have my full support and your identity should be celebrated. But your identity isn’t my identity. I spent eight years hating myself for even being assumed a lesbian. I spent another year terrified when I discovered I actually was. To me, lesbian is a powerful word. Lesbian is a word that can be twisted into something so ugly if you let it. And I let it. But then, I twisted it into something beautiful, and I became something beautiful.

I spent seven years being called a lesbian in the worst way by people who did not know me. I let them take the best way, the true way, away from me to. The day I decided that I am a proud, bold, unapologetic, unafraid lesbian was the day that I forgave my childhood self for being so miserable and self-hating. It was the day I found myself. It was the day I fell in love with myself. It was the scariest and most freeing day of my life. No one will ever take this beautiful, bold, proud word away from me again

Queer is like this for so many people. Queer is their identity. It is their support system. It is their connector with other people who are like them in a world that is not kind to people like them. An identity like this is so important for a person’s wellbeing. We need to connect with people like us, because it is hard to survive in a world that doesn’t want people like us.

Expecting everyone to identify with this word is when it becomes dangerous. Calling everyone who falls under the “not cis and/or straight” umbrella queer erases all these other beautiful, powerful identities. So much negativity is placed on words like bisexual, transgender, pansexual, gay, and lesbian. Proudly identifying with these terms is powerful. It is taking our power back from those who tried to take it from us. Queer is also a word that was made negative, and is now being used in a positive way.

Continue to take back the words they took from us. But let everyone do it in their own way.

I am twenty-two now, and the fears I had at eleven and later at nineteen no longer hold power over me. I still hold them, and I still remember them. On my worst days, they try to creep back into my mind. On these days, I remember the miserable girl I was at eleven. She survived and blossomed. On these days, I remember the terrified woman I was at nineteen. She survived despite her fear and fell in love with herself. On these days, I know the woman I am at twenty-two. She will survive, and become the person the miserable eleven year old needed, and the terrified nineteen year old found.

Belgium: Lesbian couple victim of lesbophobic violence in asylum centre

gona_en_lisa

‘From day one we already got threats. In one way or another the news spread very quickly that a lesbian couple was staying in the center. Since then, we are being chased and spitting at our feet. Once they threw balls at us, which caused me to suffer scrapes.But it quickly became a lot worse, “says an emotional Gona. 

The couple say she feels unsafe. ‘Our first room was completely behind the asylum center, far away from the employees. If something went wrong, it took a long time before an employee could come on the spot. ‘ They say it did not help that they were so far away from the employees. ‘In the evening only two staff members are present for the complete asylum center. If it goes wrong here, then all help will come too late. ” 

They were offered another room. But when they went to visit, the residents who stayed in the new hallway did not want to let them through. “A lesbian couple is not welcome in their ‘department'”.

Continue reading at: https://zizo-online.be/article/13252 (Source – Dutch)

Lesbian couple victim of LGBT violence in asylum center ZiZo-Online (Translated pdf – English)

Moldova: Deacon found guilty of throwing holy water on lesbian has to pay her compensation

Deacon found guilty of throwing holy water on lesbian has to pay her compensation

An Orthodox Deacon in Moldova who threw holy water on a lesbian during a live television broadcast will have to pay her compensation and publicly apologize to her.
A court found Deacon Ghenadie Valuta guilty of ‘incitement to discrimination based on beliefs and signs of sexual orientation’ for splashing LGBTI activist, Angelica Frolov. The court ordered him to pay Frolov $715 in damages and to cover her legal fees.

Continue reading at: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/deacon-found-guilty-of-throwing-holy-water-on-lesbian-has-to-pay-her-compensation/#gs.K3g73Bc (source)

U.S: Lesbians Harassed by Anti- Lesbian Neighbours Paint House Rainbow

Rainbow House

Married lesbians in Pennsylvania who say they’ve endured years of homophobic slurs from their neighbors are fighting back by painting their house the colors of the rainbow.
The women, Lisa Licata and Sherry Lau, who moved to their Penn Hills neighborhood five years ago, said that their neighbors Ron Makay and his wife, Iolanda Wieczorkowski, have repeatedly shouted “homos, dykes, and lesbians” at them. They allege that Makay shot their dog with a BB gun, which he has denied.
To put some distance between themselves and the antigay neighbors, Licata and Lau erected a fence that they painted the colors of the rainbow flag. The fence allegedly set the neighbors off so much that they amped up the harassment. That’s when the women decided to paint the side of their house that faces the neighbors in rainbow colors.

Continue reading: https://www.advocate.com/women/
2018/8/31/lesbians-harassed-antigay-neighbors-paint-house-rainbow
(source)

Update: 100 People Attended Public Caning Of 2 Terengganu Women Charged With Lesbian Relations

Bf14

Earlier today, 3 September, 100 people witnessed the public caning of two Terengganu women who were convicted of attempting to have lesbian sex last month.
Berita Harian reported that the women were caned six times each by a caning officer from the Kajang Women’s Prison in front of a panel of judges at about 10.10am today.
Although the punishment was carried out behind closed doors, Malay Mail reported Syariah lawyer Marlina Amir Hamzah as saying that the women were caned in full view of nearly 100 people including members of the public, government agency representatives, and members of non-governmental organisations.

Continue reading at: https://says.com/my/news/100-people-attended-public-caning-of-2-terengganu-women-for-lesbian-sex-attempt (source)

Original article: Malaysian women to be caned for ‘attempting lesbian sex’

Canada: Calgary police hate crime unit investigating assault of lesbian couple in Beltline

A same-sex Calgary couple says they were physically attacked last weekend by a group of people who made derogatory comments about their sexuality.

Continue reading at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/
calgary-same-sex-couple-attacked-derogatory-comments-1.4802736
(source)

U.S: Lesbian photographer harassed for being gay

Houston photographer Alicia Verdier knew things were about to get uncomfortable last month when a prospective client asked if she was gay.
When Verdier affirmed the woman’s inkling, the client told her “you homos are trying to ruin this country.”
“You’re going to burn in hell,” the woman said, according to screenshots of the conversation. “I want everyone to know just what kind of awful things you stand for, and I will be sure to let everyone know! Don’t you know Texas is a Christian state ??”

Continue reading at: https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Burn-in-hell-Houston-photographer-says-client-13194151.php (source)

Kazakhstan: Lesbian Activist arrested over menstruation picture

zhanar-sekerbaeva.jpg

Kazakhstan: Zhanar Sekerbaeva, prominent LGBT activist from Kazakhstan and co-founder of feminist initiative Feminita, based in Almaty, was detained on Wednesday, August 14, 2018. According to Feminita, Zhanar, together with Elena Ivanova, Alina Nevidimko and Polina Pollinium, organized photo session at Arbat street in Almaty on August 9th, 2018, dedicated to de-stigmatization of menstruation that attracted a lot of attention both online and during the session itself. Despite that the photo session was peaceful, it was interrupted by men, who pulled out posters in aggressive manner and threatened to take away mobile phone from one of the participant. The participants decided to leave the venue since they did not want to become witnesses of the violence.

Continue reading at: https://centralasien.org/2018/08/17/lgbt-activist-is-charged-for-organising-peaceful-photo-session-in-kazakhstan/ (Source)

Cameroon: Lesbian on the Run

Cameroon (Map courtesy of Penpals-du-Monde.blogspot.com)

Police in Cameroon have been seeking a 22-year-old lesbian for the past three weeks, ever since a homophobic neighbor denounced her to police in Douala because of her sexual orientation.

Continue reading at: https://76crimes.com/2018/08/13/cameroon-lesbian-on-the-run/  (source)

 

Malaysian women to be caned for ‘attempting lesbian sex’

A map of Malaysia (Laris Karklis / The Washington Post)

Two Malaysian women convicted for attempting to have lesbian sex will be fined and caned, a prosecutor said on Tuesday, in a rare case against gay people in the Muslim-majority country.

Continue reading at:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-malaysia-lgbt-court/malaysian-women-to-be-caned-for-attempting-lesbian-sex-idUSKBN1KZ1JF (source)

Update: https://listening2lesbians.com/2018/09/04/update-100-people-attended-public-caning-of-2-terengganu-women-charged-with-lesbian-relations/

U.S: Guidance counsellor may lose job after Catholic school learns she has a wife

Image: Shelly Fitzgerald

A guidance counsellor at an Indianapolis Catholic school has been placed on administrative leave after school officials discovered she was married to a woman.
Shelley Fitzgerald has worked at Roncalli High School, which is run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, for 15 years and has been with her now-wife for 22 years.
Fitzgerald said school administrators gave her an ultimatum: resign or “dissolve” her marriage.

Continue reading at: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/guidance-counselor-may-lose-job-after-catholic-school-learns-she-n900401  (source)

Amsterdam: Nuns Kick Out Lesbian Asylum Seeker

Netherlands-CIA WFB Map.png

A Ugandan asylum seeker who was staying with the nuns of Missionaries of Charity in Amsterdam, was not allowed to return to the shelter after she revealed that she is a lesbian and helped with the Canal Pride Parade.

Continue reading at: https://nltimes.nl/2018/08/07/amsterdam-nuns-kick-lesbian-asylum-seeker-protest-planned  (source)

 

 

Nashville, USA: Man attacks lesbian

Nashville lesbophobic attack

A lesbian in Nashville, Tennessee is hoping there are consequences for the man who attacked her and her car after she rebuffed his advances. Bailey Cantrell was at a Kwik Sak gas station near Centennial Park when the man approached her. She said her friend was inside while she waited by the car when the man came up, calling her names and asking for her phone number.

‘After I declined, still a little bit mad, then the second I declined the third time and said “I’m gay, I’m just not interested,” that’s when it triggered him and he got very aggressive,’ she told Wave3 News. Security camera footage shows the man jumping onto the car, while Cantrell was in it, and kicking in the windshield.

Continue reading at: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/nashville-man-attacks-lesbian-car/#gs.knkdbCY (Source)

St Peter, USA: Lesbians raise funds against workplace hate campaign

Jaime Angie Mace

The Maces and their attorney suspect an individual who works with them at the hospital sent all of the letters. “There’s some really sick person out there,” said attorney Lori Peterson. “This person needs to be locked up for a really long time.”

The notes the Maces were mailed last year say they “should be locked up” because they are ruining the country. The letters, which are posted on the Maces’ fundraising page, make multiple threats against the couple and their daughter, including references to a gun and burning down their house.

Jaime Mace said new threatening notes were mailed in May to two of their gay friends who also work at the hospital and live in St. Peter.

Continue reading at: http://www.mankatofreepress.com/news/local_news/more-threatening-anonymous-letters-reported-in-st-peter/article_07ec6036-969f-11e8-9743-6b65382eb58d.html (Source)

Columbus, USA: lesbian couple files discrimination suit against Columbus Urban League

Columbus Urban League

Two Columbus women say a local organization aimed at ending discrimination, fired them for being gay.

The couple worked at the Columbus Urban League and says shortly after management learned they were dating, they were both fired.

Wednesday they filed a federal discrimination lawsuit. The Urban League calls the allegations “bogus” and “absurd.”

Continue reading at: https://www.10tv.com/article/same-sex-couple-files-discrimination-suit-against-columbus-urban-league (Source)

Chicago, USA: Police fail to act on hate crime against lesbian minor

amari-graves

teenager in Chicago was brutally attacked this past Tuesday, but police haven’t arrested any of the attackers. Now her mom is speaking out for her.

Amari Graves, 15, was walking to a store in her West Side neighborhood when she was attacked by a classmate and several adults.  “They all got out and walked up to me,” Amari said. She said that she recognized one of the people approaching her as another girl from her school, and the rest of the people were adults.

Continue reading at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/08/police-didnt-arrest-lesbian-girls-adult-attackers-now-angry-mom-stepping/ (Source)

South Africa: Lesbian raped by her father, uncle and friend to ‘make her straight’

Mubizana

A lesbian has said she was raped at the age of 15 by her father in order to ‘make her straight.’ The South African woman, known only as Mubizana, also accused her uncle and his friend of raping her on the same day, when her grandmother had left home to visit relatives in Dennilton, Limpopo, in the north-east of the country.

The heartbreaking Twitter thread comes as South African LGBT people struggle to come to terms with multiple horrific attacks on the community, including the torture, rape, murder and burning of married lesbian couple Joey and Anisha van Niekerk.

Continue reading at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/07/31/lesbian-raped-father-uncle-friend-make-straight/ (Source)

U.S: Lesbian couple denied housing in Sunset Hills senior living community, lawsuit claims

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A St. Louis County senior community has denied housing to a married lesbian couple who have been together for nearly four decades because of the couple’s sexual orientation, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Mary Walsh, 72, and Bev Nance, 68, both of Shrewsbury, say the Friendship Village senior living community, which has locations in Sunset Hills and Chesterfield, denied occupancy to them to live at the Sunset Hills community in 2016 because their relationship violated its cohabitation policy that defines marriage as “the union of one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible,” according to the lawsuit.

Continue reading at: https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/
crime-and-courts/lesbian-couple-denied-housing-in-sunset-hills-senior-living-community/
(source)

U.S: Federal judge denies lesbian Ugandan woman’s plea for release, stay of removal

The Rev. Hall Kirkham (left) embraced a woman from Uganda, whose daughter is trying to stay in the US to escape persecution because she is gay.

A Massachusetts federal court judge ruled late Thursday that he has no jurisdiction to delay deportation proceedings of a gay Ugandan woman who has said she believes she could be persecuted, and even killed, if she returns to Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by life in prison.

Continue reading at: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/
2018/07/20/federal-judge-denies-gay-ugandan-woman-plea-for-release-stay-removal/0MYWBgInk1TbmmSbNCouxO/
story.html
(source)