Ukraine: Lesbian couple keeping low profile, but open with family

Despite being open about their family with relatives and friends, Moskovchenko was the only one from her family who attended this year’s Kyiv Pride on June 18, a march of around 4,000 people in Kyiv in support of the rights of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT).

They said they were worried about their children’s safety. Although nobody was hurt during the march, there were reports later that day that several participants were followed and attacked after the march.

“Staying safe and sound is our duty to our children,” Svidnitska said.Ukrainian law prevents gay couples from adopting children, so the couple don’t have legal rights to each other’s kids — if something happens to Moskovchenko, Svidnitska won’t get custody of her daughter, and vice versa.

Continue reading at: Lesbian couple keeping low profile, but open with family | KyivPost (Source)

In Memoriam: Lesbian Murder Victims (July 2017 Update)

Day-of-Mourn-01-300x187

“Lesbians are very often undercounted as murder victims–both within the so-called LGBT community and by those who monitor violence against women. This is a beginning effort to honor the names of the lesbians that have been lost.”

This month we honor the following sisters:

Ariel Lowe, Nassau, Bahamas (March 2015)

Vanesa Gamboa Gutiérrez, Santiago, Chile (May 2016)

Lidiana Santana and Thayane Milla Mendes, Portugal (Probably in February 2016. Their bodies were not discovered until August 2016.)

Continue reading at: In Memoriam: Lesbian Murder Victims: May 2017 (Source)

Lesbian Rapper Shot And Killed In New Orleans, Second Female Victim in Hospital

The family of Brittney Johnson hopes her message of solidarity with the LGBT community continues after the 29-year-old-lesbian rapper was gunned down in New Orleans on Saturday.

Johnson, who performed under the monikers Bunny and Big Bei, was found dead in the home she shared with another unnamed woman, who was also shot but survived. The two lived in Algiers, one of New Orleans oldest neighborhoods.

The New Orleans Advocate reports, “anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call NOPD Homicide Detective Bruce Brueggeman at 504-658-5300, or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.”

Continue reading at: Lesbian Rapper Shot And Killed In New Orleans | NewNowNext (Source)

Chechnya: Reports of high domestic violence, “honor killings” of lesbians

chechnya_ramzan_kadyrov

‘Gay men who are taken to prisons, it was a kind of massive attack against those homosexual people. Homosexual women are treated differently.

‘So it’s considered that families should take responsibility for them, so there is a lot of domestic violence and we’ve heard there are a lot of honor killings of those lesbian women.’

Continue reading at: Chechnya: Lesbians, bi and trans people now in firing line (Source)

Facebook: Listening to Lesbians?

we love dykes

We just had a really productive conversation with Facebook.  I can’t believe I just typed that, but it is true.  In a 45-minute discussion with a spokesperson who works with the Communications Team on content policy issues, we laid everything out on the table, and we were treated with respect and given answers to questions we have been asking repeatedly for the last few weeks.  It’s okay if you are skeptical.  We were very skeptical going into this.  As most of you know, neither Liz nor I, are pushovers.  So, if this spokesperson did a classic corporate number on us, she is very good.  But we don’t think that’s what happened.

Background

On July 5th, 2017 we sent our Facebook contact a 51-page PDF filled with screencaps of deleted posts and banned women.  This contact also suggested a conference call for a few days later to discuss the bannings and all of the questions and concerns we have been raising at Listening 2 Lesbians.  In the interim, she worked through the list and women slowly started to see deleted posts reappear with apology, and bans end early.  In the meantime, she was also reading our articles and our response to Facebook Hard Questions, which she said had been read and discussed by multiple people at Facebook.  Basically, she came into the discussion with an understanding of what our concerns were and a desire to work with us to address these issues.  We believe she came to this discussion in good faith.  Immediately prior to our conversation we sent her an additional PDF with more screencaps.

How the Deletions and Bans Happen

Our discussion started with a clarification of how the Community Operations Team really works, the role of the new AI and what has been happening these past several weeks with regards to the word “dyke”.  To start, Facebook does not consider “dyke” a banned word, but admits that the content reviewers are making major mistakes with understanding the importance of the word “dyke” to the lesbian community and the proper context for its usage.

There are two ways a post is flagged: it is reported by another Facebook user, or it is flagged by the AI.  Either way, the spokesperson says an actual human being, the content reviewer, reviews the post and makes the decision on whether or not it violates community standards.  We asked about suspiciously quick deletions/bannings and questioned how a content reviewer could get to them so fast and she said she did not know and needs to examine specific instances to determine what happened.  We will continue to follow up on that.

Facebook is aware that users have been testing their system by just typing “dyke” or typing it over and over again.  While they understand our desire to do this, their spokesperson said these particular kinds of posts are too void of context for their reviewers.  They are not always able to tell if the word is directed AT someone, or a group, or if it is a positive pronouncement.  We had been thinking about this ahead of her mentioning it, and felt that this was a reasonable concern that we, as users, might consider going forward.  So, while Facebook is admitting that it has been struggling with how to continue the positive pro-dyke communications, we may want to reevaluate using it with absolutely no context at all.

What is Facebook Doing about It?

As Facebook has been getting more information from us they have been working on ways to fix the problem.  According to the spokesperson, her team has been examining the posts we send them, they have been gathering data and retraining content reviewers on how to appropriately evaluate the word “dyke” in a post.  They are also bringing in “subject matter experts” to specifically address the use of reclaimed words, not only in the lesbian community, but in other communities as well.  She also restated that Facebook is hiring 3000 more content reviewers to better handle the load.

We talked quite a bit about the new AI used to locate hate speech in user posts.  She told us that when the AI flags a post it is not deleted right away.  It is first sent to a content reviewer for evaluation.  Facebook is now saying that the AI is not ready to be used alone.  They are now looking at the issues being raised with their use of Protected and Unprotected Categories.  She said they are aware of the problems and are working on it.

What about the Petition?

We made three demands of Facebook in our petition and we feel that Facebook is now attempting to meet those demands.

  1. We are asking for everyone’s support in calling on Facebook to end their discriminatory practice of banning women for using the word “dyke” in a self-referential manner and/or as a positive expression of our culture.  We also reject the idea that we must use a hashtag in front of our identity in order to not get banned.  We demand they follow their own stated policy, and allow us to use our own word in order to avoid restricting our ability to express ourselves on Facebook.

The Facebook spokesperson has said they have not banned the word “dyke” and hold only the intention of targeting actual hate speech.  They are working to put policy into proper practice.

  1. We are also calling on Facebook to do an investigation into the practices of their Community Operations Team, the content reviewers responsible for answering reports, scanning user posts, and carrying out bans and deletions.  We demand that Facebook determine if any of their employees responsible for judging user content are showing a bias against women and lesbians.  We call on Facebook to terminate the employment of any individual that has intentionally targeted women and lesbians for their beliefs and/or because they hate women and lesbians.  We believe this investigation should also be conducted with regards to other minority groups as well.

According to our contact who works on the team responsible for investigating Community Operations Team practices and content policy issues, they are investigating what has happened, why so many mistakes were made and ways to fix those mistakes so they don’t happen again.  They are determining if any content reviewers need retraining and that retraining is already occurring.  She has asked us all to continue the dialog with her through this process and to continue to bring forward evidence of deletions and bans that should not have happened.

  1. Finally, we are calling on Facebook to fix their hate speech algorithms to recognize the importance of the word “dyke” in the lesbian culture and to strengthen their approach to recognizing and addressing actual hate speech against lesbians.  While we are just one minority group affected by these policies, we feel other minority groups are similarly affected.  We ask for your support in settling this dispute with Facebook.

According to the spokesperson, Facebook is aware of this ongoing issue and is working on the algorithms to find ways that do not punish minority groups that use reclaimed words.

Moving Forward

At this time, we believe Facebook is making efforts to rectify the dyke ban situation.  We believe that our contact engaged with us in good faith and is truly interested in working with us to improve policy and procedure at Facebook.  WE WILL REMAIN VIGILANT.  Listening 2 Lesbians will continue discussions with Facebook about issues the lesbian community encounters on their platform.  We will also try to foster new lines of communication between Facebook and the lesbian community who use their platform

At this time, we ask that women continue to send in a screen cap of posts they had deleted for the use of the word “dyke” along with their profile url.  Please send those to ari@listening2lesbians.com.  She will be sending those to Facebook regularly.  We also encourage all lesbians to research and find paths of communication with Facebook.  If requested, we will assist in this process as much as possible.

At this time, Listening 2 Lesbians believes we have received satisfactory answers to our demands.  We will continue to monitor the situation and we hope you do too.

We thank everyone for their support!  Petition signers, sharers, law experts, human rights advocates, journalists, agitators; you all helped make this happen!  We extend a special thank you to those that took extra steps to push this issue forward.  We could not have done any of this without all of you!

Dykes Rule!

Lisa & Liz
Listening 2 Lesbians

For Teammates in Love, an Island Oasis

While gay athletes have felt increasingly comfortable coming out in American sports leagues over the past decade, and hardly raise an eyebrow on the women’s national teams of many countries, lesbians are often less visible in Mexican society because of the country’s macho culture. Consequently, when they go public with their sexuality, they can face more opposition, said Claudia Pedraza, who specializes in studying gender and sports at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/sports/soccer/iceland-soccer-stars-in-love-find-acceptance.html (Source)

The Vanishing Point: A Reflection Upon Lesbian Erasure

Claire Heuchan
Sister Outrider

“In a time when acknowledging biological sex is treated as an act of bigotry, homosexuality is automatically problematised – the unforeseen consequences of queer identity politics are wide and far-reaching. Or rather, it would be more accurate to say, lesbian sexuality is made problematic: the idea of women exclusively directing our desires and energies towards one another remains suspect. Somehow, the pattern of men centring men in their lives never receives the same backlash. Lesbians are a threat to the status quo, whether it’s part of heteropatriarchy or queer culture. When lesbians dismiss the idea of taking on a partner with a penis, we are branded “vagina fetishists” and “gynephiles” – given that lesbian sexuality is routinely pathologised in queer discourse, just as lesbian sexuality is pathologised by social conservatism, it’s no surprise to me that so many young women succumb to social pressure and drop lesbian in favour of queer. Self-erasure is the price of acceptance.”

Continue reading more of Claire Heuchan at: The Vanishing Point: A Reflection Upon Lesbian Erasure | Sister Outrider (Source)

ARAB and GAY PRIDE? I was on the cover of the London Evening Standard and here’s why I’m lucky.

Rola
Poetic Hands

“What is hard to see behind the sheer pride in my eyes is the journey I embarked on at a very young age as a gay Lebanese woman, and the destination I eventually reached which not many others in my shoes, particularly Middle Eastern women, are lucky enough to attain.”

Continue reading more of Rola at: ARAB and GAY PRIDE? I was on the cover of the London Evening Standard and here’s why I’m lucky. – Poetic Hands (Source)

India: Bangalore Mirror ‘outs’ women, one woman fired from job

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A day after Bangalore Mirror reported the shocking police complaint filed against two women for informally marrying each other, it has emerged that one of the women has been fired from her company.

“The company (gozefo.com) people called me in the morning and asked me if I want to continue in the job or not. They asked me to talk to my parents and get back. I told them I’ll talk to my lawyers and get back. When I called them back at 5.30 pm, they said HR had decided that you leave the company since they know that it’s me who is making rounds in the media from morning. This is totally unfair,” said the younger woman.

“No one can just claim that it’s her and throw her out of the company. They told her it’s very evident from what the TV channels have showed in the visuals, and did this. We did not get married at all. In fact, I’m related to her and we live in the same house. This is really not acceptable,” the other woman said.

Continue reading at: ‘They called at 11 am and asked if I wanted to continue in my job. By 5.30 pm, they had asked me to leave’ – Bangalore Mirror (Source)

Lesbian’s Employment Discrimination Case Appealed to Supreme Court

Lambda Legal announced today that it will ask the high court to hear the case of Jameka Evans, whose lawsuit says she suffered harassment and discrimination at her job as a security guard at Georgia Regional Hospital in Savannah and was eventually forced out because she’s a lesbian and gender-nonconforming.

In March a three-judge panel of the U.S, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling, upheld a lower court’s dismissal of Evans’s suit. The judges did not dispute the facts of the case, but the majority said they were bound by precedent that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation. Lambda Legal, representing Evans, asked the full court to rehear the case, but today it declined to do so, leaving Lambda no option but to go to the Supreme Court.

Continue reading at: Lesbian’s Employment Discrimination Case Appealed to Supreme Court | Advocate.com (Source)

Facebook community standards under scrutiny as out and proud ‘dykes’ banned

Secret guidelines used by social media giant Facebook to censor hate speech are resulting in lesbians being blocked and banned for referring to themselves as “dykes”, with one expert suggesting early adoption of artificial intelligence software may be to blame.

Liz Waterhouse, who runs the blog listening2lesbians with her partner Lisa Mallett, said they noticed women started being banned this year, with a sharp escalation in June.

Continue reading at: Facebook community standards under scrutiny as out and proud ‘dykes’ banned – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (Source)

As Taiwan legalized gay marriage, China shut down its most iconic lesbian social media platform

Homosexuality has been legal in China since 1997, and the first proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in the country was submitted to the National People’s Congress meeting in 2003. Even though the proposal failed to pass on three occasions, the fight for marriage equality continues to be carried out by other activists.

While many were still rejoicing about the news from across the Taiwan Strait, the country’s most iconic lesbian social media platform Rela (热拉) was shut down on May 26. No official explanation for the shutdown has been given by Chinese authorities.

Continue reading at: China has shut down one of its most iconic LGBTQ social media platforms — Quartz (Source)

Lesbians and the Sexual Politics of Wimbledon

Mauresmo is a two-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic silver medalist who is also known for coaching Andy Murray. After she beat top seed Lindsey Davenport in 1999, she came out as a lesbian—and her body became a rhetorical battleground. She was repeatedly described as bulging, muscular, and intimidating—and Davenport’s bitter mention that playing her was like “playing a guy” was repeated in coverage of her game.

Continue reading at: The Sexual Politics of Wimbledon | JSTOR Daily (Source)

New York: Man Indicted in Anti-Lesbian Subway Attack That Left Woman With 8 Stitches

A 27-year-old Brooklyn man has been indicted on charges of assault as a hate crime for allegedly punching a woman in the face and knocking her unconscious while shouting anti-gay slurs on a subway in May.  Antoine Thomas, of Flatbush, was arraigned on those and other charges in Brooklyn Supreme Court Monday. It wasn’t clear if he entered a plea.

Continue reading at: Man Indicted in Anti-LGBT Subway Attack That Left Woman With 8 Stitches | NBC New York (Source)

This lesbian couple fell in love during basic training and couldn’t kiss until their last day

Though ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ had been repealed since, they still experienced difficulties being openly together.

‘We came into the Army quite aware that we were gay way before joining. It definitely still had a stigma when we were in. Really the treatment varied. One sergeant that we had was on a lesbian witch hunt, while another protected us. Overall though, it wasn’t a major issue,’ said Turner

Continue reading at: This lesbian couple fell in love during basic training and couldn’t kiss until their last day (Source)

Facebook: Stop Discriminating Against Lesbians-Petition Change.org

ChangePetition Image

Discrimination and violence against lesbians, because of our sexual orientation and because of our female bodies, is rampant in today’s world.  From no-platforming to corrective rape, to job discrimination, to murder, we are constantly aware of the silencing of our community and the attempts to control and harm our bodies, because we are lesbians.  Because of this, we have been deeply disturbed to learn that there has been a rash of post deletions and bans by Facebook for women that post status updates with the word “dyke” in their posts.   Many of us are on our second or third ban. Some of us got banned again and again, within mere minutes of logging back on for the first time after a recent ban had been lifted. We have had reports that these consecutive bans included posts that lesbians had posted on their own walls days to weeks in the past.

On June 27, 2017, Richard Allan, VP EMEA Public Policy at Facebook wrote:

“On other occasions, people may reclaim offensive terms that were used to attack them. When someone uses an offensive term in a self-referential way, it can feel very different from when the same term is used to attack them. For example, the use of the word “dyke” may be considered hate speech when directed as an attack on someone on the basis of the fact that they are gay. However, if someone posted a photo of themselves with #dyke, it would be allowed. Another example is the word “faggot.” This word could be considered hate speech when directed at a person, but, in Italy, among other places, “frocio” (“faggot”) is used by LGBT activists to denounce homophobia and reclaim the word. In these cases, removing the content would mean restricting someone’s ability to express themselves on Facebook.”

We are deeply concerned that lesbians and women showing support for our community, are being banned for expressing their love and respect for our culture.  We are also deeply concerned that women are being silenced when they express their views on what it means to be a dyke.  This is a conversation for lesbians only and should not be controlled or manipulated by anyone outside of our community.

We are asking for everyone’s support in calling on Facebook to end their discriminatory practice of banning women for using the word “dyke” in a self-referential manner and/or as a positive expression of our culture.  We also reject the idea that we must use a hashtag in front of our identity in order to not get banned.  We demand they follow their own stated policy, and allow us to use our own word in order to avoid restricting our ability to express ourselves on Facebook.

We are also calling on Facebook to do an investigation into the practices of their Community Operations Team, the content reviewers responsible for answering reports, scanning user posts, and carrying out bans and deletions.  We demand that Facebook determine if any of their employees responsible for judging user content are showing a bias against women and lesbians.  We call on Facebook to terminate the employment of any individual that has intentionally targeted women and lesbians for their beliefs and/or because they hate women and lesbians.  We believe this investigation should also be conducted with regards to other minority groups as well.

Finally, we are calling on Facebook to fix their hate speech algorithms to recognize the importance of the word “dyke” in the lesbian culture and to strengthen their approach to recognizing and addressing actual hate speech against lesbians.  While we are just one minority group affected by these policies, we feel other minority groups are similarly affected.  We ask for your support in settling this dispute with Facebook.

Thank you for your support!

This petition will be delivered to:

  • Hard Questions @ Facebook
  • Director of Global Policy Management, Facebook
    Monika Bickert
  • VP EMEA Public Policy, Facebook
    Richard Allan

ADD YOUR NAME TO THE PETITION Facebook: Stop Discriminating Against Lesbians-Petition Change.org

Facebook Hates Lesbians

http://www.epochalips.com/2010/10/lesbian-history-dyke-a-quarterly/

Dyke A Quarterly

How are we doing?

No, this isn’t a website questionnaire asking readers of Listening 2 Lesbians if we provide enough material, or a positive attitude, or if all of your questions and concerns are answered by us in a timely manner.

How are WE DYKES ON FACEBOOK doing?

I can ask that question, but I know for sure we are never going to get a 100% response.  Why? Because as I type this, dozens of us are serving our time in Facebook jail for daring to call ourselves DYKES.  Many of us are on our second or third ban.  Some of us got banned again and again, within mere minutes of logging back on for the first time after a recent ban had been lifted.  We have had reports that these consecutive bans included posts that lesbians had posted on their own walls days to weeks in the past.  Imagine that.  Facebook waited for women’s bans to end and then reached back through their wall history to find another post to punish them.

One woman had 12 minutes between the time she sent Facebook an email protesting the bans and logging back into her account, before she was banned for a post on her wall from several days previous.  Email, then ban. Weird timing that was.  While she was serving out her 24-hour ban she received another pop-up message telling her another 24-hours had been added to her current ban.  No explanation why.  Now, bans usually happen in a sequence of escalating bans: 24 hours to 3 days to 7 days to 30 days to permanent deletion of account.  How did she get two 24-hour bans, one of which was given DURING the first ban?  Weird.

http://keepcalmandwander.com/pride-toronto-dyke-march-2013/

A large number of us had posts deleted. Many of us received 24-hour bans. Many lesbians are still saying DYKE all over Facebook.  Many non-lesbians are saying dyke all over Facebook.  Listening 2 Lesbians is trying to post all of the ones we could get, but frankly, there are only 2 of us and there are too many examples pouring in.  We can’t keep up.  Also, frankly, I’m pissed.  Listening 2 Lesbians’ own Liz was one of those targeted with the consecutive bans and one of the posts that got deleted was a link to our own post!  And it wasn’t the content of the post that earned the delete.  It was the fact that when she copied and pasted the link onto her status, the word ‘dyke’ was in the URL address!  (We can only assume this is the case, because we have only had 1 other report of a post with our linked article being deleted and we can’t see the top of the screen cap where the URL would be.)

What gives, Facebook?!

Last week, Listening 2 Lesbians wrote an article describing what we saw as a ‘perfect storm’ affecting lesbians’ abilities to call ourselves and each other dykes.  We talked about the Community Operations Team; those thousands of content reviewers that review posts reported for violating community standards.  We talked about the Network of Support; a group of LGBT groups that consult with Facebook on hate speech.  We talked about Facebook’s Online Civil Courage Initiative, started in January 2016 by Germany to force Facebook to eliminate terrorist propaganda and hate speech.  On June 15, 2017, just a couple of weeks ago,  Facebook announced that this new initiative includes an AI (Artificial Intelligent) that trolls Facebook looking for hate speech, groups that talk a lot of hate speech and people that need to be stopped. We were told that these content reviewers (Community Operations Team employees) still looked at all those posts too, to make sure they were evaluated for content.  Supposedly, a human being always made the final decision, so when we wrote Facebook’s Hard Questions (as asked), we not only asked about the algorithms, we also asked about what kind of employees are reviewing our content.  What do they think about lesbians?  About women in general?  Are they actually monitored extensively as suggested, or could one (or more) go about banning whomever they don’t agree with?  We didn’t get a response.

A couple of days later we were contacted by a radio show in Australia to talk about the bans and ‘dyke’ identity.  We were told a Facebook representative was showing up to explain.  After hearing the issue, that spokesperson never showed up, instead telling the journalist they would get back to us all on that.  We haven’t heard anything back.  This is particularly disturbing because a Facebook spokesperson told NPR back in November 2016, “It’s OK to use racial slurs when being self-referential.”  So if racial slurs can be used by the community reclaiming the slur, why can’t we?

In another example of comedic timing, the very next day, ProPublica released an amazing article written by senior journalist Julia Angwin entitled, Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children.  This is a mind-blowing look at the contents of internal documents revealing how Facebook’s algorithms work and how those content reviewers are trained to tell the difference between hate speech and political expression.  It looks an awful lot like that perfect storm we were telling you about.  WARNING: The results are not good.

Now that we are caught up, I want to discuss what the hell this ProPublica article is saying and how exactly do these algorithms and content reviewer rules apply to us dykes.  I’m going to say right now that I can’t see it.  Seriously.  In a little bit, I’m going to describe to you how Facebook says it works and then I’m going to use examples of posts that lesbians got banned for and ask you, our tech-savvy readers, to tell us what you think.  You may want some coffee first.

Oh, Facebook, What Have You Done?

So, after years of Facebook telling us how they rely only (then mostly, then heavily) on users to report posts that might violate community standards, ProPublica reveals that content reviewers “scour the social network deleting offensive speech.”  Bam! Finally, they said it.  So right away we know that overworked employees, with ethics, social beliefs and political beliefs we know nothing about, are looking for WE THE OFFENDING FACEBOOK USERS.  Good to finally know.  Also, we kind of already expected this, didn’t we?  But here is some more interesting stuff.  ProPublica reports:

“One document trains content reviewers on how to apply the company’s global hate speech algorithm. The slide identifies three groups: female drivers, black children and white men. It asks: Which group is protected from hate speech? The correct answer: white men.”

ProPublica - Who Facebook's Secret Censorship Rules Protect

What?! How can this be?

I’m going to try to be brief here, so if it’s too brief, please read the full article.  You should be reading it anyway.  Really.  There’s a slideshow!

Facebook’s algorithms have something called “Protected Categories” (PC) and it is only attacks against these Protected Categories that Facebook will stop.

PC= Sex, religious affiliation, national origin, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, serious disability or disease.

Non-Protected Categories (NPC) = Social class, continental origin, appearance, age, occupation, political ideology, religions, countries.

If someone is two or more of these categories they are a subset.  A subset can be a PC or a NPC:

PC+PC=PC or;

PC+NPC=NPC

So, for the three examples that were given to Facebook employees, the resulting equations were as follows:

Female (PC) + Drivers (NPC) = NPC

Black (PC) + Children (NPC) = NPC

White (PC) + Men (PC) = PC

Do you want to cry now?

The last bit of information you need is what exactly an ‘attack’ is by Facebook standards.  Types of attacks are: calling for violence, calling for exclusion, calling for segregation, degrading generalization, dismissing, cursing, a slur.  So, your post will get deleted if you use one of these attacks against a PC.  The equation is:

Protected Category (PC) + Attack = Hate Speech

‘Dyke’ is a Slur

So before our Facebook spokesperson hid tail and ran from our radio interview, they told the journalist that Facebook considers ‘dyke’ a slur.  Fair enough.  It is true that when someone who is not a dyke attacks someone verbally with the word dyke, that person is using that word as a slur.  Now, those of us in Dyke Nation (and other minority groups), know that words that can be used to hurt us, are also able to be reclaimed.  And just like other groups that have found themselves on the receiving end of this abuse, lesbians have been reclaiming ‘dyke’ for decades.  Of course, there are lesbians that don’t want to be referred in this way, just like there are lesbians that don’t want to be referred to as ‘queer’.  That is understandable and we should all respect that, but lesbians have been reclaiming dyke from the oppressors for so long we have it on marches, book titles, social clubs, motorcycle clubs, sports teams, plays, blogs, stickers, t-shirts…we even have it trademarked in the U.S.A.!  Dyke is out there!  And we are damn proud of it!  As Liz said on The Informer:

“‘Dyke’ is quite a strong word. It has a strong, evocative feeling, and it’s been taken over by women for decades as a symbol of strength and pride and resistance. It really is, to me, a symbol of women taking up space, like Dykes on Bikes. Everybody loves Dykes on Bikes. It’s about noise, it’s about women unapologetically asserting their existence in the world. That’s not something we see lesbians being able to do very often so I think that dyke is quite significant because of its guttural nature, you know linguistically it’s quite strong, because of its social connotations. And it’s not even a word that some women we were thinking about too deeply when they were using it more recently, It’s just become part of how we talk about ourselves. So, from the personal to the political, it’s quite a strong and important word and to see it removed, to see our capacity to use it removed is very concerning. “

From http://artvoice.com/2016/05/26/gay-pride-week-bother/#.WVgafIiGOM9

According to our content reviewer training, a ‘slur’ is “a term that combines an attack with a PC, so;

Slur=Attack + PC AND

Slur = Attack

It’s both apparently, at the same time.  A slur is a noun and a verb, but unless we are drunkenly slurring our slurs, slur is not a verb.  SO, I’m guessing what they meant is just that content reviewers are hunting down that equation: PC + Slur = Hate Speech

(Side note: Also, according to the training slideshow, “Each market has a list of terms that have been labeled as slurs by the Content Policy Team.”  We don’t know what those markets are, or what slurs are on each market list, but isn’t that interesting?  You can use some slurs in one market and not in others.)

Facebook Thinks Dykes are Bad

Let’s look at some posts that are good examples of what lesbians are being banned for; that Facebook has said violate community standards.

“I love that there’s a band of dykes that plays at the local farmer’s market.  Like, how perfect is that??  It’s total perfect.”

We need to remember that Facebook is using ‘dyke’ as a slur, not as a category.  So our category is ‘a band’ and the attack is a slur attack called ‘dykes’.

A band of dykes = NPC

A band is not a protected category. Dyke is a slur.  But dykes are lesbians so dykes would have to also be considered a protected category too.  Doesn’t matter though because either way you get a result of;

NPC+Slur = Not Hate Speech

Hmmm. Next one:

“I LOVE DYKES!!!!”

I = PC or NPC, but, let’s say “I” is the protected category ‘lesbian’.

I (the lesbian) love dykes.

PC + Slur = Hate Speech

She really just said she loves herself in this example.  She attacked herself with love using a slur that also identifies who she is.  I’m just trying to figure out what the reviewers were thinking.

“When dyke marches were still for dykes.”
(With picture of very first Dyke March)

Here the category is dykes, but since dyke is considered a slur and not a category, what does the algorithm do?  Does it switch to say that dyke is the protected category, making it both protected and a slur?

PC + slur = Hate Speech

Help!

“Actual Dyke”

I need a mathematician…according to the equation, is there even a category in this statement?

“People need to quit rewriting history. Dykes do things. #visibilitymatters”
(With historical image of Storme DeLaverie, a lesbian)

Dykes do things.  The slur is a noun again and it’s doing things.  Things are NPC.

“Does self identifying as a DYKE get you banned on Facebook experiment.”
(It did)

This is just another version of “I am a dyke.”

“I” can be PC or NPC again, because technically she could have lied, so;

PC+Slur = Hate Speech

NPC+Slur = Not Hate Speech

The reviewers would have had to assume she was telling the truth.

“Dyke dyke dyke dykety dyke dyke dyke!!”

LOL! I really do love dykes!

I’m sure there are smarties out there that are going to figure this out, but can you imagine what it’s like for content reviewers who are like most of us with average logic and math skills?  Human beings that have 10 seconds to figure out this equation?  It just seems totally arcane and it makes me think that there are other separate rules out there for dykes.  If just the word alone could get you banned, then wouldn’t those content reviewers scouring Facebook have a treasure-trove of dyke posts to choose from?

Is that the ultimate goal?  To find all of our posts and punish us?  What is the end-game here?

What Now?

Angwin explains in her article that Facebook does not follow American law, “which permits preferences such as affirmative action for racial minorities and women for the sake of diversity or redressing discrimination.”  Basically, Facebook has designed it’s algorithm to defend everyone equally (not with equity).  Danielle Citron, a law professor and expert on information privacy at the University of Maryland, tells Angwin, that the result of this approach will “protect the people who least need it and take it away from those who really need it.”

This sounds really familiar.  One lesbian reported referencing herself as a dyke and she was reported and her post deleted.  She was then called a ‘cunt’ for using the word and when she reported the attack, Facebook said it did not violate their community standards.  So dyke is a slur, but cunt is not.  Facebook also sent dykes a “We’re Glad You’re Here Video” in which Facebook picked images from user profiles for a “book” appreciating us as users.  Guess what?  That video included images of posts that lesbians had been, or could be banned for!  There was a great risk taken once you hit the publish button.  Don’t we call that entrapment?

I’m left with way more questions than answers for the dyke community.  Facebook is all over the place with how it is allowing content reviewers and algorithms to work on its lesbian users.  It is plainly obvious that some people are being targeted over and over again and it is hard to say how this is actually happening when content reviewers are supposed to be so well-trained and algorithms so perfectly designed to protect everyone.  It really does look like discrimination and it’s obvious that no one at Facebook is protecting dykes, that’s for sure.  And it is most certainly not Facebook’s place to tell the lesbian community that identifying as dykes is wrong.  Dyke is our word.

Facebook, start going after the people that want to kill us.  The ones that want to rape us and hurt us.  The ones that are calling on all their friends to report us in mass reportings just because they hate us and can use Facebook’s flawed censorship machine to kick us off the platform.  Start actually looking for employees that have a suspiciously high number of bans and deletions against lesbians.  Stop over-reacting to the call from European countries to punish hate speech.

We lesbians, we DYKES, love ourselves.  It’s not hate speech when we say it, it is love speech.  And we are not going to be silenced by your hate.

Author’s Note:

On June 27, 2017, Facebook’s Hard questions said this in a statement on how it monitors hate speech:

“On other occasions, people may reclaim offensive terms that were used to attack them. When someone uses an offensive term in a self-referential way, it can feel very different from when the same term is used to attack them. For example, the use of the word “dyke” may be considered hate speech when directed as an attack on someone on the basis of the fact that they are gay. However, if someone posted a photo of themselves with #dyke, it would be allowed. Another example is the word “faggot.” This word could be considered hate speech when directed at a person, but, in Italy, among other places, “frocio” (“faggot”) is used by LGBT activists to denounce homophobia and reclaim the word. In these cases, removing the content would mean restricting someone’s ability to express themselves on Facebook.”

Facebook: We are NOT a hashtag!

We are a CULTURE.

We are a COMMUNITY.

We are a SISTERHOOD.

We are a MINORITY.

We are a FAMILY.

We are DYKES.

REJECT Facebook’s rule that we must hashtag our IDENTITY to stay on their platform.  This is DISCRIMINATION.

We have referenced all images in this article, however, if you see an image you own and you would like us to remove it, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Dyke Tear Drop

Israel: Lesbian spouses to be recognized as parents from birth

The Central District Court decided on Tuesday to give more rights to lesbian couples who want to expand their families, ruling that the wife of the biological mother will also be considered the child’s parent from the moment of birth.  This followed a legal struggle by eight lesbian couples who had to endure difficulties stemming from lack of their recognition as their children’s parents.

Continue reading at: Ynetnews News – Lesbian spouses to be recognized as parents from birth (Source)

Serbia elects first female and first lesbian prime minister

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BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbian lawmakers elected Ana Brnabic as prime minister on Thursday, making history by choosing both the conservative Balkan nation’s first female prime minister and its first openly gay leader.  Parliament voted 157-55 to approve the government of the 41-year-old Brnabic, and she and her ministers were sworn in.Serbia’s powerful President Aleksandar Vucic nominated the Western-educated Brnabic for the post two weeks ago amid opposition from hard-line nationalists. Gays have regularly faced harassment and attacks in Serbia.

Continue reading at: Serbia elects 1st female and 1st openly gay premier – SFGate (Source)

France to allow assisted reproduction for lesbian couples

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The French government says it will follow the advice of an ethics panel in favor of allowing single women and lesbian couples to have children through assisted reproduction.

Continue reading at: France to allow assisted reproduction for lesbian couples – ABC News (Source)