When Lesbians Become Targets: Leeds Queerfest 2015

By anonymous

Recently a group of people in Leeds decided to create and promote an event called the Queer Leeds Fest. It was described as “an entire fun weekend of the best things, in the best place, with the best people” and the promotion for the event included a schedule of activities. I was interested and so read through what would be included, but was shocked to see that one activity was called the “TERF dartboard.” After looking further I discovered that event organizers intended to set up a dartboard with the photographs of specific, real women on it and encourage participants to throw darts at those photos. The women pictured in those photos are all lesbians.

Leeds queerfest event with TERF dartboard

I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking about this. I don’t personally know the women pictured, but I know of them online and I know that they are lesbian activists and writers. The hatred directed at them by this intention to “have fun” by throwing darts at their photos made me personally feel that I as a lesbian would not be welcome at this event. It seemed to be making a point that certain lesbians invite abuse because of their political opinions. If it could be those women at fault, then it could be any lesbian who had a difference of opinion with the people organizing and attending this event.


Concerned about what seemed to be blatant hatred of lesbians and invitation to symbolically attack them, I decided to read the Facebook page for the event. Someone had posted a question about the “TERF dartboard” — what it would be and why. What happened next convinced me that certain lesbians would not be welcome among the queer community in Leeds. It wasn’t clear exactly why those lesbians wouldn’t be welcome except for differing political opinions, but it was very clear that a whole group of people had decided they hated those lesbians and saw no problem with symbolic violence toward them.

Literal scum

Some of the quotes in the comment thread about the women pictured and anyone else with certain political opinions included, “they are literally scum”

and “we dislike their views; this is us showing that.” A debate formed on the Facebook page among a number of people for quite a while before one of the organizers commented: “we were making a statement against people, who are indeed specific, powerful women.” This made it plain to me that the intention all along was to invite hatred of those specific lesbians. More people commented in response and then another organizer commented to make clear that they did not want certain women at the event: “Thanks for helping us figure out which women to exclude from our event.” Within a few more comments was this: “We’re deciding here is and isn’t allowed in OUR queer community.”

Our queer community

The discussion continued that way for hours and I understood very plainly that there is a level of hatred of some lesbians that I believe could lead to real-world violence against lesbians.

Who is welcome

This is a reader-submitted story from within our own community.

It’s so concerning that even when the implications of this were pointed out, no one stopped to rethink what they were doing, even when women were very specific about what they were seeing, namely the explicit promotion of violence against women.

Dartboard isn't violence

Hate crime women

Against VAW or not

So what does this mean for the LGBTI community?

One commenter summed it up this way:

Patriarchy with glitter

target final

If you have any experiences of being silenced or attacked as a lesbian, inside the LGBTI or broader communities, please contact me on liz@listening2lesbians.com or here.

This blog is about listening to lesbians and, as such, focuses on lesbians alone.

Please respect that intent.

25 responses to “When Lesbians Become Targets: Leeds Queerfest 2015

  1. How completely vile.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “We’re deciding here is and isn’t allowed in OUR queer community. You can go have your own somewhere else”

    I want to highlight the hypocrisy in this, because it is critically important. We (lesbian, radical feminists) are told “have our own somewhere else” and not attend this event—however, any attempts to “have our own somewhere else” are continually protested and shut down.

    So clearly, we are not welcome at these events, but forbidden to have our own.

    The ‘reason’ given for them protesting our events is that we are supposedly a hate group (no actual proof of that, no threats by us, no protests to shut down their events)—yet here we have an exact example of a ‘hate group’, promoting violence against women, specifically lesbians, which is a hate crime in the legal sense of the word, to promote violence and hatred towards a marginalised group.

    Liked by 10 people

  3. Sigh. Yet another avenue for woman-hating.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: When Lesbians Become Targets: Leeds Queerfest 2015 | Critiquing Transgender Doctrine & Gender Identity Politics

  5. Pingback: Originally posted on the most excellent blog: listening2lesbians ” When Lesbians Become Targets: Leeds Queerfest 2015″ | Stop Trans Chauvinism

  6. Targeting specific people was wrong. But you can’t exclude trans people and then complain about feeling excluded from trans-friendly safe spaces. This isn’t complicated.


  7. You can’t exclude trans people and then complain about feeling excluded from trans-friendly safe spaces. It’s that simple.

    Targeting specific individuals was wrong, but so is targeting specific trans people and denying their existence.


  8. Reblogged this on FeistyAmazon and commented:
    Again another frightening article showing GBT DDOES NOT Support the L. It is censorship by any other name…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really don’t understand why lesbians support any of these organizations that support men. They always throw you under the bus, every damn time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Agreed! I’m proud to say I am not now, nor have ever been a member of any LGBT organization.

        I align with women’s organizations, working with lesbian, bi, and straight women. Not always easy, but as Sonia Johnson has said, “I have more in common with Phyllis Schlafley than with any man on earth.”


  9. Censorship by any other name….I like that: GBTLMNOP is Patiarchy with glitter. Cuz the alphabet soup certainly does NOT support Dykes unless we kowtow to them against OUR OWN NEEDS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I WAS targeted in 2004 for making a stand andtrying to keep a women’s organization BY AND FOR WOMEN! It was mostly Lesbian run but sold out to trans. They wanted to allow FTMs since many of their girlfriends were transitioning. How they set me up and the defamation agaimst me was some of the nastiest I had ever seen. I left that entire community and certainly that organization and we put our energy imto.the Marriage Equality movement 8nstead. The positive change of focus saved our relationship because we were close to breaking up.after what all went down.I

    and then again another womens organization that wanted to open.up to trans. I felt pushed out of that one too….for stating my views. I REFUSED to EVER teach my workshops to anyone othEr than WBW.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The second one I left in 2013..and had been going to the gathering and events for 20 years. And participating and leading…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. australopithecene

    Can someone get there and film this spectacle? It seems an important thing to document.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Pingback: You do not want to go there | Bureaucromancy

  14. So…I wonder what would happen if a group of lesbians went to this event ‘undercover’ and then, once the TERF board came out, went and stood in front of it and said something like, ‘okay here we are, start throwing darts at us and make us bleed.’
    And also what Davina said: a large part of the issue here is that any attempts to organise lesbian-only or FAB-only events get non-stop attacks. We’re not allowed to have our own spaces, according to these people.

    Liked by 6 people

  15. Queer = woman hating, with extra added contempt for lesbians.

    And the “political opinions” that are supposedly being used against us are that we say “women have a right to our own space” and “we have a right to say no”. There should be nothing unacceptable about that to anyone.

    I want to highlight the hypocrisy in this, because it is critically important. We (lesbian, radical feminists) are told “have our own somewhere else” and not attend this event—however, any attempts to “have our own somewhere else” are continually protested and shut down.

    So clearly, we are not welcome at these events, but forbidden to have our own.

    Yes, it is blatant.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: Interview: Queerfest and Violence against Lesbians | listening2lesbians

  17. They CRASH any event exclusively for women and/or lesbians- the few that they can’t ruin from the beginning, that is.
    This is how I know it’s all about silencing and hatred of lesbians first, and all women second.
    Patriarchy retooled.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I suppose you show the same concern/contempt for Brennan’s hateful arts and crafts moment perfectly captured and spread online for the world to see the mocking, leering glee with which she commits the same symbolic violence and erasure of trans women?

    These instances are either both symbolic and therefore legitimate political speech, or they are both horrible incitements to violence and erasure.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Or maybe you are just whinging about exclusionary feminists getting their wish granted and being left to foment their hate on their own?


    • This may come as a great shock to you, but no woman is “erasing” GNC men. All we are doing is pointing out the reactionary nature of insisting that GNC men are actually women. You all sound like a bunch of frat boys.

      Liked by 1 person

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