Author Archives: listeninglisa

Black Lesbians Targeted by Violent Homophobes in Dallas and NYC

Black gay women were the targets of two separate homophobic attacks that happened this month in Dallas and in New York. In both cases, the women were attacked by Black men and the women felt like witnesses did not try to help stop the men or defend them.

Continue reading at: Black Lesbians Targeted by Violent Homophobes in Dallas and NYC | Autostraddle (Source)

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British lesbian wins landmark spousal visa case in Hong Kong

A British lesbian has been granted a dependent visa in Hong Kong in what is being seen as a landmark judgement in a city which does not recognise same-sex marriage.

Dependent visas, which allow the holder to live and work in Hong Kong, are normally only granted for husbands or wives of those who move to the city for employment.

The woman, who was named as QT in court filings, entered into a civil partnership in the UK in 2011.

Continue Reading at: British lesbian wins landmark spousal visa case in Hong Kong (Source)

Nigeria: Thugs attack ex-wife suspected of lesbian affair, victim flees to Canada

A Nigerian woman accused of lesbian sex has escaped to Canada after surviving an attack by thugs who she said were sent by her ex-husband. The attack and her escape occurred after she was released from police custody following her arrest on homosexuality charges at her ex-husband’s instigation.

Continue reading at: Nigeria: Thugs attack ex-wife suspected of lesbian affair | 76 CRIMES (Source)

Nigeria: Study reports harassment, expulsion for committing lesbianism on university campuses

A Nigerian researcher, Kehinde Okanlawon, has released a report on the experiences of gay and lesbian university students in Nigeria, detailing harassment they experienced.

The report, titled “Homophobic bullying in Nigerian schools: The experiences of LGBT university students,” was based on interviews with 14 gay and lesbian students at a university in Nigeria and on accounts of Nigerian LGBT students’ experiences compiled from other sources.

Continue reading at: 14 Nigerian university students talk about being gay on campus | 76 CRIMES

Lesbian Ugandans among others facing isolation, violence and starvation in Kenyan refugee camp

 

 

 

In the wake of their miles-long trek last month from the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya to the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, LGBTI Ugandan refugees returned to the camp with a few offers of future help. Soon after their return, the whole camp was hit by a cutback in food distribution.

The trekkers had sought protection from other refugees’ homophobic hostility and relief from the camp’s harsh conditions.

Continue reading at: LGBTI refugees in Kenya: Food cutback, new security plan | 76 CRIMES (Source)

Egypt: Authorities Arrest at Least 57 Suspected Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People at Concert–Lawyer Reports Lesbian Sexually Assaulted in Cell

Lawyer Doaa Mostafa who attended the interrogations with a detained girl said that the hardest thing wasn’t the irrelevant questions. However, it was when the girl knew that she was going back to a prison cell where she is allegedly sexually assaulted by other prisoners.

Continue reading at: Egypt: Authorities Arrest at Least 57 in Crackdown on the LGBT Community — Equal Eyes (Source)

Additional information and links at: https://76crimes.com/2017/10/12/repression-worsens-in-indonesia-and-egypt/

 

We’re Back

Lesbian2On August 18th of this year my whole life changed forever.  I was waiting in a patient room with a close friend after undergoing a colonoscopy and the doctor walked in and said, “I have really bad news for you.  We found a tumor in your rectum that we believe is malignant.  We believe you have cancer that has spread to your lymph nodes, liver and lungs.  This is considered stage 4 cancer.”

It felt like a sucker punch.  I couldn’t breathe.  I fumbled with my phone to call my best friend and to Skype Liz in Australia at the same time.  I wasn’t able to function.  Once I got Liz on Skype she asked the doctor how long I had.  He told us “months.”

Months.

Back in July I had gotten really sick for the first time and ended up in the hospital for five days.  That is the first time that I said to myself I can’t work on Listening 2 Lesbians.  I was exhausted, ill, scared.  They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me because they kept ignoring my symptoms.  She can’t have rectal cancer, she’s only 42.  No colorectal cancers in her family.  No weight-loss.  Generally quite healthy.

It turns out this is happening to a lot of younger people.  Colorectal cancer is increasing drastically in 20-, 30-, and 40-year olds, but it’s taking a hell of a lot of self-advocacy to get the doctors looking in that direction.  It’s an older person’s cancer no longer, but not enough medical professionals are listening.  I had to demand a colonoscopy and I was referred very reluctantly.

I’m telling you my story so you know where Listening 2 Lesbians has been since July.  Why we stopped so abruptly after our big campaign against Facebook gained us a bit of additional attention.  How Liz and I have had everything change, from looking forward to immigrating to Australia in October to finding out Australia doesn’t let people with cancer into their country permanently, and many times, even temporarily.  How even marriage equality in Australia, if it happens, will have little to no effect on their decision-making process.  Liz is stuck in Australia and I am stuck in the USA with cancer.

And in the middle of all of this devastating news I have mourned the loss of my ability to work on Listening 2 Lesbians.  I have come to understand that my Purpose in life is to work for the safety and well-being of the lesbian community living in all corners of the world.  I have such passion for our community and I truly believe we can become a much stronger force for our own self-advocacy.  Whether it’s fighting Facebook’s discrimination, or standing up for and with our sisters in South Africa who face rape and death on a daily basis, we have a lot to do.  I believe we can make a difference, even in this fucked up world we live in today.

Luckily for me, my oncologist was pretty pissed off at that doctor who gave me months to live.  He told me simply that the median is 2-3 years, but everyone is different.  If you look at the statistics, people are making it years, decades even, past that median.  I’m young, strong, determined.  And I have Purpose.  That Purpose is you, dear followers of Listening 2 Lesbians.  I plan on sticking around for a very long time.

Moving forward I will be starting the news section of L2L back up again.  I am currently looking at my last round of chemo in less than a week.  It will be the end of my first treatment.  They will scan my body again and see if it worked.  After that, could be radiation, could be more chemo, or it could be both at the same time.  I will update L2L when I feel well and rest when I don’t.  So, while we are not back 100%, we are at least back up and running.  Please bear with us during this difficult time.  You may see a lot of articles you’ve already read as we try to catch up on recording acts of violence and discrimination against lesbians around the world.  You might not see many blog posts like we used to write.  We are going to do what we can with what we have.

I encourage every one of you to do the same.  Do what you can with what you have for your lesbian sisters.  We need each other more than ever now.  We are listening to you and for you at L2L.  It’s good to be back.

Best,
Lisa

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)

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“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

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‘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)