Category Archives: lesbian resistance

Lesbian gamers say Twitch is failing them

Back in May, when the streaming platform Twitch announced the release of more than 350 new “identity tags” that could be used to sort streams into distinctive categories, Jess Bolden was excited.

The 25-year-old FACEIT Games Esports analyst, who lives between France and Italy with her female partner, streams the game Rainbow Six Siege, a largely male-dominated pursuit. Bolden was once Samsung team head coach for the game, which she streams under the name JessGOAT.

She figured she could use the new “lesbian” tag to show other lesbian gamers that her stream was a safe space for them. But, Bolden says, she felt conflicted. “I would look at the tag for that extra second, to question myself, and I’m usually confident in everything that I do,” Bolden says. “So there’s obviously a problem.”

Bolden’s hesitancy was justifiable. Twitch has been widely criticized for an ongoing scandal involving “hate raids” aimed mostly at its BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ users. These attacks are carried out by bots programmed to spam streamers’ chats with offensive messages. The conditions became so bad that Twitch users started a campaign — #TwitchDoBetter — to push for change, and at one point arranged a digital “protest” where streamers boycotted the platform in solidarity with hate raid victims.

In response, Twitch last month filed a lawsuit against two users allegedly behind many hate raids and, more recently, introduced chat verification.

While hate against streamers is common, lesbians feel they are the subject of both sexism and a specific kind of sexualization. “We get multiple DMs, like ‘I could turn you straight’ or ‘You haven’t found the right guy,’” says Baeu, an 18-year-old lesbian streamer from Florida who broadcasts to followers under the name Spoink. Baeu is a member of Lilac Lesbiansa Minecraft Championship team hoping to increase lesbian representation in gaming. (Input is withholding the last names of most of the streamers in this piece out of concern for their safety.)

“Even when I was underage, they’d still message me inappropriate stuff,” Baeu adds. “Twitch’s solution was pretty much: ‘Oh, well you have your messages open.’” She adds that multiple reports she’s submitted to the company about harassment have not resulted in any action against offending users.

The “lesbian” tag has only increased harassment, according to Bolden. “‘I hate gays’ is probably the most common [comment],” she says. “Or people complaining that I’m a lesbian.” All of the streamers interviewed agreed that they had seen abuse aimed specifically at lesbians, ranging from statements like “of course you’re a lesbian — you’re fat” to assertions that the lesbian streamers were “going to hell” because of their sexuality.

Continue reading: https://www.inputmag.com/gaming/lesbian-gamers-twitch-harassment-hate-raids (source)

ILD: The Incredible Story of Del and Phyllis

In 2008, after 55 years together, Del Martin, age 87, and Phyllis Lyon, age 84, were finally wed in San Francisco, but it was for the second time. Four years earlier, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state of California, during a large ceremony honoring their long-standing contributions to LGBTQ activism, they were the first of 90 gay couples to be married illegally by the city’s then-mayor Gavin Newsom.

When Martin and Phyllis made their initial vows as San Francisco’s first same-sex couple, the ceremony was conducted so that their union could potentially be included in a lawsuit to champion marriage equality in the United States. The director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell, invited them with this promise: “This will hopefully be the last thing the movement will ever ask you to do, but do you wanna get married?”

As lesbian history was unfolding in the 1950s, it was Del and Phyllis who gathered in the home of their friend Rose Bamberger and her partner Rosemary Sliepen and founded the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first lesbian organization in the country. Martin and Lyon would soon become co-editors of the Ladder, DOB’s publication, and grow the readership even amid an era of pervasive homophobia. The pair was also the first lesbian couple to join the National Organization for Women, as feminist causes also spurred their organizing work.

Over the next five decades, Martin and Lyon never stopped organizing, and gradually, thanks in no small part to their efforts, LGBTQ visibility shifted from secrecy to “out and proud” activism.

Continue reading: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/incredible-story-lesbian-activists-del-martin-and-phyllis-lyon-180978309/ (source)

ILD: Julie Bindel: “Martina remains a role model for all lesbians. She set a standard, and she made a difference, by breaking barriers and being brave.”

By Julie Bindel

I will never forget watching Martina Navratilova play at Wimbledon the year after she came out as a lesbian. It was the 1982 tournament and the backlash against her had been brutal.

Very deeply courageous and principled, Martina once estimated that she lost around US$10 million in endorsement deals as corporate executives rushed to distance themselves from her at a time when anti-gay bigotry was sky high within the context of the AIDS crisis.

Martina was the very first lesbian role model of my generation. I was 20 years old during that tournament, and I heard from lesbians of all ages about the pride they felt at being able to tell those friends and family members that were not comfortable about lesbianism that Martina was one of them. The only other lesbians I had seen on TV were the characters in The Killing of Sister George, portrayed as twisted and damaged individuals, so having a sports superstar on our team was amazing.

Clearly not everyone felt the same. The Australian retired tennis player Margaret Court, who had won at Wimbledon three times, said in 1990 that although Navratilova is a “great player” she would like to see somebody win, “to whom the younger players can look up to”. Court, a born again Christian, said that as far as she was concerned, “it is very sad for children to be exposed to homosexuality.”

Continue reading: https://lesbianandgaynews.com/2021/07/julie-bindel-martina-remains-a-role-model-for-all-lesbians-she-set-a-standard-and-she-made-a-difference-by-breaking-barriers-and-being-brave/ (source)

ILD: Javiera Mena on lesbian representation in Latin American music

The name of Javiera Mena is a beacon for the Latin American LGBTQ community, even more so among in the musical community.

Since the beginning, Mena has sung about lesbian love, while fighting to defeat the stigma around that. Her battle for the visibility of the LGBTQ community, of which she is a part, has led her to be considered an icon.

The Chilean singer-songwriter presented her Extended Play “Entusiasmo” a month ago, hinting at the album she plans to release in 2022.

The production includes the singles “Diva” with Chico Blanco, a song to pay tribute to the LGBTQ community, and “Dos”, a ballad that tells the story of a woman in love with two other women.

Towards the normalization of lesbian love in music

But is it easy to write and sing love songs between women?

“There are few songs which are a lesbian woman singing to another woman. There are very few of these in the mainstream although there must be more now. I’m sure I am missing some and that there will be more and more.” Mena told Zona Pop CNN.

“In pop music we always have had gay men. We have great gay performers – Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Elton John. Even in Latin America, we had Juan Gabriel – although what was obvious didn’t need to be asked about [his iconic response to being asked if he was gay]. But we don’t have many references for lesbian women in Latin America, or in the rest of the world,” adds the singer-songwriter.
(Translated)

El nombre de Javiera Mena es un referente para la comunidad LGBTQ en Latinoamérica. Más aún la musical.

Desde sus inicios, Mena le ha cantado al amor lésbico, al mismo tiempo que ha luchado para derrotar el estigma alrededor de esa palabra. Su batalla por la visibilización de la comunidad LGBTQ, de la cual es parte, la ha llevado a ser considerada un ícono.

La cantautora chilena presentó hace un mes su Extended Play “Entusiasmo”, un abrebocas del que será el disco que prevé lanzar en 2022.

De la producción se desprenden los sencillos “Diva” junto a Chico Blanco, un tema para rendirle tributo a la comunidad LGBTQ, y “Dos”, una balada que cuenta la historia de una mujer enamorada de otras dos mujeres.

Hacia la normalización del amor lésbico en la música

Pero, ¿es fácil escribir y cantar canciones al amor entre mujeres?

“Hay pocas canciones de una mujer lesbiana hablándole a otra mujer. Hay muy pocas igual en el mainstream, o ahora deben haber más, seguramente yo no me estoy enterando y cada vez habrá más”, dijo Mena a Zona Pop CNN.

“En la música pop siempre existió el hombre gay. Tenemos grandes referentes, Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Elton John, incluso en Latinoamérica, Juan Gabriel, que aunque lo que se ve no se pregunta, ¡lo que se ve no se pregunta! Pero de mujeres lesbianas no tenemos muchos referentes en Latinoamérica y en el mundo tampoco”, agrega la cantautora.

Continue reading at: https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2021/06/30/javiera-mena-lesbianismo-entusiasmo-zona-pop-orix/ (Source)

ILD: Lesbian Couple Talk About Being Out and Same-Sex Parents in Russia

After a Russian grocery chain apologized for featuring gay parents in an ad, two lesbian parents told Meduza what it’s like to live in a country where their very portrayal qualifies as offensive.

In late June, the Russian grocery store chain VkusVill put out an advertisement featuring a lesbian couple as part of its “Recipes for Family Happiness” campaign. The ad set off an avalanche of homophobic comments and threats against the company, and VkusVill soon announced it would delete the ad, calling it “a mistake that occurred as a result of some individual employees’ unprofessionalism.” This sparked another wave of criticism on social media, as people accused the chain of cowardice and hypocrisy. Throughout the debate, however, there’s been almost no mention of the difficulties same-sex couples in Russia actually face. To learn more about what life is like for same-sex parented families in Russia, Meduza spoke to Yana and Yaroslava, two women in a loving relationship who are now raising a child together.

Continue Reading: https://meduza.io/en/feature/2021/07/17/third-class-citizens (Source)

Read about the VkusVill advert here: https://listening2lesbians.com/2021/07/09/russia-lesbian-family-in-removed-ad-faces-death-threats-as-supermarket-apologises-for-including-them/

ILD: Lillian Faderman, The ‘Mother of Lesbian History’ Looks Back — and Forward

July 16, 2021: Lillian Faderman is a mother and grandmother, but these aren’t the only titles that make her proud: The La Jolla resident is known, depending on who you talk to, as the “mother of lesbian history” or the “foremother of gay and lesbian studies.”

Over the past four decades, Faderman’s books have revealed the hidden history of female same-sex romance and uncovered how American lesbians pioneered social movements that transformed our society. She’s also written landmark books about gay rights, pioneering politician Harvey Milk and more. Three of her works have been named Notable Books by The New York Times, a remarkable accomplishment for any author.

Faderman, who turns 81 on Saturday at the tail end of San Diego’s Pride Week, isn’t done. She recently curated an exhibit about local LGBTQ+ history at the San Diego History Center, and she’s now finishing her work on an upcoming book. In an interview, she talked about her awakening as a Southern California teenager, the influential roles of lesbians in America’s past and San Diego’s surprising history as a vanguard of LGBT activism.

Continue Reading: https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/the-mother-of-lesbian-history-looks-back-and-forward/ (source)

ILD: Meet Portia Modise, Africa’s highest goalscorer and lesbian icon

Former South Africa striker Portia Modise doesn’t care if the football community loves her. She doesn’t care if you like her outspoken manner, or the way she dresses, or that she loves women.

She’s the only African footballer to score 100 international goals, and represented her country for 15 years from the age of 16. But if you don’t want to give her respect for that, or her countless achievements on the field, she’s not too fussed about that either.

One of the first openly gay [sic] players in the global game, Modise says she only cares about furthering women’s football in South Africa, protecting female players from harassment, and being a voice for the LGBTQ+ community in her country.

Today, 21 years after her debut in 2000, the out footballers in Africa can be counted on one hand, but interestingly include her captaincy successor for Banyana Banyana, Janine van Wyk.

Despite hard-earned legal freedoms and constitutional rights won since apartheid [same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since 2006], much of the LGBTQ+ community in South Africa lives in perpetual fear of violence.

Murder and ‘corrective rape’, during which women are violated to ‘fix’ their queerness [sic], are still an epidemic for Black women in particular. There have been over 20 recorded LGBTQ+ hate crime murders locally since February 2021.

For Modise, the especially brutal rape and murder of national teammate and fellow activist Eudy Simelane in 2008, who was stabbed 25 times, further spurred her on in her fight for fair treatment, and was a factor in her exit from the team for four years.

Continue reading: https://www.espn.co.uk/football/south-africa-rsaw/story/4417448/meet-portia-modiseafricas-highest-goalscorer-and-defiant-gay-icon (source)

ILD: Bridget Coll: Catholic nun was lesbian, militant and a history maker

Catholic nun, gay and militant. Bridget Coll, Irish born but a proud Canadian, was a trailblazer. 

She and her partner, Chris Morrissey, made history when they challenged Canadian immigration law which had only recognised heterosexual married partners.

As nuns in the 1980s, they stood with the oppressed in Chile against dictator Augusto Pinochet’s regime.

Hers is an inspirational journey. She travelled thousands of miles in just one lifetime.

Now, her story features in a new exhibition in Dublin telling the stories of Ireland’s LGBTQ+ diaspora.

Bridget died in 2016. Her life partner, activist and former nun, Chris, survives her.

Historian Dr Maurice Casey, who curated the exhibition, came upon their story by chance. He had set out to celebrate an LGBTQ+ history of the Irish emigration story.

He was researching the Canadian LGBTQ+ community and was inspired by a series of tapes held by Simon Fraser University recorded in 2009, through which the women tell their story.

There is wit and wisdom, a generosity and a humility about Bridget Coll that shines through on the tape recordings from 12 years ago.

She talks about how she was born in Donegal in 1934, one of 12 children from a Catholic family who grew up near Fanad lighthouse. She never questioned her sexuality.

At 14, she wanted to be a nun and at 16, joined an order in England.

From there, she went to America to work for the Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph.

That was where the first seeds of dissent were sown.

“There was an encyclical on birth control from the Pope. The priest gave a whole sermon from the pulpit about how it was a real bad thing to do,” she said in the recording. 

“I had a lot of contact with mothers of kids that I taught. They would come and tell me their stories about birth control. I listened to the women’s stories and their hardships.

“For the first time in my life, I began to doubt the teachings of the Church.”

She was drawn to read more about social justice and liberation theology – a radical movement that grew up in South America as a response to the poverty and ill-treatment of ordinary people. 

The Liberationists said the Church should act to bring about social change and should ally itself with the working class.

It was at that time that Bridget became close to Chris, a Canadian nun in the same order.

When Bridget’s parents died within weeks of each other in 1977, Chris was the one person who truly helped. 

“She said she was a lesbian and asked: ‘Do you know what that is?’ I said: ‘No’. 

“She said: ‘I think you’re a lesbian’. I didn’t know the word – that was the first time I knew.

“It was 1977, I was 43, that’s the first time I ever heard it and the first time I fell in love with a woman.”

Continue reading: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57555518 (source)

ILD: Rediscovering Eve Adams; the Radical Lesbian Activist

Eve Adams (centre)

In 1925, Eve Adams, a Polish-Jewish émigré who had spent the past four years travelling across the United States selling leftist radical literature, opened a tearoom in Greenwich Village. Eve’s Hangout, as it was sometimes known, was situated in the basement of 129 MacDougal Street. The small, sparingly lit cellar quickly became a destination among the city’s bohemian contingents—artists, poets, activists, gay men, and lesbians. According to the Daily News, it was rumored that “men kept to one room, the women in another.” The Quill, a downtown periodical, summed it up, mockingly, as a place “where ladies prefer each other.”

One evening in June, 1926, a woman named Margaret Leonard walked into Eve’s Hangout wearing a tweed suit and carrying a briefcase. Adams took to Leonard, and, the next day, they met at Adams’s apartment and rode a taxi to Times Square to see a play. Later, Leonard would report that, in the car, Adams kissed her “profusely,” slid her hand under Leonard’s coat, and touched Leonard’s breasts. At dinner, they waltzed. That night, Adams told Leonard that she wanted to give her a copy of the book she had published the previous year, called “Lesbian Love,” a collection of biographical snapshots of lesbians Adams had known. They returned to her apartment, where Adams gave Leonard a copy and autographed it.

A few days after their outing, Leonard returned to Eve’s Hangout and revealed herself to be an undercover policewoman. Together with four other officers, she arrested Adams for “disorderly conduct”—a broad charge that referred, in this case, to Adams’s alleged sexual advances—and for having written an “obscene” book. After trials for each charge, Adams was sentenced to a year and a half in jail. When she completed her sentence, immigration authorities began deportation proceedings against her. (Although she had begun applying for naturalization in 1923, Adams was not yet an American citizen.) During the hearings, she pleaded to be allowed to stay, but, in 1927, she was sent back to Poland. Her days there were hard. In a letter to a friend, she described her “everyday worry” being “for a piece of bread.” “I cannot steal and I am a stranger-Jew here,” she wrote. She sustained herself on a Ten Cent Classics edition of Tennyson’s poetry, and she eventually managed to move to Paris. Adams’s passport listed her profession as “writer—woman of letters,” but, to support herself, she sold novels to American tourists on the street. After the Nazis occupied France, she tirelessly worked to find a way out of the country, but in late 1943 she was captured and sent to Auschwitz, where she was murdered.

“Lesbian Love,” though long since largely forgotten, might be the first ethnography of lesbians in America. Structured as a series of vignettes, the book—which Adams described as a “scientific literary contribution”—captures scores of women who flirted, courted, or were in love with one another, and some who played with the presentations of their gender. In the opening chapter, “Glimpses,” Adams writes of “a little rendezvous tearoom, late after dinner hour, where six or seven girls had gathered. One lone man sat silent in a corner. Whispers and love sonatas could be heard among the group of girls—occasionally laughter.” The group included women called Ann, Sara (who seemed to be Ann’s lover), and “May, the proprietress, known as Jim.”

Continue reading: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/rediscovering-eve-adams-the-radical-lesbian-activist (source)

ILD: the isolation of Israel’s ‘First Lesbians’

For a long time Hana Klein thought she was the only lesbian in Israel, and maybe in the whole world. She was born in 1951, grew up in Tel Aviv and at 11 realized that her feelings were a bit different from those of her girlfriends. But she didn’t know why. Klein says that in the Israel of the 1950s and ‘60s, “there were no words for it.”

The first hint that she wasn’t alone was at a kiosk selling porn magazines and newspapers; one journal caught her eye. “The cover photo was of two bare-breasted women touching each other, with the caption “Contemporary lesbians.” For the first time she realized that there was a word for what she was.

“People can’t imagine the feeling of something missing in conservative Israel at the time. The atmosphere was that there was nothing. For years I walked around in a desert …. Even when I learned what it was called, there was a feeling that nobody else was like me,” Klein says.

“Those were times without a computer, so you couldn’t Google things, there were no community organizations, there was no place to meet. I tried to bring up the subject with friends and see their reactions, and from them I realized that it wasn’t acceptable.”

Klein was one of the first activists in LGBTQ and feminist organizations in Israel. She started the country’s first organization for lesbians, Alef – an acronym for lesbian-feminist organization. She has often been called “Tel Aviv’s first lesbian.”

Continue reading at: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-s-first-lesbians-it-s-hurts-when-you-re-all-alone-in-the-world-1.9938401 (Source)

Remembering Berkeley’s Marcia Freedman, first out lesbian in Israel’s legislature

There’s a limit to what any one person can accomplish in her time on earth. Marcia Freedman managed to blow right past the limit and just kept going.

Pioneering feminist, LGBTQ activist, Knesset member, author and co-founder of an esteemed Middle East peace organization, Marcia Freedman died Sept. 21 in Berkeley. She was 83.

“She was quiet and wise,” said Janis Plotkin, who decades ago recruited Freedman to serve on the board of the S.F. Jewish Film Festival. “She was a little woman but a giant in terms of intellect, kindness, thoughtfulness and her strategic approach to problem-solving.”

Freedman’s social and political activism took many forms. Much of her work centered on Israeli politics and seeking to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. She argued for a two-state solution long before it became a stated policy objective. As a young olah (immigrant) and member of Knesset, the state of Israel’s legislature, she also fostered groundbreaking women’s rights legislation, going toe to toe with her misogynist male colleagues.

Continue reading: https://www.berkeleyside.org/2021/10/01/marcia-freedman-obituary (source)

Lauren Black: “I am a butch lesbian. I live with gender dysphoria. I do not believe my deep discomfort with my female body means that I should take steps to change it.”

By Lauren Black, Lesbian and Gay News

I am a butch lesbian. I live with gender dysphoria. This is the condition which, according to mental health professionals, means I am transgender. However, I do not define as transgender. I do not want to take hormones or have surgeries. I do not accept that it is possible to live “as a man”, without believing in old fashioned gender stereotypes. I do not believe my deep discomfort with my female body means that I should take steps to change it. This is my story. …

I still have difficulties with my sexed body. Periods are particularly difficult for me. But instead of seeking a hysterectomy, I tell myself, “Lauren, you’re a butch lesbian, are you really so afraid of a little blood?”, and then I get on with my day. My wife loves me, just how I am, with all my oddities. I’m very glad that I’m in a lesbian relationship. I would not want to be in a heterosexual relationship with a woman. That would wreck something important for me about who I am, and what I stand for and I could never have discovered that on my own if I had been transitioned young.

I stand for trashing the old fashioned, regressive stereotypes that say “if you can drive a forklift and operate a lathe, you must be a man.” No. I stand for a celebration of the amazing diversity that women are. 

Continue reading: https://lesbianandgaynews.com/2021/03/lauren-black-i-am-a-butch-lesbian-i-live-with-gender-dysphoria-i-do-not-believe-my-deep-discomfort-with-my-female-body-means-that-i-should-take-steps-to-change-it (source)

Australia: Lesbian Survivor Contestant Opens Up About Online Bullying

Rachel Downie Survivor

Australian Survivor contestant Rachael Downie has opened up about the online bullying she has experienced.

After featuring on the Channel 10 program she has faced a barrage of online abuse for her appearance and sexuality. 

Twenty Four contestants started out the journey for Australian Survivor 2021.

But former Queensland Australian of the Year Rachel Downie made a strong showing before her elimination this week.

Powering through challenges and surviving multiple eliminations demonstrated her tenacity, but her true tests lay outside the program.

Rachel has spent considerable time advocating for young people and mental health in her professional life.

Her appearance on the program was about representing women, particularly women in their 50’s and queer women.

After a recent episode Rachel shared an image of herself from Australian Survivor in her bikini to instagram.

The moment was supposed to be empowering and uplifting to other women.

“I’m 50, I am strong and I am fit but I feel embarrassed about how I look because my body doesn’t reflect that” she wrote.

“However, being on this amazing show has given me a new sense of pride in what my body can do. Womens’ bodies are frikken’ amazing and my body has been really good to me.”

Despite supportive comments that flowed in, it wasn’t long before internet trolls came out to attack.

Several days later Rachel revealed the abuse she had been receiving.

“I have been told to go and kill myself five times today and the ways in which people have tried to shame my body and my sexuality is beyond belief” she posted on Instagram.

But Rachel was not letting these people get her down.

In her fiery response she took the time to remind people of the tool this abuse can take on others.

Assuring people that she was ok Rachel urged others to think about the impact their words could have and vowed to continue on with her work.

Continue reading: https://qnews.com.au/australian-survivor-contestant-opens-up-about-online-bullying/ (source)

The double threat for lesbians in El Salvador

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

By Doris Rosales, La Prensa Grafica

Claudia had to leave El Salvador because her life was at risk. There she was in danger as a woman and as a lesbian – dual reasons to die she says. For this reason, she is now taking refuge in a country that constantly feels alien to her, although it protects her human rights. She is free, but she feels lonely. Given that, she hopes that in El Salvador LGBT people will not always have to give up something, everything, just to live without fear.

Claudia, who for security reasons prefers to remain anonymous, is an activist and human rights defender. In this interview, she talks about the implications of being an LGBT person in a country like El Salvador, where, among other things, hatred, violence and impunity reign. In addition, she explains how the actions of governments which, far from progressing, insist on going backwards, affect the LGBT community. And she explains what it means to live in a place where human rights aren’t an aspiration but a fact. That place, of course, is far, far from being El Salvador. …

What does it mean to belong to the LGBT + community in a country like El Salvador?

Death. That is what it means to be part of the LGTB community in El Salvador. …

Did your departure from the country have to do with your being a rights defender or your sexual orientation?

It was both. I can’t reveal many details, but it was the violence in El Salvador that forced me to leave. I’d continue the fight, but what would that cost? Perhaps my life? Saying: “No, enough is enough” was a super difficult decision, but it was because of crime, the lack of rights and, above all, because of the violence experienced by the LGBT community. There is a horrible widespread violence, in all aspects and in all sectors of the population.

Would you return to El Salvador?

Never.

Why not?

Because in El Salvador we are light years away from changing our mentality. We have nothing there. I don’t have a future in El Salvador. And I would not return to lose the freedom that I now have. I am a refugee woman. Two months after I arrived here, my brother was murdered in El Salvador. El Salvador hurt me a lot. I am proud to be a Salvadoran lesbian woman, very proud to tell everyone that I am from El Salvador. However, the living conditions that I have in this country I would not have there as an LGBT woman. I cannot do anything. And it is a very difficult situation because I love my country. I would like to be in my country and not here where I am, but there I have no guarantees of anything.
(Translated)

Claudia tuvo que salir de El Salvador porque su vida estaba en riesgo. Aquí, corría peligro por ser mujer y por ser lesbiana. Eso le valdría, dice, estar muerta dos veces. Por eso, ahora se refugia en un país que, aunque le garantiza derechos humanos, no deja de parecerle ajeno. Es libre, pero se siente sola. Y, ante eso, anhela que en El Salvador las personas de la población LGBT+ no tengan que renunciar a algo, a todo, para poder vivir sin miedo.

Claudia, quien por seguridad prefiere mantener el anonimato, es activista y defensora de derechos humanos. En esta entrevista, habla de las implicaciones de ser población LGBT+ en un país como El Salvador, en el que, entre otras cosas, reinan el odio, la violencia y la impunidad. Además, explica cómo afectan a la comunidad LGBT+ las acciones de los gobiernos que, lejos de avanzar, se empeñan en retroceder. Y cuenta cómo se vive en un lugar en el que los derechos humanos dejan de ser una aspiración y se convierten en un hecho. Ese lugar, claro, está lejos, muy lejos de El Salvador….

¿Qué significa pertenecer a la comunidad LGBT+ en un país como El Salvador?

Muerte. Eso significa ser parte de la comunidad LGTB+ en El Salvador. …

¿Su salida del país tuvo que ver con que usted es defensora de derechos o con su orientación sexual?

Fueron las dos cosas. No puedo revelar muchos detalles, pero fue la violencia en El Salvador la que me sacó de ahí. Yo estaría en pie de lucha, ¿pero cuál sería el costo de eso? A lo mejor sería mi vida. Decir: “No, basta ya”, fue una decisión súper difícil, pero fue por la delincuencia, la falta de derechos y, sobre todo, por la violencia que se vive para la comunidad LGBT+. Hay una violencia generalizada horrible, en todos los aspectos y en todos los sectores de la población.

¿Regresaría a El Salvador?

Jamás.

¿Por qué no?

Porque en El Salvador estamos a años luz de cambiar de mentalidad. No tenemos nada en ese país. Yo no tengo un futuro en El Salvador. Y no regresaría a perder la libertad que ahora tengo. Soy una mujer refugiada, y a los dos meses de haber llegado acá, en El Salvador asesinaron a mi hermano. El Salvador me duele mucho. Yo estoy orgullosa de ser una mujer lesbiana salvadoreña, pero orgullosísima de decirle a todo el mundo que soy de El Salvador. Sin embargo, las condiciones de vida que tengo en este país no las podría tener allá siendo una mujer LGBT+. No puedo hacer nada. Y es una situación bien difícil porque yo amo mi país. Quisiera estar en mi país y no aquí donde estoy, pero allá no tengo garantías de nada.

Continue reading at: https://www.laprensagrafica.com/revistas/Yo-estoy-muerta-dos-veces-en-El-Salvador-una-porque-soy-mujer-y-dos-porque-soy-lesbiana-20210620-0074.html (Source)

U.S: Lesbian Reverend Says She Can No Longer Be An Ambassador For the United Methodist Church

On a morning about 10 years ago, the Rev. Amy DeLong woke up in disbelief that she was still a reverend. 

The day before — June 23, 2011 — she had stood trial at Peace United Methodist Church in Kaukauna on two charges. She had officiated a wedding between two women and she herself was in a lesbian relationship — or in the church’s language, was a “self-avowed, practicing homosexual.” 

LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings were, and continue to be, forbidden by the United Methodist Church, a body of over 12 million members globally that has in recent years threatened to split over its refusal to fully include LGBTQ people into the faith. 

Since DeLong’s church trial sat squarely on that debate, her case drew national scrutiny, including a story in Time Magazine. But she could barely pay attention to the uproar she had triggered, because she was certain she’d lose her pastoral rights and responsibilities as punishment. 

Instead, the jury of ministers gave her just a 20-day suspension and tasked her with writing a document about how clergy could resolve issues that harm the church or could lead to future trials. An event that could have been devastating ended up leaving her hopeful that the United Methodist Church was changing.  

Today, though, she’s lost that hope. 

After a decade of fighting for the inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the denomination she had chosen for herself and loved, DeLong said she watched things get only worse. 

She retired from her post as pastor at Spirit of Grace, a United Methodist Church in River Falls, on June 30. The robust advocacy organization she’d helped create quit the UMC denomination two days prior. 

Although she said it breaks her heart that her work came to an end without producing meaningful change, DeLong said she never questioned whether she was right to do it. 

“There’s nothing … that tells me that the love that I share — the adult, consensual, loving relationship I share with my partner — is anything but holy,” DeLong said. “I have always been hurt by the accusations, and I’ve certainly been hurt by the hatred that has been directed at me. But I never once thought I was wrong.” 

Even if the United Methodist Church had a rapid change of heart and opened its arms to the LGBTQ community, DeLong said, the institution is flawed. The way church leaders have conducted themselves is no longer resonating with people, she said.      

The decision to depart was an immensely tough one, she said, but necessary. She could no longer be an ambassador for the church, after all, if she no longer believed in the product. 

Continue Reading: https://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2021/07/13/methodist-lgbtq-pastor-put-trial-lesbian-wedding-leaves-church/7811632002/ (source)

Australia: Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Denies Single Sex Lesbian Event

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

by Claire Heuchan

AfterEllen.com

A new ruling in Tasmania decrees that lesbians will be breaking the law if they host single-sex spaces. Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt banned LGB Alliance Australia from hosting lesbian events that exclude transwomen, on the grounds that such gatherings carry a “significant risk” of breaching existing equalities legislation.

This ruling has far-reaching implications that extend beyond Tasmania, as it sets a legal precedent with the power to shape the outcomes of future cases. As Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Bolt advises the Minister of Justice on matters relating to discrimination and prohibited conduct. She also promotes the recognition and approval of acceptable attitudes, acts and practices. As her ruling indicates, Bolt does not believe that lesbians creating spaces by and for ourselves is an acceptable act or practice.

What Bolt fails to recognize is that lesbians are oppressed at least twice over, on the basis of our sex and sexuality. We are females who love desire and build our lives around other females – which has been treated as suspicious for the duration of patriarchy. Around the world, lesbians continue to be at risk of discrimination and violence – from losing custody of our children to suffering ‘corrective’ rape.

Continue Reading: https://afterellen.com/tasmania-rules-against-women-only-spaces/ (source)

Editor’s note: Jessica Hoyle is not a member or representative of LGB Alliance Australia, and the application was not made on behalf of LGB Alliance.

In Memoriam: Lesbian Activist and Author Sally Miller Gearhart (1931 – 2021)

Sally Miller Gearhart, the first out lesbian to receive a tenure-track position at San Francisco State University and a beloved LGBTQ rights advocate, died July 14, according to Jean Crosby, who sent out an email to friends. She was 90.

Ms. Gearhart had been in poor health for several years. She had lived for many years in Willits, California but had moved recently to a care home in Ukiah.

The GLBT Historical Society posted on Facebook about Ms. Gearhart’s passing, of which they were informed by her good friend, Ruth Mahaney.

“Losing Sally is like a huge tree falling. She was very tall, and she was so important in the world,” stated Mahaney. “She had been saying she wanted out of here, to be ‘up in the sky.’ She was ready to go.”

In 1973, Ms. Gearhart received the tenure-track position at SF State. She established one of the first women’s and gender studies programs in the country while at the university, and was a leading LGBTQ activist throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Continue reading: https://www.ebar.com/news/latest_news//306938 (source)

Sally Miller Gearhart’s website can be found here: https://sallymillergearhart.net

Update: criminalisation of Russian lesbian feminist Yulia Tsvetkova continues

Yulia Tsvetkova is a young Russian artist and activist from Komsomolsk on the Amur (a city in the extreme east of Russia), who has suffered a homophobic and sexist campaign since March 2019, for defending the rights of women and LGBTI people.

She is accused of committing a crime of “production and dissemination of pornographic material” as a result of drawings of real women which she posted on social media as part of her activism. The criminal trial began on April 12 and she faces up to six years in prison. Given the desperate situation in which she finds herself, Yulia announced that she was on hunger strike on May 1, demanding that the process be sped up, the appointment of a public defender and the opening up of the trial, the hearings of which are held behind closed doors with all media excluded.

Unfortunately, since the process began, Yulia has been the target of homophobic attacks from various people, and of harassment and threats over the phone, on social media and by mail. In addition, she suffered harassment by the Russian police for more than a year, including arbitrary detention, searches at her home and workplace, an enforced psychiatric examination, and almost 4 months of house arrest during which time she could not get necessary medical care.

Previously, in December 2019, she was found guilty of committing an administrative offense, for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations between minors”, and was fined 50,000 rubles (780 US dollars) for being the administrator of two LGBTI communities online in the Russian social network VKontakte.

In January 2020 a new administrative action was initiated against her for publishing his drawing on social networks “Family is where love is. Support LGBTI Families”, which represents two same-sex couples with sons and daughters. For this, Yulia was found guilty in July 2020, and was fined again. In parallel, that same month, administrative proceedings for the same type of offense were initiated for the third time.
(Translated)

Yulia Tsvetkova es una joven artista y activista rusa de Komsomolsk del Amur (ciudad del extremo oriental de Rusia), que desde marzo de 2019 sufre una campaña homófoba y machista por defender los derechos de las mujeres y las personas LGBTI.
Está acusada de cometer un delito de “producción y difusión de material pornográfico” a raíz de unos dibujos de mujeres reales que publicó en las redes sociales como parte de su activismo. El juicio penal comenzó el pasado 12 de abril y se enfrenta a hasta seis años de cárcel. Ante la desesperada situación en la que se encuentra, Yulia anunció el 1 de mayo una huelga de hambre, exigiendo celeridad en su proceso, la personación de un defensor público y la apertura del juicio, ya que actualmente las vistas se celebran a puerta cerrada (tampoco hay prensa).

Lamentablemente, desde que se inició el proceso Yulia ha sido objeto de ataques homófobos de distintas personas, y de acoso y amenazas por teléfono, en redes sociales y por correo. Además, sufrió acoso por parte de la policía rusa durante más de un año, incluyendo una detención arbitraria, registros en su domicilio y su lugar de trabajo, sometimiento a un examen psiquiátrico, y un arresto domiciliario de casi cuatro meses durante el que no pudo recibir la atención médica que necesitaba.

Con anterioridad, en diciembre de 2019 fue declarada culpable de cometer una infracción administrativa, por “propaganda de relaciones sexuales no tradicionales entre menores”, y fue multada con 50.000 rublos (780 dólares estadounidenses) por ser administradora de dos comunidades LGBTI en línea en la red social rusa VKontakte.

Y en enero de 2020 se inició una nueva actuación administrativa en su contra por publicar en las redes sociales su dibujo “La familia es donde está el amor. Apoye a las familias LGBTI”, que representa a dos parejas del mismo sexo con hijos e hijas. Por este hecho, Yulia fue declarada culpable en julio de 2020, siendo de nuevo multada. En paralelo, ese mismo mes, se iniciaron por tercera vez actuaciones administrativas por el mismo tipo de infracción.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://www.es.amnesty.org/en-que-estamos/blog/historia/articulo/yulia-tsvetkova-a-la-carcel-por-dibujar/ (Source)

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In Memoriam: Pioneering Lesbian Musician and Activist Alix Dobkin (1940–2021)

Lesbian activist and music legend Alix Dobkin died at her home in Woodstock, New York, after suffering a brain aneurism and stroke. She was 80 years old.

Dobkin, with fellow lesbian activist and musician Kay Gardner (1940–2002), recorded in 1973 what was arguably the first full-length album by, for, and about lesbians: Lavender Jane Loves Women. The songs, with titles such as “Talking Lesbian” and “Fantasy Girl,” were as bold and direct as the album’s title. As reviewer Liza Cowan wrote in DYKE A Quarterly, No. 2, in 1976: ” … I think Lavender Jane Loves Women is a far out, brilliant album. It is so blatant and specific, you never have to guess what Alix is singing about in a song … It’s our history and I want to know all about it.”

Cowan continued, “One thing that I feel is so fantastic about Alix’s music is that she sings so explicitly about Dyke experiences. I love and dearly appreciate that everything she writes about comes directly from her own experiences, and is written about as such.”

Continue reading at: http://sfbaytimes.com/in-memoriam-pioneering-lesbian-musician-and-activist-alix-dobkin-1940-2021/ (Source)

ILD: The world’s oldest black lesbian, And you have probably never heard of her

Ruth Ellis

Ruth Ellis was born in 1899 in Springfield, Illinois. Her father, Charles Ellis, was the first Black mail carrier in the entire state of Illinois. Her mother died when she was a tween, leaving her with her father and brothers. At the age of 16, after realizing that she had feelings for her white gym teacher, Ellis read Radclyffe Hall’s book The Well of Loneliness. After reading the book, she looked up the term “homosexual” in an psychology book. And that’s how she realized she was a lesbian. Being out isn’t easy at any point in history, but in 1915? It’s not like she had much for frame of reference. Despite that, however, Ellis always lived her life as an out lesbian.

While still living in Springfield, Ruth Ellis met Ceciline “Babe” Franklin, who was 10 years younger than her. There wasn’t much opportunity for a Black lesbian woman in Springfield back in the 1930s, so Ellis’s brother told her about Detroit. She went first, finding a job caring for a young boy for $7 a week. Franklin joined her in Detroit about a year later. Ellis, who had previously worked for a Black-owned print shop back in Springfield, decided to open her own print shop in Detroit.

“I was working for a printer, and I said to myself if I can do this for him, how come I can’t do it for myself?” she said.

With the formation of Ellis & Franklin Printing Co, which they ran out of their home, Ruth Ellis became the first woman in Michigan to own her own printing company. And that’s not the only thing that ran out of the Ellis/Franklin home.

Back in the 1940s, there weren’t many places for LGBTQ people to gather. In a pre-Stonewall world, being queer was life-threatening, so many people had to meet in private. And there was even less space in the community for Black queer people, so Ellis and Franklin opened up their home as a spot for them as a safe space. Their home was known as “The Giving Spot,” and was open for any members of the LGBTQ community, especially youth and Black folks.

“In those days everything was hush hush,” she explained. “If you just knew somebody that had a home would accept you that is where you went. So after we bought our home, we opened it up to the gay people. That is where everyone wanted to come on the weekend.”

Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, Ellis made a steady stream of appearances and did lots of interviews. Everyone knows that lesbians have always existed, but to see a woman who had been living as an out lesbian since before World War 1? That’s unbelievable. Especially because that woman was Black. And not only was she an out lesbian, she was a business owner and mentor to the community. She became a permanent fixture at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival as a result.

Ellis’s status as the oldest living out Black lesbian was immortalized in a documentary about her life, Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100. Of course, this only brought her more attention and notoriety. On her 100th birthday in 1999, Ruth Ellis was the leader of San Francisco’s Dyke March, with the entire crowd singing “Happy Birthday” to her. The same year, she lent her name and her legacy to the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit.

Continue reading at: https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/woman-world-oldest-black-lesbian-050012963.html (Source)