Category Archives: Listening 2 Lesbians

Lesbian voices about lesbian lives

Burundi: The secret language of lesbian love

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Over a period of a few months, the BBC spoke to dozens of young lesbians in a country where homosexuality is illegal. They told us about their day-to-day lives and how they use secret memes to connect with each other on social media platforms and chat apps.

“There are ‘invisible’ lesbians in every country. We are just one part of it.”

“If we exist here, we exist everywhere.”

We need to be heard.”

If you know that we exist, you may start looking for us in your own communities, and in your own families.”

Continue reading at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/secret_lesbian_language (source)

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Israel’s Cruel Treatment of a Lesbian Mom After Her Partner’s Tragic Death

Omra Levi-Hazan

Yael Levi-Hazan was a lecturer, researcher and translator, a well-known figure in academia and in the LGBT community. She had lived in Be’er Sheva since 1998 and was one of the community’s founders in the southern part of the country. The home she shared with her partner, social worker and therapist Omra Levi-Hazan, was a magnet for every LGBT person who moved to the Negev and was seeking an adoptive family.

In October 2017, the couple moved to a new house in Be’er Sheva with their son, Ma’ayan, to whom Yael had given birth three-and-a-half years earlier. At the end of that month, Omra gave birth to their daughter, Nuri. On the night between November 30 and December 1, just five weeks after Nuri’s birth, Yael, 39, was killed in a car crash on Highway 431, while she was on the way to her mother’s house, in Tel Aviv. Omra was left with two small children and without the woman who had been her partner for the previous decade.

Welsh football player says ‘school was hell on earth’ because she is a lesbian

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Wales’ most decorated footballer, Jessica Fishlock MBE says her experience at school was “hell on earth” because of abuse over her sexuality.
Fishlock says her sexuality never scared her in adolescence, but that she soon realised society was less accepting than she was of the fact she was gay.

“I think I knew when I was 12 that I love women, right? Whatever,” she says.

“I remember the moment clear and I wasn’t mad about it. Like it was OK. But the biggest thing for me was trying to manoeuvre my life with knowing that information. It wasn’t something I was scared of.

“It wasn’t something that I just disliked and made me dislike myself for who I was. But I didn’t understand why it was such a negative thing. That’s where for me it was something that I just couldn’t really stand. You know, does it matter?

“Even at a very young age going through that, 20 years ago, I never understood why it was a problem. And it’s even worse now. I don’t understand the problem.

“The turning point for me was when I just realised that I wasn’t the problem. The problem was the society in school. Not the kids in school because they don’t understand; the society and the thought process around it was the problem.”

Continue reading at: https://www.bbc.com/sport/wales/47093685 (source)

Lesbian widows – seeking your stories

We are seeking the stories from lesbians to show how anti lesbian sentiment and structures affect us in relation to the death of our partners, wives and girldfriends.

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Since Lisa died I have joined the ranks of lesbian widows – lesbians whose partner, wife or girlfriend has died.

In this time I have heard stories of how bereaved lesbians have been treated by authorities, families, friends, workplaces, support groups.

Some stories are of personal hostility, others are of legal structures which act to harm lesbians or simply fail to protect us.

We are looking to gather some of these stories for Listening2Lesbians, to demonstrate  how homophobia and lesbophobia, whether by individuals, groups or social structures, can add to the already traumatic experience of losing a partner.

If you lost your partner as a lesbian, and have experiences to share, please write to us at liz@listening2lesbians.com or message us via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LlSTEN2LESBlANS/.

Submissions can be anonymous to protect privacy.

Lesbian “gay bashing”

Lesbian "gay bashing"

Guest post by Kate Hansen, with thanks to the women who so generously shared their experiences.

 

For feedback or to share your experiences, please email Liz@listening2lesbians.com or message us at https://www.facebook.com/LlSTEN2LESBlANS/


I was in a Facebook lesbian group, when someone posted the question: “Have you ever been gay bashed?” The stories which followed gripped me and moved me.  I decided to pose the same question on other group pages, and I made sure to ask everyone if they would allow their stories to be shared anonymously online.  I felt like these were something which needed to be shared with a wider audience. I don’t know if people even know the level of violence and hate that lesbians face, even in the modern world.  It can be straight up physical violence, or it can be just a series of microaggressions which erode the soul over time. There was no clear distinction between regions represented, dykes in the UK face the same level of violence in the USA.  I do appreciate the uniqueness of the voices. Another thing to note is that the flat out physical violence seemed to happen to those who were gender non conforming or butch, while more feminine presenting women deal with classic sexual harassment.

This story is dynamic and changing.  I believe this is the tip of the iceberg, and we would like to ask for contributions to this project.  If you have experienced gay bashing as a lesbian, please write to us and share, care of Listening 2 Lesbians.

-Kate Hansen


Run over by a car, kidnapped and held for five days. 21 stab wounds, no food and very little water, raped repeatedly and left for dead on the side of the road. I lost contracts in business. Umm ya this is a very sensitive subject. The younger people in our community sometimes forget the sacrifices we’ve made so that they can enjoy the freedoms we have today. Not preaching, just pointing out how violent it once was.


Yes indeed in downtown Baltimore many moons ago but was told I was a waste of a woman. Hate has no room in my life.


As a butch lesbian, born and raised in Alabama and travel for a living, I’ve never been bashed, i have been called out in bathrooms more times than I can count, but once they realized who they’re speaking to they apologized. I also open carry.


Yup. Lost all “friends” in my neighbourhood, went thru 4 yrs of bitches calling me out nearly every day in high school even tho I never came out about it.  Recently blocked a cousin for sending me bible quotes and messages about being an abomination.️ I’m still on top. Honestly Millennials and Zs don’t know how easy they have it.


Got stones thrown at me I came out to a friend and she yelled out ew your gay and a guy heard and he started to throwing them or some Christians quoting bible and parents blaming my auntie about her being gay for me turning out gay.


I’ve had issues with former coworkers on my life choices. Once I was told I was the devil and I was going to hell. She wouldn’t work with me because she didn’t want to catch the gay.


Just the usual from family and sometimes complete strangers. Had one kid start yelling Faggots from his truck to an ex and I when we were driving together. Hit a stop light and he kept smirking until we started talking trash back very loudly. Made him look like an ass. He rolled up his window pretty quickly and turned down a side street. My ex was in the military and I’m built like Xena, so I think we scared him.


Had friends bashed leaving the bar. One friend almost got killed because they hit him with a baseball bat. Put him in a coma for two weeks. He left Tucson after he recovered.. Most of the drag queens carry mace or razors when they leave.


Yeah, 1970s lost jobs and evicted, raped, and TONS of verbal bashing in public places and I was like having the attitude and VOICE to say “FUCK OFF just because my women are hotter than what you get” OR I would say “Your mom didn’t think so last night.” WHEN IN PUBLIC they can’t hit you because the first blow is a violent attack and if I wait I can kick ’em in the nuts in self defense. Always wait to clip the nuts in self defense, then no charges can be pressed really.


Yeah. From the college I attended, as well as several revoked job opportunities when they found out I was gay. Oh and my dad trying to kill me, as well as being kicked out.


When there’s a violent male, the energy is usually directed at my butch partner. We’ve never been bashed, but we’ve gotten out of minor scrapes. For example, my butch ex and I were at a blues bar, and this man became irate with me because I didn’t want to dance with him. She said “buddy, she doesn’t want to dance, leave her alone”. He got annoyed, ok angry, that I chose to be with a butch female instead of him. We left after that. Someone mentioned that we should have got him kicked out, but honestly we just weren’t feeling it after that.

Also my ex husband was violent with me when he figured out that I’m gay.


My girlfriend and I had big rocks thrown at us from a passing pickup truck when we were holding hands walking down the street. She got chased by a man who saw us kissing goodbye at a greyhound station, and he was yelling at her that he would make her like dick while he was chasing her. We were also chased together once, after going to the park around midnight and not realizing there were other people there. This was all around 1992. I haven’t been bashed recently, but I’m more careful now.

I should add that 2 of these events happened in San Francisco.


Beat up by 3 men, 14 broken bones and won’t even say what they did to my girlfriend at the time. Something we couldn’t get over because of my guilt not being able to stop it.


I’m an intimidating bitch, I have issues with guys, I don’t take shit from nobody.

However it’s sad in a way that my family uses it against me when we fight or make stupid comments about gays

Fuck em anyways.

Can’t tell me they aren’t a bit curious!


I navigated the Army during the mid eighties – early nineties; before even “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” I was raped by 4 “fellow” soldiers; they knew they could get away with it; one accusation of homosexuality and my career was over.  We all stayed quiet about it; they didn’t go to prison; I didn’t get a dishonourable discharge……just a vicious case of PTSD.


I have when I lived in a homophobic city/country my dad and a few neighbours my mom shut him up and I confronted the bs with the neighbour’s kid and to say the mom was not happy with him is a understatement . After my mom passed I got thrown out and bounced sofa to sofa ’til I got my own place then was sexually assaulted by a downstairs neighbour and now I got real bad anxiety and ptsd but my ex gf doesn’t understand I don’t want to be around men too much, esp. straight guys like her brother, but you know fuck it I’m about to be out of here real.


Yup,  beat up by three dudes for being a ‘fucking dyke’ one thing I did learn is I can fly through the air like Superman  just need to work on my landing though!


Yes my son’s father told people, I mean like most of our little city that he don’t want that fruity shit around my son that my son is gonna be gay because of me, I’m making him gay! This is my first time ever being attacked like this … And for a dude that hasn’t been around in 5 yrs (my son is 5) but my girl has been around since my son’s first birthday … What the fuck is he, right?   But my god did this really hurt me horribly. I also think that my son’s father is in the closet and maybe mad that we are out and having a good life while he is still hiding. But that’s not my fault I’m a woman no matter what, I’m gonna be a woman whether I’m with a man or a woman, I do women shit everything I do know I’ve done my whole life. Not just since I’ve been with my girl .. I was sooooo offended and felt embarrassed that he went to everyone we know and said shit like this.  Hurts.


1 Circa 1987/88 was a student in Bradford. 21 years old living with a girlfriend, also student but we worked the same bar. She was a barmaid, me DJ. One night walking home from a night out socializing, playing pool, we came home early. 9pm. About 1 minute from our flat, crossing the pub car park neighbouring us, two men stepped out and confronted us. One grabbed g/f basically sexually assaulting her, I naturally objected and he threw a punch at me. Then, I was as strong and as fit as a butcher’s dog. (I can also box, dad taught me) I’m fortunate, know how to look after self and am risk savvy, but this happened so quick. Both men attacked me as I prevented them tearing my g/f’s clothes.One punched her to the side of the head, knocking her out. They both set about me, but realized that I was a going to be a hand full. Eventually, they ran off when they realized about 30 or so punters from the straight pub were onlookers. I got to my feet, picked my g/f up and managed to stagger back to the flat, where our housemates got us attention at hospital. Not one person intervened, watching. When the police questioned us at the hospital, they told us not one witness could be found at the pub! Indeed, they questioned us as to why we were out at that time of night!?! 9pm? My g/f needed stitches to a wound in her ear and I was concussed but the police were determined to dismiss me as drunk. I had been playing pool for the lesbian pub team…not a drop!

One other occasion, same city and about the same time, g/f and I had gone to dinner; celebrating something. We were walking to the lesbian/gay bar in town for ‘after’ when a group of young men, about 15 or so, started catcalling insults. Dykes, queers, etc. What we really needed, you know the score. They ran up to us and I told her to go ahead into the bar and not turn round and if not there in 5 get help! For once, she, reluctantly did as she was told, as she knew what was going to happen, and she had never left me in a situation like that. I turned to face the group but no reasoning was to be had they simply piled on me and began punching, kicking etc. So, I did what I was taught in those situations, God Bless my working class, dog tough old dad, he was a bastard but as hard as nails! I latched onto the biggest by sinking my teeth into his crotch. Face protected, head tucked right into his groin so they could kick me, but he was getting it too. It seemed like forever, but the police came, called by Sarah et al. The mob ran off. Leaving me and the big lad locked on the pavement! I was dazed to say the least and he was yelping like a scalded puppy! Police were going to arrest me for assault, as seemingly, as one police officer said, I could have seriously injured the poor lad biting him there! No witnesses, no admissions from the lesbophobic shit who had started the beating, just me looking bruised and battered. I didn’t cut easily, so must not have been as bad in their opinion. Wouldn’t listen to us…I was a student teacher, my g/f a student social worker, he was a knuckle dragging arsehole, but male so must tell the truth. This was West Yorkshire, 30 years ago, at the height of Clause 28, where attitudes were shocking. However, this is the same constabulary, hounding women for saying there is no such thing as men becoming women! In my early 50s we are experiencing a blatant openness in aggression towards us. This Brexit debacle is emboldening the ignorant, vicious bigots who have lain dormant for so many years.

So many other occasions. Verbal to physical. I’m fortunate, I know how I react in these situations and as old as I get know that my mentality won’t change. My lesbianism is sacrosanct, my love and obligation to protect my partner has meant she has been spared this, as I would lay my life down to protect her, and she knows that. Lesbians need to ally with each other; women. Not men, not interested in what they think they know about us, we must take lessons from what has happened, carrying it into the present so that this blatant aggression surfacing against us doesn’t take us by surprise. It has always been thus!


The really bad one was in 2009 in Thousand Oaks, CA. I had been working on my car all evening replacing the starter, oil change etc., finally finishing around 11 pm. So I took the car out for a drive to see how it was running. I was sitting at a stop light waiting when all of the sudden I was rear ended. The light turns green so I pull through the intersection and then pull over to the side. I get out of the car and start walking to the back to car check the damage and swap information if needed. I never saw him coming because I was looking at my bumper he sucker punched me in the jaw. Next thing I remember I’m waking up on the road in a pool of my own vomit with my rainbow sticker on the ground next to me.

I ended having a broken jaw and a few facial fractures. However that was the last time anyone landed a hand on me, like that.

He did get caught a few months later because he did it again but this time was a gay man that had a camera in his car that caught the license plate of the guy. He was never charged with my incident because no evidence.


I was head butted by a skinhead, I’d left the Pride march, with a few others, to use the loo & when I came out there was a bunch of skinheads waiting outside the mens toilets & a couple outside the women’s. One of them called me a queer & tried to head butt me in the face, but he was way too tall and caught me on the forehead/top of the head, I was shocked more than hurt & I just took of running as fast as I could (I’d have given FloJo a run for her money) I wanted to shout a warning to anyone else in the toilets, but my voice wouldn’t work. It took me ages to get back to the Pride march – I’d run off in the wrong direction & the 1985 London Pride was nowhere near the size it is now – not so many qweer hetz. When I found the women I’d gone to the loos with, they’d come out in a group so they weren’t attacked, just verbal abuse & they’d forgotten me. I’ve had abuse shouted at me in the street, threatened & spat at, but that’s the worst physical violence I’ve suffered for being a lesbian. I have friends who were beaten up coming out of gay clubs & pubs.


Rocks thrown through windows, rainbow flag burned, all windows in both vehicles in driveway shattered and anti-gay language scrawled all over both cars with a sharpie

Motorcycle knocked to the ground

Contents of truck stolen and thrown into the streets of the neighbourhood

Happened around 1AM


When I came out in middle school a boy in my band class would hit me in the head on a daily basis with his drumstick and call me a nasty dyke. Another boy on my school bus would sit next to me and describe how it would feel to suck his dick the whole ride home. I was too scared to report him.


Yes, I’ve been bashed physically by some men; by the police and then the regular verbal butch bashings as well. I think the first time was coming out of a gay bar in my 20s. We were confronted by a group of young men who yelled and threw rocks at us and cornered us. I remember, thinking, why? Why is who I love a concern of yours? It’s inane. As a butch, the verbal lashings have been a constant fare in my life.


Coming out of the Blue Goose, a gay bar in Des Moines, in 1976-77 ish, carloads of straight high school boys would drive by repeatedly shouting slurs. One carload followed me as I walked to my car one night. Thankfully they didn’t do anything except yell. Long ago, far away.


I had  a neighbourhood kid set fire in my house in 1980. She had found out I am a lesbian. 


Several times over my lifetime, but the one time it was pretty bad was after my two friends and I had attended a show in Seattle (I think it might have been Concrete Blonde) and we were walking back to the car and walked past a group of young teens, about 5-6 young men and one woman.  The young woman said “which one of you’s the man???!!! fuckin’ dykes” and my friend who was a smartass (and stupidly risky) said “I am, and aren’t I cute??” and that woman did not like being sassed, so she ran after my friend and started beating her up and my other friend and I tried intervening, but every time we tried to protect our friend, the young men would kick us from behind and knock us down.  We felt trapped and fighting for our lives when we ran up to a bus that was parked at a bus stop and begged the driver to help us. The driver didn’t give a shit and refused to call the cops or help. But luckily, since there were people on the bus and multiple witnesses, the attackers took off. We got back to car and went to the hospital… the one friend had two broken ribs and my other one had a broken wrist, and my back was all bruised from being kicked in the back.  I was truly afraid they would kill us.


I was physically knocked down by a very large man when I was in New York visiting my family. This was maybe 12 yrs ago. My sister and I were walking home from the train and it was in the early evening. A really large wild haired dude came up to us and said Hello ladies. We said nothing back to him and he became irate very quickly. Then he looked at me and said Oh this one’s not a lady! I looked at him and said Fuck you! My sister and I started walking quickly ahead of him but he came up behind us screaming and yelling his head off and then he knocked me down. I fell on the ground, got back up but my hand was injured as I had fallen on it. My sister and I ran really fast and we were able to get away from him. We went to the police later and reported it and they drove around trying to find him. It was a fairly small town, my home town in NY. But they could not find him. In retrospect I think we were in a lot more danger than we realized at the moment. He was like a powder keg of  rage just looking for someone to go off on. Luckily we got away from him but my hand was injured for quite a while after that because my fingers had gotten pushed backward. It’s still scary when I think about it now, his rage.

Now as I write this I’m thinking that that was probably the first and only time in my life that I felt insulted not to be considered a “lady.”


Having people yell “fag” and “dyke” out of cars while walking with my girlfriends.

Having cars full of college age boys honk at us, pull over in front of us as we were walking on the side of the road late at night, open their doors and start to get out to scare us before driving off (or maybe someone in the car talked them out of it.)

Being told “What you should be holding is a dick” by a young male stranger while holding hands on the street.

Being harassed by my girlfriend’s farm boss about my “sexy” clothes one day, and hearing him say he loved saying that stuff to lesbians in particular. When I told others in the farming community about it, they fired me from my volunteer job, said they didn’t believe me and shunned me.

There are others I’d rather not recall or I’ve selectively forgotten.

I’ve lost more than 3 jobs over issues related to being a lesbian, also. People in general become more suspicious of me if I come out to them, even if they act accepting at first, and will sew all kinds of weird rumors about me & bash my reputation behind my back, the moment it would be convenient to silence me. Which really poisons communities against you and makes it difficult to hold your head up and move freely.

I’ve had men act like they were going to hit me, mostly for telling them to leave my gf alone when they were too persistent in bars and she didn’t have the nerve to, but when they turn around and actually look at me, they suddenly don’t want to hit anymore! I’m very small and usually pretty girl-looking, I think they realize it would be absurd.

It’s a constant series of daily microaggressions for me that have affected my life & forced me to have many career paths, put crushing stress on my relationships & given me diagnosed C-PTSD. If I could trade all that for getting hit once or twice, I would!


When I was about 28 I was leaving a gay bar in Buffalo NY, as I was unlocking my car a guy grabbed me around my neck from behind…he called me homophobic slurs and told me he was going to show me a real man…it was summer and very warm, all I had on was a tank top and shorts, he ripped them off of me, punched and slapped me  several times and raped me vaginally and annally…I did not scream, it was in the back of a very dark parking lot…all I did was cry…he threatened to kill me as he left….i was able to crawl back to the bar, bloodied and naked…the few women in the bar took me in, they locked the door, cleaned me up and found me some clothes…we did not call the police out of fear, they called my lover who came and picked me up.

I did not know who he was, nor had I ever seen him before…a few weeks later at work I started getting notes and threats left on my desk at work…this went on for weeks and I was terrified…this was in 1978 and there was nowhere to go to complain, if the company had known I was gay I would have lost my job, so I suffered for many months and eventually quit my job.  The man that raped me was someone I worked with, but I was never able to figure out who he was (big company)…I never went out again alone, received no mental health help, just suffered…My lover, a very large male identified butch, protected and shielded me as did our friends from the bar….but the rape and harassment I keep locked up inside of me for more than 20 years, finally I received therapy and am able to reconcile internally what happened, but it never goes away, it is always there lurking in the back of my mind…


I expected and was heavily defended against the gay bashing and was bashed several times. But what hurt me the most was the butch bashing from within the lesbian community. There was a woman who professed to be a Wiccan witch, who never, ever miss the opportunity to remind myself and others about how male identified I was.  How unacceptable that was, to be a lesbian within a lesbian community and male identify. At the time I was a total separatist. I had no man in my life. I had no interest in them. But the fact that I dressed and conducted myself without femininity, did not rely on any kind of feminine tricks, meant I was male identified. The most devastating Butch bashing, for me, came from my feminist sisters. Ultimately I decided that the wiccans weren’t any nicer than the Christians and let them all go.


I have been shot at, had a person try to kill me by stabbing me with an ice pick, had brake lines cut, lug nuts loosened, been threatened lots back in the day.  Got bashed by women also–“Baby Killer” because I wanted to keep my military job. Lost custody of my daughter because the judge thought she should experience a “real traditional family.”  Didn’t see her for 3 years. There’s more, but I won’t bore you.


1. Yelled at “dyke!” In a shopping mall …

2. Nearly run over by a guy in a car…

3. Threatened with rape by a couple of straight teenage boys who grabbed my breasts and shirt.

4. Three drunk Gay men threatened to rape me. “Hey cunt, you just need a man! stop being such an angry bulldyke. We know a man who will make you like men! Hah hah!

5. Transwoman raped me. ” this will teach you!! You are a bad girl and you made me mad! And don’t you dare say no nasty butch dyke!”

6. Transwoman raped me. “You owe me. I took you to a party, you stupid Lez, you f-ing dyke!!”!

7. Construction workers yelling dyke! Etc.

I have a hella PTSD. And I find most LGBT people are actually not aware of or sensitive to the fact that gay men and transwomen can be misogynistic and lesbophobic and / or rapists or sexual harassment or assault perpetrators.


I’ve been followed when I left a gay bar.  Had to outrun them, first on foot, then in my car.  I finally made it to a police station. I didn’t think that the cops would help me, but I hoped that the men chasing me thought otherwise.  They did give up the chase and I never had to directly interact with those cops. Another time a girlfriend and I had very sinister men calling us slurs for lesbian and woman while coming at us.  We ended up dodging cars (on foot) across a highway to get away from them.


While working@ amazon warehouse on lane letter D someone was trying to close/open pallets and looking for small boxes of like d005 and large boxes for d026 or something and I’m doing a 2 person conveyor job with my back turned and the young republican who during election time routinely yelled “hail trump” and “trump is god” and loved WWE yelled “oh here’s a big D for you, need another one? There’s a D right here!”

I believe that was simple harassment but I reported it instantly and when leaving work he and a friend attempted to run me off the road!

Also had a “queer” female with a “he/him” nametag give me this line following my refusal to declare my pronouns to “him” she went on to say how she never would have guessed I’m a lesbian and went on to talk about how she “used to be a lesbian” and that felt grimey AF to me.


Was out @ 14 so got gum in my hair a lot, probably why I refuse to shave my head ever to prove any point ever because I meticulously cut those candies out of my hair about 4x/mo


I was out with women friends for my 21st birthday. We were all dancing. This guy kept offering to buy me drinks and wanting my number. I repeatedly and politely told him thanks but I wasn’t interested. He kept trying so I finally told him I’m gay. He then became verbally abusive saying  I thought I was too good for him and hoped I got raped. Thankfully his friends pulled him away and they left. I was shaken and thankful my friends were there.


 

‘It is possible to be Muslim and a lesbian’

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Miriam hid her sexuality from her strict Muslim parents for years. When she eventually did come out to them, she found it impossible to translate “lesbian” into Punjabi or Urdu. She explains how the conversation put an end to her double life “playing the straight woman” but caused a rift so deep that her father disowned her.

Continue reading at: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-46567505 (Source)

We need your help – missing voices

 

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By Liz Waterhouse

Listening2lesbians has a mission of reporting on violence and discrimination against lesbians globally.

While this sounds like a simple task, assessing what we have been able to find in the last few years indicates that accessing news about crimes against lesbians is far from simple, with multiple barriers preventing us from being able to present a comprehensive picture of global lesbian experiences.

 

WHAT IS REPORTED OR PUBLISHED?

 

There is very little information being published about what is happening to lesbians around the world if we compare what is reported on an ongoing basis with what is found by those writers analysing the situation in depth.

Even for the countries with the most information available, invariably white dominated English speaking countries (the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada), the information is limited and piecemeal. Based on the news we see, and the patterns of how it is reported,  the communities who face significant additional problems due to overlapping axes of oppression, such as lesbians of colour and lesbians with a disability, are additionally disregarded by the authorities and/or the media.

This is no surprise because we know that many lesbians do not or cannot report violence or harassment for cultural, social and legal reasons. It is not safe for many lesbians to report their experiences, and around the world, reporting their experiences will open lesbians up to harassment and persecution.

When violence and harassment does get reported to authorities and it makes its way to the media, the following filters seem to apply:

  • Much violence and harassment against lesbians is not readily identifiable as such and many victims may play down or hide their sexuality in reporting to authorities even if it is a dominant factor in the crime, including under pressure from families.
  • Violence and harassment against lesbians is seemingly under reported by local media AS a crime against lesbans, unless it is salacious, extreme or backs up an existing widespread (often lesbophobic, also racial) bias.
  • Crimes against lesbians are often reported by the midia in ways which do not allow us to readily identify their sexuality and the extent to which sexuality is relevant to the crime.
  • Where lesbian news is reported locally it isn’t often picked up by international news sites unless it is (again) salacious, extreme or backs up an existing widespread (including  lesbophobic, also racial) bias.
  • LGBT media sites show little or no interest in lesbian news, again unless it is salacious, extreme or backs up an existing widespread bias.

Across the world there are some countries for which there is significant reporting (such as South Africa), which reflects both their rampant crime rate against lesbians (and women more generally) and the wide spread use of English in their media.

That leaves 135 out of 209 countries and territories for which we have not yet found a single news article in real time by December 2018.

We know that the absence of news reports does not indicate an absence of persecution of lesbians because homosexuality is illegal or defacto illegal in 47 of those countries.

This means we know that there are many communities of lesbians who are entirely silenced, whose experiences we know far too little about but whose experiences we need to be listening to because they remain persecuted.

 

AVAILABLE NEWS SOURCES

 

To try to find every available article on violence against lesbians, Listening2lesbians scans every news item from the following news sources, every day:

 

Google searches for:

  • Homophobia
  • homophobic
  • Gender and sexuality diverse
  • Gay woman
  • Gay women
  • Gender non conforming
  • Gender nonconformity
  • Lesbian
  • Same-sex
  • SASOD (Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination)
  • SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity)
  • Violence against women

 

News articles and blogs on Feedly including:

  • Advocate.com
  • AfterEllen
  • Alturi.org
  • Big Boo Butch
  • Curve fee
  • En.queer.de
  • Epochalips – smart lesbian commentary
  • Erasing 76 Crimes
  • Fridae Asia
  • FUSE magazine
  • Gay Star News
  • Gay City News
  • Gay/Lesbian News
  • Gay Iceland
  • Gay NZ
  • GLAAD blog
  • Georgia Voice – Gay and LGBT Atlanta News
  • Huffington Post
  • Human Rights Watch News
  • Lesbian News
  • Lesbians Over Everything
  • LGBT Germany
  • LGBTQ Nation
  • Mamba Online
  • One More Lesbian
  • Out Japan
  • Out.com
  • Outlook Ohio Magazine
  • Outsmart Magazine
  • Outsports
  • Pink Armenia
  • Pink news
  • Pride USA
  • Queer Voices
  • Queerty
  • Refworld
  • Rights Africa – Equal Rights, Once Voice
  • SF Gay and Lesbian
  • Star Observer
  • Straight Universe
  • The Gaily Grind
  • The Independent
  • The Guardian World news
  • The Rainbow Times
  • The Seattle Lesbian
  • Towleroad Gay News
  • What Wegan Did Next
  • Women and Words
  • Xtra (DailyXtra)

 

We also watch the news on facebook across groups, news sites, pages and friends’ walls.

As we find new sources they are added to the list of sites we search and follow.

 

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – ENGLISH

 

English speaking western countries dominate the news.

News from lesbians in english speaking western countries also dominates the lesbian news.

Listening2lesbians works hard to counter that domination by dedicating our efforts to finding news on marginalised and invisibilized communities of lesbians.

That domination is emphasised by the prevalence of English speaking news for the english speaking audience.

We are aware that our work to find and share information about lesbian communities around the world is limited by searching in English.

While we do have plans to reach out to communities, activists and representative organisations more directly in future, this is limited by the current size and scale of Listening2lesbians and will rolled out in a way that prioritises the sustainability of the project over speed of expansion. 

 

(ANOTHER) ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: WESTERN FRAMEWORKS

The framework we are using to focus on the experiences of lesbians around the world may not cleanly fit the cultural framework of all communities. We are mindful of not imposing western values or terminology on the communities we are trying  to reach.

 

We do know that women in same sex relationships around the world are persecuted, subject to violence and discrimination, however they are labeled and identified, and it is this reality we are looking to report on.

 

OUR REQUEST TO YOU

 

We know we have many readers who represent communities around the world and who speak languages other than English.


Your experiences and the experiences of lesbians in your community matter.

 

If you see news articles about violence and harassment against lesbians in your community, and it is a story we are unlikely to find for language or other reasons, please send it to us at:

 

We also welcome contact from activists, journalists, researchers and organisations representing, researching or supporting lesbians around the world.

 

How I became the most hated lesbian in Baltimore

Julia Beck
AfterEllen.com

“Baltimore City is a hostile environment for lesbians. Organizations like the LGBTQ Commission that claim to support Lesbians are too often controlled by men who de-platform and silence outspoken women. Too many activists wear a facade of benevolence, preaching inclusion and equity while threatening to beat and kill women like me.”

Continue reading at: https://www.afterellen.com/general-news/568221-how-i-became-the-most-hated-lesbian-in-baltimore (source)

Male-Run ‘Pink News’ at Odds with the Lesbian Community…Again

Julia Diana Robertson
AfterEllen.com

afterellen

“PinkNews, a male-run publication, has a history of coming under fire with the lesbian community. Yesterday, it happened yet again…

Lesbians are the most silenced within the alphabet and within the mainstream media. We’re pathologically misrepresented.

The mainstream media (including the ‘LGBT’ mainstream) are male-dominated (like everything else)… Even lesbian organizations and media are controlled by non-lesbians and male-money—Parent companies or advertisers that ultimately control what we can and cannot say. Mainstream media is like the creepy uncle who shows up at your lesbian dinner party, uninvited, holding a bouquet of d*cks. PinkNews has been called out on social media, time and time again, for what lesbian readers view as biased reporting, anti-lesbian sentiment and misogynistic viewpoints.”

Continue reading at: Male-Run ‘Pink News’ at Odds with the Lesbian Community…Again (source)

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

Thoughts Essay Photo - Erin

Guest Post by Erin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listening2Lesbians mourns loss of Lisa Mallett

Lisa&Chillibean

We are devastated at listening2lesbians to announce the death of Lisa Mallett, passionate advocate for lesbians around the world and co-runner of L2L. Lisa was the beloved partner of Liz Waterhouse, Listening2Lesbians founder and co-runner with Ari Miller.

Lisa worked to improve lesbian visibility and had long term plans to increasingly serve the worldwide community of lesbians.

Lisa’s death is a terrible personal blow and a loss to the community she will no longer be able to support as she so passionately intended.

We will continue Lisa’s legacy through our work and hope you continue to support us through this.

A lesbian story of survival and the power of community Pride

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Gay Freedom Day Parade, San Francisco, California, June 1979. Photographer unknown, c/o @chicagotribune.

BY FELON EVANS

The end of Pride weekend. I skipped the Parade but went to a concert Friday and then to a Lesbian Potluck this afternoon.

Pride has lost a lot of its meaning for me, but the reason why we have a Pride has not. I came out in the mid-70s. Coming out to family and friends was not difficult for me but coming out to the larger world often felt dangerous. I was closeted with neighbors and landlords because it could cost you your housing. My girlfriend became my “roommate.” There was the bedroom you shared and then a spare room made to look like a second bedroom in case family visited. We would de-dyke the house before certain people would come over. If you had friendly neighbors, it was likely that you kept your lesbian books out of the living room.

I was closeted at work, too, and it meant that I kept a distance from co-workers, especially when they were talking about their personal relationships. Going to work meant always hiding a secret about who you were. Even being closeted, I was still fired from my job at a domestic violence shelter for being a lesbian. The Reagan Administration put a proviso on grants to DV shelters across America that in order to receive federal funding, they had to get rid of their lesbian staff. The Board called me in and said “You are a lesbian and can no longer work here.” When I went to an attorney, he asked me to show him where it was illegal to fire me for my sexual orientation.

Being a lesbian in the 70s and 80s also meant going to bars. We had wonderful music and dances and concerts and AA meetings, and bars were an important part of that community. We could not afford to be oblivious to the fact that something as ordinary as one’s own life could induce hatred in someone else. The bar I went to in Cleveland had one of those little windows in the door they would peep out of to check you out before you could gain admittance. Bars had to be careful. One night , two lesbians in our community left the bar and were kidnapped, raped, and shot and left for dead. One of them survived. It rocked our community to its core, and yet we still went to the bar because it was part of our community.

Not being able to talk openly about being a lesbian meant that you had to send out signals in a conversation or an interaction if you thought another woman was gay. A certain type of direct eye-contact, held a bit longer than usual, a nod of the head as you walked by each other on the sidewalk were used to determine if someone was likely a lesbian. Lesbians hug differently than do straight women and that was often a sign you could count on.

I was both disadvantaged and advantaged in being a Lesbian. It is stressful to hide something as fundamental as your relationships and community. There was danger and discrimination, the times we would get yelled at on the street or at a concert or denied admittance to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day or how your girlfriend would be treated differently by hospital staff if you went to the hospital . Once a van full of men pulled up and several men jumped out with baseball bats and ran at my girlfriend and I. She had her large dog with us and the dog growled and lunged at them. They jumped back in the van and peeled off. I don’t know what would have happened had we not had the dog, but I have every reason to believe we would have been hurt by them.

Through it all, community is what helped us survive that type of emotional and psychic trauma, it’s what ameliorated shame, what provided us with some great coping skills and survival strategies. Our community is where we went after the bad family interactions, after the bad work experiences, after the firing or the insensitive doctor asking again what kind of birth control you use, even after you came out to her.

We so often get attached to a narrative of suffering as if that makes us more “authentic.” Anyone who came out back in the day has been through the shit. It takes a toll on a human being. And yet it also has allowed me to be part of a community of survivors who faced bigotry with both anger and humor, with resilience and guts.

What I want to celebrate on Pride is not the freedom to be myself but rather the gift of a community that held one another up, that endured shitty treatment and insensitivity and outright hate and still insisted on loving other women.

Tonight I went to a lesbian potluck with typical potluck food and ordinary lesbians talking about our commonplace lives, remarking on how much easier things are now. And yet we are all part of an extraordinary phenomenon, a community of women in what has been a lesbophobic culture, many of whom have endured decades of hostility for our choices, and who are undeterred in our insistence on loving each other.

Thank you Lesbian community. You are who I celebrate on Pride Weekend.

 

L2L at Women’s March 2018, Columbus OH

End Violence Against lesbians

Listening2Lesbians at the Women’s March 2018,Columbus OH

In Memoriam: Lesbian Murder Victims (November 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:

Mary Caitrin “Caithy” Mahoney, Washington, DC, USA  (July 1997)

Tyonne Johns, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA (August 2016)

Richelle “Shelley” Horsley, Taylorsville, Utah, USA (June 2017)

Brittney Johnson, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (July 2017)

Continue reading at: http://inmemoriamlesbian.blogspot.com/2017/07/

#UsToo: Reclaiming “Lesbian” in Vienna

ap_17091452228213

BY KELLY COGSWELL

“If we don’t have enough anecdotal evidence proving how trifling we are, it’s there in dollars and cents. Out of 424 million dollars budgeted for international LGBTI issues in 2013-2014, only a measly two percent went toward projects for LBQ (lesbian, bi, queer) women. And out of hundreds of recommendations put forward at the United Nations in recent years, only one addressed specifically lesbian issues.

Those figures come from the first European Lesbian* Conference that took place early this month in Vienna, and they were the proverbial last drop that pushed the organizers into action. (They should crunch the numbers for women’s projects, too, which I suspect are no more eager to embrace lesbian issues than queer NGOs often headed by gay men.)

The two researchers who presented a report to the conference on lesbian lives in Europe discovered that we were almost on par with unicorns when it came to mining data even among countries in the relatively progressive European Union.

This meant that not only were they limited in the conclusions they could draw, but that we would hit a brick wall if we wanted to propose a project on lesbian mental health, for instance, because we wouldn’t have enough figures proving it was needed or to create a model for how it might work. Ditto for projects addressing violence against lesbians. No data. Therefore, no funding. And no action. As a result, almost every researcher at the conference begged the lesbian participants from Iceland to Uzbekistan to get involved collecting data on their own communities.”

Continue reading at: http://gaycitynews.nyc/ustoo-reclaiming-lesbian-vienna/

European Lesbian Conference Brief Report on Lesbian Lives in (parts of) Europe

ELC Report

“Lesbians* in Europe are faced with discrimination on a daily basis – ranging from legal barriers in various aspects of their lives to informal discrimination by family members, peers, or service personnel. In this focus topic, we want to highlight these various experiences of discrimination and, in some instances, highlight cases of harassment and violence. In doing so, we have drawn on the most extensive survey on discrimination and hate crime to date, conducted in 2012 throughout the European Union and Croatia – the EU LGBT survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA; for additional information on the methodology behind the survey, please consult our preface or the official technical report1).

In this section, we present findings from 15,236 lesbian participants and their experiences of discrimination. If not otherwise stated, we present an averaged response over all 28 countries included in the survey, which is weighted by population size. To highlight the variability in responses across countries, we also included the three countries with the least endorsement and the three countries with the most endorsement on some questions.

Please note that, since the survey was conducted in 2012, some of the findings presented may be different as of 2017, since legal changes could have taken place in a given country during that time. Still, the EU LGBT survey conducted by the FRA is the most extensive and valuable survey to date about LGBT lives in Europe.

For this report, we included only parts of the extensive survey. We also chose not to include figures from other groups of participants from within the LGBTQIA* community (for example gay men or bisexual women), to avoid (in our view over-simplistic) comparisons between groups that are all affected by various forms of discrimination. For readers interested in conducting these analyses or in finding out more about results from a specific country, we recommend exploring the survey online via the data explorer2.
.
1  https://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/eu-lgbt-survey-technical-report_en.pdf
2  http://fra.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-and-maps/survey-data-explorer”

Read the full report here: European Lesbian* Conference Brief Report on Lesbian* Lives in (parts of) Europe

Pushback on commemorative orb at Ravensbruck, support needed by Nov. 15th

Gedenkkugel 2015

From: www.feminismus-widerstand.de

Dear friends, lesbians and supporters,

A lot has happened since the start of our application in the summer of 2016. We value the huge interest and the support as encouragement to continue on this path.

Your signatures, the invitation to the symposium at the Sites for Memorial and Remembrance Ravensbrück in April 2017, as well as to the opening of the exhibition at the Gay Museum Berlin in July 2017 and, most recently, to the European Lesbian* Conference in Vienna, strengthens our determination, despite massive patriarchal opposition, to continue our campaign for a memorial plaque.

The committee and the experts commission of the foundation for Memorial Sites in Brandenburg have repeatedly deferred the decision on the whereabouts of the memorial plaque.

Individual decision makers, in particular the homosexual representative, insist on rejecting the memorial plaque on the grounds that there was no persecution and no such category as lesbian prisoners.

The next decision will be discussed on 24th November, 2017.

That is why we are once again requesting your support.

Please send protest letters by 15th November 2017

to the international committee, in person to the chair Thomas Lutz, info@stiftung-bg.de

and the Foundation of Memorial Sites in Brandenburg, in person to Prof. Dr. Günther Morsch, info@gedenkstaette-sachsenhausen.de

to state your continued support for a permanent memorial plaque.

Please send a copy to: gedenkkugel@gmx.de

Here is a suggestion:

Mr. Thomas Lutz, Mr. Günther Morsch
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We request you, as the committee, as well as the representative of homosexuals, take into account in your decision the lived realities of lesbian women and girls and patriarchal power relationships and structures of persecution against lesbian lifestyles during national socialism. It is essential in terms of an academic and political debate to question a definition of persecution which is exclusively oriented on the categorisation of prisoners created by the national socialists and to expand this in terms of intersectionality.

I/We support that, at last, a visible symbol and a place in the Sites for Memorial and Remembrance is created by a memorial orb which marks the persecution and murder of lesbian women, and those so accused, so that they can be remembered.

For this reason I/we support a lesbian orb with the following inscription:
In Memorial an all lesbian women and girls in the Women’s Concentration Camp Ravensbrück and Uckermark. Lesbian women were considered “degenerate” and were persecuted and murdered as “antisocial” and, among other things, as resisters and crazy. You are not forgotten!

 

Signature

Name

Institution

Date

Further (mostly German) information, arguments for and against a memorial plaque, can be read under www.feminismus-widerstand.de and subsequent links.

Best wishes

Autonomous feminist womenlesbians initiative of Germany and Austria
Irmes Schwager, Lisa Steininger, Maria Newald, Wiebke Haß, Susanne Kuntz
Deutsch________________________________________

Liebe FreundInnen, Lesben und Unterstützer*innen,

inzwischen hat sich seit dem Start unseres Antrags im Sommer 2016 viel getan. Wir werten das große Interesse und die Unterstützung als Bestärkung, den Weg weiter zu gehen.

Eure Unterschriften, die Einladung zum Symposium in der Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück im April 2017, sowie zur Ausstellungseröffnung im Schwulen Museum* Berlin im Juli 2017 und zuletzt im Oktober 2017 zu der EL*C (European Lesbian* Conference) in Wien bestärken unseren Willen, trotz massivem patriarchalem Gegenwind weiter als Initiative für eine Gedenkkugel zu streiten.

Der Beirat und die Fachkommission der Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätte haben die Entscheidung über den Verbleib der Gedenkkugel bisher mehrmals verschoben.
Einzelne Entscheidungsträger, insbesondere der Vertreter der Homosexuellen, bestehen auf einer Ablehnung der Gedenkkugel mit dem Argument, es habe keine Verfolgung und keine Häftlingskategorie “Lesben” gegeben.

Die nächste Entscheidung wird am 24. November 2017 diskutiert.

Deshalb bitten wir erneut um eure Unterstützung.

Bitte schreibt Protestbriefe bis zum 15. November 2017

an den Internationaler Beirat, in Person als Vorsitzenden Thomas Lutz, info@stiftung-bg.de,

und die Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätte, in Person Prof. Dr. Günther Morsch, info@gedenkstaette-sachsenhausen.de,

dass ihr den dauerhaften Verbleib der Gedenkkugel (weiterhin) unterstützt.

Bitte schickt eine Kopie angedenkkugel@gmx.de

Hier eine Vorlage:

Sehr geehrter Hr. Thomas Lutz, Sehr geehrter Hr. Günther Morsch
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

wir fordern Sie als Beirat sowie als Vertretung der Homosexuellen auf, die Lebensrealitäten von lesbischen Frauen und Mädchen, patriarchale Machtverhältnisse und Verfolgungsstrukturen gegen lesbische Lebensweisen während des Nationalsozialismus bei Ihrer Entscheidung mit zu berücksichtigen. Es ist im Sinne einer wissenschaftlichen und politischen Auseinandersetzung notwendig, eine Definition von Verfolgung, die sich ausschließlich an den von den Nationalsozialisten geschaffenen Häftlingskategorien orientiert, zu hinterfragen und intersektional zu erweitern.

Ich setze mich/Wir setzen uns dafür ein, dass mit der „Gedenkkugel“ endlich ein sichtbares Zeichen und ein Ort in der Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück geschaffen wird, an dem die Verfolgung und Ermordung von lesbischen Frauen, und jenen, denen es nachgesagt wurde, sichtbar wird und ihnen gedacht werden kann.

Deshalb unterstütze/n ich/wir eine Gedenkkugel mit der folgenden Inschrift:

Im Gedenken aller lesbischen Frauen und Mädchen im Frauen-KZ Ravensbrück und Uckermark. Lesbische Frauen galten als „entartet“ und wurden als „asozial“, als widerständig und ver-rückt und aus anderen Gründen verfolgt und ermordet. Ihr seid nicht vergessen!”

Unterschrift:

Name:

Institution:

Datum:

Weitere zum größten Teil deutschsprachige Informationen, Argumente gegen und für eine Gedenkkugel, können unter www.feminismus-widerstand.de und den weiterführenden Links dort, nachgelesen werden.

Herzliche Grüße,

Initiative autonome feministische FrauenLesben aus Deutschland und Österreich
Irmes Schwager, Lisa Steininger, Maria Newald, Wiebke Haß, Susanne Kuntz
Français___________________________________

Chèr-e-s ami-e-s, lesbiennes et supporteur*es,

Entre-temps, beaucoup de choses se sont passées depuis le début de notre application en été 2016. Nous apprécions le grand intérêt et le soutien comme un encouragement à continuer sur le chemin pris.
Vos signatures, l’invitation au symposium au Memorial de Ravensbrück (Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück) en avril 2017, ainsi que l’ouverture de l’exposition au Gay Museum * à Berlin en juillet 2017 et plus récemment en octobre 2017 à l’EL *C (European Lesbian*Conference) à Vienne encouragent notre volonté de continuer à nous battre en tant qu’initiative d’une boule commémorative, malgré un vent de face patriarcal massif.

Le ‘Beirat der Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten’ (Conseil consultatif) et la Commission des expert-es ont jusqu’à présent reporté plusieurs fois la décision sur l’installation de la boule commémorative. Certains représantants, en particulier celui du groupe de victimes homosexuels, insistent pour rejeter la balle commémorative, affirmant qu’il n’y a eu aucune persécution des femmes lesbiennes.

La prochaine décision sera discutée le 24 novembre 2017.

C’est pourquoi nous vous demandons de nouveau votre soutien.

Veuillez écrire des lettres de protestation avant le 15 novembre 2017
au ‘Beirat der Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten’, en personne Président Thomas Lutz, info@stiftung-bg.de,
et ‘Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten’ (la Fondation commémorative de Brandebourg), en personne Prof. Dr. Günther Morsch, info@gedenkstaette-sachsenhausen.de,
que vous (continuiez à) soutenir/soutenez l’emplacement permanent de la boule commémorative.
Veuillez envoyer une copie à: gedenkkugel@gmx.de
Proposition de texte:
Monsieur Thomas Lutz / Monsieur Günther Morsch,
Mesdames et messieurs,

nous vous demandons comme ‘Beirat’ (conseil consultatif) ainsi que comme représentant du groupe des victimes homosexuels de prendre en considération les réalités de vie des femmes et des filles lesbiennes, les rapports de pouvoir patriarchals et les structures de persécution contre les modes de vie lesbienne à l’époque nazi.

Il est nécessaire, dans le sens d’une discussion scientifique et politique, de remettre en question et d’étendre une définition de ‘persécution’, qui se fonde exclusivement sur les catégories de prisonniers créées par les Nazis, et de l’élargir de manière intersectorielle.

Je m’engage / Nous nous engageons à veiller à ce que enfin un signe visible et une place dans le mémorial Ravensbrück est créé avec la Boule Commemorative », où la persécution et la meurtre des femmes lesbiennes – ou bien parce qu’on le leur a attribué – deviennentt visible et peuventt être commémorer.

Par conséquent, je soutiens une boule commémorative avec l’inscription suivante:
En mémoire de toutes les femmes et filles lesbiennes dans le Camp de concentration des femmes Ravensbrück et Uckermark. Les lesbiennes étaient considérées comme «dégénérées» Elles étaient persécutées et assassinées car considérées comme «asociales», résistantes et «folles», et pour d’autres raisons. Nous ne vous oublions pas.”

En mémoire de toutes les femmes et filles lesbiennes du camp de concentration des femmes Ravensbrück et Uckermark. Les femmes lesbiennes étaient considérées comme «dégénérées» et étiquetées comme «ant -sociales», résistantes et ‘folles’, et ont été persécutées et assassinées pour d’autres raisons. Vous n’êtes pas oubliées!

signature:

nom:

institution:

Date:

D’autres informations – pour la plupart des informations en langue allemande – des arguments contre et pour une boule commémorative, peuvent être lues sous www.feminismus-widerstand.de

Cordialement,

Initiative lesbiennes féministes autonomes d’Allemagne et d’Autriche
Irmes Schwager, Lisa Steininger, Maria Newald, Wiebke Haß, Susanne Kuntz
Italiano___________________________________________
Care amice/-i, lesbiche e sostenitore/-i,

La commissione della Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätte hanno rinviato la decisione. Ci sono state controverse discussioni perchè sarà in questione, che esiste una persecuzione di donne e ragazze lesbiche nel fascismo nazista.
 La prossima decisione sarà discussa il 24 novembre 2017.
 Pertanto chiediamo nuovamente il tuo sostegno.
Scrivere le lettere di protesta entro il 15 novembre 2017 a
Internationaler Beirat – Presidente Thomas Lutz info@stiftung-bg.de
Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätte – Prof. Dr. Günther Morsch info@gedenkstaette-sachsenhausen.de
e una copia a: gedenkkugel@gmx.de
 Una “rappresentazione omosessuale”, nonché una “commissione “, che decide un memoriale per la persecuzione degli “omosessuali”, devi prendere in considerazione e pensare alla situazioni di vita delle donne e delle ragazze lesbiche e delle strutture di persecuzione contro la vita lesbica durante il fascismo nazista.
È scientifico e politico necessario che ci occupiamo anche della persecuzione nel fascismo nazista, che non si riferisce esclusivamente ai gruppi prigionieri creati dai nazionalsocialisti e che si occupano di connessioni sociali, strutture di potere patriarcale e persecuzione di modi di vita lesbiche.
Troviamo importante che la “pallina commemorativa lesbica” sia finalmente dotata di un segno visibile e che un posto sia creato nel Memoriale di Ravensbrück, dove la persecuzione e l`assassinio di lesbiche e quelli ciu è stato detto, è visibile si può essere considerato.

 

Chiediamo l’installazione di una pallina commemorativa con la seguente scritta: In ricordo di tutte le donne e ragazze lesbiche rinchiuse nei campi  di concentramento diRavensbrück e Uckermark. Le donne lesbiche erano considerate degenerate e in quanto “asociali”, resistenti e pazze furono perseguitate e uccise. Non sarete dimenticate.

Cordiali saluti
Iiniziativa delle donne e lesbiche femminista autonoma da Germania e Austria
Irmes Schwager, Lisa Steininger, Maria Newald, Wiebke Haß, Susanne Kuntz

Being A South Asian Lesbian In San Francisco Is Harder Than I Thought

[Illustration: Wenyi Geng]

My girlfriend and I got together my junior year, and we knew that if we wanted to continue our relationship, that with my culture and religion, it wasn’t really going to work. It wasn’t going to be allowed. My parents can barely fathom me marrying a boy outside my religion, or a boy who isn’t Desi. I knew the only way I could be with my girlfriend was if I ran away. We knew San Francisco was extremely gay-friendly and progressive, and we wanted to get away from the Midwest.

Continue reading at: https://www.fastcompany.com/40481445/being-a-south-asian-lesbian-in-san-francisco-is-harder-than-i-thought (Source)

Help lesbian group’s initiative to commemorate lesbian victims of Nazi women’s concentration camp, Ravensbruck

Ravensbrück_Tor2

Since the 80ies there have been several initiatives from lesbian groups and -organisations as well as from feminist historians, feminist archives and activists to create a place where to commemorate the lesbian women who have been persecuted and murdered in the women’s concentration camp of Ravensbrück.  In three consecutive years we – a group of feminist women and lesbians from Germany and Austria, have organised debates and meeting on  “Persecution of lesbian women in Nazism – Information, exchange and remembrance” at the Memorial Ravensbrück.2015, at the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the women’s concentration camp Ravensbrück, we laid a memorial stone for the lesbians persecuted and murdered in Ravensbrück.

2016 we have decided that we will apply officially for the commemorative orb to remain. We applied for a memorial plaque that is a sign of remembrance, with the inscription as follows:

In memory for all lesbian women and girls in the women’s concentration camp Ravensbrück and Uckermark.

Lesbian women were considered “abnormal” and were persecuted and murdered for being “antisocial”, rebellious, crazy and for other reasons.

You are not forgotten!

Continue reading at: “Gedenkkugel” – Lesbian commemorative orb (Ravensbrück) « European Lesbian* Conference 6. – 8. October 2017 (Source)

Dear sisters, friends, supporters,
Chers soeurs, amies, supporteur
Care amice, compagne, sostenitore
Liebe Schwestern, Freundinnen und Untersützerinnen
We send you  the informations about the initiative for a commemoration orb for lesbian women being persecuted and murdered in the former women’s concentration camp Ravensbrück in Germany. As there is a very controversal discussion going on and no decision was taken until now, the campaign is still open and you can sign and support the action.
We need your support till 5th of November 2017.
Please send these informations to others who might be although interested to support.
If you have questions, contact us
feminist lesbian greetings in solidarity
Initaitve “Autonome feministische FrauenLesben aus Deutschland und Österreich”
English
We apply for a memorial plaque, that is a sign of rememberance, with the inscription as follows:
In memory for all lesbian women and girls in the women’s concentration camp Ravensbrück and Uckermark.
Lesbian women were considered “abnormal” and were persecuted and murdered for being “antisocial”, rebellious, crazy and for other reasons. You are not forgotten!
The International Ravensbrück Committee (IRK)  support our application for establishing the memorial and 590 people and organisations in 27 countries have signed our petition!
A decision was deferred: The committee of the foundation for Memorial Sites in Brandenburg have deferred a decision.  There were very controversial discussions both in the meeting of the International Advisory Council on 14th November 2016 and the Committee of Experts on 6th December 2016.
A decision is deferred until 24th of November 2017.
————————————————————————————————————-
Please support our initiative with your signature and write an e-mail – till 5th of November 2017 – to: Gedenkkugel@gmx.de
I support /we support the initiative for a permanent installation of a commemorative orb for the lesbian women persecuted and murdered in the former concentration camp Ravensbrück
personal Name:
Activity:
or: Organisation:
Name/Function:
City:
Country:
I /we agree, that my/our support /signature is published
—————————————————————————————————————–
Français
Voilà une partie du texte: “À la mémoire de toutes les femmes, filles et lesbiennes dans le Camp de concentration de femmes Ravensbrück et Uckermark. Les lesbiennes étaient considérées comme “entartet” (dégénérées). Elles étaient persécutées car considérées comme “asociales”ou folles. Nous ne vous oublions pas.
Le Comité international de Ravensbrück avait décidé de supporter notre initiative de déposer une boule de commémoration et 590 personnes et organisations venantes de 27 pays ont signé.
Une décision a été reportée. Durant la réunion du Comité consultatif du 14.11.16 et du Comité des expert-e-s le 6.12.16 il y a eu des discussions controversées. Nous allons nous engager pour que la demande soit accepté lors de la prochaine réeunion du Conseil consultative le 24 Novembre 2017.
——————————————————————————————————————
Si tu / vous voulez soutenir notre démarche, signez le texte suivant – jusqu’au 5 novembre 2017 – :
Gedenkkugel @gmx.de
Je soutiens /nous soutenons la demande d’installer une pierre commémorative pour les femmes lesbiennes persécutées et assassinées dans l’ancien comp de concentration de femmes Ravensbrück
Nom personell:
Activité:
ou/et – Organisation:
Nom/Fonction:
Ville:
Pays:
Je suis /nous sommes d’accord que la signature soit publié
——————————————————————————————————————
Italiano

Chiediamo l’installazione di una tavola commemorativa con la seguente scritta: In ricordo di tutte le donne e ragazze lesbiche rinchiuse nei campi  di concentramento diRavensbrück e Uckermark. Le donne lesbiche erano considerate degenerate e in quanto “asociali”, resistenti e pazzefurono perseguitate e uccise. Non sarete dimenticate.

l’IRK, il comitato internazionale di Ravensbrück, ha appoggiato la nostra proposta e 590 persone e organizzazioni da 27 paesi hanno sottoscritto il nostro appello.

La decisione è stata rinviata: Gli organismi della Fondazione “Memoriali del Brandeburgo” hanno rinviato la decisione. Sia nella seduta del consiglio nazionale del 14 novembre del 2016, sia nella commissione del 6 dicembre del 2016 ci sono state discussioni molto accese. La decisione finale sarà presa il 24 novembre 2017.

—————————————————————————————————————————

Se sei interessata a sostenere anche tu questa iniziativa, invia una mail con la tua firma del testo in giu al seguente indirizzo – fino al 5 novembre 2017 – :  Gedenkkugel@gmx.de
Nome personale:
Activita:
o/e – Organisazione:
Nome/Funzione:
Cita:
Paese:
Sono d’accordo che il mio firma e publicata
—————————————————————————————————————————
Deutsch

Auszug aus dem offiziellen Antrag mit der Inschrift:

“In Gedenken aller lesbischen Frauen und Mädchen im Frauen-KZ Ravensbrück und Uckermark.

Lesbische Frauen galten als „entartet“ und wurden als „asozial“, als widerständig und

ver-rückt und aus anderen Gründen verfolgt und ermordet.

Ihr seid nicht vergessen!”

 

Das Internationale Ravensbrück Komitee (IRK) unterstützt unseren Antrag auf Niederlegung der Gedenkkugel und es haben mittlerweile 590 Personen und Organisationen aus 27 Ländern den Aufruf unterschrieben!

 

Eine Entscheidung wurde verschoben: Sowohl in der Sitzung des Internationalen Beirats am 14. November 2016 als auch in der Fachkommission am 6.12. 2016 gab es sehr kontroverse Diskussionen.

Eine endgültige Entscheidung wurde auf den 24. November 2017 verschoben.

 

——————————————————————————————————-
Bitte unterstützt unsere Initiative mit eurer Unterschrift mit unten folgendem Text und schickt diese Email – bis 5. November 2017 – an: Gedenkkugel@gmx.de
Ich / wir unterstütze(n) den Antrag, die Gedenkkugel für die verfolgten und ermordeten lesbischen Frauen im ehemaligen Frauenkonzentrationslager Ravensbrück dauerhaft zu verankern.
persönlich-Name:
Tätigkeit:
oder/und – Organisation:
Name/Funktion:
Stadt:
Land:
Mit der Veröffentlichung meiner Unterzeichnung bin ich/wir einverstanden.

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