“Lesbophobia is, like lesbianism itself, invisibalised in favour of more respected social forms. The wider amorphous ‘homophobia’ serves today as a catchall for any anti-gay sentiment, but it only really captures what gay men face: prejudice and discrimination based on their sexuality i.e same-sex attraction (to other men). Anti-gay prejudice experienced by men is pure homophobia, whereas lesbophobia is purely misogynistic. It is not the same-sex element of lesbianism, that two women engage sexually together that is objected to (as we know, many people enjoy watching depictions of lesbianism in porn and heterosexual women will perform lesbianism for men’s arousal). It is the sexual prohibition against men that is hated and is the root cause of lesbophobia.”
“That refusal of heterosexuality informs almost all of the characteristics of lesbophobia. Firstly, the idea that lesbians are ugly and ‘unfuckable’: a classic patriarchal reversal. Lesbians refuse men, a refusal that must be hidden, so it is reversed into a male refusal of us. Secondly, the notion that lesbians are manlike or in fact men, to signal attention our deviance and again assure everybody we are simply not ‘normal’ women. Thirdly, sexual harassment or corrective rape, to demonstrate that lesbians, and in fact no women, can escape male sexual attention. Lastly, the figure of the isolated and unhappy ‘spinster’ lesbian who must be miserable and lonely (to show straight women what might become of them should their stray from the righteous path of marital family life).”
There’s a myth within the mainstream heterosexual world, that somehow lesbians are tougher than other women, that as women free from men lesbians won’t be victims of sexual violence. This is, of course, a lie. A new website, Lesbian Me Too has been launched to redress this cultural blind-spot. It provides a platform for lesbians who have hitherto been pushed to the margins of the #MeToo movement, as Jo Bartosch reports. Lesbian Me Too is the work of the group Get the L Out, a collective of lesbian feminist campaigners. Angela Wild, one of the group’s spokeswomen, tells me:
“The #LesbianMeToo project is a continuation of our previous work condemning the sexual violence done to lesbians in LGBT circles and the cotton ceiling. But it goes further than that to include all instances of sexual violence against lesbians from harassment to corrective rape.”
Harassment of lesbians does not just come from straight men, an emerging theme on the site is the entitlement some gay men seem to have toward women’s bodies.
Far from being a proud declaration of women’s attraction to women, it seems today ‘lesbian’ has been reduced to a pornographic search term. Indeed, over the past five years for each Google search for ‘lesbian pride’ there have been 213 for ‘lesbian porn.’ To too many men, the simple existence of women who love and live without men is an affront, and this marks lesbians out as targets for abuse. This is a clear thread throughout testimonies on the site, summed up by one contributor to Lesbian Me Too who reflects “my sexuality was treated as something to conquer.”
Tua is a lesbian from Cameroon who finally received her leave to remain in the United Kingdom in 2019.
Tua talks to Sally Jackson about the violent lesbophobia she was subjected to in Cameroon, and how she was forced into a marriage by her mother. During her escape, she was exploited and trafficked to England where she faced the shameful policies of the UK’s Hostile Environment before finding support here. Her asylum claim was finally accepted in 2019 and she has received her leave to remain.
It took moving to the UK for me to realise that homosexuality isn’t and shouldn’t ever be a crime.
Still, because of Cameroon’s attitudes to LGBTQ+ people, I’m not able to go back to my home country – even when I lost my mother to cervical cancer in 2017. We were very close so it felt heart-wrenching not to be able to attend her funeral.
When I publicly came out as a lesbian via social media in 2017, a high profile Cameroonian producer threatened to rape the spirit of lesbianism out of me if I ever set foot in my home country again.
The whole ordeal was traumatic but he wasn’t the only one to send abuse or death threats. Comment after comment seemingly shared the same sentiment – that it’s un-African to be gay – but I couldn’t disagree more.
In 2008, María Pía Castro was 19 years old when she was found burned in Limache. To this day, no culprit for her murder has been identified. Her case, unfortunately, was closed ten years ago. In 2016, a man kidnapped and murdered Nicole Saavedra, 23, who was found days later with signs of torture and sexual violence. A year later, in San Felipe, 22-year-old Susana Sanhueza was also killed. That same year in August, DJ Anna Cook was raped, strangled, and beaten but her death was categorised as an overdose. What all of them have in common is having been lesbians and that their deaths were cloaked in silence and impunity, as with other unsolved hate-based killings.
However, despite the cruelty in the execution of these crimes, it was not until this year, with the recently expanded definition of femicide, that murders like these could be counted as sex-based crimes. But violence against lesbians has always been devoid of even minimal legal protection. And international recommendations, which treaty monitoring organisations such as Belém Do Para and the IACHR have been giving around due diligence of crimes against women, continue to be ignored.
En 2008, María Pía Castro tenía 19 años cuando fue encontrada calcinada en Limache. Hasta hoy no hay ningún culpable por su asesinato. Su caso, lamentablemente, se cerró hace diez años. En 2016, un hombre secuestró y asesinó a Nicole Saavedra, de 23 años, quien fue encontrada días después con signos de tortura y violencia sexual. Un año después, en San Felipe, Susana Sanhueza de 22 años también fue asesinada. Ese mismo año en agosto, la DJ Anna Cook fue violada, estrangulada y golpeada. Pero su muerte fue catalogada por sobredosis. Todas ellas tienen en común haber sido lesbianas y que en sus muertes existe un manto de silencio e impunidad, como en otros asesinatos motivados por el odio y que aún no encuentran justicia.
Sin embargo, pese a la crueldad en la ejecución de estos delitos, no fue hasta este año, con la reciente publicación de la nueva tipificación de femicidio que asesinatos como estos podrán ser contabilizados como crímenes por razones de género. Pero la violencia en contra de las lesbianas siempre ha estado desprovista de la protección legal mínima. Y se siguen desoyendo recomendaciones internacionales, que los órganos de vigilancia de los tratados como Belém Do Para y la CIDH ha venido dando en torno a la debida diligencia de los delitos en contra de las mujeres.
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.
Few historians have been interested in the existence of lesbians under the Third Reich. Raids, rapes, prostitution therapy, being forced into hiding – these are some of the atrocities they suffered under the Nazi regime. … That we know hardly anything about them is surprising, especially when we know that the National Socialist ideology considered homosexuality to be a vice and that any woman who did not respect her role as wife and mother in perpetuating racial purity was repressed. Today, we offer you a dossier and collective portrait of the lives of these lesbians, all too often overlooked.
MALE HOMOSEXUALITY VERSUS FEMALE HOMOSEXUALITY What do we really know about lesbian life under the Nazi regime? Virtually nothing. Their existence has rarely interested researchers which is astonishing, especially when we know that the Nazi ideology condemned homosexuality and decreed that women should respect their role as married women but also as mothers. Moreover, while homosexual relations between men have always been subject to criminal prosecution in much of Germany, female homosexuality has not been condemned. But for what reasons exactly? This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that women had to occupy a very special place at the time in German society. Furthermore, unlike male homosexuals, lesbians were not a political or social threat, even after 1933 and under the Nazi regime.
Lesbians, much more than homosexual men, also strongly participated in the homosexual emancipation movement that began in the 1890s in Germany. Nevertheless, women were not allowed to join political organizations until 1908 and frequented bars more discreetly. After World War I, sexual morality opened up more. Subsequently, the Weimar Republic offered other social and political freedoms for the majority of homosexuals, women and men alike. Big cities like Berlin then became real centers of German homosexual life: clubs such as the Tanzpalaste Zauberflöte or the Dorian Gray , for example, allowed urban lesbians to live as freely as rural lesbians. In addition, magazines such as Frauenliebe (Love for women) or Die Freundin (L’Amie in French) were also created thanks to a softening of censorship. (Translated)
Peu sont les historiens à s’être intéressés à l’existence des lesbiennes sous le Troisième Reich. Rafles, viols, thérapies par la prostitution, forcées de se cacher… voici certaines des atrocités qu’elles ont subies sous le régime nazi. Néanmoins, nous ne savons quasiment rien à leur sujet. Constat surprenant, notamment lorsque l’on sait que l’idéologie nationale-socialiste considérait l’homosexualité comme un vice et que toute femme ne respectant pas son rôle d’épouse et de mère afin de perpétuer la race pure était réprimée. Aujourd’hui, nous vous proposons un dossier et portrait collectif de la vie de ces lesbiennes bien trop souvent passée sous silence.
L’HOMOSEXUALITÉ MASCULINE FACE À L’HOMOSEXUALITÉ FÉMININE Que savons-nous réellement de la vie des lesbiennes sous le régime nazi ? Pratiquement rien. Leur existence n’a que rarement intéressé les chercheurs. Étonnant, notamment lorsque nous savons que l’idéologie nazie condamnait l’homosexualité et que les femmes se devaient de respecter leur rôle de femme mariée mais aussi de mère. Par ailleurs, alors que les relations homosexuelles entre hommes ont toujours été passibles de poursuites pénales dans une grande partie de l’Allemagne, l’homosexualité féminine n’était quant à elle pas condamnée. Mais pour quelles raisons exactement ? Ce phénomène peut s’expliquer par le fait que les femmes se devaient d’occuper une place bien particulière à l’époque au sein de la société allemande. De plus, contrairement aux homosexuels masculins, les lesbiennes n’étaient pas une menace politique ou bien sociale, et ce, y compris après 1933 et sous le régime nazi.
Les lesbiennes, bien plus que les hommes homosexuels, ont également fortement participé au mouvement d’émancipation homosexuelle qui a vu le jour à partir des années 1890 en Allemagne. Néanmoins, les femmes n’avaient pas le droit d’intégrer d’organisations politiques jusqu’en 1908 et elles se retrouvaient de manière plus discrète dans des bars. Après la Première Guerre mondiale, la morale sexuelle s’est également ouverte davantage. Par la suite, la république de Weimar offrit d’autres libertés aussi sociales que politiques ainsi que pour la majeure partie des homosexuels, femmes et hommes confondus. De grandes villes comme Berlin sont alors devenues de véritables centres de la vie homosexuelle allemande : des clubs tels que le Tanzpalaste Zauberflöte ou encore le Dorian Gray ont par exemple permis aux lesbiennes urbaines de vivre aussi librement que les lesbiennes rurales. De plus, des revues comme Frauenliebe (Amour féminine en français) ou encore Die Freundin (L’Amie en français) ont également pu voir le jour grâce à un adoucissement de la censure.
Armed with garbage bags, brooms and big mouths, we resisted the goons’ oppressive authority — our incredible moxie mirroring the rebellion at Stonewall. We had been beaten, risked serious injury and death for the privilege and joy of an all-women’s dance.
No mainstream media outlet reported on this assault, not even the Village Voice, which had covered the Stonewall Rebellion. The only story about our defiance that night was written by me in Rat Subterranean News.
The courage of the discarded, disrespected, and sometimes homeless street people who fought back at the Stonewall Inn must be honored. But a half century later, some acknowledgment and appreciation must be given to the GLF women who risked our lives to create an alternative to the Stonewalls and Kooky’s that had dominated our social lives.
It seems so matter of fact today to want to dance with whoever you want to — and surely, we will party again when we defeat this pandemic. But we GLF lesbians risked prison and payback to dance together 50 years ago, proving that sisterhood is powerful.
The next two years were strange for me. I had a constant barrage of nasty messages being posted on my Twitter account. Until then, I was only used to getting fan mail. I had the word ‘lesbian’ sprayed on my car window, a stone was hurled at me, a man spat at me at the Delhi airport in front of everyone… I was no longer the darling chef of the country but the dirty lesbian who had the cheek to file this petition.
Yes, there were times when I regretted my decision, when I wondered if I had acted foolishly. The strange part was that after a few agonising hours of self-doubt, I always arrived at the same answer: I had done the right thing by filing the petition, and if I didn’t do anything I had no right to complain, like Ella had said to me.
6 September 2018: It was 6 am in London – where I was on work – when the judgment was read out in the Supreme Court of India. I was stunned, shocked and so happy that my jaw started hurting.
When I had decided to file this petition, I truly did not believe that I would see a change happening in my lifetime. And on this day, two years after filing the petition, history was finally being rewritten. I am not an activist and never wanted to be one; yet for me this was my life’s biggest accomplishment and nothing else in my life till then had ever given me this sense of pride.
Ellen was The Main Lesbian. She wore pant suits, dated other high-profile women, and – in general – was a Sapphic oasis in a parched hetero celebrity desert. She was the one gay woman your mum had probably heard of. After 20 years of being the friendly, relatable face of lesbian respectability, a number of claims from staffers on her talk show have lifted the mask to reveal someone unrecognisably different.
The woman whose entire shtick is being likeable stands accused of – behind the scenes – behaving more like Miranda Priestly than Barney the Dinosaur … And it should probably be noted that, as a woman demoted to obscurity for being gay, you don’t climb back to the top by being nice. Which presents a conundrum when a kind and nurturing nature is something deeply rooted in society’s expectations of women. As hardnosed and driven as DeGeneres clearly is, it’s hardly surprising that she had to cultivate a public façade of delightfulness to reclaim airtime.
Although allegations of off-air behaviour would be inexcusable, it’s hard to believe a man in her position would face the same backlash, purely for being unkind. … I have no doubt that bigots will make a link between Ellen’s callousness and her sexuality and nod knowingly. Because they can’t name a single other lesbian.
“I feel that today there are so many invisible female political prisoners: mothers, wives – women who bear an incredible burden thanks to political trials,” says Russian artist Yulia Tsvetkova, who’s been designated a political prisoner by the Memorial human rights association. “Political prisoners are heroes, but women are the invisible service staff.”
Tsvetkova, a theatre director, feminist and LGBT activist, has had time to reflect. In October 2019, she was interrogated in her hometown of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, and in November her social media posts led to her flat and theatre studio being searched for evidence of pornography. Tsvetkova was charged with spreading pornography and has been under house arrest since 23 November last year.
As part of the investigation, Tsvetkova has been accused of spreading “homosexual propaganda” among underage people and fined 50,000 roubles (£500). Tsvetkova has run several educational projects in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, as well as a youth theatre, online groups on feminism and sex education for young people and a Vagina Monologues group which celebrated the power and uniqueness of the female body.
In March this year, a district council reduced the charge against Tsvetkova and released her from house arrest on the basis that she would not leave the country. But Tsvetkova is still charged with spreading pornography for publishing illustrated educational material, for which she can be given a two-to-six-year prison sentence.
What’s happening with the persecution of activists and people who openly talk about sexual minorities, feminism, human rights and sexuality? To what extent do you feel that these issues are taboo in Russia and how this situation can change in the future?
I am the person who they started persecuting when I created The Pink and the Blue, a show about gender stereotypes which I put on at the Merak theatre. And I feel that this already says a lot.
I believe that a lot depends on culture, or rather, lack of it. For example, I needed an ambulance after my arrest and the medics that examined me asked about my case and also, whether I was a paedophile. These aren’t bad people; they just lack culture. People are curious – I can understand that: my case is unprecedented in our city. Because I have short hair, I’ve been asked four times on the street whether I’m male or female. When that happens, I feel shock and embarrassment. And people just don’t see that I’m embarrassed and that haircuts don’t define gender.
The question of my sexual orientation comes up at nearly every police interrogation. The need to physically examine me, for example, is all to do with the fact that I’m a lesbian. And as for my case, there seems to be an idea that the female body is public property. I’ve heard cops going on about how we should be having kids, not displaying our vaginas. But even if I wanted to display my vagina, it’s my right and my vagina.
Lesbian vlogger Jade Fox reflects on the race divide between lesbian YouTubers:
“You all get Pride campaigns every year. I get Pride campaigns every year, but you have to understand it’s backwards, when you, a white queer person, who’s made a career out of being a white queer person, gets paid twice as much for these pride campaigns, for a movement that your people didn’t even start. Yet fast forward time, here we are and y’all are reaping the benefits of work that you didn’t do. You can do the work now.”
“I get asked this question a lot. A LOT! Monthly, by multiple people. ‘Jade, why is there such a clear divide between the white gays and the black ones. Specifically within the lesbian community on YouTube?’
“I’ve never had this conversation on YouTube, so we’re going to have this conversation.”
I’ve had unwanted hands touching me under tables after gigs and was too scared and embarrassed to draw attention to it. I’ve been gaslit and undermined. Called a whore. And I’ve been threatened with sexual assaults veiled as jokes…
“If you weren’t a lesbian I would rape you.”
And I’m sorry if that sentence makes you feel uncomfortable- it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever had said to me and the perpetrator was too off his face to probably even remember saying it- but I do. I feel uncomfortable and sick every time I see this person perform, every time people laugh at his jokes, and every time I think about it. I didn’t tell anyone for 6 months after it was said to me because *I* felt too much shame. These words had such a violent effect on me that it stopped me from showing up to gigs, from wanting to be around other comedians who I didn’t believe had my back and I felt unsafe. This sentence made me want to give up comedy entirely. But I didn’t.
Just last week I was told how great it was that 4 women were on a line up, followed by, “I thought I could smell clams in here.”
To be an openly proud member of the LGBT+ community working as a journalist and presenter is a unique opportunity.
It has enabled me to report on the issues I care about the most. My work primarily focuses on human rights and edgy stories. That includes reporting on LGBT+ life inside Iran and the experiences of the LGBT+ community more broadly in the Middle East.
You see, LGBT+ rights in Iran have come into conflict with the Iranian penal code since the 1930s.
Post-revolutionary Iran forbids any type of sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage. Moreover same-sex sexual activities are punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or execution.
In the Middle East, Iran is one of five countries to punish same-sex relations by the death penalty. The others are Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, and Sudan.
When it comes to the lesbian and bisexual community inside Iran, the punishment for same-sex conduct starts with lashes. But on the fourth ‘offence’ the court can give the death penalty.
Martina and Erika have been engaged for some time and for some time have received very intense insults on social media, where, like many other couples, they often publish their photos together. The insults are continuous, always with a homophobic background and very often extremely intense. From the classic “Perverse” to “Wash with fire”, up to the very current “Coronavirus is your fault”.
Martina and Erika have decided not to suffer this avalanche of injuries in silence and have reported the situation to the police, except that in Italy there is no law against homophobic abuse and no complaint could be made. The only thing they have been able to do has been to proceed against direct threats.
Injury is not a crime.
Offending, insulting, wishing death … None of this is criminally punishable.
Today we went to the carabinieri. We had already done an initial skimming and, among the THOUSANDS of things they wrote to us, we had chosen to report about sixty people, who had said the most serious things to us.
But alas, of these, we have only managed to report two.
Because there must be a substantial THREAT, or defamation.
So saying “I hope you die” or “go die” is not a criminal offence.
Saying “I’ll kill you” yes, it’s a threat.
The rest is “simply a wish”.
As for the offences “whores, sluts, sick, depraved, you need a psychiatrist, you have made the coronavirus come, you are the garbage, shitty bitches, make you vomit, I’ll give you my dick” and whatever else they said … Not reportable.
However, legal action may be taken for the injury. But this necessarily requires a lawyer.
And not everyone knows one ready to help them or can afford it.
Martina ed Erika sono fidanzate da tempo e da tempo ricevono insulti molto pesanti sui social, dove, come tante altre coppie, pubblicano spesso le loro foto insieme. Gli insulti sono continui, sempre a sfondo omofobico e molto spesso estremamente pesanti. Dal classico “Perverse” a “Lavatevi col fuoco”, fino all’attualissimo “Il Coronavirus è colpa vostra”.
Martina ed Erika hanno deciso di non subire inermi questa valanga di ingiurie e si sono presentate dai carabinieri per denunciare quanto accaduto. Solo che in Italia una legge contro l’omotransfobia non esiste e quindi quella denuncia non hanno potuto farla. L’unica cosa che hanno potuto fare è stata procedere contro le minacce dirette.
L’ingiuria non è reato.
Offendere, insultare, augurare la morte… Nulla di tutto questo è perseguibile penalmente.
Oggi siamo andate dai carabinieri. Avevamo già fatto una scrematura iniziale e, tra le MIGLIAIA di cose che ci hanno scritto, avevamo scelto di denunciare una sessantina di persone. Chi ci aveva detto le cose più gravi.
Ma, ahimè, di queste, ne siamo riuscite a denunciare solo due.
Perché deve esserci una MINACCIA sostanziale, o diffamazione.
Quindi, dire “mi auguro che tu muoia” o “vai a morire” non è perseguibile penalmente.
Dire “ti ammazzo” sì, è minaccia.
Il resto è “semplicemente un augurio”.
Per quanto riguarda le offese “puttane, troie, malate, depravate, vi serve uno psichiatra, avete fatto venire il coronavirus, siete l’immondizia, stronze di merda, fate vomitare, vi presto il mio cazzo” e chi più ne ha più ne metta… Non denunciabile.
Per l’ingiuria si può, tuttavia, agire in sede legale. Ma questo richiede, per forza, un avvocato.
E non tutti ne conoscono uno pronto ad aiutarli o se lo possono permettere.
Angel fled Zimbabwe in fear of her life after police found her in bed with another woman five years ago. It’s taken most of the time since then for her to convince the Home Office that she is gay and will be persecuted if she returns. But how do you prove something you spent your life trying to hide?
In 2015, Angel found herself in an interview room in the north of England with a Home Office official whose job was to work out whether she was lying.
“How do I know I am a lesbian? How old was I when I knew? Who did I tell?” Angel recalls being asked.
“It is as if the Home Office expect a date and time.”
For seven hours, the interviewer picked at the threads of her life story.
The secret relationship with a girl at high-school and the betrayal of a family member she confided in about it.
Her forced marriage to an abusive husband in her 20s and the young daughter she had left behind in Zimbabwe.
Being raped by two men in her 30s who intended to “straighten her up”. And then, a few years later, the brutality from police when they discovered her in bed with a woman at a house-party.
Honey Birdette has consistently delivered sexist and pornified representations of women to flog their overpriced lingerie and sex toys, ignoring 42 Ad Standards rulings against it for violating the code of ethics. But far from promoting equality, the company’s long history of porn-inspired depictions of lesbian sexuality further entrenches sexist and harmful stereotypes of lesbians as male entertainment, and these latest images will likely be enjoyed by men.
A number of lesbians have responded to Honey Birdette’s ad campaign, calling the company out for tokenising and fetishising lesbians to promote their brand.
“If there’s no difference between a female nipple and a male nipple why are all but one of the visible nipples female? Using lesbians as titillation is not unusual, the pornographers have been doing it for decades. But in the real world real lesbians are tortured for our activism; real lesbians are subjected to corrective rape; and in the real world when a lesbian is raped or tortured she doesn’t get to say stop. Not only are you continuing the sexualising of women, you are giving mixed messages with images of a mixed orgy.”
-Susan Hawthorne, lesbian activist and writer
“Lesbians have fought for centuries for society to understand that lesbian sexuality is not for or about men, resisting the harassment, fetishisation, corrective rape and physical attacks that lesbians here and around the world have experienced. Honey Birdette has developed a campaign that is heavily reliant on the sexualisation of lesbian bodies and the presentation of lesbian sexuality. The argument that there is no difference between male and female nipples is meaningless in a world that sexualises women so consistently.
“Calling the campaign ‘Fluid’ combined with the presentation of objectified, sexually available lesbians clearly communicates to the men watching that lesbian sexuality is fluid enough for lesbians to be sexually available to them. In a world where lesbians are harassed and attacked for our sexuality, for not being available to men, this is a dangerous game to play with lesbian lives.
“Framing opposition as conservative is to miss the point of our concerns. It is neither puritanical nor conservative to want to carve out space for lesbians to exist free of tokenism or sexual objectification in a deeply sexualised society. This campaign sells out lesbian sexuality for profit, which is not excused by the fact that Honey Birdette’s founder and her partner are the women in the shoot.
“We all want to live in a world where lesbians are safe, where lesbian lives are celebrated and where lesbian representation gives hope and strength to young lesbians working out their sexuality. Honey Birdette’s Fluid campaign takes us further away from that world.”
-Liz Waterhouse, Listening2Lesbians https://listening2lesbians.com/
Comments on Honey Birdette’s Instagram account indicate the campaign has not been well received. Commenters have questioned the company’s motives, labelling the marketing ploy as “insincere” and “disingenuous”, and accusing the company of ‘rainbow washing’, a term which refers to corporates using rainbow colours or imagery to indicate support for the LGBT community but with a minimum of effort or pragmatic result.
Higui has faced ongoing violent lesbophobia in her community.
Listening2Lesbians is raising money to support her and demonstrate the worldwide solidarity we feel for her as lesbians and lesbian allies.
En 2016 en Argentina, Higui (Eva Analía de Jesús) fue atacada por un grupo de hombres cuando visitaba a una amiga en su casa y se defendió de una violación correctiva.
Después de años de hostigamiento continuo por ser lesbiana, incluyendo ser atacada y lapidada, quemar su casa y matar a su mascota, fue atacada por los tres hombres, uno de los cuales intentó violarla por ser lesbiana. Higui se defendió y su atacante resultó muerto ahora ahora está en juicio por ello.
Inicialmente, Higui fue encarcelada mientras esperaba el juicio, pero fue liberado 8 meses después, después de la presión pública.
Higui se ha enfrentado a una lesbofobia violenta en su comunidad.
Listening2Lesbians está recaudando dinero para apoyarla y demostrar la solidaridad mundial que sentimos por ella como lesbianas y aliadas lesbianas.
A spotlight is being shined on LGBT rights — or, more accurately, the historic lack thereof — in the Australian state of Queensland. The beam is in the form of an upcoming book, North of the Border, by cross-media storyteller and documentary photographer Heather Faulkner. The book builds on Faulkner’s doctoral thesis research project, A Matter Of Time, and through six years of interviews and photography, tells the stories of eight lesbians who grew up in Queensland. The women range in age from their mid-50s to 70s.
“I want older lesbian and gay readers to know that their stories are important,” she told The Huffington Post. “That what they lived through matters.” … Faulkner realized that no one had investigated the Queensland lesbian experience before, especially not in a documentary. “So I decided to do it,” she said.
She describes a Queensland under the rule of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen (the longest serving premier of Queensland) from 1968 to 1987 as an ultra-conservative state where women’s rights were minimal. Domestic violence was rife and women needed male signatories to purchase things like refrigerators or to get a bank loan; indigenous rights, homosexual rights, education, disability rights, environmental rights, etc. all needed redressing.
“Those who didn’t fit the government-prescribed norm — straight, white, married with children, Christian and conservative politically — didn’t fit in at all. This included feminists, homosexuals, aboriginals, academics, environmentalists, unmarried women or single moms,” Faulkner said. “The government made demonstrations illegal, a policy that resulted in several mass arrests … known demonstrators were ostracized from work places, spied on, bullied or beaten by police,” she describes.