Category Archives: Listening 2 Lesbians

Lesbian voices about lesbian lives

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

Ruth Ellis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ILD: Lesbians under the Third Reich

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.

Continue reading at: https://dailygeekshow.com/lesbiennes-troisieme-reich/

ILD: Sheroes and the lesbian Stonewall

By Karla Jay

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.

Continue reading at: https://www.losangelesblade.com/2020/05/15/sheroes-the-lesbian-stonewall/ (Source)

India: From “Darling Chef” to “Dirty Lesbian”

by Ritu Dalmia

chef

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.

 
 

As a lesbian woman, Ellen DeGeneres is being held to higher standards than if she were a man

Ellen DeGeneres

By Eleanor Margolis

iNews

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.

Continue reading: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/as-a-lesbian-woman-ellen-degeneres-is-being-held-to-higher-standards-than-if-she-were-a-man-575083 (source)

Russia: Julia Tsvetkova, lesbian feminist activist on the state campaign against her

My Body is not pornography Julia Tsvetkova

“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.

Continue reading at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/yulia-tsvetkova-interview/

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US: Jade Fox reflects on race in the lesbian YouTubing community

Jade fox

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.”

Watch Jade Fox at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXytT8-Xws0 (Source)

 

 

Iceland: lesbian comic Kimi Tayler speaks out about sexual violence

Kimi Tayler

By Kimi Tayler

Gay Iceland

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.”

Continue reading at: https://gayiceland.is/2020/kimi-tayler-speaks-out-about-sexual-harassment-if-you-werent-a-lesbian-i-would-rape-you/ (Source)

Aram Bolandpaz: a lesbian TV reporter fighting for her community in Iran

Aram_Bolandpaz

By Aram Bolandpaz

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.

Continue reading at: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/how-this-lesbian-tv-reporter-uses-journalism-to-fight-for-the-lgbt-community-in-iran/ (Source)

Italy: no redress for thousands of messages of hate to lesbian couple

L2L Italy

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.

Martina tells:

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?
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”.
Textual words.
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.

(Translated)

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.

Racconta Martina:

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?
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”.
Testuali parole.
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.

(Original)

Continue reading at: https://www.quotidianopiemontese.it/2020/05/07/insulti-ad-una-coppia-lesbica-di-novara-non-possiamo-denunciare-perche-in-italia-non-e-reato/ (Source)

U.K: ‘How do I convince the Home Office I’m a lesbian?’

angelbus

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.

Continue reading: https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-51636642 (source)

Australia: Moana Hope reveals toll of AFL fans’ homophobic abuse

afl

Former AFLW star Moana Hope has opened up about the disgusting homophobic abuse she’s seen as both a footy player and an AFL fan.

Hope, who played in the AFLW for Collingwood and North Melbourne, said the abusive taunts even drove her away from attending AFL matches.

She told the Herald Sun during one 2017 match she played for Collingwood against Fremantle, a spectator called her a “stupid d*ke” from behind the fence.

“I don’t normally hear the crowd because I’m so drawn into the game. But when I heard that I was blown away,” she said.

“And I was hurt and a little bit scared because I thought, ‘Why are you calling me that? I’m a person.’

“Why are you using such a negative term? [After the game] I was a little bit scared, hesitant, to walk off the field because I was worried he’d be there to abuse me.”

“Who we fall in love with has nothing to do with these names. This is why kids in school are scared to be who they are whether they are gay or not, because you get picked on if you’re different.”

Hope said she and wife Isabella Carlstrom had “lost count” of the lewd comments they’d copped when in public together.

“I’ve had things said to us like, ‘One night with me will make you realise you need a man in your life,’” she said.

“I’ve been there when guys have grabbed Bella’s arse and said ‘You need an actual man’. Those things happen all the time.

Continue reading: https://qnews.com.au/moana-hope-reveals-toll-of-afl-fans-homophobic-abuse/ (source)

Australia: Lesbians condemn Honey Birdette rainbow-washing ‘Pride’ campaign

HB lesbian

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.

Continue reading at: https://www.collectiveshout.org/lesbians_condemn_hb (Source)

Support Higui, Argentinian lesbian on trial

Higui
Gofundme campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/help-support-higui-argentinian-lesbian-on-trial

In 2016 in Argentina, Higui (Eva Analía de Jesús) was attacked by a group of men when visiting a friend in her home and defended herself from corrective rape.

After years of ongoing harassment for being lesbian, including being attacked and stoned, having her home burned and her pet killed, she was set upon by the three men, one of whom attempted to rape her for being lesbian.  Higui defended herself and her attacker was killed – she is now on trial for his death.

Higui was initially jailed while awaiting trial but was freed 8 months later, after public pressure.

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 Queensland Herstory project – telling the stories of 8 older lesbians

A Matter of Time Heather Faulkner

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.

Continue reading at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/telling-the-story-of-the-lives-and-loves-of-older-lesbians_n_55fb19e1e4b08820d917e311(Source)

Spinifex Press: Celebrating Radical Lesbian Publishing

Sue_and_Renate Spinifex Press

by Claire Heuchan

AfterEllen.com

Spinifex was founded in March of 1991 by Susan Hawthorne and Renate Klein. The press began as a pushback to the cuts that threatened feminist and literary publishing during Australia’s recession. Susan and Renate started out with four titles. Since then, Spinifex has gone from strength to strength. They publish everything from fiction to poetry to political tracts.

Almost 30 years on, Spinifex Press has now published over 200 books. They’ve shared writing by some of the most relevant and necessary voices in the modern feminist movement. Among their authors are Robin Morgan, editor of the iconic Sisterhood is Powerful anthology, and Rachel Moran, an abolitionist campaigner. Other notable writers include Julie Bindel, Unity Dow, and Sheila Jeffreys.

Continue reading: https://www.afterellen.com/general-news/574816-spinifex-press (Source)

2019 in review: Lesbians in the News

 

By Liz Waterhouse

2019 Lesbian News Summary

In 2019 Listening2Lesbians expanded our coverage to challenge the previous dominance of English stories to better report global lesbian experiences. This shift saw an increase in news reported, with information from additional countries in 10 languages.

It remains difficult to find comprehensive reports of lesbian experiences given the legal or social situation in many countries; largely disinterested mainstream and specialist media; and various language barriers including a reliance on freely available news translation services and sometimes limited use of the word lesbian by victims, police or media.

The news that was reported in 2019 indicated significant continuing opposition to or punishment of lesbians, particularly in religiously conservative regions. The increasing conservatism and religiosity in some of these areas is of particular concern for lesbians who are subjected to both homophobia and sexism, as well as the intersection of the two.

LOCATION – CHALLENGING THE ANGLO DOMINANCE

2019 Stories by Country

 

In 2019 Listening2Lesbians found and shared 258 news stories from 53 counties, up from 152 stories from 35 countries in 2018.

Reports from the USA and United Kingdom dropped as a percentage from 50% of stories to 26% of location specific stories.

In 2018 we identified the dramatic over-representation of news from the USA and UK, based both in the cultural dominance mirrored in media resourcing / output and our reliance on English language media.

In an attempt to better track global lesbian experiences, we expanded news searches from only English to include daily searches in English, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. It is hoped that this search can expand in coming years. Any readers who can assist are requested to contact us.

This expanded news search resulted in news posted in 10 languages in 2019 with 55% of news posted solely in English, 23% in Spanish, 6% in both French and Italian and 3% or under in Portuguese, German, Chinese, Polish, Dutch and Russian.

There remain significant gaps in representation, particularly in countries where homosexuality is strictly or defacto illegal (45 of the 123 countries never reported on by Listening 2 Lesbians). A lack of reported news from these countries cannot mean a lack of discrimination, harassment and persecution of lesbians in these countries.

The under-reporting of lesbian experiences in these countries is almost certainly exacerbated by the (LGBTI and mainstream) media focus on other groups within the LGBTI community. Lesbians continue to be omitted from reports on legal changes, persecution and their effects even when it is evident that they will be affected, and that their experiences will be further exacerbated by cultural expectations of and pressures on women and the punishment levied against women who do not meet these cultural norms and sex roles.

 

ISSUES

Discrimination and harassment were the dominant issue reported in 2019, representing 46% of the global stories reported in the English media.

Physical and sexual violence against lesbians, including murder, represented 37% of reported stories with persecution a further 11%, often including stories of lesbians seeking asylum to escape it.

Issues reported 2019 Global

This breakdown is not globally representative with the USA breakdown between discrimination and harassment and persecution significantly different to that in the rest of the world. Discrimination and harassment in the US represents 77% of the news items and persecution is not represented. This represents a shift from 2018 when 61% of the stories reported discrimination and harassment and persecution was present in 5% of the stories.

Physical or sexual violence, including murder, represented only 14% of the stories, down from 31% in 2018.

Issues reported 2019 USA

For the rest of the world, minus the USA, discrimination and harassment represent just 40% of the stories in 2019, marginally up on the 36% in 2018. Persecution stories decreased from 24% to 13%. 

Physical or sexual violence, including murder, represented 41% of the stories, up from the 29% in 2018.

Issues reported 2019 not USA

 

HOSTILITY SOURCE

News stories reported in 2019 were coded for source of hostility, abuse or discrimination to provide insight into the nature of the opposition to lesbians.

Global data was considered first, with individuals and community hostility increasing from 35% in 2018 to 55% of 2019 reports. Government hostility and discrimination dropped as a percentage from 28% in 2018, the single largest source, to 9% in 2019.

2019 hostility source chart global

The USA vs global minus USA data was also assessed, showing significantly lower community hostility than global reports but a mirrored increase in business hostility (approximately 10% difference in both).

2019 hostility source chart USA

 

The USA hostility source data shows no publicly reported hostility from family and friends and little government hostility.  Public sphere hostility represented 66% of hostility in USA stories (education, business and individual/stranger hostility combined), an increase on the 50% reported in 2018.

2018 hostility source chart global - usa

2019 hostility source chart not USA

Government as a formal source of hostility decreased from 34% to 10% in global reports that excluded the USA. It is hard to know whether this represents a variation in incidents or reporting, or a variation in the source countries included in the 2019 news reports.

For countries other than the USA, community and in individual/stranger hostility rates are significantly higher than in 2018 reports (from 14% to 25% and 19% to 35% respectively, a net increase in 26%). The stories reported in 2019 challenge the idea that lesbians do not experience street violence, with butch or gender non conforming lesbians particularly subjected to harassment, violence and murder.

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The data gathered in reporting discrimination and violence against lesbians around the world in 2019 shows significant variation across the global lesbian experience, reinforcing our need to focus on the communities we do not hear about.

Given the fragmented and unreliable nature of reporting on crimes against lesbians, it is difficult to draw any conclusions from the limited reports we have, however, it is evident that the experiences of living in countries with deep and clearly expressed social and legal opposition to lesbians differs from that of lesbians facing discrimination and harassment in states with civil remedies and protections. The increasing conservatism and windback of legal protections in various jurisdictions around the world is of particular concern.

Civil remedies and greater community acceptance do not appear to have resolved the issue of interpersonal violence which represents approximately 36% of the 2019 reports, an increase on 30% in 2018.

RESPONSE TO THE NEWS

In 2018, the Listening2Lesbians story with the most individual views on WordPress was Brazil: murders of lesbians increased by 237% in 3 years, also the Facebook post with the greatest engagement.

In general, responses mirrored patterns evident in 2018, namely that reports of harassment or discrimination against white lesbians in the USA or UK received consistently higher engagement than reports of even murder of lesbians of colour, particularly those outside English speaking first world countries.

While this is disappointing it is not unusual. Listening 2 Lesbians will continue to respond by seeking to focus particularly on finding reports of non white lesbian experiences.

AREAS NOT REPORTED ON

Listening2Lesbians has largely not reported in depth on:

  • Harassment of lesbians in relation to views of gender identity
  • Inclusion or exclusion of mothers on birth certificates in various jurisdictions
  • Access to in vitro fertilisation treatment

In particular, lesbian experiences in relation to gender identity is a specific area with dedicated sites better suited to this focus.

 

POSTS FROM 2019:

 

Harper’s Magazine Claims They Can Change Stormé DeLarverie to a “He”

by Julia Diana Robertson
thevelvetchronicle.com

screenshot-storme-delarverie-main.jpg

“Harper’s Magazine is not only ‘comfortable’ with ‘the decision’ to reinvent Stormé as a ‘he,’ they’re comfortable with any distress it causes the lesbian community that surrounded Stormé while she was alive… The very people she spent her life protecting.”

Harper’s Magazine has refused to print a retraction for an article in which Eileen Miles calls lesbian icon, Stormé DeLarverie, “they,” “he,” and “him,” and claims ” ‘He’ was Stormé’s chosen pronoun.”

If “he” was “Stormé’s chosen pronoun,” as Miles claims, the people she was closest to would’ve known. And her circle certainly wouldn’t be running around giving interviews that didn’t reflect her wishes. In fact, the people in her circle are the type of people who would acknowledge that sort of thing—no problem—had it been the case.

Continue reading: https://thevelvetchronicle.com/harpers-bazaar-claims-they-can-change-storme-delarverie-to-a-he/ (source)

 

Violence Against Lesbians – A Powerful Panel at #FiLiA2019

by Claire Heuchan
AfterEllen.com

There aren’t enough spaces where violence against lesbians can be openly discussed. But FiLiA – Britain’s biggest feminist conference – is one of them. The Violence Against Lesbians panel took place in the Bradford Hotel on Saturday 19th October. Over a hundred women attended the session. Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes, Susan Hawthorne, Hilary McCollum, and Angela Wild made up the panel, chaired ably by Sally Jackson.

The purpose of FiLiA, as Sally opens by reminding us, is to amplify women’s voices. In particular, to amplify the voices of women who are seldom heard and often silenced. Lesbians’ voices aren’t always listened to – in mainstream society, feminist spaces, or even the LGBT community. And so, if the numbers are anything to go by, a lot of women feel a sense of relief that lesbians are a priority at FiLiA.

Continue reading: https://www.afterellen.com/general-news/573318-violence-against-lesbians-a-powerful-panel-at-filia2019 (source)

When a lesbian dies: the search for justice for Nicole Saavedra and DJ Anna Cook

DJ Anna Cook Nicole Saavedra

We talk about lesbicide when a lesbian is killed for being so. In our society, loving a woman as a woman is one of the greatest insults to masculinity shown by corrective sexual harassment, rapes that serve as a “warning”, and coexistence with mandatory heterosexuality that repeatedly urges you to stay in the closet. Visibility is the political point that links them: Nicole and Anna were visible lesbians, and they pose the question: did they die because they were lesbians?

Francisca Millán is a lawyer specialising in human rights and gender. Partner of the AML study, which is dedicated exclusively to the defence of women in cases involving gender violence. Her project offers a feminist perspective to realise the right of access to justice. Millán affirms that women are violated in the Chilean legal system. In this scenario, being a lesbian is a direct and very specific affront.

“Lesbianism, from hegemonic masculinity, is a resistance to the social order, because I do not submit to heteropatriarchal logic, I am out of it, and I am not willing to occupy that role,” Millán explains.

Crimes that directly affect lesbians for being lesbian are lesbicide (murder of a lesbian)  and corrective rape (rape of a lesbian in order to “correct her”). They do not exist as such in the Chilean penal code, but, according to Millán, mixing the base crimes with the Zamudio Law, they can be put forward as hate crimes.

“Crimes of this nature express a lot of power, and show that there is an exercise of subjugation with respect to others. That is quite common in the case of lesbians: what more obvious way to subjugate a woman who is a lesbian than to force her to practice oral sex, ”says the lawyer.

Carmina Vásquez is a lawyer. She is part of the Lesbofeminist Network, an articulator of organizations whose purpose is to form support networks for lesbians. Their venture, Chueca Bar, will open soon – a lesbian bar that wants to be a safe space within a very hostile city.

“This has been a tough year. There is the case of Carolina Torres (beaten in Pudahuel), we recently learned about violent girls in the Forest Park. That scares you, it happens at five in the afternoon, and it happens in the places where we meet, ”she explains. For her, there is a social punishment for being a lesbian, coupled with being a woman. “These crimes of lesbo-hate go hand in hand with sexual issues under the premise of the” I am going to teach you “type. We talk about corrective violations, which also target a specific type of lesbian: the truck [butch], who defies heteronormal roles, ”she says.

The first recorded and investigated lesophobia crime is that of Mónica Briones, beaten to death in one of the corners of Plaza Italia in 1984. The case accelerated the formation of the first lesbian feminist collective in Chile, Ayuquelén, which existed for 15 years.

“In the year 84, when they killed Monica, it lead to our broad understanding of what happened to us all, the discrimination we were living. But there is no current reflection on hate crimes as they are understood today, ”says Cecilia Riquelme, one of its founders, who last Saturday October 12 participated in the Day of Lesbian Rebellion, in Valparaíso. (Translated)

We talk about lesbianicide when a lesbian is killed for being a lesbian. In our society, loving a woman, being a woman, is one of the insults that most hurts masculinity. From corrective sexual harassment, to violations that serve as a “warning”, and coexistence with compulsory heterosexuality that, many times, urges you to remain “in the closet”. Hence, visibility is the political tool that links them: Nicole and Anna were “visible” lesbians, and they ask the question: did they die from being lesbians?

Francisca Millán is a lawyer specialized in Human Rights and gender. Member of the AML study, which is exclusively dedicated to defending women in cases involving gender violence. Her project offers a feminist perspective to materialize the right of access to justice. Millán affirms that women are violated in the Chilean legal system. In this setting, being a lesbian is a direct and very specific affront.

“Lesbianism, from hegemonic masculinity, is a revelation to the social order, because I do not submit to heteropatriarchal logics, I am outside of it, and I am not willing to occupy those roles,” explains Millán.

Offenses that would directly affect lesbians by virtue of being so would be lesbicide, murder of a lesbian, and corrective rape, rape of a lesbian in order to “correct” her. They do not exist as such in the Chilean penal code, but, according to Millán, by mixing base crimes with the Zamudio Law, hate engines can be relieved.

“Offenses of this nature have a lot of expression of power, and demonstrate that there is this exercise of submission with respect to others. That is something quite common in the case of lesbian women: what more obvious way to subdue a woman who is a lesbian than to force her to perform oral sex, ”says the lawyer.

Carmina Vásquez is a lawyer. She is part of the Lesbian-Feminist Network, an articulator of organizations whose purpose is to form support networks for lesbians. Her venture, Chueca Bar, will open soon, a lesbian bar that wants to be a safe space in a very hostile city.

“This has been a tough year. There is the case of Carolina Torres (beaten in Pudahuel), we recently found out about girls being raped in the Forest Park. That scares you, it happens at five in the afternoon, and it happens in the places where we meet, ”he explains. For her, there is a social punishment for being a lesbian, added to that of being a woman. “These hate-lesbo crimes are coupled with sexual themes under the premise of the I am going to teach you. We are talking about corrective rapes, which are also directed at a specific type of lesbian: the truck, which breaks out of the heteronorm, ”she says.

The first crime of lesbophobia registered and investigated is that of Mónica Briones, beaten to death in one of the corners of Plaza Italia in 1984. The case accelerated the formation of the first lesbian-feminist collective in Chile, Ayuquelén, which worked for 15 years.

“In 1984, when Monica was killed, a broad reflection was generated regarding what was happening to all of us, the discrimination we were experiencing. But there is no specific reflection on hate crimes as they are understood today, ”says Cecilia Riquelme, one of its founders, who participated in the Day of Lesbian Rebellions on Saturday, October 12, in Valparaíso.
(Original)

Excerpts from Romina Reyes’ article.
Continue reading at:  https://www.theclinic.cl/2019/10/16/cuando-muere-una-lesbiana-la-busqueda-de-justicia-para-nicole-saavedra-y-anna-cook/  (Source )

See Also: