Tag Archives: Feminism

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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Update: Russian lesbian feminist fined for gay propaganda, still facing jail on pornography charge

Yulia Tsvetkova

Yulia Tsvetkova, who was charged with spreading “gay propaganda” among minors three times in less than a year, was fined by a court in the eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Friday (July 10).

Vladimir Putin and his government banned so-called “gay propaganda” in 2013, prohibiting the “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”. Under his rule, sharing information about LGBT+ people’s lives can earn a person a prison sentence.

Tsvetkova was prosecuted for her colourful drawings showing LGBT+ relationships. One of the drawings, called “A family where love is”, shows gay and lesbian couples with their children.

She was also investigated for running a social-media page called Vagina Monologues, which encourages people to share artistic depictions of vaginas in order to “remove the taboo”.

The 27-year-old is facing a criminal trial for the offence of pornography after posting drawings of vaginas online in this group.

If convicted on these charges, Tsvetkova faces six years in prison.

Continue reading at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/07/13/yulia-tsvetkova-russia-activist-fine-gay-propaganda-drawings-lesbian-gay-lgbt-families/ (Source)

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Russia: two additional cases opened against lesbian activist Julia Tsvetkova

L2L Russia

Second case:

A second case was drawn up against Julia Tsvetkova, a feminist and artist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, alleging promotion of “gay propaganda” among minors – because of the picture in support of LGBT families “Family is where there is love” and other materials in relation to this topic. RFI reported the news about Julia Tsvetkova on July 2.

Third Case:

A third case alleging promotion of homosexuality has been opened against artist and LGBT activist Julia Tsvetkova, as reported on her Facebook wall. The trigger for the case is the picture published by Julia for the flashmob #Yes I choose, which was launched on social networks in response to a video promoting amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation with the involvement of same-sex families.

“With the previous administration, the investigation took six months. Therefore, it is too early to talk about the protocol, the court and the fine in the context of the new case. Is it possible this case won’t reach court? I doubt it. My predictions are that they will dig and dig for everything they want. So far it works that way. What is this about? The fact that they are not far behind me? That the country is homophobic? That a shell can hit three times in one place? That all this is not ok? Why state the obvious? This is probably all I can say now. And also, that I will not choose a country in which three charges are laid just to oppose the idea that ​​“Family is where there is love,” Tsvetkova noted.

Second case: Continue reading at: The second protocol on “gay propaganda” was drawn up for the artist Julia Tsvetkova

Third case: Continue reading at: https://www.buro247.ru/news/lifestyle/7-jul-2020-yulia-tcvetkova-new-case.html (Source)

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второй протокол:

На феминистку и художницу из Комсомольска-на-Амуре Юлию Цветкову составили новый протокол о «гей-пропаганде» среди несовершеннолетних — из-за картинки в поддержку ЛГБТ-семей «Семья там, где любовь» и других материалов на эту тему Вконтакте. Об этом Юлия Цветкова 2 июля сообщила RFI.

третий протокол:

На художницу и ЛГБТ-активистку Юлию Цветкову заведено третье административное дело о пропаганде гомосексуализма. Она сообщила об этом на своей странице в фейсбуке. Причиной послужила картинка, опубликованная девушкой в рамках флешмоба #ДаВыберу, который был запущен в соцсетях в ответ на ролик за поправки в Конституцию РФ с участием однополой семьи.

«По предыдущей административке проведение экспертизы заняло полгода. Поэтому говорить о протоколе, суде и штрафе в рамках нового дела пока рано. Может ли это дело не дойти до суда? Сомневаюсь. Мои прогнозы, что копать будут и накопают все, что хотят. Пока это работает именно так. О чем это говорит? О том, что от меня не отстали? О том, что страна гомофобна? О том, что снаряд может трижды ударить в одно место? О том, что все это не ок? Зачем проговаривать очевидное? Наверное, это все, что я могу сказать сейчас. А еще, что я не выберу страну, в которой за идею “Семья там, где любовь” с подачи ФСБ заводят уже третье дело подряд», — отметила Цветкова.

(Original)

Mexico: Harassment and attacks on lesbian feminist politician Lucia Rojas

L2L Mexico

Independent federal Politician Lucia Rojas has faced harassment and attacks since deciding to run for office in 2018.

She received the typical lesbophobic questions, threats and an attempt was made to break into her house, with items stolen from her car.  Her accounts have also been hacked.

Attacks increased when she was elected an independent deputy, with cyberattacks ramping up in earnest when she was part of a feminist march in August 2019. She has received death threats and reported them, with the case closed without investigation.

Continue reading at: https://lasillarota.com/metropoli/lucia-riojas-diputada-lesbiana-feminista-y-victima-de-violencia-violencia-feminista-mujer-diputada/403648 (Source)

Update: Protesters arrested in Russia for supporting lesbian activist

L2L Russia

Russian police on Saturday detained more than 30 people, most of them women, who were staging separate one-person protests in central Moscow against charges of spreading pornography levelled against a prominent LGBT activist, a monitoring group said.

One activist was also detained in St Petersburg, according to OVD-Info, which monitors law enforcement issues in Russia.

Earlier this month, police in the Russian far east charged Julia Tsvetkova, an LGBT and feminist activist, with spreading pornography via her pictures, she said on her Facebook page.

If found guilty, Tsvetkova may face up to six years in prison.

Continue reading at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/27/over-30-protesters-arrested-in-moscow-for-supporting-lgbt-activist-rights-group (Source)

Original article: Russia: Lesbian artist faces six years jail for creating innocent pictures

Updates:

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)

Older lesbians deserve recognition as feminist pioneers and sisters

by Claire Heuchan
AfterEllen.com

GettyImages-686725885.jpg

Older lesbians have given so much to feminist and gay organizing that their erasure as the pioneers of both communities feels nothing short of criminal. And yet, much like mainstream society, so much of queer culture centers youth and masculinity that it is fundamentally unequipped to acknowledge the significance of older lesbians within the community.

Continue reading: Older lesbians deserve recognition as feminist pioneers and sisters

Harassment and teasing: what lesbians live in Peru

Carolia Silva Santisteban

If I go out with my girlfriend or with the girl that I am in that moment I have to consider in what district I am to know how expressive I am going to be for my integrity and the safety of the person who accompanies me. I have a male gender expression … I am exposed to teasing and insults.
(Translated)

Si yo salgo con mi novia o con la chica que estoy en ese momento tengo que considerar en qué distrito estoy para saber qué tan expresiva voy a ser por mi integridad y la seguridad de la persona que me acompaña. También está el acoso callejero. Tengo una expresión de género masculina… Estoy expuesta a burlas e insultos.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://peru21.pe/peru/carolina-silva-santisteban-lesbiana-peru-464305 (Source)

Listening 2 Lesbians Asks Facebook the Hard Questions About “Dyke” Bans

Banned Dykes

From: Listening 2 Lesbians

To: Facebook Press and Hard Questions at Facebook (hardquestions@fb.com, press@fb.com)

Dear Facebook Press:

Listening 2 Lesbians is a blog with a mission to report on discrimination and violence against lesbians.  You may not be aware, but discrimination and violence against lesbians, because of our sexual orientation and because of our female bodies, is rampant in today’s world.  From no-platforming to corrective rape, to job discrimination, to murder, we are constantly aware of the silencing of our community and the attempts to control and harm our bodies because we are lesbians.  Because of this, we have been deeply disturbed to learn that there have been a rash of post deletions and bans by your company for women that post status updates with the word “dyke” in their posts.

Perhaps you are not aware of the history of the word “dyke”, or of lesbian culture, or of the act of reclaiming slurs from the oppressor to be used as acts of self-empowerment and identity by minorities.  Dyke has been and can be used as a derogatory term (hate speech) to attack same-sex attracted females.  We hope at Facebook you acknowledge that all such speech should be banned from public spaces.  However, dyke is also a word that has been reclaimed by the lesbian community to represent our lesbian pride, sisterhood and power as female loving females.

We are deeply disturbed that lesbians and women showing support for our community, are being banned for expressing their love and respect for our culture.  We are also deeply disturbed that women are being silenced when they express their views on what it means to be a dyke.  This is a conversation for lesbians only and should not be controlled or manipulated by anyone outside of our community.

Here are examples of posts that have been deleted and women who have been banned for using the word dyke in a post.  Be aware that we are not convinced you will accept emails with images attached, so we will simply quote the text.  Please read our blog, Facebook Has a Problem With Dykes, at https://listening2lesbians.com/2017/06/24/facebook-has-a-problem-with-dykes/ for full images and information on the situation.

Quotes from women that were deleted by Facebook and/or caused the woman to be blocked/banned:

“I love that there’s a band of dykes that plays at the local farmer’s market.  Like, how perfect is that??  It’s total perfect.”

“I LOVE DYKES!!!!”

“Only lesbians are dykes.  Only females can be lesbians.  We are still here.”

“When dyke marches were still for dykes.” (With historical image of a dyke march)

 “People need to quit rewriting history. Dykes do things. #visibilitymatters” (With historical image of Storme DeLaverie, the lesbian who started the Stonewall riots.)

“Does self identifying as a DYKE get you banned on Facebook experiment.” (It did)

Again, this is just a small set of examples.  Please visit our blog for more information.

In an NPR article entitled, From Hate Speech To Fake News: The Content Crisis Facing Mark Zuckerberg, a spokesperson for your company told NPR:

“It’s OK to use racial slurs when being self-referential. A black person can say things like “my niggers.” But no one can use a slur to attack an individual or group. That’s prohibited. A white person cannot use the word “nigger” to mock or attack blacks. Blacks can’t use “crakkker” (in whatever spelling) to offend whites.” (http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/11/17/495827410/from-hate-speech-to-fake-news-the-content-crisis-facing-mark-zuckerberg)

Clearly, there has been at the very least, a misuse of the Community Standards at Facebook, and at worse, a misuse of power and position by Facebook employees.  This is why we have some hard questions for management at Facebook:

  1. If a Community Operations Team employee is responsible for banning and deleting all reported posts, can FB monitor if an employee, or group of employees is showing political or social biases in their decision making? For example, is it possible for an employee to get away with targeting a select group of people for deletion or banning, even if their posts don’t violate Community Standard?
  2. What groups or organizations are influencing the content and wording of Community Standards? Have they demonstrated lesbophobic and/or misogynistic language or tendencies?
  3. It appears as if certain women who are part of certain Facebook groups have been targeted more than others. Is the new AI you are using to fight terrorism and hate-speech (The Online Civil Courage Initiative) also capturing feminist and lesbian-only groups in its net and considering them a cluster?
  4. If the new AI that you are using has algorithms that can understand context, and you are using this AI on Facebook users in lesbian and women’s communities, why is it unable to differentiate between a pro-lesbian dyke post and a post where dyke is being used as hate speech?
  5. If all AI flagged posts are also seen and evaluated by a Community Operations Team employee, why are they also not able to read context?
  6. Will Facebook investigate the issues we have brought forth to you today?
  7. If you find that an individual employee, or group of employees, has been abusing their position at Facebook to target and silence lesbians and other women they do not agree with, will Facebook tell the communities affected and issue a public apology?

Thank you for your time.

Liz & Lisa

Listening 2 Lesbians

www.listening2lesbians.com

Lesbian Feminists Challenge Latin America’s Political Discourse

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Thirty-something-year-old Yanileth Mejía sports an edgy bob hairdo, large dark sunglasses and provoking graphic T-shirts with lesbian feminist taglines like it’s her uniform. She knows her taboo lifestyle could lead to kidnapping, rape, torture or murder. It is a high price to pay but not uncommon in El Salvador, which has a reputation for one of the highest female murder rates in the world. The latest report from Insight Crime uses data from 2012 and shows El Salvador tops the list in Latin American femicide with a rate of 8.9 homicides per 100,000 women. Seven of the 10 countries with the highest femicide rates are in Latin America, and include Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.

Continue reading at: Lesbian Feminists Challenge Latin America’s Political Discourse – Latino USA (Source)