Tag Archives: Lesbian history

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

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The lesbian Nazi victims who allegedly did not exist: Elli Smula and Margarete Rosenberg

Ravensbruck Orb design

There are numerous publications on the fate of lesbian women who were imprisoned in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. In the last year, comments by a doctorate in history from Berlin caused a sensation, saying that there is no evidence for the actual detention and a whatsoever designed commemorative ball was thus falsifying the history. The LSVD Berlin-Brandenburg relied on this assessment in their remembrance work for women at the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp Memorial Site. … In the traditions of the ITS in Bad Arolsen, although no original access books of the former concentration camp Ravensbrück have been preserved, a few contemporary copies of these camp books have been partially preserved there. From these are two sides of the present complex of topics of great interest – namely the access list of November 30, 1940 : The admission reason for women numbers 11 and 26 was given as “lesbian”. These women are Elli Smula and Margarete Rosenberg, nee Quednau.
(Translated)

Zum Schicksal von lesbischen Frauen, die im Konzentrationslager Ravensbrück inhaftiert waren, gibt es zahlreiche Publikationen. Im letzten Jahr erregten Äußerungen eines promovierten Historikers aus Berlin Aufsehen, der sich damit zu Wort meldet, es gäbe keine Nachweise für die tatsächliche Inhaftierung und eine wie auch immer gestaltete Gedenkkugel sei somit geschichtsverfälschend. Der LSVD Berlin-Brandenburg berief sich bei der Erinnerungsarbeit für Frauen in der KZ-Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück auf diese Einschätzung. … In den Überlieferungen des ITS in Bad Arolsen haben sich zwar keine Originalzugangsbücher des ehemaligen KZ Ravensbrück erhalten, jedoch sind die wenigen zeitgenössischen Abschriften dieser Lagerbücher dort teilweise erhalten geblieben. Aus diesen sind zwei Seiten zum vorliegenden Themenkomplex von großem Interesse – nämlich die Zugangsliste vom 30. November 1940: In ihr werden unter den fortlaufenden Nummern 11 und 26 zwei Frauen mit dem Einlieferungsgrund lesbisch genannt. Bei diesen Frauen handelt es sich um Elli Smula und um Margarete Rosenberg, geborene Quednau.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://www.blu.fm/aktuell/community/lesbische-naziopfer-ravensbrueck/ (Source)

Further information: “Rioting” – dispute between LSVD Berlin-Brandenburg and activists escalated

Original articles:

We Need to Talk About Misogyny and the LGBT Community’s Erasure of Black Lesbian History

Claire Heuchan
AfterEllen.com

Stormé DeLarverie

“Finding the stories of our Black lesbian foremothers isn’t always easy. That’s not because there were none. Despite what the history books say, Black lesbian women have been around for hundreds of years, living lives filled with the extraordinary and the everyday. Women like Stormé DeLarverie have led revolutions. And yet Black lesbian stories are hard to find.

Those who have traditionally held the power to decide whose stories get to be recorded as history have been white, male, and invested in the social order of women living lives centered around men: the system of heteropatriarchy. For the most part, those historians considered the experiences and inner-lives of Black women beneath their notice. Close reflections on the average Black woman’s life at any point in the last few hundred years would also have held the risk of making it that much harder to sustain the myth that Black people weren’t really human, bringing home the ugly truths of white supremacy.

In addition, the stories of lesbian women have been deliberately erased from history across continents and culture. As a result, Black lesbian lives are that much more obscure. Men have hoped that in denying women the blueprint to a lesbian life, they could keep us all in the confines of heterosexuality – a never-ending source of sexual, reproductive, domestic, and emotional labor. But lesbian women throughout time have always found one another, even with the odds stacked against them – although many letters, diaries, and pictures that made up the proof have been consigned to the ash heap of history.”

Continue reading more of Claire Heuchan at: We Need to Talk About Misogyny and the LGBT Community’s Erasure of Black Lesbian History – AfterEllen (source)

A lesbian story of survival and the power of community Pride

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

BY FELON EVANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

US: Lesbian Joann Newak Considers Legal Action After 1982 Dishonorable Discharge And Hard Labor Sentence

Photo source: https://newspaperarchive.com/syracuse-herald-journal-sep-27-1983-p-309/

Joann Newak had been sentenced to seven years hard labor. She was 23 years old, just coming to terms with her attraction to women. It landed her in maximum security military prison. “The very first lesbian relationship I had was with the partner that testified against me at my court marshall,” she says. “It’s like screwing around for the first time and getting pregnant. That was my first experience.”

The year wasn’t 1930. The country wasn’t on some far-flung continent. It was 1982. She was stationed in New York.

Newak is among an estimated 100,000 LGBTQ former service members that were discharged without an “honorable” distinction. When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT) the military policy banning service members from serving openly, was repealed, their discharges were never upgraded. More than 30 years later, she considers, for the first time, that she may be owed an honorable discharge. Her attorney, Elizabeth Kristen, says they are going to pursue legal options to obtain one.

Continue reading at: https://intomore.com/impact/Former-Lesbian-Air-Force-Member-Considers-Legal-Action-After-Dishonorable-Discharge-And-Hard-Labor-Sentence-in-1982/3ea2d7cf64db42dc

Historical articles:

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

Gedenkkugel 2015

From: www.feminismus-widerstand.de

Dear friends, lesbians and supporters,

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

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

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

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

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

That is why we are once again requesting your support.

Please send protest letters by 15th November 2017

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

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

to state your continued support for a permanent memorial plaque.

Please send a copy to: gedenkkugel@gmx.de

Here is a suggestion:

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

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

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

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

 

Signature

Name

Institution

Date

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

Best wishes

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

Liebe FreundInnen, Lesben und Unterstützer*innen,

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

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

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

Die nächste Entscheidung wird am 24. November 2017 diskutiert.

Deshalb bitten wir erneut um eure Unterstützung.

Bitte schreibt Protestbriefe bis zum 15. November 2017

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

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

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

Bitte schickt eine Kopie angedenkkugel@gmx.de

Hier eine Vorlage:

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

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

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

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

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

Unterschrift:

Name:

Institution:

Datum:

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

Herzliche Grüße,

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

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

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

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

La prochaine décision sera discutée le 24 novembre 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

signature:

nom:

institution:

Date:

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

Cordialement,

Initiative lesbiennes féministes autonomes d’Allemagne et d’Autriche
Irmes Schwager, Lisa Steininger, Maria Newald, Wiebke Haß, Susanne Kuntz
Italiano___________________________________________

Care amice/-i, lesbiche e sostenitore/-i,

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

 

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

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

Who was Jackie Forster? Google Doodle pays tribute to lesbian pioneer

Following her divorce, Forster embraced her gay identity. She moved in with her girlfriend in the mid-1960s, although she would not officially “come out” until 1969. When she did, it was in spectacular style, The Independent recalled in her 1998 obituary, “announcing to the world at Speaker’s Corner: ‘You are looking at a roaring dyke!’”.

Continue reading at: http://www.theweek.co.uk/89514/who-was-jackie-forster-google-doodle-pays-tribute-to-lesbian-pioneer (Source)

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

Ravensbrück_Tor2

Related articles:

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

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

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

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

You are not forgotten!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Auszug aus dem offiziellen Antrag mit der Inschrift:

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

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

ver-rückt und aus anderen Gründen verfolgt und ermordet.

Ihr seid nicht vergessen!”

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Melbourne: Moving tribute for lesbians convicted for holding hands on a tram

Hold Hands on a Tram was organized to remind people of lesbopobia – the discrimination uniquely faced by lesbians. It was also a chance to highlight some of the struggles older lesbians face.

‘Often LGBTI histories are talked about as a collective – as though each subgroup had the same experiences,’ Barrett said.

‘These experiences need to be understood – because the past is not dead, there are still legacies of history present in contemporary society.

‘We see this in older lesbians fears about services, in the elder abuse some experience by family members, in the attitudes and behaviours of some community members and community leaders.’

Continue reading at: Moving tribute for lesbians convicted for holding hands on a tram (Source)

Lesbians and the Sexual Politics of Wimbledon

Mauresmo is a two-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic silver medalist who is also known for coaching Andy Murray. After she beat top seed Lindsey Davenport in 1999, she came out as a lesbian—and her body became a rhetorical battleground. She was repeatedly described as bulging, muscular, and intimidating—and Davenport’s bitter mention that playing her was like “playing a guy” was repeated in coverage of her game.

Continue reading at: The Sexual Politics of Wimbledon | JSTOR Daily (Source)

This lesbian couple fell in love during basic training and couldn’t kiss until their last day

Though ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ had been repealed since, they still experienced difficulties being openly together.

‘We came into the Army quite aware that we were gay way before joining. It definitely still had a stigma when we were in. Really the treatment varied. One sergeant that we had was on a lesbian witch hunt, while another protected us. Overall though, it wasn’t a major issue,’ said Turner

Continue reading at: This lesbian couple fell in love during basic training and couldn’t kiss until their last day (Source)

Dykes on Bikes Queensland & Listening 2 Lesbians Take on Facebook Dyke Bans on The Informer-JOY 94.9 Melbourne

The Infomer FB

Is ‘dyke’ a dirty word? Facebook seems to think so and keeps banning lesbians from using it, including Dykes On Bikes Queensland & Listening 2 Lesbians.  Listen to Listening 2 Lesbians’ own Liz Waterhouse discuss Dyke is a Dirty Word. (START AT 09:35)

***Facebook was supposed to show up for the conversation, but told Shannon Power “We’ll get back to you on that”***

TRANSCRIPT:

Participants:
Shannon Power, “The Informer”, Joy FM (SP)
Jules Raven, Dykes on Bikes Queensland (JR)
Liz Waterhouse, Listening2Lesbian.com (LW)

 

<sounds of cheering and motorbikes>

SP: That’s the sound that almost anyone who has been to an LGBTI pride march has heard. It’s the distinct tones of the Dykes on Bikes opening this year’s Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras. Every year the Dykes on Bikes have the honour of opening Pride parades to crowds of excited onlookers. Dykes on bikes are an international lesbian motorcycle club with chapters worldwide but a number of those chapters are at war with social networking site Facebook about whether or not dyke is a dirty word.

Jules Raven heads up Dykes on Bikes Queensland.

Jules thanks so much for joining us. Now I’ve noticed that the Dykes on Bikes Queensland chapter has some interesting spelling on its Facebook page. There’s a space between the D Y and the K E S of Dykes. What’s going on there?

 

JR: about five years ago we originally set the page up with the official Dykes on Bikes Queensland all spelled correctly and looking lovely and probably about four years ago I woke up to an email from Facebook and they had actually removed our name completely. So we originally changed it to, we were only able to get Dyes on Bikes so we had D Y E S and then probably about six months ago after further investigation we were able to put the D K and then the space and then Y E S so it’s been a bit of a battle between us and Facebook. They haven’t given us a reason as to why other than the fact that they felt that it was offensive.

SP: so when you spell dykes the correct way what happens?

JR: it just comes up saying this is offensive and unacceptable for Facebook.

SP: and so you’ve been trying for 4 years and you’ve never had a real reason from Facebook other than the word is offensive?

JR: we’ve never had any contact from Facebook.

SP: right

JR: other than an automated email coming back to us from all of their contact points. I actually got to the point where I wrote them a letter and posted it to their headquarters in silicon valley and we still had no response.

SP: Yeah right, okay

JR: it’s been very frustrating.

SP: yeah so I mean for yourselves Dykes on Bikes we all know in this community and out side of the community. Is this a big deal? Why is it important to have your name spelt correctly on a Facebook page?

JR: it’s a huge deal given that Dykes on Bikes is actually a big international group. Now back in about the 80s, early 90s, the San Francisco club, because it was quite popular, had a bloke came around and started trying to sell T-shirts that had Dykes on Bikes written on it so the American chapters thought they’d better trademark that name. Now what happened from there is to trade mark it they put the trademark application form in and it was rejected because the name dykes was offensive. So they actually fought in the High Court in America and went all the way to the Supreme Court in the USA and won that case. So it’s a bit ironic that an American company of Facebook is the company that’s not allowing us to use that particular word and that name. That’s why we’re fighting for it. That’s why we want to get it right, to be on Facebook. It’s quite stunning to think that a group that has a trademark within their own country is not able to use the name. It’s been very disappointing.

SP: yeah

JR: if we didn’t need to use Facebook we wouldn’t but obviously it’s such a big media hub for us it’s worth us trying to fight and trying to make it right not just for our group but for any other gay and lesbian groups that want to put their own stamp on it and trans groups. We need to be able to, within reason, I do understand that there has to be some barriers but within reason I think you know them not allowing us to use it because they find it offensive isn’t really an excuse any more.

SP: Liz Waterhouse runs the listening2lesbians blog with her partner lisa mallett. They’ve both noticed an increase in censorship of queer women using the word Dyke on Facebook. Liz has been banned, and is in fact currently banned, from using Facebook over her use of the word Dyke.

LW: Women being banned for saying I love dykes, for saying that they are going for a walk with friends who are Dykes, for talking about lesbians politically, socially, just you know really casually we just see post after post being removed, We see woman after woman being banned and it’s a very concerning pattern because for centuries lesbians have been silenced, and erased, and discriminated against and harassed and you know subject to corrective rape and death and we see that around the world still. At listening to lesbians we blog about women’s experiences of discrimination and harassment around the world. We use Facebook to reach out to women around the world, we’ve got a following in you know Africa talking about you know the experiences of African lesbians because of this platform and it’s very concerning that what we are seeing is something which is going to stop us being able to reach those women.

SP: liz and lisa have published numerous posts on the issue on their blog and have reached out to Facebook multiple times for guidance on why people that post the word dyke keep getting into trouble while other hate speech slips through the cracks. Liz explains to The informer why it is so important for persecuted communities to reclaim language that was historically used against them as a slur.

LW: it sounds like it’s just about a word and what can it possibly matter and just stop saying it but either we end up being self censoring, and I was self censoring when I got reported and removed the last time actually. I’d stopped using the word dyke which upset me but I was still reported and removed because it was in the link in my comments, I could see it. But more than just a sort of a social thing and isn’t it a first world problem, which is a question I’ve had, it’s actually something which is going to inhibit us reaching out and forming community around the world, and it’s going to stop us being able to collate information about our collective experiences. And if we can’t collect our experiences together and see a picture, we can’t agitate for change.

SP: the word was once used against them. Can you tell me why dyke is such an important word in terms of reclamation?

LW: so a lot of people have words to reclaim, the word dyke, like in other groups the slurs that are used against us. Some of them are able to be reclaimed, some I’m not so sure about. Dyke is quite a strong word. It has a strong, evocative feeling, and it’s been taken over by women for you know decades as a symbol of strength and pride and resistance. It really is to me a symbol of women taking up space, like Dykes on Bikes. Everybody loves Dykes on Bikes. It’s about noise, it’s about women unapologetically asserting their existence in the world. That’s not something we see lesbians being able to do very often so I think that dyke is quite significant because of its guttural nature, you know linguistically it’s quite strong, because of its social connotations. And it’s not even a word that some women we were thinking about too deeply when they were using it more recently, It’s just become part of how we talk about ourselves. So, from the personal to the political, it’s quite a strong and important word and to see it removed, to see our capacity to use it removed is very concerning.

SP: the informer reached out to Facebook who did get back to us and let us know that they’re doing a preliminary investigation into the particular cases brought up by the Dykes on bikes Queensland and Liz and Lisa from listening to lesbians blog. They’ve told us early on that dyke is considered a slur word and they do need to take into consideration their audience of 2 billion people but will continue looking into the matter and will get back to The Informer at a later date, so we look forward to having Facebook come back on joy to let us know exactly why they think dyke is a dirty word.

 

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 and gay black leaders speak about finding their place

“Each time, I thought ‘I can’t really be out because I’ve got enough trouble. I’m black and a female, do I really want to add another one so I can actually really get the door slammed in my face?,’ ” the business consultant and affiliate faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies told a crowd at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum. She was part of a panel discussion titled “Not A Trend: The Truth.”

“Gay was not a term that fit me because of the other stereotype, gay people are white they are not black. That is a prevailing understanding,” Dunlap, 70, said. “The other struggle for me was, of course, my community and my church. It is difficult, very, very difficult to sit in church and hear these sermons that were so condemning.”

Continue reading at: Gay, black leaders speak about finding their place | Tampa Bay Times (Source)

ERASURE: THE NEW NORMAL FOR LESBIANS BY @VABVOX

A Room of Our Own
A Feminist/Womanist Network

Victoria Brownworth
Daily Disquisitions

“Lesbian sexual identity and choice is being eroded, erased and elided. This is being done by the literal obliteration of lesbians by state-sponsored violence, by the “corrective rape of lesbians” (imagine the 12 year old Pearl Mali being given the worst sort of reparative therapy by her very own mother), by the harassment and violence, by the firings (lesbians face more job discrimination than any other group within the LGBT alliance), by the enforced and compulsory heterosexuality of every society on earth. Aderonke Apata has been forced, by men, to provide not just spoken testimony and a pending marriage license, but also a sex tape of her having sexual relations with her partner to “prove” her lesbianism to the men who want to erase that aspect of her identity–the very identity that puts her and millions of other lesbians at risk of imprisonment and/or death.”

Continue reading Victoria Brownworth and other contributors to A Room of Our Own at: Erasure: The New Normal for Lesbians by @VABVOX – A Room of Our Own (Source)

AND MORE Victoria Brownworth at: https://www.victoriabrownworth.com/

Brenda Fassie: South African lesbian icon immortalised in comic book

Beukes knew from her first book, Maverick, a pop history on women in the country, that there were many who could fit the bill for Femme Magnifique. “I had many to choose from, from Lilian Ngoyi to Ruth First, Krotoa Eva and Sara Baartman.

“But Brenda Fassie worked on so many levels, as a provocative pop star, as a lesbian icon [she came out on Mambaonline in 2003], as a black woman who lived through apartheid and sang about the personal and the political.”

Continue reading at: Brenda Fassie immortalised in comic book – MambaOnline – Gay South Africa online (Source)

‘Anna Livia Lesbia’ writer Joni Crone discusses coming out and being lesbian in 1980’s Ireland

It’s nearly 40 years ago but Joni Crone still remembers the “whoosh” of the studio lights seeking her out and her stomach churning fear as she waited for Gay Byrne to tell her relatives, neighbours, work colleagues – and the nation – that she was a lesbian. A sympathetic member of the Late Late Show team had given her a double vodka when she wondered if she was about to be the first person to faint on live TV. “He held my hand and said ‘trust me’. He told me I’d be grand, to just look Gay in the eye and to forget about everything else”.

It was 1980, two years before Declan Flynn, a gay man, was beaten to death in Fairview Park in Dublin. Homosexuality would be regarded as a crime for another 13 years. Crone was there to talk about the need for law reform and to give an insight into the horror stories she regularly heard on the helpline Lesbian Line, where she had once listened in as a whispering caller was interrupted and beaten in her own home. That caller rang back from a hospital corridor days later. Crone wanted to give out the telephone number of the helpline on the show so people like her would have somewhere to turn.

Continue reading at: Being gay she was asked if her parents thought she was “mentally deficient” (Source)

Sally Ride: First lesbian astronaut

Before she reached space, the Californian native had to endure sexist media enquiries like “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?” and “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?”

When she was asked “Will you become a mother?”, a fed-up Ride tried to avoid the question, before remarking sardonically: “You notice I’m not answering.”

Later, she commented: “It may be too bad that our society isn’t further along, and that this is such a big deal.”

Continue reading at: Who was the first gay astronaut? · PinkNews (Source)

ACTUALIZE: An Intentional Lesbian Gathering

Being a lesbian can sometimes be an extremely isolating experience. The purpose of this gathering was to combat that by connecting a group of us to each other, and by using our time spent together to support lesbian artists and celebrate lesbian achievements.

Continue reading at: ACTUALIZE: An Intentional Lesbian Gathering | (Source)

5 lesbian activist groups who fought for us

Lesbians have always been at the forefront of the fight for LGBT rights, but sometimes lesbian activist groups were needed to fight for space on lesbian rights and issues.  This is because, as Canadian journalist and activist Judy Rebick had noted, that while lesbians were part of the women’s movement, their issues were invisible in the movement.  Aside from Daughters of Bilitis to the Lesbian Avengers, here are five more groups that let people know that lesbians can’t be pushed around.

Continue reading at: 5 lesbian activist groups who fought for us | Lesbian News (Source)