Tag Archives: Lesbians in Australia

Australia: Lesbian Couple Cop Homophobic Abuse by the Jeweller That Sold Them Engagement Rings

ring

A Ballarat couple has decided to keep their engagement ring despite a homophobic attack by the jeweller who made it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/
national-news/victoria-news/jeweller-launches-homophobic-attack-engaged-couple/164173
 (Source)

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Australia: Lesbian claims Centrelink asked her to pay back $7k after SSM vote

The woman claims that Centrelink retroactively recognised her 2016 overseas marriage and then told her she was not entitled to the payments she had been receiving. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

A TASMANIAN woman was left shocked after Centrelink allegedly ordered her to hand back over her welfare payments following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia. The unnamed woman married her wife overseas in 2016 and says that, because of this, Centrelink claimed that she wasn’t entitled to any of the family payments she had received over the past year and requested that she pay back $6600 in welfare she had been given. The woman’s partner is not an Australian citizen and lives overseas and the couple do not share finances. This meant that they did not satisfy the Centrelink requirements for a de facto relationship, which is why the Australian woman was claiming family tax benefits.

Australia: Centrelink website tells lesbian that same-sex marriage isn’t legal

Photo source: www.pinknews.co.uk

A BRISBANE woman has been left furious after a glitch on Centrelink’s website saw a message appear informing her that her marriage to her wife was “not recognised”.

Continue reading at: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/centrelink-website-tells-woman-samesex-marriage-isnt-legal/news-story/f1aada89525d927e0a2b8ad5e593873e
(Source)

Australia: Lesbian couple ‘subjected to homophobic slurs on Jetstar flight’

 

Cat Franke, left, with her partner Julz Evans, says she feared for her life.

“I feared for mine and my partner’s lives on that plane, we were physically trapped with someone who wanted to hurt us and make sure we had a terrible time,” Ms Franke wrote. “When I spoke up to ask him to stop, he only got more aggressive and louder with his homophobic hate speech and began boxing the back of my partner’s chair.”

Continue reading at: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/gay-couple-subjected-to-homophobic-slurs-on-jetstar-flight/news-story/267604f358bef175abbe1b2a61cb6df6 (Source)

Horrific abuse hurled at lesbian and gay Aussies during postal survey

A 23-year-old Sydneysider told Daily Mail Australia that her girlfriend has been unable to leave the house for fear of being harassed or abused again.

‘A couple of years ago, she was beaten severely enough to go into a coma because she kissed her [same-sex] partner goodbye in public,’ the woman said.

‘Despite this, she’s had mail in her letterbox telling her that she’s wrong and an abomination, and it we’ve also had our front door vandalised (graffiti with ‘die f*gs’) because we chalked a rainbow on our front wall.’It’s been horrible for her mental health; to top it off, because she hasn’t been able to make it into work, she recently lost her job.’

Continue reading at: Horrific abuse hurled at gay Aussies during postal survey | Daily Mail Online (Source)

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)

Australia: Penny Wong says religion is blocking marriage equality

“At the centre of the opposition to equality of marriage rights for gay and lesbian members of the community is the conflation of religious concepts of marriage with secular concepts of marriage,” she said.

“Religious attitudes to marriage continue to impact on much of the political debate that has delayed the recognition of the marriage equality rights of the gay and lesbian community.”

“The problem with this, of course, is the application of religious belief to the framing of law in a secular society, and in societies where church and state are constitutionally separate.”

Continue reading at: Penny Wong says religion is blocking marriage equality – Star Observer (Source)

Australia: Lesbian Told Her Relationship Isn’t Even De Facto At The Passport Office

In an email to Gould following a comprehensive complaint, an APO staff member acknowledged the Customer Service Charter had been breached and offered Gould an apology. “You have raised a number of issues in your email that speak to issues of training, diversity awareness and customer service across our organisation. It is clear from our dealings with you, that we did not manage these issues well,” he wrote.

Continue reading at: This Gay, Married Woman Was Told Her Relationship Isn’t Even De Facto At The Passport Office – BuzzFeed News (Source)

Australian research project documents lesbian witch-hunts in military before ban lifted

“They were doing these big witch-hunts on us… it was terrifying to a 17-year-old kid,” Jeffries said. “They’d been following us. They’d done a log, like at 2.35 on Thursday afternoon you drove 4.6km and you stopped at this hamburger shop, then you drove down the river and were there for 3.5 hours.”

Continue reading at: This Is What Happened To Gay People In The Military Before The Ban Was Lifted (Source)

Australia: Lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby to take permanent break from comedy

“People are a bit more free to be derogative, and I think underpinning that is toxic masculinity – there are disempowered men who are angry now at anything that’s different and that includes LGBTI people.”

Continue reading at: Hannah Gadsby to take permanent break from comedy – Star Observer (Source)

Melbourne Area: Encounter seeks lesbian voices for professional development series (Update)

In a previous article, Encounter the LGBTI Community: Professional development that excludes lesbian voices, we questioned the lack of lesbian voices for an LGBTI professional development course being held in Melbourne in May.  After all comments from people asking why lesbian voices were left off the panel were erased from the organization’s Facebook page, Encounter later responded:

Encounter response

According to Encounter, if you, or someone you know, is interested in representing a lesbian voice for professional development, you can call them to discuss your involvement.  Their number is 1300 38 50 20.  They also have an online form.

Encounter the LGBTI Community: Professional development that excludes lesbian voices

Encounter, an organization that provides, “professional development training in LGBTI issues and culture in Australia,” has announced it’s lineup of speakers for the May 29-30 Encounter Course in Melbourne.  According to the organizations website, this introductory course, “covers the ten most common myths surrounding the LGBTI community and sets the record straight by presenting the latest research and lived experience.”  The description goes on to say, “we look at the common issues in the LGBTI community, with a special emphasis on the ‘coming out’ journey'”

Unfortunately, this important professional development course will feature no lesbians, as according to their Facebook page, “we have two on our team, but both have had to pull out.”

Encounter message

(This comment has since been removed)

If this series is so, “essential for those working with LGBTI clients, employing LGBTI people or simply those wanting to gain a better understanding of the journey of a person they care for,” why were they unable to find a single lesbian on the east coast of Australia who could share her experience as a lesbian?

Without the “L” represented as the title proclaims, this organization is at the very least being disingenuous and at most, erasing lesbian lived experience and lesbian voice from the community it claims to represent.

After several people voiced concerns that there was no lesbian representation in their course, the Facebook page moderators removed all questions and comments related to this matter.

Source: Encounter the LGBTI Community | Professional development training in LGBTI issues and culture

Australia: Victoria offers creative grants to fight homophobia, lesbian voices needed

THE Victorian government is offering grants for creative projects to combat homophobia.

 The $300,000 Combatting Homophobia social impact program, part of the government’s Creative State strategy, will enable creative projects to make a positive impact in the community.

 

Continue reading at: Victoria offers creative grants to fight homophobia – Star Observer (Source)

Laura Clemesha: Australian lesbian netball player speaks out on homophobia

THE Pride in Sport Rainbow Round returns this weekend and gives us all a fantastic platform to talk about sexuality in sport.

Continue reading at: Openly gay netball player speaks out on homophobia | Caboolture News (Source)

Lesbians in the News – 14 November 2015

Lesbians in the News 14 November 2015

Young lesbian couple found murdered

Tatianna Diz and Alexandra King

Tatianna Diz and Alexandra King

Searchers recovered the bodies of Alexandra King, 22, and Tatianna Diz, 20, from the French Broad River in Ashville, North Carolina. The couple had gone missing on October 27th after giving Pierre Lamont Griffin II a ride to a nearby apartment complex. Griffin was later arrested and charged with felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony first-degree murder, and reckless driving and fleeing to elude arrest in the murder of another man earlier in the evening. Griffin was initially considered a suspect in the couple’s murder, and has subsequently been charged with murder over their deaths.

Arts & Entertainment

  • Help make season 2 of The Lesbian Collective a reality by donating to their Kickstarter campaign. The Lavender Collective is a web-based comedy about a group of lesbians that meet up every week to talk stuff out.
  • Domestic violence organization, Safe Horizon, presented an all-female reading of Shakespeare’s Othello, titled “An Evening with Desdemona and Emilia,” on October 27th. The reading included out lesbian performer and playwright Lisa Kron and LGBT activist StaceyAnn Chin.
  • Nigerian director Elizabeth Funke Obisanya took away the best short film prize for her movie “Magda’s Lesbian Lover” at the Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts (BEFFTA) awards ceremony in London.

Laws, Politics and Policies

Social and Health Issues

  • Lesbian couples discuss the issues and difficulties they face when trying to conceive.
  • The first same-sex marriage certificate in Tokyo was issued to a lesbian couple on November 5th. While their certificate only applies to two wards at this time, many see it as an important first step towards full marriage equality in historically conservative Japan.
  • A study of 7,200 young adults from England found that LBG teenagers are twice as likely to be bullied and socially excluded at school, than their straight peers.
  • A new study out of the University of Essex is claiming that women are either bisexual or lesbian, and never straight. Among other things, the researchers are trying “to test the theory that because lesbians can be more masculine in many of their non-sexual behaviours (for example, the way they dress), they are also more masculine in their sexual responses.” Anyone else questioning the motivations and conclusions of this study?
  • A Change.org petition has been started to take the L out of LGBT. Petitioners are arguing that LGBT organizations are not only prioritizing T over L, but also “actively discriminate against L interests.”
  • The Mormon Church has announced that children of same-sex couples will be denied entry into the church until they are 18 years old, move out of their parents’ home and disavow all same-sex relationships. This announcement came soon after Salt Lake City elected its first lesbian mayor on November 11th.
  • The Curacao Tourist Board wants to welcome gay and lesbian travelers to experience the island’s ‘live and let live’ atmosphere.
  • With lesbian visibility an ever present issue, do we have language specific to lesbian communities or an archetypal “lesbian voice”? What lesbian specific language  do you see, and is it location specific?

Events

  • Aussie movie All About E arrives for a screening in NYC on December 2nd. Described as a “crime caper with strong lesbian characters,” it will also be released by Wolfe on DVD on December 1st.
  • The Lambda Literary Foundation is accepting applications for the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices to be held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles beginning July 24, 2016. Applications are due by January 5, 2016.

Thanks to Lisa for compiling this fortnightly edition of Lesbians in the News.

If you have any other stories, please add them in the comments or email them to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

Lesbians in the News 18/04/2015

Lesbians in the news

12/04/2015 – 18/04/2015

Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

Mary Kristene Chapa

Mary Kristene Chapa

Laws, Politics and Policies:

Representation:

Social and Health Issues:

Remembering our sisters:

Religion:

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

Lesbians in the News 11/04/2015

Lesbians in the news

05/04/2015 – 011/04/2015

Fight Homophobia–Help a Lesbian 

Mary Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin (Image source: Curve Magazine)

Mary Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin (Image source: Curve Magazine)

In an example of an appalling hate crime in 2012, two two young lesbians went on a date but were viciously attacked. Mollie Olgin was killed and Mary Kristene Chapa was left for dead.

Their attacker was arrested in 2014 but was not charged with a hate crime, despite sufficient evidence to justify it.

Despite the horror of the crime, Mary Kristene Chapa’s medical fund has only raised $12,882, compared to the over $800,000 raised for Memories Pizza, the pizzeria that declined to cater same sex weddings.

Horrific anti lesbian crime occur routinely and they are not reported. When they are, this is the level of interest they garner.

This is lesbophobia and silencing writ large.

Please read more about Mollie and Mary in Victoria A Brownworth’s piece and please donate to help Mary Kristene Chapa with her medical expenses.


Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

Conversion therapy and social homophobia:

  • The Obama administration has called for an end to conversion therapy for lesbian, gay and transgender children. Conversion therapy for lesbians and gay men has a dark history from elimination of “inversion” to ongoing Christian conversion practices. These practices were and are about enforcing gender conformity and discouraging gender non conformity through the linking of sex and required behaviours and attributes (sex stereotypes), and are primarily aimed at eliminating homosexuality. A concern about any concrete bans on all forms of therapy is that it could inadvertently ban the kind of counselling that children diagnosed as transgender may need given that 75-80% of transgender children go on to be not transgender as adults but predominantly lesbian and gay. These children, in particular, need access to supports that validate gender non conformity and homosexuality in the absence of any broad media representation or social acceptance.

Laws, Politics and Policies:

Representation:

  • Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Canada and first lesbian Premier, says being lesbian makes her feel more responsible: “It is part of who I am and it is important for me to be clear that I have a responsibility because of who I am . . . to make our society safer and more inclusive”.
  • Two organisations, NCLR and the National LGBTQ Task Force have removed their names from the Equality Michigan petition calling on the Michfest to include transwomen, without having changed their opinion on inclusion. To a non-American the choice of a single (less than) week-long woman’s music event as the symbol of well being for transwoman seems odd in the context of employment discrimination and abuse.
  • Photographic Series “Happy Lesbian Couples” shows, well, happy lesbian couples. Whether you believe this is an argument for marriage equality or not, positive humanising representation in itself is important.
  • Japanese celebrity Ayaka Ichinose and her partner hope to raise awareness through publicity following their wedding ceremony, despite the effect on her career.
  •  Mad, bad or dead: why do we have the Psycho Killer Lesbian plot back again?  “The pathology linked to the lesbian is actually a displacement of the feared pathology of patriarchal culture… The very challenge to order contained in representations of lesbians is restrained by depictions that, in their evocations of nonsense or pathology, disenfranchise the out-of-the-law as the outlaw. This is why lesbians are often figured as murderers and vice-versa. The murderous lesbian characters in Paul Verhoeven’s BASIC INSTINCT (1992), as well as the association of lesbians with vampires…highlight fears that lesbians threaten the death of patriarchy.” Are male supremacy insecurities at the heart of this familiar trope mixing fear and fetish?
  • Love it or hate it – do we need another (better) L word? Are we better served by individual characters in mainstream television or entire shows about us? Perhaps we need both, and to ensure that they are more broadly representative of our diversity than the narrow range of representation we have seen before? Do we know what good representation looks like?
  • On a really trivial front, LGBT emoji have come to iOS but what do they look like? We have identical blondes in pink dresses and women in bunny ears doing synchronised dancing…
  • On a more serious note, religious organisations have shifted their positions as a Baptist college has invited married, lesbian bishop to serve as worship leader and a rabbinical group gets first-ever lesbian president. Does this represent progress, albeit slow, in lesbian acceptance in religious circles and what could the broader ramifications of it be?

Social and Health Issues:

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

Lesbians in the News 04/04/2015

Lesbians in the news

29/03/2015 – 04/04/2015

Even identity politics doesn’t protect lesbians – Aderonke Apata “not a lesbian”

Aderonke Apata, source: The Independent

Aderonke Apata had appealed to the High Court in the UK when her bid for asylum for sexuality-based persecution was rejected. The UK government argued that she was not a lesbian on the grounds that she had previously been in a heterosexual relationship in her home country of Nigeria, and that she had previously appeared more feminine. Her claim that her ex girlfriend, brother and son were killed and her submissions of sex tapes did not affect the outcome. The Home Office representative declared “The “You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day. Just as you can’t change your race.”

The judge decided that she was not a lesbian and that she “played the system”, despite a very real fear of persecution if she returns to Nigeria, having been internationally publicised as a lesbian, where lesbians are punished by law and through (increasingly violent) homophobia.

We now have the bizarre position in the UK where you are able to identify as a woman and legally change your recorded sex on public records, if you meet the criteria, but you are not able to identify your own sexuality – clear proof of identifying and living/acting AS A LESBIAN  is insufficient.

In the words of Antilla Dean:

So if you are male, you can identify as a woman and that’s cool.

If you are, actually, a lesbian, and identify as one, and dress as one, and love another female as a female, you are gaming the system.

A campaign in support of Aderonke Apata has been launched by the Proud2Be Project, whose patron she is.


Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

Conversion therapy and social homophobia:

Laws, Politics and Policies:

  • Indiana Passes Anti-Gay/ Lesbian Discrimination Law – Lesbians Are Being Discriminated Against in Every State, Not Just Indiana, by Victoria Brownworth. Not just about wedding cakes and videos, this law which purports to protect religious freedoms permits situations like the paediatrician who recently refused to see the baby of lesbian mothers, and the refusal to hold a funeral service unless a family edit being lesbian out. These are not frivolous or options services, these are basic services that everyone should be able to access at the beginning and the end of their life, regardless of who they are. The refusal to provide them shows a distressing lack of compassion and love. National LGBTI and civil rights groups are lobbying for the  introduction of protections for Indiana’s LGBTI community.
  • The anti-gay backlash continues in America with 20 anti-gay proposals in Texas, including one prohibiting the “burden” of religious exercise without a compelling state interest. Setting the bar this low, without the normal phrasing to prevent only “substantial burden”, could have horrific unintended consequences as religious practices could used to justify a wide variety of unacceptable behaviour.
  • Confederate license plates are seemingly acceptable while the words gay and lesbian are banned. A court case in Texas reminds us of the existing situation in Maryland.
  • The Civil Rights Commission in Michigan released an ordinance template to enable cities and townships to roll out anti-discrimination members for LGBTI residents. 35 municipalities already provide some form of local protection from discrimination.
  • Dallas mayoral candidate Richard Sheridan, an anti-gay activist, has been charged in connection with vandalism linked to homophobia.
  • Bob Jones III has finally apologised for violent homophobia from the 1980s. Although the Bob Jones university continues to actively exclude LGBTI students and alumni, is this apology the start of a shift?
  • The US healthcare system continues to fail meeting the needs of the LGBTI community, including lesbians who are reportedly at a higher risk of breast cancer, have higher rates of smoking, and whose needs for HPV and cervical cancer screening are not met, no doubt for a variety of reasons. As laws supporting religious freedom gain traction, it is likely that the provision of healthcare to lesbians will suffer, as it will for women in general.
  • Indiana Governor defends the state’s religious freedom laws and claims that they aren’t intended to discriminate against lesbians and gays but he is not planning to make lesbian or gay residents a protected class.  If existing legal mechanisms that exist to protect residents from intentional discrimination are not used, the claimed intent to not discriminate seems dubious at best.
  • Meanwhile in Maryland, laws are being developed to provide fertility treatment to married lesbian couples.
  • North Dakota is another state with laws permitting discrimination on the basis of religious freedom, but unlike other states has practically no anti-discrimination legislation with legislation that would ban sexuality-based discrimination soundly rejected by lawmakers for the third time in six years.
  • In an optimistic note perhaps, one of the lawyers who successfully argued against California’s Proposition 8 in the Supreme Court believes that the US will see federal protections for lesbian and gay Americans in the next couple of years.
  • Lawyers for the same sex marriage case in the US Supreme Court prepare for the case to be heard later this month.
  • In a Japanese first, the Tokyo Ward recognises same-sex marriage.
  • What is the affect of same sex marriage – an interesting question posed in lessons From One Year of Same-Sex Marriage in England and Wales. Equality before the law is undoubtedly critical, as is protection of lesbians and our families, but the introduction of same sex marriage is not a silver bullet solving social problems and/or homophobia. In places where the protections for lesbians and their families already exists, the fight for marriage equality ahead of more concrete needs like adequate and appropriate healthcare, for example, seems to prioritise symbolic mainstreaming over these urgent practical needs. Perhaps as national LGBTI communities we need to consider our immediate needs and develop a strategy to achieve them?

Representation:

Social and Health Issues:

  • Homophobia in aged care – the documentary Gen Silent illuminates the homophobia ageing lesbians and gays may face and their consequent return to the closet. Previous studies have raised similar concerns about treatment of ageing lesbian and gay Australians.
  • According to the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, lesbians earn less than straight or gay men but more than straight women, based purely on working longer hours. This backs up an assessment of society as a structured around male dominance and heterosexuality – that is, supporting heterosexual men and penalising women, irrespective of their sexuality.
  • A University of Illinois study reportedly shows that a sexuality shift early in life is tied to depression. It is curious that they didn’t suggest that the study could be showing how is that coming out is difficult and stressful for many kids, in the absence of a supportive and accepting community.  Most societies groom children to heterosexuality from birth, with social institutions and rituals promoting and supporting them, and social attitudes, structures, laws and behaviours strongly opposing homosexuality in many cases. It makes perfect sense, in that context, for kids coming to terms with or deciding to be open about their homosexuality to have increased rates of depression, especially if familiar, peer and social rejection (both emotional and physical) are taken into account.  It also makes sense for that process to be delayed by the social and cultural hostility surrounding the kids.
  • Lesbian and bisexual women reportedly experience unequal outcomes under Cuba’s healthcare system, with lesbian specific needs and issues either ignored or overlooked. Of particular concern, similar to experiences in other countries, is the way lesbian-specific sexual and reproductive health needs are not met. Many gynaecological processes are discouragingly invasive; lesbian-specific risks for sexually transmitted infections (STI) are not well understood or communicated; and the problems involved in disclosing personal details to health care providers, especially around sexual activity, and discourage women from receiving the required health care.
  • Millenials, the current generation of young adults, are reportedly the generation with the highest rate of “identification” as LGBTI, with the rates doubling since the last survey in 2011.  Much of the change may be in the reported rates of bisexuality, although it is unclear whether the data in the two reports compares similarly segmented generation groups and whether the methodology used to determine LGBT identification was comparable. Interestingly, nearly 40% of millennials also reported that same sex behaviour was morally wrong, with a further 13% reporting that it depended on the situation, significantly undermining the argument that Millennials are a lesbian, gay and bisexual friendly generation. The reported rates of LGB identification are not close to Kinsey’s reported 10%, but factoring in same sex contact but not identity may explain some of this variation, according to a new book on sexual behaviour and statistics.
  • Schools that actively protect LGBT kids may be contributing to lowered rates of depression and suicidality, although it is unclear from the report whether this is based on sexuality specific measures or school wide attitudes against bullying on multiple fronts. What is not reported is the rates of sexual harassment of girls, which will also affect lesbians, and which education institutions around the US, and the world, have systemically failed to address .
  • A Canadian lesbian couple were denied daycare spot due to their sexual orientation and will be filing a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.
  • In Switzerland, priests have started blessing same sex couples, with one removed for blessing a lesbian couple in 2014.

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

Lesbians in the News 28/03/2015

Lesbians in the news

22/03/2015 – 28/03/2015

Lesbians in China – #FreeTheFive:

Xiao La and Maizi

Xiao La and Maizi, image courtesy of Amnesty International

Li Maizi, formally known as Li Tingting, was arrested for “causing arguments in the street” in the leadup to International Women’s Day. Her girlfriend, pictured with her above, is calling for help through All Out:

My name is Xiao La, and I live in China. Two weeks ago, Maizi was organizing a peaceful protest with four friends to denounce harassment at work. They were making pro-equality stickers and planning to hand them out. And just for that, Chinese authorities put my girlfriend in jail.

My birthday is today. Maizi and I had planned to spend the day together doing romantic things. My birthday wish is to have Maizi back. Alone, I won’t be heard. But if thousands around the world join us, the global outcry could get her out of jail.

Can you sign my petition to help free my girlfriend and her friends? go.allout.org/en/a/freethefive/

Maizi and I were taken by the police together, but I was freed the following day. Authorities can now hold her for up to 37 days before deciding whether to even charge her. The authorities confiscated her computer and her phone. The worst part? It happened the night before International Women’s Day.

News articles on the detention:


Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

  • The Brutality of Corrective Rape – South Africa’s progressive laws give no indication of the deep homophobia still dominant within the country, according to this New York Times article. The endemic violence against women couples with the homophobia to result in virulent lesbophobia and, more specifically, corrective rape. Whether it is based on male sexual entitlement or a so called desire to change their sexuality, these South African women talk of being subjected to socially sanctioned and repeated rape. Women are murdered and women have resulting children withheld because of their sexuality.
  • A violent attack on two lesbians in Vancouver is deemed not a hate crime.
  • Homophobia fears keep violence victims quiet – the multiple silencing of same sex domestic violence that prevents victims seeking or receiving help. What can we do as a community to better address the needs of victims? (Note: this story has some Australian DV assistance links).

Conversion therapy and social homophobia:

Laws and Policies:

Representation:

  • Victoria Brownworth’s new novel Ordinary Mayhem is released, focussing on violence against women. Victoria Brownworth’s next book Lesbian Erasure: Silencing Lesbians will be released in late 2015. She says of the novel:”For the past several years I have been increasingly concerned by the obliteration of lesbians as a group by mainstream culture, mainstream feminism and regrettably, even by our own community,” she said. “Major online publications like Slate and Salon conflate lesbian into gay, as if lesbians and gay men don’t have separate identities. And increasingly there is also a revision of butch lesbians as trans men when that is rarely the case—that makes both butch lesbians and trans men invisible. Not all trans men were lesbians, not all butch lesbians are closet trans men. Let each have their distinct identities.””Corrective rape was invented specifically to teach lesbians a lesson about heterosexual normatively. While it’s most common in South Africa, India and Jamaica, it also happen in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. There are 78 countries where it is illegal to be lesbian or gay—specifically. Lesbians are the victims of honor killings in a dozen countries. The forced marriages of lesbians to men happens in several dozen countries. These are some of the things I write about in Erasure.”
  • NSW, Australia – election candidates answer LGBTI questions – watch the footage here.
  • Herstory: same sex marriage 200 years ago – busting the myth of tradition?
  •  Heather has Two Mommies – kids book about same sex families is now updated with same sex marriage
  • The so-called ‘pink dollar’ or ‘gay-by boom’ – local economies see the benefit in appealing to LGBT tourism. I wonder though, does this actually result in better protections and social conditions for local communities?

Social and Health Issues:

Victoria, Australia held its first Lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s Conference.

Keynote speaker Dr Ruth McNair (from the Australian Lesbian Medical Association) argued that “a conference focusing specifically on women’s health in the community is needed in part because of a history of lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health being overlooked in funding, policy and LGBTI community services.”

The ALICE study on Alcohol and Lesbian/bisexual women: Insights into Culture and Emotions reported high levels of depression and anxiety, with social stressors (oppression, discrimination and homophobia) closely linked to depression and anxiety rates, drinking levels and self harm and suicidal thoughts.

Other social and health issue stories:

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

 

Lesbians in the News 21/03/2015

Lesbians in the news

16/03/2015 – 21/03/2015

Corrective Rape: “I became their playground” – a short film exploration

Corrective rape, the attempt to cure lesbians of their homosexuality, is escalating in severity in South Africa. This film explores the phenomenon through the story of a gay single mother from near Johannesburg.  Busisiwe’s five children are all the offspring of corrective rape. As a lesbian, she was raped in order to be ‘cured’ of her homosexuality. Despite that they’re a product of the hate crime, her relationship with her children is not destroyed: “I only want them to succeed in life, to have the things I didn’t.” In Gauteng near Johannesburg, crime and violence are on the increase and life is tough. With the courage found in her children, Busisiwe helps to educate the young about being safe on the streets.”

Anti-lesbian violence elsewhere in Africa: 

Odorkor Lesbians in Hiding after vicious attacks, as violence against lesbians continues in Accra, Ghana with ongoing police inaction. The violence includes torture by local youth.

Attacks in Swaziland are on the rise with a young lesbian killed in Nhlangano, Swaziland in a horrific hate crime.


Representation Matters – Julie Enszer, Poet, scholar and curator of the Lesbian Poetry Archive Speaks on the stories we tell and why they matter

Anniversary of a lesbian murder – Kitty Genovese died 51 years ago in a vicious hate crime against women.

Longtime political activist Jean Hardisty dies

“Jean was a force in the lives of all who knew her. A visionary, she anticipated many of the political and economic shifts the country has endured over the past several decades. Undaunted by the implications of her insights, she dedicated herself tirelessly—and with uncommon skill, humor, and compassion—to the cause of social justice. She was a friend, mentor, colleague, and inspiration to us, and to countless people and organizations.”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Highlander Center, highlandercenter.org or to the Boston Women’s Fund, bostonwomensfund.org .

Lesbian Couple Denied services – Community rallies after Wedding Video denied The big question is – would the community rally if what was demanded was not quite so conforming with standard community values??

Lesbian Movies – the struggle to stay relevant – perhaps more support from the broader community would also help, as indicated by the fact that Perth film maker Tessa Rooney runs an independent lesbian film festival Dyke Drama after the Pride Film Festival failed to show a single lesbian movie

Meanwhile Last call chronicles New Orleans Lesbian bars.

Tasmania, Australia: Schools to be given option to reject students – will sexuality be targeted? 

US Reform Rabbis first Openly Lesbian Leader

Toronto Canada: hate crimes rise by 11%

California’s LGBT Caucus files complaint against OC lawyer who wants to “kill the gays”. Unfortunately, it seems that the petition is hard to stop

Interesting information on why lesbians and gays often don’t live in the same suburbs – the gendered wage gap contributes to the phenomenon…

LGB groups march in Boston St Patrick’s Day parade after years of opposition

NSFW: footage of homophobia at previous marches in the 90s.

Baptist College stands firm on married lesbian bishop speaker: “true Christians” advocate social justice 

Changing Irish views on Same sex marriage Mark decrease in homophobia?

Specialist Toolkit Aimed at helping prevent Lesbian and Gay youth suicides as suicide and self harm rates rise

Puerto Rico may drop opposition to same-sex marriage

Australia: Gold Coast lesbian wins right to be mother of non-biological child

Islamic scholars in Indonesia push for death penalty for sex abuse and gay and lesbian ‘crimes’

US: Cross Burned on lesbians’ Lawn

US: In 16 states, same-sex couples can legally marry and then later that day get fired from their job for doing so. Federa; Panel Discusses LGB protections. 

Celibacy no longer demanded of San Francisco’s Evangelical City Church

Homophobia in the US – what’s it like for LGBT refugees?

Maryland US – A bill that on fertility treatment access for married lesbians progresses and will be voted on this week. 

US: Lesbian sacked for starting a family


Please send me information on any lesbian news I have missed at liz@listening2lesbians.com.