Tag Archives: Lesbians in the U.K.

ILD: Bridget Coll: Catholic nun was lesbian, militant and a history maker

Catholic nun, gay and militant. Bridget Coll, Irish born but a proud Canadian, was a trailblazer. 

She and her partner, Chris Morrissey, made history when they challenged Canadian immigration law which had only recognised heterosexual married partners.

As nuns in the 1980s, they stood with the oppressed in Chile against dictator Augusto Pinochet’s regime.

Hers is an inspirational journey. She travelled thousands of miles in just one lifetime.

Now, her story features in a new exhibition in Dublin telling the stories of Ireland’s LGBTQ+ diaspora.

Bridget died in 2016. Her life partner, activist and former nun, Chris, survives her.

Historian Dr Maurice Casey, who curated the exhibition, came upon their story by chance. He had set out to celebrate an LGBTQ+ history of the Irish emigration story.

He was researching the Canadian LGBTQ+ community and was inspired by a series of tapes held by Simon Fraser University recorded in 2009, through which the women tell their story.

There is wit and wisdom, a generosity and a humility about Bridget Coll that shines through on the tape recordings from 12 years ago.

She talks about how she was born in Donegal in 1934, one of 12 children from a Catholic family who grew up near Fanad lighthouse. She never questioned her sexuality.

At 14, she wanted to be a nun and at 16, joined an order in England.

From there, she went to America to work for the Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph.

That was where the first seeds of dissent were sown.

“There was an encyclical on birth control from the Pope. The priest gave a whole sermon from the pulpit about how it was a real bad thing to do,” she said in the recording. 

“I had a lot of contact with mothers of kids that I taught. They would come and tell me their stories about birth control. I listened to the women’s stories and their hardships.

“For the first time in my life, I began to doubt the teachings of the Church.”

She was drawn to read more about social justice and liberation theology – a radical movement that grew up in South America as a response to the poverty and ill-treatment of ordinary people. 

The Liberationists said the Church should act to bring about social change and should ally itself with the working class.

It was at that time that Bridget became close to Chris, a Canadian nun in the same order.

When Bridget’s parents died within weeks of each other in 1977, Chris was the one person who truly helped. 

“She said she was a lesbian and asked: ‘Do you know what that is?’ I said: ‘No’. 

“She said: ‘I think you’re a lesbian’. I didn’t know the word – that was the first time I knew.

“It was 1977, I was 43, that’s the first time I ever heard it and the first time I fell in love with a woman.”

Continue reading: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57555518 (source)

UN submission on discrimination and violence against lesbians

On 1 August 2021 Listening2Lesbians provided submissions in response to the following from the Commission on the Status of Women:

“Any individual, non-governmental organization, group or network may submit communications (complaints/appeals/petitions) to the Commission on the Status of Women containing information relating to alleged violations of human rights that affect the status of women in any country in the world. The Commission on the Status of Women considers such communications as part of its annual programme of work in order to identify emerging trends and patterns of injustice and discriminatory practices against women for purposes of policy formulation and development of strategies for the promotion of gender equality.”

Commission on the Status of Women: Communication Procedure

Information was provided to the UN on incidents dating back approximately 2.5 years across the 57 countries we have reported on in that time.

Legal, social and familial punishment of lesbians for failing to conform with the expectations imposed on women illuminates the status of women around the world. Homosexuality is understood to be a breach of sex-based expectations. Strictly enforced sex roles are accompanied by increased consequences for those who break them, individually or collectively. Lesbians, or women read as lesbians, are doubly punishable for their non-conformity, both overt and inferred.

Listening2Lesbians is not an expert on these countries and provided this information to augment and support the information provided by women from individual communities. We can only provide information on cases we have been able to locate and based our submissions solely around the available facts. Please note that we welcome corrections and updates.

We are painfully aware of the many communities not represented.

Anyone with information on missing communities is invited to contact us with information on reporting violence and discrimination against lesbians in their community.

Liz, Ari and Devorah @ Listening2Lesbians

Submissions:

UK: lesbian raped, tells court no consent given because of sexuality

A woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a man at a party has said she did not consent to a sex acts with him – as she’s a lesbian.

The woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, is said to have been abused by Kieran McNally, 23, in front of two of their friends, following the bash in a flat.

McNally denies sexually assaulting her, by engaging in sex acts with her while she was drunk and asleep – and incapable of giving consent.

He is currently on trial at Paisley Sheriff Court, accused of assaulting her at a flat in Linwood, Renfrewshire, on June 24, 2018.

He has lodged a special defence of consent, claiming she was a willing participant in any sexual interaction between them on the day in question.

And on Thursday, when giving evidence about the day in question, she insisted she would not have consented to anything between them due to her sexuality.

When asked by Advocate Joe Barr, defending McNally, about her sexuality, she said she was a lesbian.

Continue reading at: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/crime/woman-tells-court-not-consent-24200666 (Source)

UK: Vulnerable teen lesbian raped by her pastor to ‘heal’ her of being gay

Angela Paterson is now 49 years old and living openly as a lesbian, but told the i that she’ll “never forget” her horrific experiences of conversion therapy as a vulnerable teenager.

Paterson joined Lancing Tabernacle Church in West Sussex, which at the time was led by reverend Max Donald, when she was 14.

When she was 19, in 1990, she became homeless. Donald was aware that the teenager was vulnerable, with a history of sexual abuse, and asked her to move in with him and his wife.

Paterson said knew she was a lesbian, and believed what her evangelical church taught her – that being gay meant going straight to hell. Donald initially sent her to a counsellor for conversion therapy, but when that was ineffective, he embarked on four years of abuse in his mission to “heal” her.

The abuse began gradually, Paterson explained: “I’d be in bed and he would come into my room with a cup of coffee, sit on the bed and on the odd occasion touch my hair and say, ‘We really want to look after you.’ Then we would be in the lounge and he would just grab my hand.

“I was confused but I also thought, ‘This is a pastor, someone I can trust.’ Then I was at the fridge one night and he grabbed me and kissed me on the lips. I was really taken aback but he was trying to reassure me, [saying], ‘It’s OK, I just care about you.’”

Donald would tell her that the rape was “OK by God”, and she added: “As far as I was concerned, he was closer to God than anybody else… I thought it might work. I was a broken person when I moved there. So I stayed.”

Continue reading at: https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/vulnerable-teen-lesbian-raped-her-115900011.html (Source)

UK: Coca-Cola criticised for banning the word ‘lesbian’ on customisable Pride bottles

Drinks giant Coca-Cola has been accused of ‘rainbow-washing’ after cutomers discovered certain words – including ‘lesbian’ – were not allowed on personalised glass bottles.

The online customisation tool lets people create distinctive bottles with their own bespoke labels, including an option with the Pride flag.

But the word ‘lesbian’ was banned, and when customers tried to type it in they were met with an automated message.

‘Oops! Looks like the name you requested is not an approved one,’ it read. ‘Names may not be approved if they’re potentially offensive to other people, trademarked, or celebrity names. We’ve worked hard to get this list right, but sometimes we mess up.’

Continue reading at: https://metro.co.uk/2021/06/23/coca-cola-banned-the-word-lesbian-from-customisable-pride-bottles-14817248/ (Source)

U.K: Lesbian Victims of Homophobic Supermarket Assault, Forced to Hide

tesco

UK police are seeking the public’s help in identifying three women who allegedly chased a lesbian couple into a security office to escape their homophobic verbal assault.

A lesbian couple shopping at a Tesco market in the United Kingdom were the victims of a homophobic verbal assault so aggressive they were forced to hide from their attackers in a security office. Police in Kent released CCTV images showing the three woman they say are responsible for the homophobic assault at the Tesco market in Gillingham, Kent, and are asking for the public’s help in bringing the suspected bigots to justice. Police are investigating the assault as a hate crime incident.

Continue reading: https://www.out.com/crime/2021/3/18/lesbian-victims-homophobic-supermarket-assault-forced-hide (source)

U.K: Lesbian couple’s baby nearly hit by rock in hate crime

A young lesbian couple claim their baby is lucky to be alive after a rock was thrown through their window in the latest in a string of “targeted hate attacks”.

Eight-week-old Hope Devine escaped injury by centimetres after the missile bounced off the top of the swing chair she was sleeping in on Monday evening.

Parents Lucy, 21, and Leanne, 22, have been left “distraught” by the incident, which they say is the latest in a string of attacks directed at the couple in the last 18 months.

The couple say they have had homophobic notes shoved through their letterbox and have been attacked as they walked to the shop.

Police have mounted nightly patrols at the couple’s home since the rock attack, which is being treated as a hate crime.

Continue reading: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/young-couples-baby-lucky-alive-23759661 (source)

UK: lesbian forced out of Church of England

A WOMAN has said she was forced out of a church congregation after coming out as a lesbian. Rachel Gillingham’s case left her needing three years of counselling.

An investigation into St Luke’s Church in Oseney Crescent and its vicar has since taken place. She had been a regular at the church – part of the Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) network – but was frozen out after coming out to Reverend Jon March in 2019.

Rev March told her that openly backing equal marriage within the Church of England (CofE) was unacceptable for someone in her position as a bible study leader, and that if she was gay she could not have sex with another woman as he believed it was a sin.

After the incident and investigation, Ms Gillingham was able to address the Parochial Church Council (PCC), which is in charge of the church’s governance, and but was stunned to find out they had not been informed of the incident.

Continue reading at: http://camdennewjournal.com/article/woman-accuses-kentish-town-church-and-vicar-of-homophobia-after-coming-out (Source)

Tua’s journey to asylum as a lesbian from Cameroon

Tua is a lesbian from Cameroon who finally received her leave to remain in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Tua talks to Sally Jackson about the violent lesbophobia she was subjected to in Cameroon, and how she was forced into a marriage by her mother. During her escape, she was exploited and trafficked to England where she faced the shameful policies of the UK’s Hostile Environment before finding support here. Her asylum claim was finally accepted in 2019 and she has received her leave to remain.

Continue reading at: https://filia.org.uk/podcasts/2021/1/25/tua-journey-to-asylum

U.K: Sue Perkins Reveals She Was Victim Of A Homophobic Attack

Former Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins has revealed that she was victim to a homophobic attack that left her in tears.

The presenter and comedian says she “burst into tears” after a man verbally assaulted her on Hampstead Heath in North London. Speaking on an episode of the Homo Sapiens podcast, Perkins revealed: “I did have my first homophobic insult in 20 years recently … I was on the heath and this guy, I think he said, ‘You f***ing dyke.'”

The 51-year-old TV personality told podcast hosts Alan Cumming and Chris Sweeney that she feared the altercation might turn physical. “At the time, I sort of went right up to him and went: ‘What did you say?'” she recalled, “and he sort of postured a bit almost as if he was going to hit me, almost like an intimation of something physical.”

Fearful of the situation, Perkins kept her space: “I thought ‘I’m going to just stand here.’ I remember my hand was out because I wanted to keep that distance. Like if you come within the length of my arm I know that something really bad is going to happen.”

Perkins told Cumming and Sweeney that she maintained her composure before asking him again what he had said. “He just sort of buckled a bit and he went, ‘I just mean you’ve got a nice face, why would you…’ I just thought, ‘What’s my face got to do with you?'”

Not wanting to escalate the situation, Perkins said she “didn’t want to replace knee jerk unkindness with knee jerk unkindness,” and she told the man :I’m just walking my dog and I’m quiet and I’m in a good mood and I’ve got love for everyone here and you’ve destroyed that and you can’t take that back today” before leaving and bursting into tears.

Continue reading: https://www.bustle.com/entertainment/sue-perkins-victim-of-homophobic-attack (source)

U.K: Lesbian quits after finding homophobic note in work locker

A shop worker said she was “mortified” when she opened her locker and discovered a homophobic note.

The offensive message was found by Pammie Clinton during her shift at Wilko in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, on 9 September.

It directed a homophobic slur at her and implored her to quit. She handed in her notice a few days later.

Wilko said discrimination of any kind was not accepted and it was looking into the situation “very seriously”.

Ms Clinton, who is a lesbian, said the message had been pushed into her locker through a small hole.”I was absolutely disgusted with what I was reading – I felt like my heart had sunk to the pit of my stomach,” she said.

“I went straight to the bathroom and sat and cried.

“The incident was reported to management but the culprit was never found – and Ms Clinton said she felt compelled to resign.

She said: “I was filled with anxiety and found myself looking at everyone at work thinking ‘was it you?’, which was mentally and emotionally unhealthy.”

Continue reading: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-54183746 (source)

UK: crowdfunding removed for lesbian lawyer suing Stonewall and law firm

Allison Bailey

My name is Allison Bailey. I am a criminal defence barrister, a feminist, a lesbian, a lifelong campaigner for racial equality, lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights, and a survivor of child sexual abuse.  …

In 2019, I helped to set up the LGB Alliance with other campaigners and activists who felt, like me, that organisations such as Stonewall had seriously lost their way in recent years: they had conflated sex with gender, meaning that same sex attraction – the fundamental basis of lesbian and gay attraction, and therefore the fundamental basis of lesbian and gay rights – was no longer recognised.  The impacts of this have been several and severe, and in order to campaign properly for gay and lesbian rights, we felt that a new organisation was required. …

A person may identify as they identify, and they should be protected and respected for their identity. However, a person’s identity is not a license to cause distress or intimidation to others, and can never legitimately be used to put others to harm. There are necessary exceptions to the acceptance of males in female spaces, and those exceptions are necessary to protect women.

These injustices arise as a result of the misguided insistence that gender has somehow replaced sex as a fundamental aspect of human identity.  It is for that reason that I am gender critical.  This is not to say that gender is not a genuine aspect of identity for some people.  But it is separate and does not (and cannot) replace sex.

The result of Stonewall’s “acceptance without exception” mantra is to put women at risk of harm. …

Perhaps most specifically from my point of view, that Stonewall unilaterally and without any mandate whatsoever, and to further its lobbying ambitions, redefined homosexuality as same-gender and not same-sex attraction was an especially egregious betrayal of LGB people, especially lesbians. The inclusion of male-bodied people into the class of lesbian women means that lesbians are excoriated for bigotry and transphobia simply for being same-sex attracted.  This is base homophobia.

It was because of these injustices – and the role as I and others saw of it of Stonewall in promoting these injustices – that the LGB Alliance was set up, in order to fill the void in LGB campaigning that Stonewall had left when they decided to campaign for “acceptance without exception”.

Continue reading at: https://filia.org.uk/news/2020/6/27/allison-bailey-i-am-suing-stonewall-to-stop-them-policing-free-speech (Source)

UK: couple fight back against lesbophobic racist abuse

Nicola Adams and Ella Baig

Retired boxer Nicola Adams and her girlfriend, beauty blogger Ella Baig, have hit back at trolls criticising their relationship.

The pair, who have been dating since 2018, appeared in a video on Nicola’s TikTok page posted on Monday (June 1), in which the pair appear alongside the hurtful comments they have to endure online since getting together.

Adams appeared next to comments such as “you’re too manly” and “you’re too black”, while Baig appeared next to criticisms saying, among other things, “you wear to much makeup” and “slut”.

When shown hugging each other, criticisms of the pair that appear on screen in the video include “don’t you want a family?” and “you don’t look gay”.

Other comments include ones attacking them for being a biracial couple.

Continue reading at: https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/news/celebs-tv/nicola-adams-takes-racist-homophobic-18354711 (Source)

UK: Dundee teen calls for help after lesbophobic attack

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Kourtney Grant was left with injuries to her face and arms after she was tackled by the woman while she walking home.

The woman pushed Kourtney to the ground and hit her, leaving her bleeding and covered in bruises. Kourtney’s face has now been left in scratches, along with a large cut where her elbow hit the ground.

The teen was also subjected to homophobic abuse by the attacker during the horrifying episode. … Kourtney, who says that it isn’t the first time she has been targeted for her sexuality, isn’t sure who the attacker was, however she is described as having dark hair and was wearing a blue jumper.

The 16-year-old added: “I just want her to own up because the entire incident has stressed me out – I just feel a bit messed up by it all.

“People have said things about my sexuality before and they never really got to me – but this time it was obviously physical as well.”

Continue reading at: https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/i-just-feel-a-bit-messed-up-by-it-all-teenager-appeals-for-help-after-homophobic-attack-in-dundee/ (Source)

A third of UK lesbian mothers experience homophobia from other parents

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One in three lesbian mothers in Britain has experienced homophobia from other parents, while the same proportion have children who have been bullied for having two mums, according to a rare study of LGBT+ women published on Monday.

The online survey by research firm Kantar of more than 1400 LGBT+ women – one of the largest of its kind – found 37% of lesbian mothers suffered discrimination from other parents, while the same number’s children were victimised.

The study offers a rare look at the plight of lesbian mothers in the country, where reported homophobic hate crimes rose 25% in England and Wales in the year to March 2019 and three-fold since same-sex marriage was legalised in 2013.

Continue reading: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-lgbt-education-trfn/third-of-uk-lesbian-mothers-experience-homophobia-from-other-parents-idUSKBN2220YW (source)

U.K: Man attacks paramedic and calls her a “dirty dyke”

ambulance

A man was given community service after he confessed to attacking a paramedic who was trying to help him while shouting anti-gay slurs at her.

Dean Stevens, 28, of Shoreham in southern England collapsed one day this past August. Paramedic Rose Waller showed up to help him and get him to a hospital, the Argus reports.

But instead of gratitude, she got homophobic abuse. Stevens called Waller a “c**t” and a “dirty dy*e,” according to prosecutor Suzanne Soros.

“I’m going to kill you,” he allegedly told her.

“He brought his face close to hers to make her feel intimidated and caused damage to the glass inside the ambulance when he kicked out,” Soros said.

He kicked Waller on her shoulders and neck. She tried to hide from him in the ambulance, but he still injured her.

Continue reading: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/
2020/03/man-attacks-paramedic-trying-help-calls-dirty-dye/
(source)

U.K: Lesbian sisters given temporary reprieve from being returned to Pakistan

pakistan

Two sisters say they are “relieved but worried” after they narrowly avoided being deported to Pakistan where they say they face the threat of LGBT-based violence.

Samina, 52, and Nazia Iqbal, 48, from Stockport, were scheduled to be taken out of the country on Saturday night from Manchester airport after a judge said it was not “credible” that they are gay [sic], despite the sisters being publicly out for 20 years.

The pair were due to leave on a flight at 9pm on Saturday back to Pakistan but after being questioned by Sky News the Home Office appeared to make a U-turn on the decision as the sisters were not put on the plane.

When contacted by Sky News to ask why the sisters were being deported a spokesperson said that “each case is considered on its merits”.

The Iqbal sisters were not told they would not be put on the flight and only realised they were not leaving when Sky News informed them that the plane had taken off.

The following day the pair were moved to the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, which has been criticised over treatment of detainees, something the Home Office has previously said has been improved upon.

The pair are now in limbo awaiting a bail hearing on Tuesday.

Continue reading: https://news.sky.com/story/scared-gay-sisters-given-temporary-reprieve-from-being-returned-to-pakistan-11943744 (source)

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

angelbus

Angel fled Zimbabwe in fear of her life after police found her in bed with another woman five years ago. It’s taken most of the time since then for her to convince the Home Office that she is gay and will be persecuted if she returns. But how do you prove something you spent your life trying to hide?

In 2015, Angel found herself in an interview room in the north of England with a Home Office official whose job was to work out whether she was lying.

“How do I know I am a lesbian? How old was I when I knew? Who did I tell?” Angel recalls being asked.

“It is as if the Home Office expect a date and time.”

For seven hours, the interviewer picked at the threads of her life story.

The secret relationship with a girl at high-school and the betrayal of a family member she confided in about it.

Her forced marriage to an abusive husband in her 20s and the young daughter she had left behind in Zimbabwe.

Being raped by two men in her 30s who intended to “straighten her up”. And then, a few years later, the brutality from police when they discovered her in bed with a woman at a house-party.

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

U.K. study – sounding lesbian affects employment

A Leader Doesn't Sound lesbian

New research provides evidence that having a gay- or lesbian-sounding voice can have tangible consequences on a person’s job prospects. The study, published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, indicates that discrimination based on one’s voice may be particularly harmful for women perceived as lesbian.

“Voice is a minimal cue that people use, consciously or unconsciously, to make inferences about others. Stereotypes about voice exist too. I am therefore interested in examining how minimal cues such as voice can affect listeners’ perception and discrimination,” said study author Fabio Fasoli, a lecturer in social psychology at the University of Surrey.

“Gaydar is usually defined as the ability to correctly guess who is gay and who is heterosexual from such minimal clues. As a consequence of gaydar, discrimination can occur when sexual orientation is inferred from a person’s behavior during the hiring process,” the researchers wrote in their study.

The researchers found that gay-sounding men and especially lesbian-sounding women were viewed as less competent than their heterosexual-sounding counterparts, which in turn was associated with them being rated as less suitable for jobs and ranked lower in employability. Contrary to expectations, lesbian-sounding women did not have an advantage when applying to stereotypically masculine job positions.

“A stereotype about ‘gay voice’ exists and affects people’s impression and reactions. Voice can thus lead to subtle forms of discrimination in the hiring process. Although there is not a shared stereotype about the ‘lesbian voice,’ women who sound ‘lesbian’ are at higher risk of discrimination,” Fasoli told PsyPost.

Continue reading at: https://www.psypost.org/2020/02/study-suggests-lesbian-sounding-women-face-greater-gaydar-discrimination-in-hiring-than-men-55454? (Source)

Study: A Leader Doesn’t Sound Lesbian!: The Impact of Sexual Orientation Vocal Cues on Heterosexual Persons’ First Impression and Hiring Decision

U.K.: Man accused of raping lesbian on beach

M Uddin

A woman who says was raped on Cleethorpes beach has told a court that she is a lesbian who would never willingly have sex with a man.

The woman told the trial of the Indian restaurant owner accused of raping her: “I can’t stand a man touching me. I am not attracted to men.”

She said she had not called restaurant owner Mohammed Uddin down from the Promenade and initiated sex.

She also denied that she was disappointed with his poor sexual performance and that she had pestered him for sex, Grimsby Crown Court heard.

Uddin, 45, of Augusta Street, Grimsby, denies rape and an alternative charge of sexual assault on August 21.

The prosecution at Crown Court claims that the 36-year-old woman was drinking by herself on Cleethorpes beach after 11.45pm when Uddin asked her for sex.

She was a lesbian and would not have wanted sex with him because of that, claims the prosecution, but Uddin is said to have raped her.

Continue reading at: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/grimsby-news/woman-raped-cleethorpes-beach-tells-3791220 (Source)