Tag Archives: persecution

I am Polish, I am a lesbian. I was a brave rebel, today I feel fear above all

Equality Parade

Equality Parade (photo: pexels.com)

It used to be different.
Until quite recently, I was a courageous rebel. I wanted to go out into the streets, shout, protest, write letters, petitions, manifest, and give in. I had that energy, courage, strength. I was proud of it.
Today is simply bad.
I wake up in a country where every day someone compares me to a paedophile. I turn on the internet and see an ad for a newspaper supplement in the form of stickers with the words: “LGBT free zone”. A wave of fear floods me. Just anxiety, not anger, no anger. Only fear is left in me.
(Translated)

Kiedyś było inaczej.
Jeszcze całkiem niedawno byłam odważną buntowniczką. Chciałam wychodzić na ulice, krzyczeć, protestować, pisać listy, petycje, manifestować, udzielać się. Miałam w sobie tę energię, odwagę, siłę. Byłam z tego dumna.
Dziś jest po prostu źle.
Budzę się w kraju, w którym codziennie ktoś mnie porównuje do pedofila. Włączam internet i widzę reklamę dodatku do gazety w postaci naklejek z napisem: „Strefa wolna od LGBT”. Zalewa mnie fala lęku. Właśnie lęku, nie złości, nie gniewu. Został we mnie już tylko strach.
(Original)

Continue reading at: http://www.wysokieobcasy.pl/wysokie-obcasy/7,66725,25016507,ja-polka-ja-lesbijka-bylam-odwazna-buntowniczka-dzis-czuje.html?disableRedirects=true (Source)

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Turin, Italy: Lesbians targeted for months with swastikas inside their apartment building

Italy

The swastika with a cross, the inscription “lesbians” and the initials of the two women.
A real persecution against Daniela and Cristina. Insults and threats engraved on the landing of the condominium where they live, in the Lingotto area in Turin.

After months of desperation, the couple decided to install cameras in front of the apartment to feel safer but the situation has not improved.
At the end of April, the couple turned to the Arcigay Torino circle “Ottavio Mai” and to the core of the Carabinieri of Torino Borgata. Together with the Councillor for the Rights of the City of Turin Marco Giusta, they contacted the administrator to request the removal of the writings and the installation of a sign to make the graffiti authors stop, threatening sanctions. Even this attempt, despite the support of the administrator and the condominiums, has not been useful.
(Translated)

La svastica con una croce, la scritta “lesbiche” e le iniziali delle due donne.
Una vera persecuzione nei confronti di Daniela e Cristina. Insulti e minacce incise sul proprio pianerottolo di casa del condominio dove abitano, in zona Lingotto a Torino.

Dopo mesi di disperazione la coppia ha deciso di installare delle telecamere davanti all’appartamento per sentirsi più al sicuro ma la situazione non è migliorata.
A fine aprile la coppia si è rivolta al circolo Arcigay Torino “Ottavio Mai” e al nucleo dei carabinieri di Torino Borgata. Insieme con l’assessore ai Diritti della Città di Torino Marco Giusta ha contattato l’amministratore per chiedere la cancellazione delle scritte e l’installazione di un cartello per far desistere gli autori a continuare, minacciando sanzioni. Anche questo tentativo, nonostante il sostegno dell’amministratore e dei condomini, non è servito.
(Original)

Continue reading at: http://www.gaypost.it/torino-perseguitate-nel-proprio-palazzo-coppia-lesbica-e-costretta-alla-telesorveglianza (Source)

Update: Argentinian lesbian jailed for one year for resisting lesbophobic arrest

Mariana Gomez Rocio Girat

Kissing is not a crime, Enough of lesbian-hate and Absolution for Marian could be read on the multicoloured placards that dozens of activists held from ten in the morning in front of Criminal Court No. 26 of Buenos Aires. On the International LGBTIQ + Pride Day , they awaited the verdict in the trial against Mariana Gómez, accused of resistance to authority and minor injuries to the police who arrested her when she kissed her wife, Rocío Girat, and smoked in the lobby of a station. The festive chants that had been heard for almost two hours were transformed into a growing murmur of disbelief: Judge Marta Yungaro sentenced Gomez to one year in prison. She will not go to jail, but she must pay the costs of the trial.
(Translated)

“Besar no es delito”, “Basta de lesboodio” y “Absolución para Marian” podía leerse en las pancartas multicolor que desde las diez de la mañana sostenían decenas de activistas frente al Tribunal Oral Criminal Nº26 de Buenos Aires. En el Día Internacional del Orgullo LGBTIQ+, aguardaban el veredicto en el juicio contra Mariana Gómez, acusada de resistencia a la autoridad y lesiones leves a la policía que la arrestó cuando se besaba con su mujer, Rocío Girat, y fumaba en el vestíbulo de una estación. Los cánticos festivos que se habían escuchado durante casi dos horas se transformaron en un murmullo creciente de incredulidad: la jueza Marta Yungaro condenó a Gómez a un año de prisión en suspenso. No irá a la cárcel, pero debe pagar las costas del juicio.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://elpais.com/sociedad/2019/06/28/actualidad/1561744180_707819.html (Source)

Original article: Argentina: lesbian singled out for smoking after kissing partner to face court

Algeria: Lesbians killed to cleanse the family name

algeria
“A woman, in Algeria, is a shame for the family, because she is always expected to do something bad. The culture, the mentality, is like that in my country. The woman is the shame of the family. And if you are a lesbian, you are even worse,” explains Amina.

-When you talk about killing, is it literally?

-Literally. They say that they cleanse the family name. The law does not allow it, but they accept going to jail in order to cleanse the family name.

Homosexuality does not exist in Algeria. You hide or suffer the consequences. “The gays are beaten by the streets, all hit,” says Amina, “and they record it to upload it to social networks, proud of hitting a homosexual person.” “There are no women. Or they are not visible. Because if they knew their sexuality, they would be killed.”
(Translated)
“Una mujer, en Argelia, es una vergüenza para la familia, porque siempre se espera que haga algo malo. La cultura, la mentalidad, es así en mi país. La mujer es la vergüenza de la familia. Y si eres lesbiana, eres aún peor”, explica Amina.

—Cuando hablas de matar, ¿es literalmente?

—Literalmente. Dicen que así limpian el apellido de la familia. La ley no lo permite, pero ellos aceptan entrar en la cárcel con tal de limpiar el apellido.

La homosexualidad no existe en Argelia. Se oculta o se sufren las consecuencias. “A los gais les dan palizas por las calles, todos le pegan —apunta Amina—; y lo graban para subirlo a las redes sociales pavoneándose orgullosos de pegarle a una persona homosexual”. “Mujeres no hay. O no se ven. Porque de saberse su condición, las matarían”, zanja.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://es-us.noticias.yahoo.com/historia-amina-refugiada-argelia-lesbiana-060000747.html (Source)

Lesbian activist Gerald Hayo: corrective rape is a common practice in Kenya

Gerald Hayo

Kenya is one of the 70 countries in the world that as of March 2019 criminalizes having sex with someone of the same sex. Currently, being gay in Kenya is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. The situation is aggravated if you are a lesbian woman, as is the case of Gerald Hayo, who survived a multiple corrective rape organized by her own family. The activist is now dedicating her life to fighting for the rights of lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women in the African country. Fire!!, the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Barcelona, ​​has premiered the documentary Now you are woman by journalist Alba Muñoz, in which Hayo tells her story to the world. At a time when talking involves exposing oneself, Hayo wants to break with the systematic silence that makes invisible the violations of human rights and the inequality suffered by Kenyan women who do not follow the mandate of heterosexuality.
(Translated)

Kenia es uno de los 70 países del mundo que a fecha de marzo de 2019 criminaliza tener relaciones con alguien de tu mismo sexo. Actualmente, ser homosexual en Kenia se castiga con hasta 14 años de prisión. La situación se agrava si eres una mujer lesbiana, como es el caso de Gerald Hayo, que sobrevivió a una violación múltiple correctiva organizada por su propia familia. La activista dedica ahora su vida a luchar por los derechos de las mujeres lesbianas, bisexuales y queer (LBQ) del país africano. Fire!!, la Muestra Internacional de cine Gay y Lésbico de Barcelona, ha estrenado … el documental Now you are woman de la periodista Alba Muñoz, en el que Hayo relata su historia al mundo. En un momento en el que hablar supone exponerse, Hayo quiere romper con el silencio sistemático que invisibiliza las vulneraciones de derechos humanos y la desigualdad que sufren las mujeres keniatas que no siguen el mandato de la heterosexualidad.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://www.elsaltodiario.com/kenia/gerald-hayo-las-violaciones-correctivas-a-mujeres-lbq-son-una-practica-comun-en-kenia- (Source)

I carry a list of their names

Mersiha

Mersiha (left) (Image courtesy of Dr Danica Anderson, with Mersiha’s permission)

 

A guest post by Dr Danica Anderson

I carry a list of their names

I will name her Mersiha for purposes of protection.

She must have been standing by the tall war weary grey and riddled with bullets apartment building. Otherwise, she would not have been able to unexpectedly show up in Sana Koric’s photo shop located on the ground floor of the building.

The door swung open making the bell ring out aggressively.  My back was to her – it is a shield to pitch away the spewing incoherent words that came out her mouth.

It felt strange with Sana standing at her register smoking on her cigarette as if the door being ripped open violently was normal. It was even stranger with Sana calmly greeting her as she would any customer or person- you know the typical question ‘how are you’ but didn’t want to be bothered with any answer.

Sana’s response made me turned around to look at intruder.  For a moment, I thought I didn’t hear the spewing incoherent words.  But, Mersiha’s agitation was shown with her arms raised and flaying with no apparent target. Somewhere in that moment her eyes locked with mine despite her being imprisoned in her mental illness tirade.   Mersiha saw I was listening intently to all she said and all her movements without fear.

I could not but help to see her and this registered deeply upon her.

But, I was questioning internally how this forgotten invisible woman is smothered with precursory greetings and ignored.  I wondered hasn’t there been someone who was questioning and curious about her life and how she got into a state.  I know in the aftermath of war, the small town- Novi Travnik being invisible meant everyone walks by her as if she did not exist.  Or murder her for being lesbian.

By seeing and listening to her, I discovered her collection of spewed incoherent sentences are underlined with an intelligence.

Abruptly, she said, “you do not live here….. I can talk to you”.

In that one extremely touching statement she said to me pointed unquestionably to the fact she was shunned and swirled in an ocean of silence.

I was vulnerably placed in the bearing witness mode in an instant.

I, also, knew if Mersiha could respond to me in those few moments a healing social collective would provide the environment for this woman to accept the trauma she experienced and still endures.

I hesitate with medications since I knew she certainly did not get any with the humanitarian aid agencies nor the money to have meds consistently. My internal witness was chattering that I had no medications to give only my clinical assessment and being a sister to women in need.   I already witnessed how lesbians are prescribed more anti-depressants and anti- psychotics which in all likelihood created the mental illnesses in the male medical model[1].  The male medical model is a pathologization another form swearing allegiances for patriarchal authority that rally to save normal[2] as heterosexual.

I knew to expect the unexpected in the region that experienced 100 years of war. Basically, I am in a war zone that never ends the hate and violence.  I knew from so many experiences in the killing fields across the globe that knowing their hidden truth can be very costly especially when their hidden truth is liberated.

I learned in each of these experiences that it’s critical to illustrate the importance of bearing witness especially in environments of hate and violence.  It allows the survivors to struggle with a vocabulary and relate their herstories to those who stand ready to hear their hidden truth.

I am not talking about testimonies either. Many war women crimes and war survivors encountered the modern day courts and rule of law call for testimony, a word that has its origins of males swearing on their testicles for their allegiances in patriarchal rule[3].  Given the patriarchal and manmade law there is no room for women’s breasts of nurturance and wombs to birth their narratives in order to complete the process of their survival.  Her life story is incapable of being repossessed and reclaimed.

The result is that the women survivors live in a dangerous hideout unable to leave and unable to have a coherent, integrated narrative of what happened and continues to happen for her.  Women survivors are erased and made invisible in the testimonies since they are without testicles to prove their truths of realities are self-evident.

I looked at Sana standing at her register steadily smoking.  I thought of the some twenty Bosnian Muslim women war crimes and war survivors I work with in Novi Travnik.   The female social collective is inherent with those women but many were uneducated, older women who lived through WWII and the Balkan War who are certainly strongly steeped in Bosnian male dogma for testicles swearing allegiances.

Sana’s coolly smoking her cigarette and warm greetings to her enables a silence that in the end kills female social collective solidarity.   The killing silence is a jailer that has thrown away the keys to the cage. No matter of support, love and care is nurtured and if done it is in a repressed underground passive behavior.  My own hidden truth and that of the Bosnian female social collective I work with and love dearly are, also, complicit in this killing silence of women who are mentally and/or physically broken down.

It is more than that, I would discover later after hearing Mersiha’s story from Sana that “she was a crazed lesbian woman”.  I cringed when Sana spoke of what happened to her during the Balkan War.  I asked Sana why it matters that this woman is a lesbian when the violence towards women includes all daughters.

To remain authentic to myself and for these Bosnian women war crimes and war survivors I worked on their interpretation because it invariably plays a decisive formative role in who one comes to be, and in how a person lives their own life.  The so-called crazed woman according to the women war crimes and war survivors, the woman I encountered in Sana’s photo shop became untouchable – a lesbian that was not allow her to experience the traumatic events in her life without a witness, or her internal witness and she became trapped and warped in mental incapacities.

It matters because the murdering of lesbians sets an environment of terrorization for all women. We have mothers and their lesbian daughters who desperately want their daughters’ sexual agency quiet and unheard of to avoid the courts and rule of law call for testimony.    Women need to go deeper given that the alibi or being repatriated back home is the absence of death.  It is a quality of knowledge about their traumatic experiences and its relationship to struggle with death anxiety. In the end, it means being an insincere witness to themselves and her. We are unable to witness the violence in silencing lesbian’s reality of living in a world of hate.

To this day no one would want to publicly admit Mersiha is lesbian, it is for a very good reason.   Of the few lesbians I have met outside of Sarajevo city, the rural regions have many lesbians who have disappeared or camouflaged themselves. The same alibi is given when I ask where she is.  The universal response is – she has been repatriated back home.

The lesbians I searched for are the ‘disappeared’ and most likely murdered and tortured and raped.

I carry the names of lesbians asking authorities (all male by the way) – where did these women go?  Novi Travnik’s mayor, a short man in his early fifties told me right after I heatedly stated that these women have disappeared, “I knew we were in recovery when Novi Travnik had a beauty salon.  Maybe she will come back and get her hair done.”   I will spare you the expletives in my response to him.  But, I did say sramota- shame on you.

I ask the towns’ people randomly about the names of women who have gone missing.   The same response is given.   I walk away with bowed shoulders and in the beginning I would cry but now my female rage, a social justice burns ferociously.

Sana told me Mersiha and her partner traveled to many places before the war.   During the Balkan war Sana reported her partner left – abandoned her.   It was then, she had a break from reality.

Mersiha left her apartment and the door open.   Since it was war the entire apartment was ransacked.  Sana did not know where she went only that she was in town.   I took this to mean she lived on the streets.  It is unknown how her days were spent during the war and up until the time I encountered her in 2004.

After Mersiha left Sana’s photo office, I turned to Sana asking how the women I have come to know allow this happen.   I said to make this right, she needs Kolo Sumejia- a social collective and let’s work on that and see about getting her a place to live.  Of course, it was more of a demand.

I have a female rage shrouded with female social justice which set up my bravery to ask the small group of elderly women I work with to nurture and heal.  I knew I was shaming them- rather I was holding the women accountable for our killing silence which is painful for them and me.

Within few years, I returned to Novi Travnik and there Mersiha was sitting on a bench with an older woman, a friend who now share their apartment together.   While it was not a Lesbian partnership it was woman to woman, a female social justice that the women war crimes and war survivors in Novi Travnik do under the radar of male dominated society.

She smiled at me and waved her hand for me to come over to the bench.  I walked over and could not help smiling.   She introduced me to her friend saying she is better and on medications.   I turned to leave and she touched my arm.   I turned back and she said, you knew I existed.  You listened.

She is the only lesbian I found alive on my list of names.  I realized the female social collective did not give me an alibi – ‘repatriated back home’ when I asked after her.   I still ask about the other names on my list but it’s been over 18 years now.

What I learned after decades treating trauma across the globe is that I can’t change the world, erase the killing silences or save everyone.   My small act, my one response to witness and listen to one woman rippled into a female social collective that ended up healing her and many others.   I know it is only one name out of my list of names, one encounter and a dialogue that powerfully heals the experiences from those who have been victimized or subjected to it but, I heard a deeper truth not the killing silence or that alibi that she has been repatriated back home.

 

Bosnian Female Collective; a Human Geography

In Novi Travnik[4], Bosnia Herzegovina, I created the female social collective with the Bosnian women war crimes and war survivors.  The women named the social collective Kolo[5] Sumejia.  Sumejia is from the Quran, a female martyr.  The Ahmica-Vitez grandmothers and the Kolo Sumejia are the female social collectives where I would learn how they heal trauma and witness their grief and our own grief at the same time.

Only a few kilometers away from Novi Travnik is the village Ahmica-Vitez, the site of war crimes. Similar to Novi Travnik, a street divides the Ahmica Muslim enclave from the Croatians[6].  150 elderly and mostly women and children to infants were slaughtered in the Muslim morning call to prayer[7].  The war crimes here at Ahmica-Vitez was done by Croats not Serbs.

The human geography of the Balkan War and war crimes would have the grandmothers out in the field with their livestock which saved their lives but not their children and grandchildren.

If you drive another five kilometers away from Novi Travnik it is startlingly to the point of disbelief since Travnik is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe.  Travnik is smacked in the middle of Mt. Vlasic’s soaring cliffs.  One road is the only entrance and exit that leads to Mt. Vlasic.  Blue Waters rage down from a stout Tower with stone walls witch’s castle and flows underground and then emerges above ground into Travnik. Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand drank coffee at the Blue Waters café in 1914.  The Mosque has its minaret on the wrong side due to the raging blue waters that roar through the town.

Mt Vlasic serves as the backbone of the town, actually the protector of the town. And the thousands of internal displaced people (IDPs) – refugees in their own country would flee to Travnik.

During the Balkan War (1991-1993) over 5,000 women- IDPs, refugees and those from the rape camps fled to Travnik[8].  Snipers were able to kill some. The women talked about how their mothers and grandmothers’ covered up their windows and knew how to outlast the sieges and sniper kills to the market via their wood stoves and their fermented and home canned goods.

In other words, after three world wars -100 years of war – intergenerational trauma conjures up the survivor skills not thriving skills. It also conjures up the women’s silence on their own daughters’ sexual agency, not just Muslim women but, especially, if lesbians or haven been raped.

The rape survivors knew from before the war how Travnik was geographical situated to protect IDPs – refugees.   We do know in the Balkan War rape camps held elder women- mostly educated with doctorates and/or held high positions with a majority of Muslim young women.  There is talk that many of the educated women were lesbians but it is never spoken about or referred to in most media and research.

From my kolo informed trauma work not just in Bosnia but across the globe, lesbians’ trauma events and trauma response comes from their unassimilable experiences since their commitment to the truth of their realities is a journey with the ultimate difference-the otherness of living and otherness of death.

Two outstanding elements stood out for me in the literature about these rape camps showing the killing silence; no mention or few children of rape were born and no mention of Lesbian women.   The extremes of what women endured and lesbians are not in the written historical accounts and if chronicled it is rare.  The otherness of women’s lives, their sexual identity and sexual agency cannot efface the gynocide (mass murder of women).  But it does demand a repossession of her witnessing her loss and suffering when she recounts the experience of otherness, separation and loss.

Since, there is no mention or witnessing lesbians among the 5,000 women rape survivors and refugees I decided to detail traces of their lesbian lives at the local communities I found myself in. Even the UN statistics did not have Lesbians enumerated and they were most likely folded into the women category[9].  Of course it is fine to have lesbians noted as women – true women who in my tacit knowledge[10] is our first mother who had to be lesbian and all women have the capacity for parthenogenesis[11] (self-birthing).

While the women category for Lesbians is accurate what occurs with this specific exclusion is how violence against lesbians in the former Yugoslavia and in the Balkan war and rape camps is excused and not held accountable.   It is a killing silence- a gynocide given a green light to this very day.

I do know that lesbian human geography before the war and during the war and in the aftermath is a continuous hell.  Yet, something did change in the aftermath of war when I and the Bosnian women war crimes and war survivors acknowledged that she exists along with a female social collective that committed to witness her life and their lives.  The killing silence is eliminated with the female solidarity and collective that allowed for witnessing her existence, her trauma while being in sisterhood.

Similar to the geographical extreme contrast between the Ahmica-Vitez, Novi Travnik to the mother town Travnik’s beauty, Travnik gives the impression of not being scarred or severely wounded from the century of wars. But the hidden truth are women’s suicides by flying off their dreary apartment buildings to their deaths.  This occurred in Novi Travnik-actually everywhere in the aftermath of the war.  The killing silence had their suicides classified as accidental.

At the very least, Novi Travnik’s ghetto like aftermath fits it’s an ugly munitions factory – a target during the Balkan War.  The ugly munitions factory is where Mersiha worked as an engineer.  Her human geography and environment are the backdrops of smudged soot colored apartment buildings before the war and after the war.  The buildings’ acne are the grenade impacts creating craters accompanied with millions of bullet holes that make no pattern- bullet holes are pitched in every direction.  The environment and backdrop of the buildings is why I never saw Mersiha standing near the building when she stormed into Sana’s photo shop.

I realized how the environment and human geography of hatred and violence camouflaged Mersiha physically and also spoke of how blindness is entrenched in the killing silence.

One half of the town is Muslim and the other half is Croatian.  Actually, the main street is the dividing line where Croat soldiers and snipers would lean out their windows and shoot at the Muslim population.  How she survived the snipers in the surrounding hillsides killing anyone attempting to go get food is unknown.  The Croatian side looks like another town in Eastern Europe- unscathed and plugged into the western world where funding and clean up was done in about 5 years.   Not so, for the Muslim side.  A cup of coffee on the Croatian side is about $2.00 but on the Muslim side 50 cents to a dollar[12].

Since the homosexuals are the preferred male gender it stands to reason that most lesbians and women are the hardest hit in the century of wars.   This is made possible with the governing entities and military to include the International criminal court for Yugoslavia tribunal[13].  The latter, blames the feminists for their advocacy of women’s sexual agency.   This did not stymie the use of public space and talk about the trauma endured by lesbians. Lepa Mladenovic, Serbian feminist activist wrote to Women in Black group Joan Nestle:

“From the beginning of wars in this region from ’91 I felt that I have to invent Ten thousand ways to let my lesbian desire breathe. At some moment during the last 8 years it was not easy for me to put in words how do I feel when making love with a woman and in the back there is a radio with the news of war. Killed, or expelled or other fascist acts. In my room, I would not be able to stand up from the bed, leave the desired bodies and switch off the news, also because I thought the respect to the killed I will show by not switching off the radio.”[14]

However, homosexuality was the door that opened to public awareness for the former Yugoslav provinces Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia in 1977.  According to Tajana Greif, an author (LL25- History of Slovenian Lesbian movement) and LGBTI activist reported ““It is only after that that homosexuality was able to enter public discourse and public space.”

Notice that Bosnia Hercegovina is not listed. The Balkan War genocide and gynocide to rape camps forms a denial narrative by not listing in the statistical women categories lesbians.   In fact, there is perhaps a shred of historical narratives or some witnessing that declares lesbians were targeted in the bloody war.

Lepa Mladenovic resisted the temptation to push away the news on the radio and to not fall into the killing silences.  Instead Lepa reconstitutes the lesbian desire to breathe and make love with a woman, a witnessing of her own trauma along with many lesbians in the radio broadcast that most likely did not cite lesbians.  What mattered was that Lepa knew from the concrete details that in the women category was the lesbian category.


Dr. Danica Borkovich Anderson founded and directed The Kolo: Women’s Cross Cultural Collaboration (The Kolo: WCCC) focusing on intersecting women’s collaboration, representation, and advocacy for social justice to halt violence against women internationally and nationally. The Kolo: WCCC promotes and provides women’s trauma counseling, treatment, and gives the opportunity to “train the trainer,” preparing lay persons to facilitate the ongoing work. The Kolo: WCCC presents a feminist perspective coupled with cross cultural practices that enable women in war torn regions, such as Africa (Sub-Sahara), Afghanistan, Bosnia, India, and Sri Lanka to become self-sustainable in their communities.


 

[1] Sexual heatmap- “But something proverbial hit the fan when the press release included the fact that there were early and consistent reports that antidepressants could change sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality. Impossible we were told. You will lose all credibility making these claims.

The first report of this effect is tucked away in the very first English language article on the discovery of the antidepressant effects of imipramine by Roland Kuhn. Imipramine we now know is a potent serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Kuhn was a country doctor, more a psychotherapist than a psychopharmacologist. He was conservative in attitude. His explanation for what was going on was that some homosexual behaviors stemmed from depression and relieving this helped “normalize” other behaviors. He didn’t celebrate the issue but he may have been pleased – in line with dominant thinking at that time.” https://rxisk.org/the-sexual-heatmap-2/

[2] Saving Normal- “Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life as ‘part mea culpa, part j’accuse, part cri de coeur’.Frances’ arguments about the dangers of inflating psychiatric conditions and psychiatric diagnosis are persuasive – maybe more so because he honestly admits to his own role in developing such an inflation. He is keenly aware of the risks of diagnostic inflation ‘because of painful firsthand experience’, he writes. ‘Despite our efforts to tame excessive diagnostic exuberance, DSM-IV had since been misused to blow up the diagnostic bubble’. He is particularly concerned about the exponential increase in the diagnosis of psychiatric conditions in children, writing: ‘We failed to predict or prevent three new false epidemics of mental disorder in children – autismattention deficit, and childhood bipolar disorder. And we did nothing to contain the rampant diagnostic inflation that was already expanding the boundary of psychiatry far beyond its competence.’ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/reclaiming-childhood/201407/review-saving-normal-0

[3] “In ancient Rome, two men taking an oath of allegiance held each other’s testicles, and men held their own testicles as a sign of truthfulness while bearing witness in a public forum. The Romans found a word to describe this practice but didn’t invent the practice itself. Other primates had already been doing this for millions of years. Two male baboons who cooperate with each other by forming aggressive alliances against other baboons frequently fondle each other’s genitalia. This behavior has nothing to do with sex but it’s a social ritual that primatologists call a “greeting.” The behavior of ancient Romans and male baboons can be explained by the Handicap Principle, an evolutionary theory according to which the most effective way to obtain reliable information about a partner’s commitment in a relationship – whether a political alliance, a romantic relationship, or a business partnership – is to impose a cost on the partner and assess the partner’s willingness to pay it.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/games-primates-play/201112/testify-comes-the-latin-word-testicle

[4] I do want you to know that “Novi” translated from Bosnian means new in English.  The reason for naming it Novi Travnik is due to the mother town named Travnik located about five kilometers away.

[5] The Serbo-Croatian word kolo is very old and is most likely older than Sanskrit.  The kolo original meaning is the wheel and the Slavs call their round folk dances- kolo.  It also means to be in a circle.   I selected this word to evade the patriarchal symbols and return to the true meaning of the circle.

[6] The ethnic divides in former Yugoslavia: Croatians are Catholic, Serbians are Serbian Orthodox and Muslims are Bosniaks.

[7] The Ahmići massacre was the culmination of the Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing committed by the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia’s political and military leadership on Bosniak civilians during the Croat-Bosniak War in April 1993

[8] “The seizure of Jajce appeared to confirm the Serbian leaders’ determination to press forward with their offensive, despite pledges to seek peace and to stop fighting for control of wide areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina where Serbs were a minority before the war. In Jajce and the surrounding county, Serbs accounted for 19 percent of the population of 45,000 people in the 1991 census, with Muslims accounting for 39 per cent and Croats 35 percent.

Muslims and Croats were among the refugees streaming into Travnik today down the only road not blocked by Serbian troops, a dirt track used by Jajce’s defenders to run supply convoys through the mountains at night. A BBC reporter said that the refugees were arriving in Travnik, 20 miles southeast of Jajce, covered in mud, wet from heavy rains, and limping with fatigue after spending most of two days on the trek. The reporter, Alan Little, said in a radio account that some refugees reported that Serbian fighters opened fire on the refugees from positions overlooking the road. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/31/world/30-mile-refugee-line-is-seen-in-bosnia.html

[9] Bosnia-Hercegovina continue the onslaught of omitting or excluding Lesbians- “Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo Open Centre, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights organization, documented 23 cases of hate speech and incitement of violence and hate and two crimes and incidents motivated by prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the first three months of 2016. The reaction of authorities to these incidents is generally inadequate. There was no progress in police investigations into the 2014 attack on a film festival that Sarajevo Open Centre organized.

In its annual progress on Bosnia and Herzegovina published in November, the European Commission highlighted the failure of authorities to amend the constitution, in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and to implement rulings by the Constitutional Court. The report also identified inadequate legal protection for LGBTI persons and the failure of authorities to protect adequately the rights of minorities and to ensure media freedom.” https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/23/human-rights-watch-country-profiles-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity.”

[10] Wendy Wheeler’s The Whole Creature Book-Wheeler argues that art and culture advance through intuited embodied knowledge. Tacit bodily knowledge- our genome and thousands of generations of ancestors’ lived experiences. https://books.google.com/books?id=LFDEK8QyNhkC&pg=PA102&lpg=PA102&dq=Wendy+Wheeler+tacit+knowledge+definition&source=bl&ots=DL4so92U3e&sig=ACfU3U1vLriIQlHrx0kcc6JIaOSVpSTlGw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwia-9ymgrrgAhXpr1QKHff9AWsQ6AEwAnoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=Wendy%20Wheeler%20tacit%20knowledge%20definition&f=false

[11] “It’s a theme as old as science fiction: A world without men. The story is a familiar one: lesbians living together in an all-women utopia, loving, raising families and their own food. No men are needed, even in the creation of children. There’s a word for creating children without men: parthenogenesis, but it’s never applied to humans. Parthenogenesis, or virgin birth, is defined as reproduction without fertilization. It occurs naturally in some plant and insect species. It does not occur naturally in mammals, but like many other procedures developed in modern medicine, it can now occur with the assistance of scientists.” https://www.liveabout.com/parthenogenesis-do-we-need-men-anymore-2170724

“The newspaper article unfortunately mentioned that such children would have to be daughters (it would have been interesting to see whether or not any sons were claimed, but, if so, they could not possibly be parthenoforms). Ultimately, 19 women presented themselves along with their daughters as examples of “virgin birth.” Eleven of these did not profess that no father existed, but were under the mistaken impression that the search was for a hymen intact after conception (but long since broken in birth). The remaining eight pairs were examined by Balfour-Lynn (1956), who blood typed mothers and daughters and found antigens present in six daughters that were absent in their mothers, clear evidence of genetic differences. In another pair, the mother had blue eyes and the daughter brown eyes, indicating genetic differences. In the single remaining case, “Mrs. Alpha and daughter,” there was apparent genetic identity in blood groups and several other genetically determined traits including electrophoretic analysis of serum. The probability of such a close match between a mother and daughter produced by heterosexual reproduction was less than one chance in a hundred (P < .01).” http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/thoc/virginbirth.pdf

[12] In my book Blood & Honey: The Secret Herstory- Balkan Women War Crimes and War Survivors, the narratives of Bosnian women war crimes and war survivors.

[13] Challenging Bosnian Women’s Identity as Rape Victims, as Unending Victims: The ‘Other’ Sex in Times of War “Still, while the ICTY‟s view of the use of rape in the Bosnian war was groundbreaking and lauded as a great success by many feminists, Engle argues that on some level the ICTY, influenced by feminist thinking, has inadvertently functioned to limit the narratives about women in war, denying much of women’s sexual and political agency (Engle, 2008, 942). Engle contends that many feminists treated at least some women as victims only, rather than as people capable of political and sexual agency during the war (Engle, 2005, 780). My research was prompted by the recognition that many important narratives of women’s agency in times of war have become silenced and ignored” https://vc.bridgew.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1027&context=jiws

[14] ibid

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:

TO KILL A WOMAN, YOU DON’T NEED MUCH – THE STORY OF A CHECHEN LESBIAN WHO FLED FROM RUSSIA

To kill a lesbian in Chechnya

My family learned about my orientation from my girlfriend. She told my family – I do not know why. She is not a Chechen. After that, I started having problems, and I stopped communicating with her. I ran away from home twice. The first time I ran away, I was actively searched. Where I am hiding, my girlfriend told my relatives. After that, one of the brothers came for me, and we went home. My mother was unhappy with this. She told her brother: “Why did you bring her home? You should have shot her somewhere in the forest, as we agreed. ” But the brother did not do it – my father forbade him to do it.
(Translated)

О моей ориентации домашние узнали от моей девушки. Она рассказала моей семье – не знаю зачем. Она не чеченка. После этого у меня начались проблемы, и я перестала с ней общаться. Я дважды убегала из дома. В первый раз, когда я убежала, меня активно искали. Где я скрываюсь, моим родственникам рассказала моя девушка. После этого за мной приехал один из братьев, и мы поехали домой. Моя мама была недовольна этим. Она сказала брату: «Зачем ты привез ее домой? Ты должен был ее где-нибудь в лесу расстрелять, как мы и договаривались». Но брат этого не сделал – мой отец запретил ему это делать.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://www.currenttime.tv/a/chechen-lgbt-refugee-monologue/29769095.html

Brazil: murders of lesbians increased by 237% in 3 years

marielle-franco-and-monica-benicio.jpg

Between 2014 and 2017 the murders of lesbian women increased by 237%.  The study ” Murdered by lesbophobia – The stories that no one has” made by “We – Feminists Dissidences” collective, shows both how crimes have increased and also that in most cases the murdered women were young and black.
In Brazil, lesbian women face many dangers, it goes beyond lesbophobia, it is also machismo, misogyny and racism. “Lesbians are sexually and affectively exclusively with women, but the main lesbian killers in Brazil are men,” says Cinthia Abreu, member of the World March of Women and March of Black Women of São Paulo.
(Translated)

Entre 2014 y 2017 el asesinatos de mujeres lesbianas aumentó un 237%. El estudio “Asesinadas por lesbofobia – Las historias que nadie cuenta”, hecho por el colectivo “Nosotras – Disidencias Feministas”, además de mostrar cómo han aumentado los crímenes demuestra que en la mayoría de los casos las mujeres asesinadas eran jóvenes y negras.
En Brasil las mujeres lesbianas se encuentran ante muchos peligros, va más allá de la lesbofobia, también es el machismo, la misoginia y el racismo. “Las lesbianas se relacionan sexual y afectivamente exclusivamente con mujeres, pero los principales asesinos de lesbianas en Brasil son hombres”, afirma Cinthia Abreu, integrante de la Marcha Mundial de Mujeres y Marcha de Mujeres Negras de São Paulo.
(Original)

Continue reading at: http://www.mirales.es/el-asesinato-a-mujeres-lesbianas-en-brasil-ha-aumentado-un-237/ (Source)

Argentina: lesbian singled out for smoking after kissing partner to face court

Argentina

The event that took place occurred around noon on Monday, October 2, 2017, when Mariana (25) went to accompany her wife Rocio Girat (23) to take a bus to the Constitución station in downtown Buenos Aires. When they arrived, it started to rain and hail, so the girls took refuge in the subway station. Mariana lit a cigarette and, according to witnesses, was not the only one. But while he was smoking, he did something else: he kissed Rocío. That was enough so that, in the midst of all the smokers, Metrovías employee José María Pérez approached only her and told her that smoking was prohibited there. She rephrased: she told him there was no sign to indicate that and remarked the fact that she was not the only person doing it. The employee of Metrovías looked for Jonatan Rojo, an officer of the City Police, with whom Mariana kept the same discussion in an increasingly elevated tone. From the beginning, the conversation with Rojo was violent: he said “kid” and he treated her as a male. “Mariana reacted to this situation and reproached them that the only reason they were reprimanding her and not the rest was because they were two women kissing each other. There were other people smoking and other people kissing, but they were the only lesbians, “said Teszkiewicz.
(Translated)

El hecho que se ventilará ocurrió cerca del mediodía del lunes 2 de octubre de 2017, cuando Mariana (25) fue a acompañar a su esposa Rocío Girat (23) a tomar un colectivo a la estación de Constitución, en el centro de Buenos Aires. Cuando llegaban, empezó a llover y a caer granizo, por lo que las chicas se refugiaron en la estación de subte. Mariana encendió un cigarrillo y, según testigos, no fue la única. Pero mientras fumaba, hizo algo más: besó a Rocío. Eso bastó para que, en medio de todos los fumadores, el empleado de Metrovías José María Pérez se acercara sólo a ella y le dijera que allí estaba prohibido fumar. Ella retrucó: le dijo que no había ningún cartel que indicara eso y remarcó el hecho de que ella no era la única persona haciéndolo. El empleado de Metrovías buscó a Jonatan Rojo, un efectivo de la Policía de la Ciudad, con el que Mariana mantuvo la misma discusión en un tono cada vez más elevado. Desde el inicio, la conversación con Rojo fue violenta: le decía “pibe” y la trataba en masculino. “Mariana reaccionó a esta situación y les recriminó que el único motivo por el que la estaban reprendiendo a ella y no al resto era porque eran dos mujeres besándose. Había otras personas fumando y otras personas besándose, pero ellas eran las únicas lesbianas”, dijo Teszkiewicz.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://www.elciudadanoweb.com/inicia-el-juicio-contra-una-joven-por-besar-a-su-pareja-en-una-estacion-de-subte/ (Source)

Update: Update: Argentinian lesbian jailed for one year for resisting lesbophobic arrest

India: Lesbian couple seeks protection from Rajasthan High Court

Map of India

JAIPUR: A lesbian couple on Tuesday approached the Rajasthan High Court seeking protection for their life and to restrain their families from forcing them to get married to men.

The girls , belonging to the backward Bairwa and Koli communities, are from the same village Gudha Ashiqpura in Dausa district.

Continue reading at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/68177532.cms  (Source)

Chechyna: little news on lesbians in latest crackdown

Listening2Lesbians has been unable to find any specific information on what is happening to Chechen lesbians, except for reports which note that both lesbians and gay men have been detained. In 2017, informations on lesbians was similarly scarce, with reports emerging later that confirmed lesbians were often trapped in the private realm, suffering double oppression as women and homosexuals.

Listening2Lesbians has reached out to advocates, seeking information on the plight of lesbians in Chechnya through this escalation in anti lesbian and gay persecution.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact us via:

2017 Listening2Lesbians articles:

 

2017 articles not previously shared on Listening2Lesbians:


chechnya 2017

A spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov,  told the Interfax news agency on Monday that the reports are “complete lies and don’t have an ounce of truth in them.” He insists that no LGBT people have been detained. But the Russian LGBT Network claims they have been helping the victims and on Monday said about 40 men and women have been detained since December and two have died as a result of torture. The detainees are believed to be kept in the same facility that was named in the 2017 reports.

First reports of the crackdown appeared on Friday, but activist did not release any details until Monday. “Widespread detentions, torture and killings of gay people have resumed in Chechnya,” Igor Kochetkov, program director at the Russian LGBT Network said. “Persecution of men and women suspected of being gay never stopped. It’s only that its scale has been changing.”

Continue reading at: https://sdgln.com/news/2019/01/14/chechnya-gay-purge-resumes-2-dead-40-custody-reports-say (Source)

Lesbian survival in rural Bundelkhand, India

deepshika (l) and abhilasha (r) in hamirpur

For the past six years, Abhilasha and Deepshika had endured forced separation, marriages to men they did not desire, humiliation and constant taunts from their families. Their “marriage by media” was the result of love, fear that their families might kill them, and confusion as they — and their lawyer — mistakenly thought that same-sex marriage was legal in India. It isn’t. In September 2018, the Indian Supreme Court judgement overturned a colonial-era law banning gay sex. The court stopped short of legalising gay marriage but, as Abhilasha and Deepshika’s story reveals, people in love are forcing a national reckoning in pockets of India long considered too parochial, socially conservative, or outright dangerous to consider the possibility that two women may want to spend the rest of their lives together.

Continue reading at: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/in-rural-bundelkhand-a-lesbian-couple-tries-to-make-a-life_in_5c3c1289e4b0922a21d62164 (Source)

2018 in review: Listening 2 Lesbians

 

By Liz Waterhouse

As 2018 draws to a close, we look back on lesbian news through the year. The articles located, written and shared were assessed by location, issue and perpetrator or source of the issue. Community responses to articles were also reviewed.

 

LOCATION

 

In 2018 Listening2Lesbians found and shared 152 stories from 35 countries of the world, with 146 of these articles country specific.

The USA was the greatest source of stories with 65 pieces, as many as the next 18 countries combined. 

The USA and United Kingdom were reported on 76 times, exactly half of the total articles for the year. This stark overrepresentation of the USA and the UK reflects various factors including a cultural dominance which is mirrored in media resourcing and output as well as our current reliance on English language media.

In the context of existing analyses of global lesbian experiences, the stories we were able to source this year do not adequately represent the reality of lesbian lives around the world.

There remain overwhelming gaps in representation, with 135 countries or territories never having been reported on by Listening2Lesbians. In 47 of these 135 unreported countries, homosexuality is strictly or defacto illegal and it is implausible that discrimination, harassment and persecution of lesbians do not exist in these countries.

The underreporting of lesbian experiences in these countries is almost certainly exacerbated by the (LGBTI and mainstream) media focus on other groups within the LGBTI community. It has been a source of frustration in 2018 how often lesbians are not included in reports on legal changes, persecution and their effects even when it is evident that they will be affected, and that their experiences will be further exacerbated by cultural expectations of and pressures on women and the punishment levied against women who do not meet these cultural norms/sex roles.

Listening2Lesbians will continue working to discover, document and share the experiences of lesbians in these countries as part of our commitment to global lesbian wellbeing.

 

ISSUES

Discrimination and harassment were the dominant issue reported in 2018, representing 47% of the global stories reported in the English media.

Physical and sexual violence against lesbians, including murder, represented 30% of reported stories with persecution a further 16%, often including stories of lesbians seeking asylum to escape it.

 

Issues reported 2018 global

This breakdown is not globally representative with the USA breakdown between discrimination and harassment and persecution significantly different to that in the rest of the world. Discrimination and harassment in the US represent 61% of the stories with persecution representing just 5%.

 

For the rest of the world, minus the USA, discrimination and harassment represent just 36% of the stories in 2018 with persecution representing 24%.

Physical or sexual violence, including murder, was reported at similar rates of approximately 30% of the stories.

It seems likely that there would be further variation across the regions of the world but there is not yet enough data held by Listening2Lesbians to assess it in greater detail.

 

HOSTILITY SOURCE

After looking at what happens to lesbians, and where, the next question is who – who is manifesting this hostility and opposition to lesbians, what is the source of the abuse.

Stories reported in 2018 were coded for source and while some of the assessments are subjective, the intent was to provide insight into the nature of the opposition to lesbians.

Global data was considered first, with governments the global primary source of hostility and opposition to lesbians (28% of the reports). Individuals and strangers were not far behind at 23% of the reports.2018 hostility source chart global

 

The USA vs global minus USA data was also assessed, with the results reflecting a similar variation as noted in the reported issue breakdown.

Mirroring the discrimination-harassment vs persecution focus of the issues reported charts, the source charts show a marked difference between the USA and other countries. It is possible that this variation would be greater with more comprehensive data for countries with potentially greater overlap with the USA (such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand).

2018 hostility source chart usa

 

 

The USA hostility source data shows relatively low levels of reported family and friend hostility, with strangers and individuals the dominant hostility source. Government is an additional notable hostility source, with discrimination the primary issue.

2018 hostility source chart global - usa

 

For countries other than the USA, Government remains the primary hostility source at 34% of stories, with persecution the dominant issue. Individuals and strangers remain a significant hostility source in non-USA countries with elevated rates of community and family- and friends-based hostility. The hostility resulting from family and friends and individuals and strangers for non-USA reports is predominantly physical violence, including murder. Persecution is notable in the community-based hostility for non-USA reports.

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The data on both the source of hostility and nature of the hostility demonstrates a difference across the global lesbian experience, with a focus on discrimination in the USA, and a significantly elevated rate of government persecution and interpersonal hostility in other countries.

Additional data in future years will allow for enhanced analysis of these variations.

While there remains social and legal hostility in a variety of countries, the situation of lesbians in countries with profound violent social opposition and government persecution is evidently of a different nature to that of lesbians facing harassment and discrimination, with civil remedies available to them and a state which will not punish them on reporting a crime.

Civil remedies and greater community acceptance do not appear to have resolved the issue of interpersonal violence which remains consistent at approximately 30% of reports across the board. An assessment of the magnitude or severity of the interpersonal violence cannot be made with the current data.

RESPONSE TO THE NEWS

In 2018, the Listening2Lesbians story with the most individual views was California: Court update on alleged murder of lesbian couple and adult child.

The most shared blog post (from WordPress) was U.S: Man Breaks Woman’s Spine in Anti-Lesbian Hate Crime.

The Facebook post with the greatest engagement was the personally devastating announcement of my partner and Listening2Lesbians powerhouse Lisa Mallet’s death: Listening2Lesbians Mourns loss of Lisa Mallett.

IN SUMMARY

The pattern of engagement with Listening2Lesbians stories shows that violent individual attacks garner the most attention, particularly where those attacks occur in the first world. It was notable that, as in previous years, some significant stories of personal trauma and persecution did not appear to capture the imagination of Listening2Lesbians readership, mirroring a phenomenon well established in the mainstream media.

Crimes and hostility against lesbians seem under reported relative to the mainstream and LGBTI populations in both media sectors which is broadly in line with previously identified trends. The stories which were reported predominantly focus on crimes against lesbians in the English speaking first world countries. Additional stories were located through thorough reviews of English-speaking local media around the world.

In addition to sex, race and class remain significant factors in what is reported (and how), and also appear to influence the community response to those reports. Social and legal structures which prevent lesbians from reporting crimes and hostility against them exacerbate these tendencies, with language barriers inhibiting a deeper investigation of the experiences of lesbians as reported in the non-English media landscape.

As with reporting on crimes against women more generally, there remains little interest in reporting and responding to institutional, family or communal violence or persecution, which appears to be the dominant global lesbian experience as reported in 2018 once the USA data is excluded.

Listening2lesbians remains committed to broadening the information reported on the global lesbian experience, with our focus remaining on seeking to highlight the experiences of profoundly marginalised lesbian communities around the world.

 

Contact information:

Liz@listening2lesbians.com 

 

Posts from 2018:

 

We need your help – missing voices

 

Help wanted 4.png

By Liz Waterhouse

Listening2lesbians has a mission of reporting on violence and discrimination against lesbians globally.

While this sounds like a simple task, assessing what we have been able to find in the last few years indicates that accessing news about crimes against lesbians is far from simple, with multiple barriers preventing us from being able to present a comprehensive picture of global lesbian experiences.

 

WHAT IS REPORTED OR PUBLISHED?

 

There is very little information being published about what is happening to lesbians around the world if we compare what is reported on an ongoing basis with what is found by those writers analysing the situation in depth.

Even for the countries with the most information available, invariably white dominated English speaking countries (the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada), the information is limited and piecemeal. Based on the news we see, and the patterns of how it is reported,  the communities who face significant additional problems due to overlapping axes of oppression, such as lesbians of colour and lesbians with a disability, are additionally disregarded by the authorities and/or the media.

This is no surprise because we know that many lesbians do not or cannot report violence or harassment for cultural, social and legal reasons. It is not safe for many lesbians to report their experiences, and around the world, reporting their experiences will open lesbians up to harassment and persecution.

When violence and harassment does get reported to authorities and it makes its way to the media, the following filters seem to apply:

  • Much violence and harassment against lesbians is not readily identifiable as such and many victims may play down or hide their sexuality in reporting to authorities even if it is a dominant factor in the crime, including under pressure from families.
  • Violence and harassment against lesbians is seemingly under reported by local media AS a crime against lesbans, unless it is salacious, extreme or backs up an existing widespread (often lesbophobic, also racial) bias.
  • Crimes against lesbians are often reported by the midia in ways which do not allow us to readily identify their sexuality and the extent to which sexuality is relevant to the crime.
  • Where lesbian news is reported locally it isn’t often picked up by international news sites unless it is (again) salacious, extreme or backs up an existing widespread (including  lesbophobic, also racial) bias.
  • LGBT media sites show little or no interest in lesbian news, again unless it is salacious, extreme or backs up an existing widespread bias.

Across the world there are some countries for which there is significant reporting (such as South Africa), which reflects both their rampant crime rate against lesbians (and women more generally) and the wide spread use of English in their media.

That leaves 135 out of 209 countries and territories for which we have not yet found a single news article in real time by December 2018.

We know that the absence of news reports does not indicate an absence of persecution of lesbians because homosexuality is illegal or defacto illegal in 47 of those countries.

This means we know that there are many communities of lesbians who are entirely silenced, whose experiences we know far too little about but whose experiences we need to be listening to because they remain persecuted.

 

AVAILABLE NEWS SOURCES

 

To try to find every available article on violence against lesbians, Listening2lesbians scans every news item from the following news sources, every day:

 

Google searches for:

  • Homophobia
  • homophobic
  • Gender and sexuality diverse
  • Gay woman
  • Gay women
  • Gender non conforming
  • Gender nonconformity
  • Lesbian
  • Same-sex
  • SASOD (Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination)
  • SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity)
  • Violence against women

 

News articles and blogs on Feedly including:

  • Advocate.com
  • AfterEllen
  • Alturi.org
  • Big Boo Butch
  • Curve fee
  • En.queer.de
  • Epochalips – smart lesbian commentary
  • Erasing 76 Crimes
  • Fridae Asia
  • FUSE magazine
  • Gay Star News
  • Gay City News
  • Gay/Lesbian News
  • Gay Iceland
  • Gay NZ
  • GLAAD blog
  • Georgia Voice – Gay and LGBT Atlanta News
  • Huffington Post
  • Human Rights Watch News
  • Lesbian News
  • Lesbians Over Everything
  • LGBT Germany
  • LGBTQ Nation
  • Mamba Online
  • One More Lesbian
  • Out Japan
  • Out.com
  • Outlook Ohio Magazine
  • Outsmart Magazine
  • Outsports
  • Pink Armenia
  • Pink news
  • Pride USA
  • Queer Voices
  • Queerty
  • Refworld
  • Rights Africa – Equal Rights, Once Voice
  • SF Gay and Lesbian
  • Star Observer
  • Straight Universe
  • The Gaily Grind
  • The Independent
  • The Guardian World news
  • The Rainbow Times
  • The Seattle Lesbian
  • Towleroad Gay News
  • What Wegan Did Next
  • Women and Words
  • Xtra (DailyXtra)

 

We also watch the news on facebook across groups, news sites, pages and friends’ walls.

As we find new sources they are added to the list of sites we search and follow.

 

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – ENGLISH

 

English speaking western countries dominate the news.

News from lesbians in english speaking western countries also dominates the lesbian news.

Listening2lesbians works hard to counter that domination by dedicating our efforts to finding news on marginalised and invisibilized communities of lesbians.

That domination is emphasised by the prevalence of English speaking news for the english speaking audience.

We are aware that our work to find and share information about lesbian communities around the world is limited by searching in English.

While we do have plans to reach out to communities, activists and representative organisations more directly in future, this is limited by the current size and scale of Listening2lesbians and will rolled out in a way that prioritises the sustainability of the project over speed of expansion. 

 

(ANOTHER) ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: WESTERN FRAMEWORKS

The framework we are using to focus on the experiences of lesbians around the world may not cleanly fit the cultural framework of all communities. We are mindful of not imposing western values or terminology on the communities we are trying  to reach.

 

We do know that women in same sex relationships around the world are persecuted, subject to violence and discrimination, however they are labeled and identified, and it is this reality we are looking to report on.

 

OUR REQUEST TO YOU

 

We know we have many readers who represent communities around the world and who speak languages other than English.


Your experiences and the experiences of lesbians in your community matter.

 

If you see news articles about violence and harassment against lesbians in your community, and it is a story we are unlikely to find for language or other reasons, please send it to us at:

 

We also welcome contact from activists, journalists, researchers and organisations representing, researching or supporting lesbians around the world.

 

Bolzano, Italy: Mariasilvia Spolato, Italy’s first lesbian to publicly come out, dies at 83

MariaSilvia Spolato.png

Mariasilvia Spolato lost everything after her coming out and ended up sleeping rough for many years.

Mariasilvia Spolato, an Italian LGBTI activist and reportedly the first woman to come out as a lesbian in the country, has died. Spolato died on 31 October in a nursing home in Bolzano, a city in the South Tyrol province of north Italy. She was 83 years old.

Continue reading at: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/first-italian-woman-to-publicly-come-out-as-lesbian-dies-at-83/#gs.iirzszQ (Source)

West Sumatra, Indonesia: 10 women arrested for ‘being lesbians’

West Sumatra Lesbian persecution

Police said the women were arrested on Sunday (November 4) on suspicion of “lesbian deviant behaviour.” In a statement, head of police Pol Yadrison explained that intelligence authorities had been monitoring the women’s activities on social media.

Yadrison said that one of the women’s Facebook account showed her “kissing and cuddling” with another woman, as if they were “men and women.” “From this discovery the officer finally conducted a search and managed to find the identity and whereabouts of the photo uploader,” said Yadrison.

Continue reading at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/11/06/indonesia-women-arrested-lesbians/ (Source)

USA: Solitary Confinement for Asylum Seeker over Sexual Assault Allegations

Laura-Monterrosa

In Texas, supporters of 23-year-old asylum seeker Laura Monterrosa say she was put in solitary confinement for 60 hours at the T. Don Hutto detention center outside Austin in order to pressure her to recant her allegations that she was sexually assaulted by a guard. ICE says Monterrosa was under “medical observation.” But she later made a strange call to her lawyer from an unusual phone number. Grassroots Leadership shared a recording with Democracy Now!

Laura Monterrosa: “I wanted to call you, because I wanted to tell you that everything I had said was false, and I was forced to tell you that, because, if not, they were going to lock me again in that room, and I didn’t want to be locked again in that room.”

Continue reading at:
https://www.democracynow.org…_solitary_confinement_for_asylum_seeker_over_sexual_assault_allegations (Source)

Zambian authorities hunting down women for alleged lesbianism

Zambia

Police in Zambia have launched a nationwide hunt for a couple who are suspected of being lesbians, based on online photos of them posing.  Under Zambian law, people convicted of same-sex intimacy can be imprisoned for 15 years to life. Women convicted of “gross indecency” can be imprisoned for seven to 14 years. But Zambian police are acting as though mere sexual attraction among women, rather than sexual intimacy, is a criminal offence.

Continue reading at: https://76crimes.com/2018/01/31/zambia-police-seek-alleged-lesbian-couple/ (Source)

Tanzania: Couple involved in viral lesbian proposal granted bail

Four people facing charges of engaging in homosexual acts have been released by the Mwanza Residents Magistrates Court despite an affidavit submitted by prosecuting asking that court deny them bail. ‘‘The ruling has been made today, December 15, by the Principal Magistrate in Charge, Mr. Wilbert Chuma after agreeing with the argument by the defence lawyers Mashaka Tuguta, Ogastini Kulwa and Jebra Kambole that the arguments submitted by the prosecution are weak and baseless before the law,’‘ read the ruling. The accused are Milembe Selemani, 35, and Janeth Shonza, a 25-year-old university student, who the state accuses of committing offences of lesbianism when they fit engagement rings despite both being women.

Continue reading at: http://www.africanews.com/2017/12/15/tanzanian-couple-involved-in-viral-lesbian-proposal-granted-bail/ (Source)