By SS of ReSisters United UK and Ireland
Two years ago, only my closest friends knew I was a lesbian. Last week I was at Lancaster Pride with a megaphone and some friends, loudly protesting lesbophobia in the LGBT community with several dozen teenagers staging a counter protest at us. How did I get here?
Around late 2017 I had some concerns about the transitioning of children, after stumbling upon a 4th Wave Now article but didn’t think much of it… It was a startling article, and I was aware of trans people, but as far as I knew, they were few and far between, and as I hadn’t yet come out and wasn’t on the scene there was little impact on me personally. Or so, I thought at the time.
London Pride 2018 – A Game Changer
Then there was London Pride 2018, and I saw the Get The L Out protest. At first I wondered who these mean women were; the news told me they were transphobic, nasty women, bigoted and ruining things.
But they were protesting for a reason, so I thought I would see what their reason was, expecting to see some kind of transphobic hatred.
But what I saw shocked and chilled me to my core…The cotton ceiling.
Have you heard of it?
Although I had always called myself a feminist, and had had a mixture of feminist ideas as a woman who grew up with both second and third wave influences, I hadn’t read much feminist theory. But I did know about the glass ceiling.
The ‘cotton ceiling’ plays on the idea of the glass ceiling, but the cotton is referring to a lesbians underwear, which needs to be broken through by penises, who want access to lesbian vaginas. This concept is brutal rape imagery. When a lesbian is forced into heterosexual sexual intercourse, it’s called ‘corrective rape’. The cotton ceiling is therefore the idea that transwomen have a right to correctively rape lesbians, who must have sex with them, or at least consider having sex with them, lest they call us nasty women, mean, bigoted, transphobic. These women weren’t mean or bigoted, they were fighting for their rights to be lesbians without discrimination or harassment!
I am a rape survivor, and was a mostly closeted lesbian, other than to a few close friends, and I read this and wailed, traumatised, that this was the world I was in the process of coming out to.
The next day I booted myself out of the closet to everyone I knew. I was raging and furious, that rape-culture was now widely accepted and encouraged within the community I had longed to be a part of. How could it be like this? How could my own community accept this? Why were the Get The L Out lesbians not celebrated for standing up for lesbian rights?
And so I read everything I could get my hands on, and found there are many women like me, feminists who didn’t subscribe to Queer Theory ideology or Third Wave/Liberal ‘Feminism’, feminists who knew what a lesbian was, and who were not willing to accept the unacceptable. We started to organise, as many women now have, into grassroots campaign groups. I found some local women and together with other groups formed ReSisters United UK and Ireland.
We needed to understand our political landscape as women, actually understand feminist theory, and how we got to a place where in 2019, women’s and lesbian rights were being threatened.
How Stonewall Defines Homosexuality
But we also needed to look into what Queer Theory is, who accepts it, and what it teaches. There is a lot to say, but in brief, because believers of Queer Theory parrot the mantra “Transwomen are women”, their logic is that all lesbians must therefore accept them as sexual partners. To my horror, I discovered Stonewall supports this, in their glossary of terms:
“This might be considered a more medical term used to describe someone who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards someone of the same gender. The term ‘gay’ is now more generally used.” Stonewall 2019
But here they say ‘gender’ instead of sex. This is their definition of gender:
“Often expressed in terms of masculinity and femininity, gender is largely culturally determined and is assumed from the sex assigned at birth.” Stonewall 2019
So their definition of the gender, is not based on being a male or a female, but is based on culturally determined ideas of masculinity and femininity. So in their terms gender could mean either male or female! This makes their description of the word homosexual, as described above, meaningless. Homosexuality can only mean same sex attracted; the Oxford dictionary describes homosexuality as “Sexually attracted to people of one’s own sex.”
What is Stonewall doing if in its own literature it is changing the meaning of the word homosexual?! We learned that these Queer Theory definitions are now widespread, with real life implications. Queer Theory tells us that our male and female bodies don’t matter, all that matters is how we feel inside. But in the real world, our bodies do matter. They matter in medicine, they matter in our experiences of being men and women, and the most of all matter in sex. Schools in Scotland even recently handed out this guide for young lesbians in high schools. If you look at the guide you can see, this is specifically targeting young lesbians and grooming them to accept male partners.
Beginning To Fight Back
A year later, Get The L Out produced a study on how the ‘cotton ceiling’ and Queer Theory is affecting lesbians, with some shocking results:
This has only spurred on more lesbians to stand up and say “NO.”
As a result there have now been lesbian protests at the following Prides: Swansea, Lille, Bradford, York and Vienna and on the same day as my sisters in Edinburgh, I organised a protest at Lancaster Pride.
The Day of Our Protest
We arrived and my heart sank. A lot of the people attending Pride were families and young people, young people draped in baby pink, white and baby blue trans flags.Knowing what I do about the pressure on especially young lesbians to transition due to homophobia, I felt sad. You can read about how NHS gender specialists have concerns about lesbian and gay young people.
We walked towards Dalton Square where the Pride event was taking place, handing out fliers to passers by about the discrimination and coercion of lesbians to have sex with male bodied people.
Once we arrived, we saw concerning puppy fetish stall a Mermaids stall (child transition lobby group) and various other promotional stalls. I had my face painted in the Lesbian Labrys flag; this should not be remarkable at a Pride event. A transwoman spotted me and gave me a long cold stare, and I saw that this transwoman slowly followed us to where we decided to protest, keeping distance but watching us.
This was before anyone knew we were going to protest, and it was unsettling; lesbians are not welcome at Pride.
We took out our banners and stood on the steps of the Town Hall opposite the crowds in Dalton Square, and we spoke about lesbian visibility, stated that lesbians are female homosexuals, and that lesbians do not have penises. It was not long before we drew a crowd.
The Situation Escalates
After a little while we started receiving verbal abuse from trans activists; two young adults ran accross the road aggressively screaming at us to “fuck off TERFs you aren’t welcome here” and some members of the public intervened to help us, and told them not to come too close. Police were also gathering by as crowds were forming.
A crowd then quickly ran across the road and tried to obscure our banners with their flags.
Young People Being Misled by Adults
I was later told by an onlooker that this crowd, of mostly teenagers/students, had been encouraged by the male organiser of the event, adult transwomen, who kept their distance, and a drag queen, who themselves did not join in, other than to walk by, pose for a picture. This drag queen, who we understand to be named Ivy Rose, was seen sticking two fingers up at us and then started a chant “Transwomen Matter!” – though nothing about transmen… Isn’t it concerning that they were whispering into the ears of the young people to run across the road, or to chant certain slogans, whilst they, for the most part, stood back? Like sending in the foot soldiers…
Robert Mee, CEO of Lancaster Pride and organiser of the event stood amongst all the young people and said “fuck off you fucking dogs, you’re ruining it”, the swearing was hostile. Some of our group were spat on by the counter protesters and we were all sworn at multiple times.
Police were there but did not keep the mob separate from us – we were surprised by this. We after all numbered just five women holding the banners, and the crowd were hostile.
We left when we felt it was no longer safe to continue, and the crowd dissipated. Members of the public approached us to ask questions “What are you protesting?” “What is the ‘cotton ceiling’ – when we explained the concept the individual members of the public who asked were shocked and appalled. They agreed that this was not acceptable. The public agree with us, once they understand the issue.
Watch the video of our protest here:
Our aim was to raise awareness of the ‘cotton ceiling’ and on the issue of lesbians not being welcome at Pride. We want people to know how widespread the culture of coercion of lesbians to accept male partners is.
We wanted the public to know how shockingly widespread homophobia is now, and how, sadly, our young people are engaging in homophobia, probably without understanding that that is what they are doing. But what do we expect? When Stonewall and Queer lobby groups such as Gendered Intelligence are providing training to schools and hospitals and the fire service and the NHS, and our galleries and museums, how are our young people to know any different?
Adults should not be teaching Queer Theory with its anti-science and homophobic ideas, as if it is a real thing. Queer Theory is only decades old! And is mainly focused on sexual kinks and disturbing sexual fetishes. How is this appropriate?!
And what of the young lesbians who were there? Some will likely accept male partners, or else they will be rejected from their own community. This culture is coercing young lesbians into corrective rape. And they cannot see it.
It is for the future of our young people that we do these protests, as we believe there is a real risk to the next generation of lesbian women and homosexual men, whose sexual orientations of being exclusively same sex attracted will no longer be accepted within our own community. Already we are hearing first hand accounts from our young lesbian and gay friends-from teens to young people in their early twenties, telling us they need to examine why they are gay or lesbian, as if it is bad to be homosexual, and should try dating the opposite sex. This is harrowing for us older lesbians to listen to-that conversion therapy is real and alive in the LGBT community, that it is being promoted by friends, and self imposed through guilt and shaming to be ‘more inclusive’. We aim to nip this trend in the bud.
It is also shocking, that in spite of sexual orientation being a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, that we were forced to endure such harassment as we protested to protect our rights as homosexual women.
Lesbian’s will not submit to homophobia, we are organising, we will resist, and there are more of us, getting braver, everyday. But in conclusion, I would like to finish with a statement from one of banners from the protest, that you can see below:
“Lesbians are female homosexuals, we always have been and we always will be.”
For more on this action at Lancaster Pride, see this blog from another RU protester: Are Lesbians Welcome at Pride? The answer at Lancaster Pride is no.
For further information on the topics mentioned in this piece, please look here:
Get the L Out on lesbian visibility: http://www.gettheloutuk.com/blog/category/lesbian-visibility.html
Dr Em on Queer Theory and Paedophilia: https://medium.com/@doctorEm/the-trojan-unicorn-queer-theory-and-paedophilia-part-i-a0cf30ef7bfa