Editors of Lesbian and Queer Women’s Outlets Craft Message of Solidarity to the Trans Community
For many of us queer women who have turned to sites like AfterEllen as a safe place, it has been a disturbing situation to see the site go deeper and deeper into transphobic language. A tweet from earlier this month with a video entitled “Dear Trans Women, Stop Pushing ‘Girl Dick’ On Lesbians” has been for many the final nail in the coffin in their support for the site.
Thankfully, there are other lesbian/queer female spaces that are standing up in solidarity for trans women. The editors and publishers of DIVA, Curve, Autostraddle, Dapper Q, LOTL, Tagg, and Lez Spread The Word have come together to craft a message rejecting transphobia and standing in solidarity with trans women.
“Following further vitriolic attacks on trans people in our media, the world’s leading publications for lesbians are coming together to send an unapologetic message of support and solidarity to the trans community.
DIVA, Curve, Autostraddle, LOTL, Tagg and Lez Spread The Word believe that trans women are women and that trans people belong in our community. We do not think supporting trans women erases our lesbian identities; rather we are enriched by trans friends and lovers, parents, children, colleagues and siblings.
We strongly condemn writers and editors who seek to foster division and hate within the LGBTQI community with trans misogynistic content, and who believe “lesbian” is an identity for them alone to define. We condemn male-owned media companies who profit from the traffic generated by these controversies.
We also strongly condemn the current narrative peddled by some feminists, painting trans people as bullies and aggressors – one which reinforces transphobia and which must be challenged so that feminism can move forward.
We are really concerned about the message these so-called lesbian publications are sending to trans women and to young lesbians – including trans lesbians – and we want to make in clear this is not in our name.
As the leading publications for queer women, we believe it is our responsibility to call out scaremongering conspiracy theories levelled at the trans community, and make it clear that DIVA, Curve, Autostraddle, LOTL, Tagg and Lez Spread The Word will always be safe spaces for the trans community.
Forty years ago, to be a lesbian was to be questioned and persecuted. Today things are better for cis lesbians but there are still places where to be a lesbian is difficult or impossible.
So it is for trans men and women, as well as non-binary people, many of whom identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay or queer. We know something of these struggles. And just as they and other allies have supported us, so we must support those among us who are trans, or risk ending up on the wrong side of history.
The sooner we stop focussing on what divides us and instead focus on our commonalities, the stronger we will be to confront the other injustices imposed on us.
We won’t be divided.
Editor, DIVA magazine
Publisher, DIVA magazine
CEO and Editor-in-chief, Autostraddle
Publisher, Curve and LOTL
Eboné F. Bell
Editor-in-chief, Tagg Magazine
Founder and publisher, Lez Spread The Word
Anita Dolce Vita
Owner & Editor-in-Chief, DapperQ”
I am so happy, proud, and relieved that these places are using their voice in this way.
The letter doesn’t call After Ellen out by name, but Diva editor Carrie Lyell confirmed in an email to The Advocate that the site’s staff are among those the letter addresses, saying: “While not exclusively directed at AfterEllen, their writers and editors are certainly among those we are referring to.”
As always I can only speak for myself, but I have never viewed womanhood as one thing. My intersecting identity as a black woman naturally has shaped my ideas of what it means to be a woman. I have found womanhood is defined by the struggles we have faced from society, from the patriarchy and the injustices facing women across the world. Just like I find commonality with other black people in the experiences of anti-blackness across the world, I find solidarity with other women in discussing the issues.
Not all women have uteruses, breasts, periods, etc. even among what we would consider cis-women. There is no ultimate universality other than the boot of male supremacy on our back and there is no way to deny that trans women (and trans people in general) suffer from that as well. More so I don’t see anyone’s womanhood as a threat to my own unless it is working to undermine my own, and that’s something I’ve had to deal with more from cis-women than trans women.
With “queer” becoming the umbrella term in media for all LGBTQ people, I understand why some people want to push back and reclaim individual spaces for themselves. It doesn’t define all of us, some don’t like the term and it shouldn’t be pushed as the “right” term when other people are happy calling themselves gay, lesbian, etc.
When someone says that you are less “inclusive” for calling yourself a lesbian rather than queer, that is not only incorrect but also speaks to the lack of education that is going on. We should also be wary of those who appropriate the language of LGBTQ realities to invade spaces or use it to manipulate, and remember not everyone with certain labels online are always who they say they are.
These are conversations that we should be having amongst each other in LGBTQ spaces, but I truly think there are ways to do it without harming each other. We can create a more inclusive language while holding true to our identities and not erase different groups from our collective history.
(via The Advocate, image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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