London Pride, probably the UK’s largest, and supposedly the most diverse, was held up on Saturday by a group of women protesting against the ‘erasure of lesbians.’ The parade, which was due to be led by London mayor Sadiq Khan and staff from the NHS but was disrupted and delayed by a group of about ten women carrying signs such as ‘Trans activism erases lesbians’ and chanting ‘Get the L out’. A reported from Pink news, who filmed much of the event, asked some of them why they were there and they had the usual response that they ‘don’t mind’ trans women but they just don’t think they are ‘real lesbians’ (in other words, not ‘real’ women). They feel that lesbians are being pushed out by the LGBT+ community and are being ‘forced to date men.’
This is not exactly a new sentiment. Anyone who has spent any time anywhere on the internet has come across these same thoughts from self-described ‘gender critics’. The constant concern about trans women in women’s spaces and on women’s shortlists and doing basically anything at all with their lives is written all over Facebook, Twitter and, for no reason I’ve managed to work out, Mumsnet. I mean…why is a website about raising babies full of people constantly attacking trans women and gay men? Even high profile ‘feminists’ join in with this constant abuse, like Steinem, Greer, and Morgan. So the fact that these people exist isn’t really the shocking fact; its that they were allowed to lead the LGBT+ Pride parade. You really couldn’t make this shit up.
The organisers of London Pride responded by saying they didn’t condone the views and actions of the group but they decided not to have them removed because it was…hot. Now, admittedly, it is currently hotter in the UK than we have ever known (we are melting, please send help) but the heat doesn’t burn away our ability to feel outraged. Watching the footage of those women chanting ‘Lesbian, not queer’ had me boiling with rage, I can’t imagine how I could stand by and watch an event I had organised being disrupted by these people. London Prides willingness to kowtow to these TERFs meant that not only were they allowed to march in the parade (although they probably hadn’t been allocated one of the strictly number-controlled places) but to lead the parade. The LGBT+ Pride parade, the symbol of equality and tolerance, was fronted by people protesting the same group of people who started the tradition.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans Pride parade was fronted by trans exclusionary radical ‘feminists’. Let that sit for a minute.
On Twitter, TERFs are trying #GetTheLOut trending, claiming that the LGBT+ community hates them so much they want to leave. Well, that kind of lesbians can #GetTheHellOut. The LGBT+ community has a lot of problems, I by no means am going to try and say it is perfect, but the entire point of it is to celebrate diversity and inclusion, and if these TERFs can’t accept that not all lesbians care that much about what is in someone’s knickers. As a cis-woman (and no, that is not an offensive term, nor was it invented by trans people) who identifies interchangeably as both lesbian and queer, these people do not represent me.
I am all for personal choice, whether that be that you don’t date someone because you don’t find them physically attractive, because they turned up over an hour late or because they have no interest in poetry (yes, all examples are me) but asserting that you are the only type of lesbian possible because you personally are unwilling to date people with certain types of genitals is fallacious and exclusionary. Ironically, these people are in fact the ones excluding lesbians.
In true Twitter fashion though, a push-back hashtag has already surfaced in the form of #LWithTheT, where lesbians are sharing their support for our trans sisters. I urge you to join in and show that these protesters do not represent the majority and that we will not accept them showing up at our LGBT+ events.