Lesbian Pride Manchester 2018
I joined The Society for the Preservation of Accurate Pride Heritage (founded by Clare) at Manchester Pride on Saturday 25th August 2018. We marched at back of the parade, carrying Clare's beautifully hand-crafted banner, which made its debut at Brighton Pride earlier this year. The banner declares that “Everybody knows a black lesbian started Stonewall”, referring to Stormé DeLaverie (1920-2014).
We received a predominantly positive response from the crowd; the atmosphere was fantastic and full of joy. Some lesbians took particular delight in our banner and T-shirts and requested photos. I feel that we provided a brilliant message of pro-lesbianism, which would have otherwise been almost entirely absent.
At Brighton Pride, onlookers pointed out that this was the only banner displaying the word 'lesbian'! This is the tragic result of lesbian erasure within the 'LGBT' community. At Brighton, a man shouted down a megaphone that the word 'lesbian' is now spelled G-A-Y. We must counteract this erasure of lesbian history and culture, to preserve our right to decline sex with men and to state that, as lesbians, we are only interested in sex with women (biological females).
Reclaiming the word LESBIAN for FEMALE HOMOSEXUALS
The word 'lesbian' must not be lost or diffused in power and meaning. It has vital importance not only for lesbians, but for all women. Lesbianism represents the right of a woman to decline sex from a man - but instead of just declining sex from one man, lesbians decline sex from all men. We must fight to preserve and assert this right, for the sake of all women and girls.
After the parade, while we were still carrying our gorgeous banner through the city, one woman came up to us and asked if we were “anti-trans” – we replied that we were not. The banner and T-shirts say nothing about 'transgenderism' or 'transexuality', so why was this question asked?
As mentioned, this banner was the only one displaying the word 'lesbian' at Brighton. I therefore felt it was important to also bring this symbol of lesbian pride to the wonderful city of Manchester. My primary aim was to show women that it's OK to be a lesbian, that we can be proud to be lesbian, even in these lesbophobic times. We said we were “pro-lesbian”. We were there to promote lesbian visibility.
I wasn't in attendance to debate matters relating to 'transgenderism' on this occasion. Yet the debate came to us. Why? The question, “Are you anti-trans?” was seemingly asked after reading the phrase “Lesbian = Female homosexual” on the back of our T-shirts.
Lesbian = female homosexual. A simple definition that you would find in a dictionary. Yet this statement is what incited a woman to accuse us of hatred against an entirely separate group of people – 'trans' people.
Who did she mean by 'trans'? Not all 'trans' people. The definition of 'lesbian' has no relevance to someone who doesn't claim it for themselves. 'Transwomen' who have sex with men obviously don't consider themselves lesbians. 'Transmen' don't 'identify' as women, so neither do they.
It can therefore be assumed that the term 'anti-trans' was used to refer only to those 'transwomen' who claim to be lesbians.
However, it is not lesbians who are discriminating against 'transwomen'. It is 'transwomen' who are demanding to be accepted and validated by lesbians. To be accepted into our spaces, our language, our culture, our lives and our bodies. They are enacting their male entitlement and attempting to enforce their 'male sex right' upon lesbians.
'Transwomen' who have sex with women are biologically male heterosexuals. Stating that lesbians are female homosexuals is not 'transphobia'. Stating that a 'transwoman' (biological male) can be a lesbian is lesbophobia.
Lesbianism as a CHOICE
As women we must continuously fight for the right to decide and/or define who we want to have sex with. Lesbianism has always been controversial, always been political – it is the ultimate rejection of men's demand for sex – under patriarchy men are taught that they are entitled to the sexual access of women's bodies: this is the 'male sex right'. It is subversive enough for a woman to attempt to decline sex with one man; lesbianism is to decline sex with all men.
Some lesbians immediately balk at the idea that lesbianism is a choice, having been fed the 'born this way' rhetoric of gender ideology. The concept of lesbianism by choice can be considered a matter of how we interpret our experiences. I'm not suggesting that sexual feelings of attraction, arousal or response are consciously chosen on a moment-to-moment basis. But if a lesbian orgasms when raped by a man, does that mean she no longer has the right to call herself a lesbian? Of course not.
It is up to the individual woman to decide who she wants to have sex with. Feelings of attraction, arousal and response will play a role in that – but these feelings can sometimes be unwanted and negative. For example: unwanted arousal by pain/violence; unwanted orgasm during rape; unwanted attraction to a cruel person. A woman has the right to direct and define her own sexuality by the positive sexual feelings she wants to propagate and act upon.
Nowadays, women feebly state that they can't help being lesbians. They are declining sex, not because they don't want it, but because they can't help it. They give an excuse. It might be OK to decline sex with a man because you have a boyfriend, because you have a headache, or because you can't help it. The theory is, make sure you submit a suitable excuse or it may not be accepted.
Be proud. It is your CHOICE. Your choice to say no and you don't need an excuse. You are not a lesbian because you can't help it. You are a lesbian because you don't want to have sex with men.
I don't recall having ever really taken part in a Pride celebration/parade. I felt that pride festivals largely revolved around men and this is increasingly the case. Nowadays, the interests of lesbians are not only being trumped by gay men's desires, but they are being completely steamrollered by the idea of 'transgender rights.' The campaign for 'trans rights' does not primarily concern itself with the human rights that are deserved by all people - but by the pseudo-rights of 'recognition' and 'validation' of their beliefs by other people – specifically women and especially lesbians.
The first time I truly felt pride in response to a 'pride' parade was upon seeing footage of the protest against lesbian erasure at London Pride 2018. These courageous women were standing up for those who might not be able to speak up for themselves – there are lesbians who have been forced/manipulated into having sex with 'transwomen' (biological males claiming to be lesbians), and also lesbians who have engaged in harmful 'transgender' practices (e.g. breast removal, hormone injection, breast binding) in order to escape the pressure to fulfill the 'feminine' sex role.
Courage calls to courage everywhere. Shortly after the London Pride protest, OBJECT and others attended Brighton Pride in order to provide a positive lesbian presence, to oppose lesbian erasure. It is my hope that following on from Manchester Pride, more lesbians will be encouraged to stand up to defend our rights and preserve our heritage.
I feel proud and honoured to have met and marched with such strong and kind lesbian sisters. I feel reaffirmed that the love and sisterhood between women is inextinguishable. The language, culture and history of lesbians will be defended; the threats and harms of 'transgenderism' will be countered; and the pride of lesbians will endure.