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AIBU to think that Stonewall should be taking a stand on this?

(117 Posts)
WeAreNotGoingBack Tue 13-Nov-18 21:41:56

I’m a lesbian who grew up and then came out in the 80s/90s. Growing up there were hardly any positive images of lesbians and it really wasn’t something I wanted to be (the thought terrified me). I remember reading when I was about 12/13 years old that crushes on girls were sometimes “a phase” that teenagers went through and I really prayed that that would be the case with me but reassured myself that, even if it wasn’t, I could still just carry on, get married (to a man) and lead a normal life and no one need ever know.

When I got to university there was a lesbian and gay society and I met others in the same boat. It was quite common that these young men and women had tried dating the opposite sex. I remember one young woman telling me that she had been dating a boy and that they both came out as gay to each other. They thought their relationship worked well because they got on and neither of them really liked sex very much (which on reflection was because they were both with the wrong sex!).

I soon learnt that you got targeted by men for being a lesbian, men who wanted to ‘convert’ you and believed they could ‘show you what you were missing’. Some lesbians get subjected to far worse. In some places this can include ‘corrective rape’ which it was believed would make lesbians straight.

Repeatedly, I encountered the view that it was ‘perverted’, morally inferior to heterosexuality and that it was just about sex (whereas no straight woman who talked about her husband or walked down the street holding hands with her boyfriend would be told that she was throwing her sex life in people’s faces).

Later, I attended groups where I met newly-out women in their 30s and 40s – Women from the previous generation where the pressures to be heterosexual were even stronger and they had felt the need to get married and live within a man for many, many years before coming to terms with their sexuality.

I also met (a few) people who had undergone conversion therapy and one who had been exorcised due to her sexuality – This was a lot rarer than it had been for the previous generation but still went on occasionally.

And that’s what makes me so angry about what is going on now. We have seen this all before, many of us have experienced attempts to change our sexual orientation – either by others or by ourselves due to internalised homophobia. It seemed to be getting better (at least in the UK) and now it’s all coming back.

For those who don’t know the background to this, male people with penises are identifying as being lesbians and lesbians are being told we are bigoted and need to be re-educated if we don’t want to have sex with people with penises. A movement has built up around smashing the “cotton ceiling” (the cotton ceiling representing lesbians’ underwear which the people-with-penises want to break through) [1]

And all the same stuff is coming up again:

-We’re morally inferior, perverted and our relationships are only about sex - “bigots” and “vagina fetishists” [2]

-That it’s a “preference” not a sexual “orientation” which we can and should be re-educated to overcome [3]

I was already aware of workshops taking place for people-with-penises on how to break through the cotton ceiling (which again sounds like stuff I remember appearing in lads’ mags in the 1990s on how to bed a lesbian). [4]

Now I hear that students in UK universities in 2018 are being taught that there is “too much emphasis on sexual autonomy” and that sometimes the rights of a person with a (self-identified) marginalised identity (ie a person-with-a-penis who identifies as being a lesbian) to have sex with a lesbian should outweigh the rights of a (female) lesbian to refuse all sexual contact with people-with-penises:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3416075-Shocked-by-sexual-offences-lecture-sex-by-deception-and-bigoted-women

(The academic person-with-a-penis espousing this view is from Keele University – although I believe this lecture took place elsewhere with the lecturer just teaching those views).

And there are other people-with-penises in prominent positions advocating similarly, for example, Dr Rachel McKinnon (the same person who won the women’s cycling race amidst some controversy) lectures on the topic of the “cotton ceiling” and argues that lesbians can learn to “cope” with penises:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3411070-Rachael-McKinnon-another-gem-from-the-you-couldnt-make-it-up-guidebook#prettyPhoto

Meanwhile, parts of the lesbian media (which is primarily run by non-lesbians) are ‘educating’ lesbians on how to have lesbian sex with someone with a penis:

www.autostraddle.com/how-to-have-trans-woman-lesbian-sex-with-a-penis-414839/

If this kind of stuff was coming from evangelical Christians or right-wing politicians Stonewall would be loudly condemning it. So why are they silent on this? AIBU to think they should take a stand?

[1] tgforum.com/wordpress/the-cotton-ceiling/
[2] www.afterellen.com/general-news/553883-despite-cyber-bullying-erasure-young-lesbians-claiming-l-word
“Recently, novelist and LGBT advocate Nora Calder came under fire for asserting that as a lesbian woman she experienced same-sex attraction. One could be forgiven for hoping that in 2018, attitudes might have shifted to the point that such a statement would not be met with backlash. Yet Calder was criticized for disclosing the nature of her sexual orientation, sent a litany of Tweets which accused her of being a “vaginophile”, “vagina fetishist”, “disgusting”, “transmisogynist”, and a “penis demonizer”. In the rush to condemn Calder’s sexuality as bigoted, quite a few people forgot to check their lesbophobia at the door.”
[3] Are Genital Preferences Transphobic?
youtu.be/k5GYlZKfBmI
[4] terfisaslur.com/cotton-ceiling/#jp-carousel-321

YouTheCat Tue 13-Nov-18 21:46:54

Wtf is going on.

I'm not a lesbian. What the fuck gives anyone the right to tell anyone else who they should be having sex with?

Budgieinaberet Tue 13-Nov-18 21:50:50

Stonewall are taking a stand.
Unfortunately it's that TWAW and lesbians should STFU.
It's all about the T.

MenstruatorExtraordinaire Tue 13-Nov-18 21:51:45

It's disgusting. I stand in solidarity with my lesbian sisters. If I can help in any way I will do.

Penny1976 Tue 13-Nov-18 21:53:48

I don't get why there is such lack of understanding of this by Stonewall.

Ruth Hunt is a lesbian. Surely she gets it? I can't understand why she is standing by and ignoring what is going on.

Henrysmycat Tue 13-Nov-18 21:58:43

I stand in solidarity. This is insane.

HermioneWeasley Tue 13-Nov-18 22:01:53

Unfortunately stonewall are leading the bullying. There was a petition recently to ask them to stand up for the LGB, and their response was to cal, the thousands who signed it, bigots. They’re just a corporate money machine

PebbleDashed Tue 13-Nov-18 22:05:46

Not a lesbian, but wanted to add my support. The similarity to the concept of corrective rape is obvious and is what peak transed me. As for the professor saying that male sexual desires over-rides female bodily autonomy and the right to say no: that is one small step away from calling for rape to be legalised, and it affects all of us, lesbian or straight. It's bloody disgusting.

RepealtheGRA Tue 13-Nov-18 22:06:16

YANBU the current situation is absolutely insane.

weaselish Tue 13-Nov-18 22:11:49

I'm not a lesbian. But I 100% agree with everything you've written OP.

VladmirsPoutine Tue 13-Nov-18 22:12:30

I too add my support but for one or two reasons don't believe Stonewall give a single fuck about natal lesbian women.

notdaddycool Tue 13-Nov-18 22:15:04

Straight man but this is odd and wrong. The trans thing in prisons too. There is a whole lot more thinking needed around this, but I’m worried how in critical those in power/advocacy roles are being.

MaisyPops Tue 13-Nov-18 22:16:25

Not a lesbian but I agree.

Anyone should be free to say no to anyone they want with no further justification. That's how consent works.

Anyone who thinks consent comes with a 'except... but... just...' clause needs to take a look in the mirror and question what sort of person would coerce or force another human being into sex.

Jezebelz Tue 13-Nov-18 22:23:57

I'm a lesbian. Could have written paragraphs 1-6 myself, word for word. After that I don't relate to what you are saying at all.

I haven't come any trans women pressuring lesbians for sex in RL, I've only read about it on here and what I gathered from the L out Pride Protests.

Is this happening to you in RL OP?

Something I am sad about is lesbians getting shamed for standing by trans people.

Troels Tue 13-Nov-18 22:24:21

Wtf is going on.

I'm not a lesbian. What the fuck gives anyone the right to tell anyone else who they should be having sex with?
This is what I was thinking reading this. It's ridiculous.
What the hell are these people thinking, no one needs to learn to cope with a penis, or be re-educated. Albsolute load of tosh.
Trying to bully their way into a womans pants.

Omgineedanamechange Tue 13-Nov-18 22:24:22

I’m not a lesbian, but I’m increasingly horrified by what’s going on. Why the fuck can’t all these “lesbians” with ladydicks just shag each other, and leave everyone else the fuck alone.

Jezebelz Tue 13-Nov-18 22:32:12

I am a lesbian and just want to reassure all the non-lesbians that we are managing to avoid penises just fine.

The only people mithering us about lady dicks are the anti trans brigade.

EmpressAdultHumanFemale Tue 13-Nov-18 22:33:09

I know. I came out in the 90s too & was lucky enough to be welcomed into a local lesbian community. Then I moved to London just before the millennium & same thing.

Now? Now I see or hear from friends about young lesbians almost in tears because their communities are telling them they're bigoted for wanting same-sex relationships & not liking penis, & 'Lesbians are female homosexuals' is controversial. The idea of gender taking priority over sex is intrinsically homophobic & Stonewall are right in the vanguard angry. LGBT & the rainbow are not about lesbians.

LizzieSiddal Tue 13-Nov-18 22:37:40

The only people mithering us about lady dicks are the anti trans brigade.

Have you heard of the cotton ceiling?

Oldstyle Tue 13-Nov-18 22:40:15

I'm straight but I've seen this pressure on social media a lot. It's clearly abusive and so reminiscent of the 'corrective rape' misogyny that I'd naively assumed was a thing of the past.
I've also registered that lesbian bars / clubs don't seem to exist any more and I've heard lesbians say that there are lots of transwomen hassling them on lesbian dating sites.
Does this bullying happen IRL too OP? Or are they less 'brave' face to face?

Blueblueyellow Tue 13-Nov-18 22:51:14

Are genitil preferences transphobic.Even that sentance is lesbian,bi and gay erasure.Being lgb is NOT a preference,it is not something you choose.Is this person for real.I'm so sorry wearenotgoingback,this is just crazy.

MeredithGrey1 Tue 13-Nov-18 22:59:20

I’m not a lesbian but I totally agree with what you’re saying about lesbian sexuality being dismissed. I’m not sure how “mainstream” the cotton ceiling idea is, I’m sure many trans women would be equally horrified by it. But it’s telling that I’ve never heard it talked about in relation to straight men ie “straight men should have sex with trans women with penises because otherwise they’re discriminating”, it’s only lesbians who are attacked. I could be wrong and straight men are being involved here as well, but in the bits and pieces I’ve read about it, they only reference lesbians.

FekkoThePenguin Tue 13-Nov-18 23:03:13

I'm quite sweary - but I can't repeat what my sister says about all this.

Xiaoxiong Tue 13-Nov-18 23:14:10

Jez I personally know someone who was verbally abused in a bar in Stoke Newington for politely turning a transwoman down - the bouncer asked them both to leave, and she ended up being followed down the street at night by the transwoman yelling at her, she was terrified.

Also, a friend of a friend who went home with a transwoman only to discover they still had a penis, and the transwoman wouldn't let her leave the flat for almost two hours saying that she needed to talk it through, that she was being transphobic, etc.

I heard both these stories at a large lunch of lesbian and gay friends. The general consensus was that issues of sexual orientation and gender identity were different, the needs of these groups are different (LGB tend not to have such a focus on access to medical care, for instance) and that T had completely taken over the mission statement of many LGBT groups that the people round the table belonged to or volunteered for.

trojanpony Tue 13-Nov-18 23:59:25

I'm not a lesbian. But I 100% agree with everything you've written OP.

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