A few thoughts on lesbian fiction

An article written by lesbian author Julia Diana Robertson talks about how a publication changed her words when they published her interview, making her sound less lesbian and more “queer.”

“Among other things, throughout the interview, where I said “lesbian” the word lesbian was changed to “queer.”

Why were words I would never use to describe myself or my novel, like “queerness” and “LGBTQ” and “gender presentation,” put into my mouth?”

This article provides a perfect illustration of the sneaky ways in which lesbians are erased by “queer” culture. Queer culture doesn’t like the word lesbian, because it’s too specific, and because it describes women whose sexuality excludes men. Queer culture prefers to promote the idea of “queer women” instead. Queer women are any women who defy the traditional conservative norms of sexuality, sometimes by engaging in sex with other women, or sometimes by engaging in other outlawed forms of sexuality. Queer is a deliberately vague term—all it means is “odd” or “strange,” but it doesn’t name a sexual orientation or set any boundaries. In fact, the “queer woman” umbrella includes males.

As Robertson comments:

“I was rebranded. I became the mythological “if the situation was right” lesbian. The appropriated slur “queer,” has become the popular descriptor of choice for a “yes” girl or a “maybe” girl— An “I’m not going to rule anything out because I’m open-minded” girl. It doesn’t carry the sting of lesbian. The stigma of lesbian. The boundaries of lesbian. Lesbian is a solid “No.” ”Not even if…” And that unwillingness to bend is the very reason lesbians are targeted with insidious psychological warfare.”

As she comments later in her article, when you take the word “lesbian” out of a statement a lesbian made and replace it with “queer,” you are erasing lesbians. Even though “exclusion” is considered a deadly serious crime these days, no one is concerned about excluding us.

I have to also add something here, because it drives me crazy when I see this, and it was mentioned in the quote above: a person can’t be described as “LGBT.” It’s not possible to be a gay man and a lesbian at the same time, nor is it possible to be homosexual and bisexual at the same time. You are only one of the letters LGB, not all of them! Now, I do think you could argue that it’s possible to be either an L, G, or B while also being a T. Fair enough, but you can’t possibly be all four of these letters. When someone calls a person “an LGBT author” or “an LGBT activist,” this makes no sense—you’re calling one person several people.

Anyway, this article by Robertson got me thinking about the issues surrounding lesbian fiction. As she mentions, and as many of us have noticed over and over, there are lots of published works labelled “lesbian” that weren’t written by lesbians and don’t reflect who lesbians are. There is also a problem of writing by real lesbians being marginalized in a culture that prefers “queer women” and believes that lesbians are “exclusionary” and “bigoted.” When mainstream LGBT publications all adopt a mandate to cater to queer culture, where do lesbians get their work published and reviewed? We’re limited to advertising our work on anonymous blogs, in secret Facebook groups, and by word of mouth. We should be able to publish in mainstream publications like anyone else—we aren’t doing anything wrong by being lesbians.

I have been thinking about the genre of the “lesbian novel” and what makes it different from, say, a “queer” novel or a mainstream novel that has some lesbian content in it. I define a “lesbian novel” as a novel written by a lesbian, that focuses on lesbians, that represents us authentically, and that tells our truth so that other lesbians can see themselves among the pages. A “queer” novel, on the other hand, either represents a performative sexuality in which same-sex activity is used as a strategy to “spice things up,” or in which characters have a bisexual or ambiguous orientation. There’s nothing wrong with bisexual characters or experimental same-sex activity, there’s only something wrong with mislabeling non-lesbian characters as lesbians. Then there is such a thing as a mainstream novel which has mostly straight characters, but also devotes a small amount of text to a lesbian or bisexual character. This is cool, but it’s not a “lesbian novel” just because of a tiny bit of woman-loving-woman content.

A lesbian looking for a lesbian novel has two problems: when she looks through mainstream sources for published works, she is shown lots of material that is not authentically lesbian, and the writing that is authentically lesbian is hard to find because it hasn’t been publicized or reviewed by mainstream sources.

In another article by Julia Diana Robertson, she discusses the idea of segregated literature. She wrote a book that was designed to be a piece of mainstream literature that happened to have a lesbian love story in it, but where “sexuality wouldn’t take center stage.” You know, like straight people do. The literature that straight people write is mainstream and isn’t necessarily “straight literature,” nor does it have to focus on sexuality just because characters are heterosexual. She pitched her story to mainstream publishers, and was rejected. She found that she was expected to be either a mainstream straight writer, or pigeonholed as a “lesbian” writer who just wrote for lesbians.

Should literature be desegregated? On the one hand, it would be nice if a lesbian writer could just be a writer, and not be marginalized as only writing for a small group of people. Anybody can read a work of literature that has lesbians in it, not just lesbians. But at the same time, when lesbians try to work with mainstream institutions, we get lost, forgotten, and erased.

I’m mostly in favor of lesbian writing being a separate genre for a niche market. I wouldn’t want to “sell out” by submitting my own writing to a publisher who wanted to make my work more palatable to either straights or “queers.” I am happy to write for a limited audience, and I’d rather represent lesbians authentically than make a lot of money. I’m not concerned about writing literature where the focus is on a storyline and sexuality isn’t the main theme—I actually prefer when lesbian sexuality is the main theme.

But lesbians should be able to be mainstream writers if they want to be. There’s a paradox going on here where going mainstream would be good for us but it would also be bad for us. We need mainstream representation and visibility, but we also need the authenticity that comes from being in control of our own publications. Imagine if we could have both though? If we could have authentic lesbian representation from mainstream publishers, then that would be a sign we were no longer discriminated against.

I do hope to read more novels written by lesbians and review them here, but as you all know, my reading list is long and always growing. If only I could quit my day job and just read and write full time!

Dear readers, do you have any thoughts on lesbian writing and publishing?

Advertisements

Alex Bertie interview

Alex Bertie is a trans man who’s becoming quite famous these days. He has a popular YouTube channel, he just wrote a book, and here he is promoting it in an interview that aired on the BBC. His picture was recently used in an article that was critical of transgenderism, and now it’s like he’s the trans man poster boy.

The interview is interesting:

Funny how when they talk about Alex’s childhood, the primary thing they talk about is how she was bullied for looking and acting “like a boy.” It’s almost like the reason Alex transitioned is because she was bullied. I mean, if she was just born with a neurological disorder that caused her to have a mental map of her body as male, then they probably would have mentioned that, wouldn’t they? Why the need to open up a discussion of her transition by talking about how much she was bullied for being a “girl with a boy’s haircut?”

Alex’s mother mentions briefly that Alex identified as a lesbian before identifying as a trans man. There’s a big gay elephant in the room during this interview that no one is daring to mention: Alex is a lesbian, and she was bullied for being a lesbian, and the adults in her life taught her that the way to deal with sexist and homophobic bullying is to change your body, and that girls who do “boy things” are literally male.

I really want to read Alex’s book. I can’t afford any more book purchases right now, but hopefully in 2018 I’ll be able to order it. Then I’ll be dropping some truth bombs about how the way to deal with bullying is to make the bullies stop bullying, not force the victim to change herself to accommodate people’s bigotry. Lesbians deserve better than this, and you know what, all girls deserve better than this.

An anthology of queer fairy tales

I came across an anthology of erotic lesbian fairy tales while looking up lesbian books online, and I had to buy it because that is right up my alley, plus I’m working on writing a lesbian fairy tale right now. It’s good to see what else is out there, right?The description of the book provided online goes like this:

In this sexy, erotic anthology of twisted fairy tales, the damsels are the ones doing the rescuing! Full of ancient, adapted tales that were changed to include female/female pairings and also some brand new stories of feminine heroics and sexual dominance, this collection of stories will leave readers under a spell of lesbian love!

If you’re a lesbian who’s ever searched for erotic lesbian writing, then you’re aware that it’s hard to find anything that’s actually good and that’s actually lesbian. It’s really hit-or-miss out there, since there are people writing “lesbian” books who aren’t lesbians, and since women who write erotica tend to be sex-pozzies, and sex-pozzies tend to present sexuality as something artificially performative and kinda weird.

I was willing to take a chance, because here’s my attitude toward erotic writing: if it’s good, it’s really good, and if it’s bad, it’s still weirdly entertaining. Well, this anthology turned out to be an eclectic collection of the good, the bad, and the ugly. There were some stories I enjoyed, and there were some that left me baffled and shaking my head.
For entertainment purposes, I’m going to tell you about some of the mistakes I saw in some of the writing. Although, do keep in mind that there was something to like about each story, and some of them I enjoyed all the way through, even though I’m bringing up these criticisms here.

One mistake I saw a few times is that authors introduced their characters as disliking each other and then they suddenly wanted to have sex with each other for no apparent reason. I’m puzzled as to why an author would decide to make their characters hate each other first before having sex. I can understand that this provides a plot twist, but that only works in a longer piece like a novel where there is time for the characters to interact with each other long enough for them to change their opinions of each other. In a short story where everything moves quickly, it’s really unrealistic that someone hates someone on page 3 and then on page 4 she’s feeling aroused at her touch, with no actual character progression in between. If you’re writing a quick sex scene, with no character development beforehand, you should be establishing immediately that your characters actually like each other. I can’t say this about heterosexual couples or queer sex-pozzies, but lesbians only have sex with women we actually like.

The worst example of this was the story where a woman was riding along in a carriage, and she was attacked by a robber queen who killed everyone who was travelling with her, and then the robber queen’s daughter pulled her away for sex. In that situation, you would be really upset about the fact that you just got attacked and everyone you know murdered. You wouldn’t be at all interested in having sex with anyone in that situation, but certainly not someone related to the robber. It’s okay for fiction to be imaginative, but it shouldn’t be completely preposterous.

Oh, and that story gets so much weirder. The woman who gets robbed, she turns out to be part wolf, and her canines lengthen when she’s aroused. The robber’s daughter seems to be part wolf too, I think, because she’s also described as having sharp teeth. A red cloak is mentioned briefly in this story, so I think the author has made a weird version of Little Red Hiding Hood where the protagonist and her love interest both turn out to be the wolf? Anyway, I guess because she’s part beast, when she is riding away on a reindeer with her captor, she can’t help humping it as they ride. Maybe reindeer-humping is normal behavior for an imaginary half-woman, half-wolf creature, but it’s not related to actual human lesbians in any way and that’s not something I can get into.

You know, I always assume that the purpose of erotic writing is to arouse your reader. But some people seem to think that the purpose of erotic writing is to baffle the reader with the weirdness of your imagination. And call me old-fashioned, but I think the way you arouse your reader with a sex scene is by creating palpable chemistry and sexual tension between the characters so that the reader is emotionally invested in the consummation of their desire, and feeling desire along with the characters. The reader has to therefore identify with the characters and relate to what they’re feeling.
I did enjoy the stories where princesses or witches saw each other naked in beautiful forest pools and found each other arousing. It can be an imaginative situation, it just shouldn’t be completely bizarre.

Anyhoo, onto the next writing mistake I saw a couple times, which was abrupt and nonsensical changes in tone. All of these stories were meant to be fairy tales, and the almost universal thing about fairy tales is that they take place in the distant past. Now, sometimes people write modern fairy tales (and there was a very cool version of Rapunzel in this book that took place in a condo in San Francisco, and that was one of the good stories, thanks for that!) but if you are writing a fairy tale where you mention kingdoms, medieval armor, magic spells, living in forests, etc, then you are writing in the past, and you need to use old vocabulary. Or, at the very least, you need to avoid using words and phrases that are specific to the modern sleaze culture of the last four decades. If you are writing about old-fashioned situations and then all of a sudden you start throwing in words like “pussy,” “asscheek,” “panties,” and “clit,” then you are using incorrect vocabulary for the piece you’re writing. It’s jarring for the reader to think they’re reading about the year 1600 and then suddenly realize that no, it’s actually 2017. It also lowers your work to the level of amateur fan fiction when you make this sort of mistake.

I checked out who the writers of these stories were, and many of them were bloggers, and not all of them were lesbians. A small number of writers said they were lesbian. Some of them didn’t mention their sexual orientation at all in their bio. Some of them called themselves by unspecific labels that I inferred to mean bisexual. One of them was a man.

If I were editing an anthology of lesbian erotica, one of the very first things I would do is weed out any non-lesbian authors, and then after that I’d choose the best submissions from the lesbian authors. If men submitted stories to my anthology, I would either not answer their emails at all, or I’d tell them to fuck right off, depending on my mood that day.

I conclude that this is an anthology of writing with female-female pairings that may or may not relate to lesbians and that is intended for anyone with an interest in “queer” fairy tales. I have enjoyed reading it because I love this genre, but if you are a lesbian who isn’t particularly interested in fairy tales and just wants good erotica, then I don’t recommend it.

As a side note, if you are a lesbian looking for good erotic writing by a real lesbian, check out the novel Bishop’s Run by B.D. Gates, which has absolutely spectacular sex scenes.

I am happy to report that I am more resolved than ever to keep working on my own fiction. I have six chapters written so far of my novel—just give me about another year or so and I’ll try and get the thing published.

Spirituality

The following fictional story is based on a lot of people’s true stories:

Matilda was different from the other girls right from the start. She preferred running around and playing sports with the boys, and had no use for dolls or tea sets. As soon as she could talk she started asking for her hair to be cut short and to wear pants instead of skirts. Her parents would frown at her and say, “But you’ll look too much like a boy.” Matilda didn’t know what was wrong with that. Strangers would frown at her say “Is that a girl or a boy?” Matilda knew it wasn’t really a question, it was just a statement of disapproval. The girls at school started offering to give her a makeover, but she refused, and eventually they started to avoid her altogether. The boys at school stopped playing sports with her, and began to either sexualize her or refuse to associate with her. Then the accusations began. “Are you a lesbian, or what?” Matilda hadn’t dated anyone yet, but she was already being punished for dating the wrong people.

Soon after the accusations started coming from her peers, they started coming from her family too. “It’s wrong to be a homosexual,” they’d say. “It’s clearly laid out in the Bible,” they’d say. “It’s not natural. It’s a sin.”

Matilda was already labeled a sinner before she had ever sinned. They told her “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” but they didn’t show her any love. They showed her hate. What had she done, exactly? To sin is to violate a moral law. Had Matilda violated a moral law by being different from her peers? Was it a moral duty to conform? They said “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” but they already hated Matilda, not for anything she had done, but for an inner nature they suspected she had.

Eventually, the accusations were revealed to be true. Matilda realized that the warm-and-fuzzy feelings she had always felt for other girls meant something. At adolescence they grew stronger, and they grew into romantic love. Matilda loved the way other girls looked, the way they talked, the way they laughed, the way they flirted. One girl in particular caught Matilda’s attention. She fell in love, and she wanted to take care of this girl, to give her everything she wanted, to protect her from harm, to spend her days and nights with her and to always be by her side. She exploded with joy anytime she was with her beloved.

She had finally sinned.

What is this sin, exactly? Is there a moral law that women should not appreciate and care for other women—creatures who are a part of God’s creation? Is it a moral law that women should not show their appreciation, devotion, affection, adoration, and awe towards God’s beautiful work? Isn’t love a virtue? Isn’t love the ultimate good that exists on Earth? Isn’t love a beautiful gift from God, and isn’t love synonymous with God? How can the virtue of feeling goodwill toward God’s creation become a sin because of the genitals of the people who are feeling it? What kind of God would create creatures who are capable of love and then tell them not to love each other?

Matilda asked questions. They told her, “It’s the act that is a sin. Fornication is a sin, sodomy is a sin.” They told her that she could remain virtuous if she didn’t act on her desires. Matilda understood that in order to not disappoint God, who is Love, she would have to hide her Love away and make it disappear. She understood finally what they were saying. They were saying that you have to obliterate love in order to please the embodiment of Love.

Matilda realized that they were full of nonsense, and they didn’t know the first thing about the God they pretended to know.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I think that organized religion is a bunch of nonsense, but that doesn’t mean I’m not spiritual. I don’t generally write about spirituality on this blog, for two reasons. The things I do that give me spiritual purpose are real-life activities I engage in that could reveal my identity if I wrote about them. I also insist upon being an atheist and I worry that being spiritual would contradict that. This will be just a quick summary of what spirituality is to me, without getting too far into detail.

I have spiritual experiences, and when I say that I mean that I have things happen to me that feel existential, important, life-affirming, joyous, and hard to explain. The notable thing about my spiritual experiences is that they consist of feeling awe. They are personal feelings of wonder toward things that are beautiful, whether they are sights, sounds, tastes, or physical feelings.

Sometimes I find the word “miracle” useful to describe something that seems wondrous. I don’t believe that humans can walk on water, or turn one loaf of bread into a whole bunch of loaves of bread, or place their hands on a sick person to make them well. I believe in all the laws of the physical universe, and if something is impossible then it’s indeed impossible. But there are some things that are awe-inspiring and that appear to be impossible or inexplicable, even though they do exist. I like to call them miracles, to acknowledge the awe they make me feel.

Life on earth is a miracle. How a bunch of rocks and water gradually turned into complex beings who are aware of their existence and can manipulate the world to their advantage is awesome and inexplicable. We know it’s possible, because it happened, but we don’t understand how or why.

A lot of human accomplishments are miracles. I know that all of my readers can name plenty of awe-inspiring human accomplishments. Here’s my example. One of the things that has always provided emergency comfort when all hope is lost is Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. Consider these amazing facts. In the year 1808, a German man drew some black marks on some parchment that represented sounds that he was imagining. Over 200 years later, people who never knew Beethoven and never set foot in Germany can still interpret the black marks he made as instructions for how to produce sounds on special objects made of wood and metal. Those sounds, when produced, still sound like the scene he imaged: the countryside, a river flowing, a community of peasants dancing, and a storm. How it’s possible that images can be represented by sound is totally beyond my comprehension, but there it is.

I’m guessing that most of us feel awe at one point or another, but I think that some people are more likely to feel it than others. I think some people spend their lives looking in the wrong places for things that are wondrous. Some people think that domination, power, control, material possessions, and outward appearance are where they’ll find meaning, but I think those people aren’t finding any. If you take away their power and material things, their meaning is gone. If you really know what meaning is, then no one can take it away from you, because it dwells within you, and it can’t be bought or sold or contained.

I think it’s legitimate to talk about a life force, or a source of love, and it’s possible that that’s what some people mean when they say “God,” but this concept certainly isn’t embodied by a supernatural father figure, and it can’t be experienced through obedience to rules. I also think it’s legitimate for a community of people to come together on a regular basis to explore the meaning of their lives, to sing together, to mark the passage of the seasons, to do good things for the community, and to teach positive values to their children. I might be tempted to join such a group if they didn’t spend a lot of their time also talking about mythical characters as if they’re literally real, because that shit is insane.

I think it’s legitimate to have personal felt experiences that are life-affirming and hard to explain, and it’s legitimate to think of those experiences as coming from a source of life or a source of love. What’s not legitimate is to require the people around you to validate your personal felt experiences, or to require them to sacrifice something on behalf of your personal felt experiences, or to create laws taking away rights from entire groups of people based on your personal felt experiences. That’s why I don’t support either conventional religion or the dogma of transgenderism being enshrined into law.

Sometimes people struggle with being both homosexual and wanting to have a personal relationship with a source of love. It’s sad that this is a struggle because it doesn’t need to be. The struggle is created by the fear and ignorance of human beings, and the desire to enforce patriarchy. Only the mythical father figure in the sky hates gay people, and he’s as imaginary as Santa Claus. The real source of love only knows how to love.

As with all other culture wars, there are extremists on both sides who get a lot of attention, and the middle ground is not necessarily easy to find. To a person who needs spirituality and who is coming to terms with being lesbian or gay, it might look like the only alternative to being holy and celibate is being completely anti-God. But there is a middle ground here.

To Matilda, from the story above, and to anyone else who wants it, I offer the following spiritual lesson.

Your existence is a miracle. Your body and all its organs that work together to give you five senses, mobility, and consciousness, is a miracle. Your mind and its ability to think, feel, and love is a miracle. There is endless beauty and love around you. It’s there any time you look for it. Whatever it is that makes you feel love is a blessing. That blessing comes from the same life force that brought you here. Whenever you feel love or awe, you are connected to the source of life. You cannot connect to this source by crude mechanical means, or by following dogma, or by accumulating possessions, or by gaining power over others. You connect to life and love by allowing yourself to feel awe and adoration for other creatures and for nature and for the miracles that you encounter. You practice love by caring for yourself and the world around you. You might connect to love by enjoying your body and other bodies. The source of life gave you a body and made it feel pleasant sensations on purpose so that you would enjoy having it. This is a gift for you to make your life enjoyable. When you enjoy your life and your self and when you join together in love with another person, you create and affirm the very love the universe is made of. Your love is beautiful, and it makes the world a better place. You have a limited time to spend walking upon this earth, and you should spend all the time you can living in a place of love and appreciation, and you should not spend any of your time living in fear and hate.

Fun with homophobic weirdos

Here’s one thing that’s political and doesn’t bum me out. Homophobic weirdos and their baffling and hilarious anti-gay brochures!

I hate-follow Autostraddle, and most of their articles either make me want to projectile vomit or roll my eyes right out of my head, but every once in a while they write something genuinely good. Here is an article about the homophobic brochures going around Australia right now. Whenever there is a vote or a change in law regarding same-sex marriage, all sorts of religious and right-wing buffoons create bizarre and laughable explanations and scare tactics designed to get people to oppose civil rights for gays and lesbians.

Oh man, they never fail to disappoint! Do click on the link to Autostraddle, but I’ll just post an image from their article here, because I just adore it.

See, because seat belts can’t be tied by putting the open ends together or the inserting ends together, that means that persons born with a homosexual orientation don’t deserve civil rights. Of course, they’re not talking about seat belts, they’re using a family-friendly euphemism for a penis entering a vagina. According to homophobic weirdos, there is nothing more important in the universe than penis-in-vagina sex that produces a baby. That’s what they live for and all they know. That’s not only the purpose, but the very definition of marriage. Just check out this other homophobic ad from the same Autostraddle article:

This writer explains marriage in the following way:

“When the wife’s egg is fertilized by the husband’s sperm in the marital act of love, a flash of light occurs and a baby is conceived. Nine months later, “their” baby is born….They have created a new life together. THIS IS MARRIAGE!”

So you see, folks…marriage is not the union of two people in love, and it’s not even the union of “one man and one woman,” as the homophobes define it. Marriage is the act of human procreation!

Of course, this means that even straight couples who don’t have children or who are infertile cannot possibly ever be married. Their marriages are not valid. The state should immediately revoke their marriage licenses, or the hounds of hell shall be released!

You know, every time I look at that seat belt graphic, I love it even more. The assertion that only one of these is a real seat belt is so precious! I’ve been trying to figure out how I can create an equally awesome graphic that responds adequately to the supreme level of awesomeness that this seat belt graphic achieves.

I pondered the meaning that this designer was trying to convey. Same-sex relationship are wrong, apparently, on the basis that our genitals don’t interlock while we’re having sex. Apparently that interlocking feature is the defining factor in what makes a relationship. What small, strange lives these people must have. And what terrible sex lives they must have! Even for straight people, the non-crazy ones anyway, sex is way more than just a mechanical motion of in-out, in-out. Most of the things that humans do during satisfying sex are common to all sexual orientations and body types: kissing, caressing, touching, cuddling, petting, and manual and oral stimulation are things we all do. But that one defining feature of heterosex is the only thing that counts for these homophobic weirdos.

Another, slightly more serious article from the Guardian also discusses the homophobic brochures going around Australia, and offers more quotes shedding more light on what exactly these folks are worried about. One fear is that if we allow same-sex couples to legally marry, then teachers will start teaching how to have gay sex in classrooms. Another fear is that homosexuality is a “curse of death” because it “terminates the family line.” (Again, what is this obsession with breeding? There are already 7.5 billion people on the planet, for gosh sake. If a small percentage of the population doesn’t reproduce, there will still be world overpopulation.) Another fear is that if we legalize same-sex marriage, that will directly lead to transsexuals raping women in washrooms.

Now, I do have to add a small disclaimer to that last point. It’s true that genderist ideology seeks to eliminate sex-segregated spaces which can lead to harassment of women in what were supposed to be our private spaces. I’m concerned about that too. I don’t think anyone is likely to actually rape a woman in a washroom—what is most likely to happen to women is verbal harassment, intimidation, and flashing by men who believe they are “women.” (Although you never know what men will do, some of them are pretty damn dangerous.) But legalization of same-sex marriage doesn’t desegregate washrooms and locker rooms. Same-sex marriage has absolutely nothing to do with genderist ideology, and the only reason these two things have become linked is because organizations that used to fight for gay rights have started promoting the gender identity movement. This shouldn’t be happening, and I’m frustrated that an ideology that harms lesbians is being associated with our fight for our own rights.

I always get the impression from the insane rantings of homophobic conservatives that they think heterosexuality is so fragile that if you merely suggest that homosexuality exists, all previously heterosexual people will suddenly lose interest in the opposite sex and will forevermore engage in no other activity than homosexual fornication. Also, judging by the symbolism used in their graphics where women are coloured pink and men are coloured blue, I get the impression that they fear humans won’t be able to figure out how to breed if we get rid of old-fashioned gender roles.

To get all radfem about it, those who are invested in preserving patriarchy know that you have to rigidly enforce heterosexuality, PIV sex, old-fashioned gender roles, and frequent reproduction, to keep patriarchy going. They think that without all these institutions in place, civilization would collapse, which reveals that they define “civilization” as capitalist patriarchy. Those of us who have a vision of a better, more egalitarian and sustainable civilization than capitalist patriarchy are very scary to them.

So, just for fun, I’ve created some silly graphics to respond to the awesome seat belt graphic above. Inspiration for creative work comes from unexpected places!

Here are my Awesome Graphics on the topic of which relationships are “real” relationships because the people “fit” together. Obviously I am going to use Comic Sans and liberal use of unnecessary all caps and random quotation marks, just to follow the conventions of the genre of crazy people’s crazy graphics. I also tried to capture the baffling incoherence that this genre generously offers. I hope you will like my submissions:

#logic

Let’s talk about who’s actually hateful and bigoted here

Well, folks, I am back from a lovely and relaxing trip and ready to address the stinking pile of horseshit that people crapped onto my blog while I was away.

I published a guest post by a woman who was harassed at the Vancouver Dyke March, and her harasser showed up in the comments to continue the harassment. It’s absolutely amazing to me that a harasser can get called out on his harassment and then decide that the appropriate response is to continue harassing. How messed up of a person do you have to be to think that’s a good idea?

Mr. Wanda Normous made a feeble attempt to claim that he hadn’t harassed anyone by reporting that he didn’t use a loud voice when talking to her. However, he admitted in his own words to engaging in the following behaviours:

  • “follow around to counter your hateful message until you took it out of the park with you”
  • “walk or stand immediately outside of your personal space with my terror breasts exposed.”
  • “I used two tools to evict you”

In these quotes, Mr. Normous has admitted to following a lesbian around and being in her personal space with the purpose of “evicting” her from the march. This is clear harassment and intimidation.

Let’s take a moment to discuss who is actually hateful and bigoted in this situation. There is a trans march and a dyke march. No lesbians are on record as saying they do not think there should be a trans march. No lesbians have attended a trans march to intimidate anybody. Lesbians have not tried to take over the board of directors of a trans march and kick out the trans people from the march. This is something that trans people are doing to the dyke march, and it’s happening only in that direction. It’s not going both ways.

Speaking for myself, I have been to a trans march. While I was there I just stood on the sidelines and watched. I did not lecture anyone about what they may or may not put on their sign. I did not select a person whose sign I believed was objectionable and follow them around in order to intimidate them. I do not believe I have the right to dictate to trans people what they put on their signs in their own march, nor do I have a right to harass anyone. I believe it’s acceptable for Pride festivals to include a trans march and for trans people to show their pride about being trans. I do not wish to stand in the way of this.

All the dyke marches in every city that holds them have been taken over by queer politics and are now hostile toward anyone who understands what a woman is and what a lesbian is. Comments from lesbians are deleted from Dyke March Facebook pages in every city and marchers hold signs that say things like “No TERFs” to make it clear that actual female homosexuals are not welcome there. The Dyke Marches now cater exclusively to men and bisexual women who agree with queer politics.

There is no logical reason why trans people need to be centered or even invited at all to a dyke march, since THERE IS A TRANS MARCH. A dyke march should center dykes.

What is happening here is that female homosexuals are being completely kicked out of Pride festivals; we cannot have our own march any more, we cannot even speak about our exclusion without being labelled bigots. It’s not just that trans people wanted their own march, which would have been fine, but they wanted every march to cater exclusively to them.

It is abundantly clear that the actual hatred and bigotry here is coming from trans people and is being directed at lesbians. Claims that lesbians are excluding trans people are complete reversals of the truth.

Speaking of lies, Wanda Normous wrote some real whoppers in the comments on my last post.

He has claimed that  “your desire to exterminate transwomen is plain” and that “you only care about hurting and excluding transwomen” and that “you’re just deciding for folks whether or not they’re women.”

Neither I nor the writer of the guest post gave any indication that we wanted to “exterminate” transwomen. In order for this alleged “desire” to be “plain,” we would have had to express it. This claim is purely a product of Mr. Normous’s imagination. Just for the record, no, I do not wish to exterminate anyone.

Neither I nor the guest writer has an interest in hurting transwomen. As for exclusion, I do think that transwomen should be excluded from the dyke march, however I do not think they should be excluded from the trans march. It’s pretty basic logic that the dyke march is for dykes and the trans march is for trans people. Having a march for each group does not exclude anybody—holding a march for each group is actually inclusion. Questions: If transwomen should be included in the dyke march, then why even have separate marches? Why not just make it one big march? And if trans people should be included in the dyke march, does this also mean that dykes should be included in the trans march? Why or why not?

A sign that says “dyke power is female” does not exclude anybody. It’s true that dykes are female. Stating a simple and neutral fact is not exclusionary.

Last but not least, the third lie mentioned above was “you’re just deciding for folks whether or not they’re women.” Nope! We’re not. Nobody can decide who is a woman and who is not. You’re just born that way. Nature and biology determine whether you’re born male or female. Nobody can decide anything about it. People can’t assign a sex to a baby any more than they can assign fingers or toes to a baby. Women are identifying the difference between male and female, but we cannot possibly decide it from our desire or will—nobody can.

I want to particularly highlight the following phrase from Wanda Normous:

“USELESS FUCKING TERF GARBAGE”

This is hate speech directed toward lesbians. Although Mr. Normous is very concerned that lesbians should not be allowed to represent a uterus on a sign because that is allegedly “hate speech” against him, he has no problem with calling lesbians “useless fucking terf garbage.” It’s very, very clear that Mr. Normous has serious misogyny issues. A misogynist and homophobic man who harasses and intimidates lesbians has absolutely no business attending a dyke march and he should be considered an unsafe person and banned from the event.

In contrast, I am a trans-critical writer who makes an effort not to use unnecessarily antagonistic language when talking about trans people. I never use the slur “tranny” and I even refrain from using the words “mutilate” and “delusional.” I believe in giving people basic courtesy and respect, in order to show that I am engaging honestly with issues and not just trolling. For a transwoman to show up on my blog and use this sort of disrespectful language when I have used no such disrespectful language toward him is very telling. Once again, the hatred and bigotry in this situation are coming from trans people and directed at lesbians; it’s a one-way street.

I did notice that Mr. Normous intentionally “misgendered” me by referring to me with male signifiers. This did not harm me in any way, because using incorrect grammar in a sentence does not cause people harm. I found it mildly amusing, but it really didn’t matter at all. However, I have to note that according to trans ideology, misgendering is “violence,” and so according to Mr. Normous’s own political position, he has committed “violence” toward me. Funny how the “violence” of misgendering only matters when directed toward transwomen; when directed at lesbians it’s not a problem.

The last point I’m going to cover for tonight is this:

“your narrative that women are only as good as their reproductive organs”

This is not at all the narrative that feminists present. It is a bald-faced lie to claim this. It is patriarchy that positions women as only good for reproduction and PIV sex. The entire feminist movement has been based on women’s knowledge that we are more than just wives and mothers and that we can do anything we want. Our work has been based on allowing us to control our reproductive capacity so that we are not reduced to our biological functions and can enter the workforce as men’s equals. To name the female reproductive anatomy does not reduce women to just their reproductive anatomy. Similarly, if I identify that I have ten fingers, that does not reduce me to just fingers, and if I identify that I have two eyes, that does not reduce me to nothing but eyes. This attempt at an argument is beyond pathetic.

Over and over I have witnessed transwomen behaving with masculine socialization (entitlement, dominance, and aggression), making ridiculously misogynist and homophobic statements, engaging in misogynist and homophobic behaviours, and telling bald-faced lies about feminists. I am absolutely not impressed and as long as they behave this way I will not be a political ally toward them. Although I would theoretically support some parts of trans activism, such as gender-neutral toilets and the right to wear the clothing one wants to wear, I cannot ally with people who are this hateful toward my demographic.

Over and over, transwomen demonstrate, with their own words and behaviour, that they do not resemble women in the slightest, and that they are particularly dangerous men. Feminists hardly have to call attention to the fact that transwomen are male; they do it themselves.