By definition a lesbian is a woman who loves other women. Good? Good. Now where did this pretty straight forward definition become transphobic? Seems non-sensical right? However you would NOT believe the amount of discourse on this topic. Not only Twitter A-holes, but “educated/enlightened” persons in academic circles have been hashing out in heated debates all the ways the lesbian identity is inherently transphobic.

The term Lesbian is a very general non-specific term adopted by queer feminists post WWII as a political identity at the very beginning of the gay rights movement. There just weren’t a lot of options for self definition at the time. It was very much a Hetro or Homo social reality.

Since this time and thanks to many brave queers and allies, the gay rights movement has blossomed and seen many political and social successes. The “Inclusion” principal has really broadened the possibilities for self definition. Millennials today have a wide variety of terms to define their gender and sexual identities. (Pan-sexual, Trans Male, Androgenous, gender fluid etc etc.) Lesbian is basically a limited and antiquated umbrella term for women who love women. It doesn’t have the capability to describe the diversity of women within the group. It’s a very limited catch all to describe ALL queer women. It does not exclude or include trans persons and gender identities. It’s simply incapable of defining gender identity. Hence why recent advances in the movement have came up with a slew of new terms to help us define ourselves more specifically. Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.45.39 AM

If I have one pet peeve it’s this. I have NO patience for individuals who whistle blow with no constructive intention other than to vent their own negativity. There are some particular gems in the world that love nothing more then to scream about injustice, to the extent they even seek to find it even where it doesn’t exist. I’m all about calling out REAL injustice. I am a proud card carrying Human Rights activist, a women’s studied educated gay lady, and defender of all underdogs! Even Kylie Jenner. But for the love of the movement and real socialist goals people, pleases calm your tits on whistle blowing on bullshit. Being a lesbian doesn’t mean an individual is transphobic OR wont date trans persons. It means just this, that they have chosen to identify as “Lesbian”. Respect it. Just as you would like your own self identifying lable to be respected. I’m sure any lesbian would be happy to add another identifier if she felt her expression of gender and sexual identity required it. Some women just simply love other cis women. It’s a question of attraction. Not exclusion. Frankly, if someone identifies as “female” and they are in a relationship with another person who identifies as “female” they can both call themselves lesbians if they choose. Why the F not?! How anyone self identifies is a very personal choice and needs to be respected.

We are in the era of gender identity politics an exciting extension of the gay rights movement. Trans politics and our trans brothers and sisters are on on all our minds! Buuuuut for the love of Caitlyn Jenner, let’s not turn and attack each other and create non-sensical diversions. Lesbians are NOT inherently  transphobic. The lesbian political identity is simply antiquated and limited in it’s ability to express gender identity. So rather than tweet rage and drop the most transpositve attacks of the century on facebook at the expense of other members and allies of the community, take a deep breath and review what transphobic behaviour really is. Then ask yourself if what you are doing is constructive or just if you’re just HANGRY. Sadly there is way too much transphobia out there, so many issues that require real debate and support. Let’s all rally and put our energy on these issues people!

Remember we are all in this together. That’s kinda the definition of inclusion. So engage in some self reflection before you pop off people. Is what your saying helping the trans community achieve inclusion? Or are you just dividing members of the community and spreading made up conflict. Not allowing someone to use the bathroom of their choice IS transphobic. Being in a relationship with a cis woman and calling yourself a big old Lesbian is just self identification and in no way excludes on belittles anyone else.

#AmIright?! With me? Against me? Have a comment? Hit me below on your thoughts! xx


Featured Image: Flikr – Torbakhopper

In text image compliments of Wesley @pain_before_beauty

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About The Author

Founder and Editor-in-chief at Effort-Lez. Writer, comedian and career lesbian. Interests include, but are not limited to: Kanye West's Fade video, drinking wine & making out (while watching Kanye West's Fade video), cerebral hoarding, three point stands and laughing myself into quadriplegia.

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4 Responses

  1. Allie

    I completely agree that the term lesbian is not inherently transphobic but you are completely diluting yourself if you think a large cross section of our community isn’t transphobic. My partner is a trans woman. I’ve seen it, particularly with lesbians 30+ years of age. There is lesbian organization in my city that holds an event on trans day of remembrance. Guess who isn’t welcome? Trans women and other AMAB trans people. If we don’t want the label of lesbian being viewed as transphobic then we need to be calling out transphobic lesbians and holding them accountable not just shrugging our shoulders and saying well the term itself isn’t transphobic so I don’t know what people are complaining about.

    Reply
    • Natash

      Very well said Allie. Thank you so much for your comment and opening discussion. I completely agree with you on your point of holding transphobic individuals accountable. I do recognize that sadly there are members and groups in our community that exclude and discriminate against trans persons. Frankly I find it appalling and think it’s important that we all stand up and speak out. That being said, although transphobia exists within members of our community, I think it’s important that we do not generalize this to the entire group. Generalizing is dangerous and dividing. There is a large population of young millennials and 30+ women who are very accepting and supportive of trans persons and issues. If we can build on the momentum of these supportive individuals and groups in the lesbian community I think we could gain a lot more solidarity in the LGBTQ+ community. Maybe even challenge some non-supporters and change their minds. 🙂

      Reply
    • Natash

      I hear what you are saying Allie!
      Transphobia is awful in general. Worse yet at the hands of our own community. I do recognize that their are groups like TERF lesbians that are by definition transphobic. I am with you and more then 100% willing to hold such groups and individuals accountable for their transphobic actions. However the point I really wanted/want to make is that painting ALL lesbians with a transphobic brush is not only erronous but frighteningly problematic. What do you think we can do Allie to bridge the gap between transphobic queers and trans persons?

      Reply
  2. Addie

    I am a big follower of the youtube community and I recently saw this issue come up when a lesbian youtuber made some comments that she would never date a trans woman. It blew up and the youtube and twitter universe attacked viciously. I was split on the issue because while I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying “I am attracted to cis-gender women” I do however think that to say “I would NEVER date a trans woman because she is NOT a woman” is the main issue. I feel like it goes back to the idea that this perpetuates the idea that “trans women are not the same as other women” which is problematic. I have met plenty of queer women who have no issues with dating a trans woman and I myself see nothing wrong with it. I do not think that lesbians are automatically transphobic, I do however feel that we could choose our words better when it comes to talking about trans issues. I feel like this is a great topic to bring to light and it is better that we work together instead of against each other. If you want to see the youtube playlist on Trans issues here is the link:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnW0fQbYREPdIrGARsbRrdcoPC3dsEHDj

    Reply

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